Getting started with the Planning module
Overview and terminology
The Planning module enables churches to easily produce plans for services, events and bookings (or to create an entirely unlinked plan). Plans are a great way to keep everyone in the loop about the running order for an occasion, so that those involved know precisely who's doing what and when within the running order. Essentially, plans keep the occasion and those involved on track.
In terms of key terminology used within the module, a Plan is essentially an ordered list of items representing the various elements that make up the plan. Plan items run consecutively from the plan's start time, with each item running for a specified duration, unless an optional fixed start time is specified for a particular item.
At the heart of the Planning module is the Library of items. We've made it really easy to build and manage your Library - either by adding items manually or importing items from a CSV file.
Before you can add/import Library items, you'll first need to set up the various item Types; Library items are grouped together and categorised into Types. For example, you might have Types for:
For each item Type, you can optionally add custom Questions so that you can store Responses for all the different pieces of information you need for the Library items you'll add. For example, for a 'Song' Type, you'll likely want to have Questions for 'Artist', 'Key' and 'Tempo'. You can also enable CCLI tracking on that 'Song' Type - or indeed on any Type if you wish.
In addition to Single Sentence and Paragraph 'text' type Questions, you can also add Questions with Drop-Down List, Radio List, Checkbox List and Date Response types. The Question types also include some other handy tools like a Bible verse Picker, a Spotify song linker and a Video file link field.
Having set up your Library item Types you can then begin to populate the Library, assigning each item added or imported to an item Type. The Planning module comes with a number of example Types and Library items to help get you started - these can be further customised or deleted if they are not relevant to your context.
When creating a Plan, you can select items from the Library or you can add ad hoc items. For Library items added to a Plan, you can change any of the Library item Responses to make the item specific to that Plan without those changes altering the item in the underlying Library.
Getting started - it's as easy as 1, 2, 3...
It's helpful to begin by visiting the Types section to review the pre-installed Types, further customising them or adding new Types as appropriate to your context.
Next, start building your Library. You don't have to pre-populate your entire library right away - you can add items as you go if you wish. If you've enabled CCLI tracking for a "Song" Type then you'll find it helpful to start adding CCLI Numbers against songs that you add to your library. This will help you later on when you need to produce your CCLI song usage report for a range of dates - we've made that a simple button click exercise! Perhaps begin by adding a few commonly used songs - we've pre-installed a few to get you started! See the related support article for further information on managing Library items and customising Types.
Add your first plan! Yes, it really is that simple. Head into the Plans section and click Add plan.
Give your plan a Name, Date and start Time - that's all you need to create a blank plan ready to start adding plan items.
Going deeper - next steps
While it's intended to be really easy to produce simple plans quickly and intuitively - just 3 steps - the Planning module is actually packed with lots of feature-rich functionality to help with planning for any occasion. Check out our other Planning module support articles to find out about the following topics...
- adding people to plans (including linking plan people to your rotas)
- adding files to plans
- adding notes to plans
- linking plans to services, events and bookings
- distributing and sharing plans
- working with plan templates
- library item usage and CCLI reporting
- plan reporting
You'll find the answers to most questions in our support articles available through the Support beacon on the bottom right corner of each page in the Planning module and within the Support Articles section on our website. If you can't find an answer in the support articles, do get in touch - we're happy to help!