Working with rotas in ChurchSuite

We've produced a separate support article titled How to create a rota but what happens then? As much as one hopes rotas will run smoothly, the reality is that rotas are subject to ongoing change – people join and leave teams, roles change, people need to rearrange their commitments, extra rota dates get added for ad hoc events or services – the changes seem endless! This article explores ChurchSuite's rota management functionality designed to help Rotas module Users stay on top of their rotas. A similar support article - called Working with rotas in My ChurchSuite - has been produced for ministry overseers who manage their rotas using the member-facing My ChurchSuite.

In this article

Publishing a draft rota
Changing the order of a rota
Adding people to a rota
Children on rotas
Assigning roles
Adding and removing rota dates
Changing the serving times of a rota
Renaming a rota
Rota changes logs

Publishing a draft rota

New rotas are always created with a Draft status. Working with draft rotas has the distinct advantage of allowing users and ministry overseers to plan ahead and make rota changes without the rota being visible to the rota's members in My ChurchSuite until it's ready to be published. You can easily identify rotas with a 'draft' status in the list, as the rota's name is surfaced in italics:

...or, to surface all the draft rotas, use the  Advanced Search in the Rotas section of the module to filter the list by Status. To publish the rota, select 'view' from the action menu to the right of the rota:

....the rota view opens with a blue 'draft status' information message; click the Publish button.

A success message confirms the rota has been Published. You may now wish to distribute the newly-published rota to the rota's members so that they know there's a new rota available – to do this you can use the Send rota option on the Communicate drop-down menu...

On the Send rota pop up, set the range of rota Dates to be sent and select the intended Recipients. The rota email subject and message can also be optionally further customised. By default the email will contain a curated list of dates but note the additional options to include the date grid (the rota) and a rota member contact details list. Click Send to complete the process. Embedded within each recipient's email is a link to their personal Rota Page, which lists all future rota dates and, for rotas with accept/decline enabled, the ability to accept or decline each rota date.

You can change the Status of a rota at any time – click Edit at the top of the rota's "View" page.

On the Edit rota pop up, in addition to managing other rota settings explained in this article, you can change the rota's Status between Draft and Published. Remember that draft rotas are only visible to ministry overseers in My ChurchSuite and published rotas are visible to all rota members and overseers.

Can I change a rota's team rotation?

While you can make many changes to published rotas, it is not possible to change the team rotation or team order – rota dates, team order and rotation are determined at the point the rota is first created. To change the rotation or order of serving teams, head to the underlying Ministry, amend the rotation and team structure accordingly and then create a new rota, which will reflect the ministry's new rotation and team order.

Changing the order of a rota

Your can easily change the display Order of the rota's members from Name order (alphabetical last name order – the default) to Role order, which is helpful for role-based ministries where you need to quickly identify if you have sufficient serving team members in each role on each rota date.

You can also change the rota order in the rota's settings. Select Edit from the rota's "View" page. On the Edit rota pop up change the Order by setting as required.

You can also change the Order that roles are listed on rotas and reports. Navigate through to the rota's underlying ministry "View" page (in the Ministries section) and click on the Roles tab. You can change the order by either dragging the Order number or clicking the Order number and using the up/down arrows to move roles in the list – perhaps having key roles like 'leader' first.

When rotas are ordered By role, notice the option to +Add [to role] when hovering over a rota role...

...you can then select from a scrollable pop up list of the available ministry members assigned with that role or you can Search for person to add another person to that role. People added to roles in this way are added on an ad hoc basis without the underlying Ministry being changed.

Adding people to the rota

In the previous section we saw that in rota Role order it's possible to Add people directly to a role. In this section we'll see how to add people to a rota date. Click Add to date.

A pop up, scrollable list of ministry members with any role who are not yet assigned to that rota date is displayed.

Ministry members in the list are added to the rota date with the Ministry role(s) already assigned. Once added to the rota you can optionally edit their role(s) to make ad hoc role changes without changing the underlying Ministry. You can also Search for person to add a non-ministry member to a rota date. Ad hoc people are added without a role but once added you can optionally assign roles if you wish. In the example above notice also how ChurchSuite alerts you to potential serving clashes – where people are already serving on other rotas (shown in red) or where they are unavailable (shown in red strikethrough).

Once people are added to a rota date you can easily change or assign their roles if you wish. Click the Action menu icon next to any rota member's name. For a rota member with No role select Add role and for rota members with an existing role select Edit role. The Add/Edit Roles pop up allows you to select the role(s) to be assigned. Assigned roles change colour from grey to blue when selected. Click Save Changes to apply the role selection to the rota member.

The +Add to date pop up lists People but you can also select the Teams tab, which surfaces a list of the Ministry's teams. In this way you select and add an entire Team to a rota date.

Team members added in this way are assigned to the team roles defined in the underlying Ministry. Again you can make ad hoc changes to a team member's roles on the rota without affecting the roles assigned in the underlying ministry.

Notice also that when hovering your cursor over a person's Name on a rota, all their other dates/roles on that rota are highlighted in grey.

Children on rotas

Children and young people can serve on rotas too – distinguished by a child icon in front of their name. Adding children and young people from the Children module is done in exactly the same way as adding Address Book contacts to a rota – search for the child's name and add them as described above. Note that within My ChurchSuite, children contact details are not visible, even to fellow rota members; only their name is shown on the rota. Children will however receive email rota reminders to their email address and will also receive rota group emails to that email address.

Assigning roles

When you first add a rota, the rota's members are assigned the role(s) specified in the underlying Ministry. It's possible to make ad hoc changes – overriding the "ministry roles" and assigning different "serving roles" to any date on a rota without those role changes affecting the underlying "ministry roles". This enables you to make custom rota changes to suit the ministry's particular needs on any given rota date. Importantly, rota members can be assigned multiple roles – this means that in Role order a rota member will be listed more than once – they'll show under each role they are assigned.

To assign roles, hover your cursor over a rota member Name. The Action menu appears. For rota members without a role, select Add role...

...and for rota members who already have a role, select Edit role.

On the Add/Edit role pop up you can then select or deselect roles as appropriate. Selected roles have a blue background. Click Save Changes once you have finished.

Top Tip!

In Role order you will see a numeric indicator of the number of rota members in each role. If you hover the cursor over a role the +Add [to role] button is surfaced. People added using this button are assigned directly to that role, irrespective of any roles they may be assigned to in the rota's underlying ministry. This workflow is therefore a much quicker method of adding people directly into roles on a rota compared to the separate Add to date and Edit role methods explained above.

Adding and removing rota dates

You can easily add additional dates to a rota. Typically you will produce a new follow on rota for each new term/season, rather than endlessly extending an existing rota. This workflow has the distinct advantage of allowing overseers to work on new draft rotas before publishing them and making them visible to rota members. However, for occasional additional ad hoc events and services you can easily add individual dates to an existing rota as follows.

To add a date to a rota click the Add date button at the top of the rota's "View" page.

On the Add Date to Rota pop up, enter the Date and serving start Time and any optional Note. Click Add Date to save the changes and update the rota.

The newly-added date is now ready for you to add people to.

When considering removing dates from a rota you have two options. You can either select Clear date to remove all rota members from the date while leaving an empty date in place on the rota (perhaps for rota members to be added later); or you can select Delete date and remove the date entirely from the rota. In both cases the changes do not affect the underlying rota's Ministry, team structure, team members or roles. To avoid rota member confusion by finding a seemingly missing date on their rota, best practice may be to clear the date and add a suitable note to the rota date to explain why it is empty.

To clear or delete a rota date, hover your cursor over the action menu to the right of the Date. Select Clear date or Delete date as appropriate. You'll be asked to confirm the change.

Changing the serving times of a rota

The serving times for a rota are shown in the rota profile section at the top of the rota's "View" page. You can optionally change these serving times if you need to. Rota reminders and clash reporting will be updated to reflect changes to serving. Click Edit at the top of the rota's "View" page.

On the Edit rota pop up, amend the rota times as required and Save Changes. ChurchSuite will apply the time changes to all rota dates that had the original time but not to any rota dates that have already been manually changed on a 'per date' basis (see below).

As well as making rota-wide changes to the serving times of a rota (above) you can also change the serving time on a 'per date' basis. From the Date Action menu in the top right corner of the rota date, select Edit.

On the Edit date pop up you can change the Start Time for that date only. Rota reminders and clash detection will respect rota time changes, too.

Renaming a rota

The rota name is defined when the rota is first created. You can amend the rota name at any time by clicking Edit at the top of the rota's "View" page.

On the Edit rota pop up, edit the rota Name as applicable and click to Save Changes. The updated rota name is reflected in ChurchSuite and My ChurchSuite.

Rota changes logs

Inevitably, after a rota is first created, it will undergo many changes over the course of the rota's dates – people will be added, removed, roles assigned, notes and unavailability added, and swaps and sign-ups processed. ChurchSuite maintains a separate Changes log for each rota, making it easy to keep on top of the changes at any time. The log shows details of when the changes were made and whether the changes were made by a user within ChurchSuite or by an overseer or rota member from within My ChurchSuite.

When viewing a rota in ChurchSuite, select the Changes tab. Note that the Changes listed are in respect of the rota View filter – to see all changes, be sure to set the View filter to All.

A Date modification indicator is shown at the bottom of each rota date where changes have been made, showing when each rota date was last changed. The modified time will show in bright orange when a change has just been made and will slowly get dimmer as time passes helping you spot recent changes....

Clicking on the date modification indicator or selecting View changes from the rota Date Action menu...

...displays a pop up View changes box listing all the changes related to that rota date.

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