Many churches use the Planning module to plan the same or similar events and services that repeat. For instance, you may produce plans for weekly Sunday services that follow a similar pattern or order of service each week, or maybe you produce plans for the various Alpha Course or Marriage Course sessions that have a repeating running order at each session, or perhaps the plans are for weddings or funerals, where the content mostly remains unchanged.
By creating plan Templates for each of these use-cases (and many others besides) you will be able to produce plans more quickly, with all the standard plan content and "plan people" rota linking pre-populated, meaning that you'll only need to add the plan-specific details like songs and announcements.
Adding a plan template
There are two ways to create a plan Template. The first is to create a Template from an existing Plan. Working from a Plan "View" page click Add template.
On the Add template pop-up, give the Template a suitable Name and amend the template start Time as necessary. The plan's note Categories and their associated plan notes are preserved on the template, but you can optionally add or remove note Categories as needed for the template. Clicking Save will create the Template, populated with the same items as the original Plan.
The second method is to add a brand new Template. Working from the Templates section of the module click Add template.
On the Add template pop-up, give the Template a suitable Name and set the template start Time as necessary. In the example below, the service starts at 10.30 am, but the template items will run from 8 am to include pre-service items. Optionally add note Categories. For example, you may wish to add notes against certain items on the template for your Tech Team or Visuals Team. By adding Categories you can later populate tech-specific and visuals-specific notes against any of the items added on the template (and on any plans you later produce from the template). Click Save to add the new template.
The newly-added template "View" page is displayed. In the same way that you add items to Plans, begin to populate the template by adding items to the Template from the Planning module Library. See the related support article called Adding a plan for further information about adding library items - the process. Begin by clicking Add item.
You can link template items to rotas (or assign plan items to people) and add files to template items in the same way that you can for Plans. See the related support articles on Adding people to plans and Adding files to plans. Continue adding template items, perhaps just the broad headings or key elements of the plan. Later, when creating a plan from the template you'll add further plan items representing the plan-specific detail, perhaps songs and announcements. For example, you might add a template item for "Worship set", but later, when creating a plan from the template, you'll add the plan-specific songs.
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 the item on plans and templates 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, you will need to add them to the appropriate Library items and to any templates and plans where that Library item has already been assigned.
Whichever method you use to add a template - either adding a template from an existing plan or starting with a brand new empty template - the newly-added templates are listed in the Templates section of the module. You can return here at any time to View, Duplicate, Edit, Archive or Delete a template from the template Actions. You can switch between viewing Active and Archived templates. Archived templates can be Set as active again.
Selecting templates for use
Having added one or more Templates, you can now select a template when adding a plan. There are two ways. The first is from the Template "View" page, clicking Add plan.
The other, and more common method is when working in the Plans section of the module, click Add plan.
In both methods, the Add plan pop-up opens. You can begin by selecting the appropriate Template from the list, which will populate some of the other fields on the pop-up.
The full process of producing plans (including plans based on templates) is covered in detail in the related support article Adding a plan.