Adding a plan
It's really easy to begin producing Plans for your various services, events and bookings. Before you begin, you may find it helpful to first read the related support article on Adding library items, which will make the process of populating plans with commonly-used library items and songs an altogether simpler process. You can save time by saving a plan as a Template, or you can begin by creating a template - it's entirely up to you; the process of adding a plan and adding a template is almost identical.
In this article
Adding a new plan
From the Plans section of the module, click Add plan.
On the Add plan pop-up, notice the option to create a plan from a Template - see our related support article for further information on working with plan templates. Selecting a Template will populate the plan Name from the template name. A plan can be optionally Linked to a Service, Event or Booking - see the related sections later in this article for further explanation about plan linking. In this example below we're adding a plan based on an existing "Sunday Morning Service" template, and linking the plan to a Service. Having chosen to link to a service we've selected the appropriate Rotas module service. The plan name defaults to the service name, but you can optionally select the Custom name. Next, set the plan Date - the plan Time in this example has been derived from the template, but again you can optionally specify a different plan start Time if you wish. The plan start Time is typically the start time of the occasion, service, event or booking; you will still be able to add plan items timed before the plan's start time. Multi-site customers can also specify the plan's Site.
You can optionally add Note Categories to the plan (or remove them if they have been populated from a Template). Notes are ideal for giving additional direction or prompts to those on a plan. In the example below, we've added note categories that will be used to add plan-specific information for these five areas. Later, when adding or editing plan items, we'll see how category-specific notes can be added to plan items, perhaps to give instruction to the "Sound" team. You can later edit a plan if you wish to add/remove/re-order Note Categories if you wish. Note category changes made here apply only to this plan - see our related support article for adding note categories to plan templates. Click Save to complete the process of adding the new plan.
The newly-added Plan "View" page is now displayed ready to be populated with plan items. Notice that the Plan has a Draft status. Later we'll see how to publish and distribute the Plan - you won't be able to share a plan until it is published.
Adding items to a plan
A plan is essentially an ordered list of items that will happen consecutively or at preset times. If you've added a plan from a template, the plan will likely have plan items already shown; or perhaps you're starting with an empty plan. To add new items to a plan click Add item, located under the plan's profile information, or select Edit to make plan-specific changes to an existing plan item.
On the Add item pop-up, select the item Type - item types are added/managed in the Types section of the module. Then, either search/select an item from your existing Library items or add an ad hoc plan item by giving it a suitable Name. While most Plan items will likely run consecutively based on the plan order and Duration, running from the start time of the Plan, you can optionally fix a Start Time, which will have the effect of pinning that item to a fixed point within the Plan with other items flowing around it. Plan items with a fixed start time are useful for items that need to occur before the Plan's start time, e.g. pre-service items, or to mark a non-moveable point within a plan's order. Optionally add a Comment and any category Notes relating to the plan item.
Click Save to add the item to the Plan. If a Start Time for the item was specified, the item is inserted into the appropriate place within the plan, otherwise, the new item is added to the end of the plan. Plan items can be re-ordered by dragging the up/down re-order control on the left-hand side of each plan item. Plan item colours are derived from the Item Type.
Continue adding other plan items as appropriate.
Top Tip - communicating instructions to your teams with plan notes
As shown in the above example, you can add categorised notes to plan items - perhaps directions for the Visuals team, instructions for the Service Pastor, or a note for the Sound team about which microphones are being used during different parts of the service. Those viewing the plan in ChurchSuite or accessing the plan page can filter notes by category to see just those notes that are important to them.
In the example plan below, we've added some broad headings, perhaps representing the key elements of a service plan. Further detail can be added later, such as specific songs. In this way, the planning process can evolve over time as people collaboratively contribute to the plan. Notice the timeline at the top of the plan giving a visual overview of the various plan elements. You can return to a plan - draft or published - at any time to make changes, or add further details, items, notes or comments, or change the order or plan items...
For example, you may have added a plan item for a "Worship Set" with a duration representing the block of time allocated within the plan. However, later, your worship leaders may add specific songs from the Library. Ordinarily, new items are added to the end of the plan, but hovering your cursor between two plan items surfaces the Add item option, which will insert a new item between two existing items
Use the re-order controls to the left of each plan Item's time to drag items into the appropriate place within the plan. In this example, we've left the "Worship Set" duration as 30 minutes, and set the duration for the individual songs as 0. In other words, while the specific times for each worship song are of course flexible, the band knows that the overall worship set is allotted 30 minutes if the plan is to keep to time.
Finally, for each plan item in the list, note the Actions menu available on the right-hand side of the list, enabling you to:
- Add item after - to add a Library item directly after the selected Plan item
- Add to library - to add an ad hoc plan item to the Library directly from a Plan. This option is not visible if the item is already a Library item.
- Edit - to change the plan item's duration or start time, or to add a note or comment to the item
- Manage files associated with the plan item - see the related support article
- Manage people associated with the plan item - see the related support article
- Remove the item from the plan
- View changes to see a pop-up Changes log related to the plan item
When Library items (including their linked files) are added to a plan or template, that item and its linked files become independent of the Library for that plan or template, allowing you the flexibility to make custom changes to an item on a plan or template without affecting the original Library item. Consequently, adding a file to a plan or template will not also add the file to the item in the Library. Similarly, adding files to Library items will not show those files on existing plans or templates. Therefore, if you are adding new files to ChurchSuite, add them to the appropriate Library items first, and also to any templates and any future plans where that Library item has already been added.
Finally in this section, you will want to publish your plan, even if it may still be subject to further change. Once a plan is published you can share the plan with the plan members and other people. Click Publish.
Once published, the Send plan action becomes available, which will take you through simple steps to send the plan to the plan people, and any other recipients you may wish to add.
Printing a plan
The Print action provides a customisable printing experience with a live preview so that the User can customise the output before printing.
The Print "live preview" page opens to view. From here you can select which elements of the plan you wish to Show in the output and whether plan People are to be displayed in Condensed format (the default) or whether All plan people are shown or Hidden. The Format controls the paper size. Use the Orientation and Scale options to determine the layout and font size as desired.
The dotted line provides an approximate indication of where the page breaks are to give you an idea of how many pages the plan will print on - plan items are not clipped when the preview is printed.
Whenever the Show field options are changed the values are stored within the browser. This means that when the User returns to the print page on the same device, the same settings will be kept. If printing a plan becomes a weekly task, settings will be stored for the next time around.
Once you are happy with the live preview, click Print to launch the browser's print dialogue for the preview area. It may be necessary to select certain browser print dialogue settings to match the live preview - for example, a 'landscape' live preview will require a 'landscape' print dialogue setting for the plan to print as per the preview. Similarly, the print dialogue paper will need scaling set to 100% for the live preview Scale to be maintained in the final printed plan. Note that iOS AirPrint or Android Printing do not support 'webview' apps like ChurchSuite, so Print options are not available in the iOS or Android apps - plans can only be printed from a device's browser.
When you have finished printing you can click Back in your browser or app to return to the plan's "View" page where you were previously working.
Plans linked to a service
Whenever you're working in "Service View" in the Rotas module, linked service Plans for a service date are shown...
...with the option to Add plan for a service date that doesn't yet have a linked Plan.
When a Plan is linked to a Service, any Service note is surfaced on the Plan's "View" page and the Plan Page. Service notes can be added and edited from the Plan's "View" page or the service "View" page.
Clicking on the Service name in the profile section at the top of a Plan (above) will take you through to the Service View for that service date and time - navigating between Plans and linked Services is easy!
Plans linked to an event
Whenever you're working with Events in the Calendar module, the linked Bookings, Plans and rotas Serving at this time for the event are shown in the meta on the right-hand side of the event's "View" page.
The Add plan option is visible if the event doesn't yet have a linked Plan.
Navigating between linked Plans and Events is easy - clicking on the Event name in the profile section at the top of a Plan will take you to the Event's "View" page for that event.
Plans linked to a booking
Whenever you're working with Bookings in the Bookings module, linked Plans are shown on the booking's Details tab...
...with the option to Add plan where the booking doesn't yet have a linked Plan.
Navigating between bookings and linked plans is easy - clicking on the Booking name in the profile section at the top of a Plan will take you to the Booking's "View" page for that booking.