Adding a plan

It's really easy to begin creating Plans for your services, events and bookings. Before you begin, you may find it helpful to first read the related support article on Adding library items - populating Plans with commonly-used items is simple when those items already exist in your Planning module Library.

In this article

Adding a new plan
Adding items to a plan
Adding plan notes
Keeping on top of the changes
Printing a plan
Managing plans
Duplicating a plan
Plans linked to a service
Plans linked to an event
Plans linked to a booking

Adding a new plan

From the Plans section of the module, click Add plan.

On the Add plan pop-up, enter the Plan Name, Date and start Time. The 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 (e.g. for setting up). For multi-site customers, set the Plan's Site.

Notice the option to add a Plan based on a Template - see the related support article for further information on working with templates. Selecting a template will populate the Plan Name from the template name.

It's also possible for the new Plan to be optionally Linked to a Service, Event or Booking. Select as appropriate and then use the Search to locate the particular service, event or booking that the plan relates to. The Plan Name and Time are populated accordingly based on the template. Set the plan's Date.

If not already specified in the plan's underlying template, you can optionally add categorised Notes to the plan. Click to Add categories and then add notes to the plan for each category at an item level. These are great for giving direction to groups of volunteers on a plan. In the example below, we've added note categories for 4 teams. Later, we'll see how team specific notes can be added to items on the plan, perhaps to give an instruction to the "Sound" team for a particular plan item. You can also edit a plan and add note Categories later if you wish - notice how note categories can be easily re-ordered or removed. Changes made here apply only to this plan.

Whether the new Plan is linked to a service, event or booking - or it's an unlinked plan - click Save to complete the process and add the new Plan. The new Plan is displayed, ready to be populated with plan items - see next section. Notice that the Plan has a Draft status. Later we'll see how to publish and distribute the Plan.

Adding items to a plan

If you've added a plan based on a template, you'll likely have a number of plan items already shown on the plan; or perhaps you're starting with an entirely empty plan. To add new items to a plan click Add plan item.

On the Add plan item pop up, select the Type of item from the drop-down list. Then, either search within the Library for an existing library item of the selected type, or create an ad hoc item by giving it a suitable Name. While most Plan items will likely run consecutively based on their order and Duration, running from the start time of the Plan, you can optionally specify 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 categorised 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.

Continue adding Plan items as appropriate.

Top Tip - give useful instructions to your teams with notes

As seen in the above example, you can add categorised notes to a plan - perhaps directions for your Visuals team or instructions for the Service Pastor or a note for your Sound team about which microphones are being used during the service. Those viewing the plan in ChurchSuite and those 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 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 different visual display of the various plan elements. You can return to a Plan - draft or published - at any time to make changes and add further details, items, notes or comments, or to change the order...

For example, you may have added a plan item for "Worship Set" with a duration representing an approximate block of time allocated within the plan. However, later, your worship leaders may add specific songs from the Library.

New plan items are added to the end of the Plan...

You can then use the re-order controls to the left of each Plan Item's time to drag and re-position the songs 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 is of course flexible, the band knows that the overall worship set should take no longer than an allotted 30 minutes if the plan is to keep to time.

Finally, for each Plan item in the list, notice the Action menu available on the right hand side of the list, enabling you to:

  • Add library item - 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 - perhaps to change a plan item's duration or start time, or to add a categorised note to that item
  • Manage files associated with the Plan item - see related support article.
  • Manage people associated with the Plan item - see related support article.
  • Remove the item from the Plan.
  • View changes to see a pop-up Changes log related to the Plan item.

Top Tip!

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 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, where you are adding new files to ChurchSuite, add them to the appropriate Library items first and also to any templates and future plans where that Library item has already been added.

You can publish a plan at any time - even if it's still subject to further changes. Once a plan is published you can share the plan with plan people or others. Click Publish.

The plan's status updated from draft to published. A published plan can be Set as draft if necessary.

Adding plan notes

Planning module Users can add Notes against a Plan. Notes are not visible on the people-facing Plan Page; they are only visible to module Users here on the Plan's "View" page - ideal for recording progress on a "to do" list related to the Plan. As with Notes in other modules, you can optionally restrict the visibility of Notes - see related support article. For plans linked to a Service, as well as Plan-related Notes, it's also possible to add a Service note that will be surfaced on the plan page - see related support article.

The module's Reports section includes a Notes report to view all Plan notes within a range of dates.

Keeping on top of the changes

The Changes log at the bottom of the Plan's "View" page lists all changes made to the Plan, including details of the User that made the change, the date and time of the change, and the nature of the change made.

Within the module's Reports section are two reports that may also be helpful. The Recent Changes report summarises all changes made to Plans within a range of dates and the Date Added report identifies new Library Items, Plans, Templates and Types added within a range of dates.

Printing a plan

Printing a plan using Cmd + P in a browser often gives undesired results and browser printing doesn't re-render screen content for paper well. The advanced printing view (using the Print button at the top of the plan's "View" page) 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 provide an approximate indication of where the page breaks are in order 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 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 in order for the plan to print as per the preview. Similarly, the print dialogue paper will need scaling set to 100% in order 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.

Managing plans

The Search box can be used to easily filter long lists of Plans. As you type in the Search, the list of matching Plans automatically filters. You can further filter by plan status and view past or future plans.

The Plans section also includes an Advanced Search feature, ideal for filtering just Plans Linked to a Service, Event or Booking, or those not linked.

It's possible to make changes to multiple Plans using Batch Actions on the Plans list. Ticking one or more Plans in the list will display the batch Actions menu with options to change the status of the selected Plans, to Edit the Date or Time of the selected Plans or to Delete the selected Plans.

Duplicating a plan

In addition to creating an entirely new Plan or using a Template, it is also possible to duplicate an existing Plan. Duplicating a Plan will duplicate it entirely, including all Plan items, fixed people, people criteria and files.

You can either select Duplicate from the Action menu on the Plans list...

...or click Duplicate at the top of a Plan's "View" page...

Plans linked to a service

Whenever you're working in "Service View" in the Rotas module, the linked Plan for the service is also shown...

...with the option to Add plan where the service doesn't yet have a linked Plan.

When a Plan is linked to a Service, any Service note is shown on the Plan's "View" page and the Plan Page. Service notes can be added and edited from the Plan's "View" page.

Clicking on the Service name in the profile section at the top of a Plan (above) will take you to the Service View for that service date and time - navigating between linked Plans and Services is really 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 really 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, the linked Plans are shown in the meta on the right hand side of the booking's "View" page...

...with the option to Add plan where the booking doesn't yet have a linked Plan.

Navigating between linked Plans and Bookings is really 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.

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