ChMeetings vs. Shepherd’s Staff

ChMeetings is cloud-based and provides many new technologies and features for modern churches. Shepherd’s Staff is a Windows desktop app that provides reliable though less contemporary features.

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Are you looking to choose a Church Management System or to find a Shepherd’s Staff alternative and consider ChMeetings too? Let’s see how ChMeetings compares to Shepherd’s Staff on cost, features, performance, and user-friendliness.

To save you time, here’s what we think in a nutshell:

Shepherd’s Staff might be a good choice if you:

  • Are a large church relying exclusively on Windows computers, and having IT staff to manage a desktop app.
  • Prefer to pay annually for support and upgrades while paying a one-time fee for the software.
  • Require a scheduler for rooms, facilities, equipment, assets, vehicles, or rides.

ChMeetings might be a good choice if you:

  • Do not have dedicated IT staff.
  • Prefer to pay monthly or pay less while you’re a small church and increase the cost as you grow.
  • Want a mobile app and online access to data for your staff and members.

Cost

ChMeetings is more affordable than Shepherd’s Staff

Shepherd’s Staff is a Windows, desktop-based tool that you can purchase for a one-time fee of $599 without finance, and $799 with finance, for up to 149 people, one year of free support, and one upgrade. For 150+ people, plans cost $999 without finance and $1199 with finance. After the first year, support is charged at a minimum of $325 per year. If you do not pay for support, upgrades start at $500. There is no free plan available, but there is a free trial. Having Shepherd’s Staff move your data into the app costs $325.

ChMeetings is cloud-based and charges a subscription that starts at $12 per month or $120 per year for 100 people. For unlimited people, the cost is $60 per month or $600 per year. Support is free for all plans. Since ChMeetings is cloud-based, all updates are automatic and free. We’ll move your data in for free if you choose a paid plan, and we have a guide if you want to do it yourself.

Here’s a quick cost breakdown:

ChMeetings Shepherd’s Staff
Free Trial Available - 14 days Available - Unspecified period
Pricing is based on the number of people Yes Yes
Free plan for 50 people Available Unavailable
Minimum cost for 100 people $12 monthly $120 annually $599 One-Time Fee
Maximum cost for unlimited people $60 monthly $600 annually $599 One-Time Fee
Support Free Starts at $325 annually
Data Transfer Free with all paid plans $325
Extra costs US Text messaging starts at $10 per 1000 standard GSM messages Could not find cost info

Features

ChMeetings is more feature-rich than Shepherd’s Staff

There are several differences between ChMeetings and Shepherd’s Staff. While Shepherd’s Staff is missing many key features available within ChMeetings, such as a Member Portal, Online Giving, Appointments or Follow-Ups. it provides a scheduler that allows you to track rooms, facilities, equipment, assets, vehicles, or rides. It also provides a Finance module, which will; however, be coming soon in ChMeetings too, as an Accounting module.

ChMeetings Shepherd’s Staff
Mobile App
Member Management
Groups
Mass Email
Mass Texting Available, Costs Extra Available
Event Management
Check-In
Service Planning
Volunteer Scheduling
Member Portal
Web Page Builder
Appointments
Follow-Ups
Scheduler
Digitally Signed Forms
Online Giving
Pledges
Accounting Coming Soon Included in plans with Finance
Reports
Integrations Yes No
Multilingual Yes - 19 Languages No

User-Friendliness

Overall, ChMeetings is more user-friendly than Shepherd’s Staff, because it is a cloud-based app that implements the latest technologies and design practices.

Shepherd’s Staff is a Windows desktop app. ChMeetings is cloud-based

  • If a desktop app and offline access to data are mandatory to your church, then Shepherd’s Staff is an obvious good choice; however, it is only available for Windows. With desktop apps, it can also be difficult to keep up with version upgrades or data syncing, and security risks may be higher. Giving multiple users access at the same time can be challenging and the tool can’t be accessed by members. Additionally, version updates are not automatic and may require attention from specialized IT staff.
  • ChMeetings is entirely cloud-based so you don’t have to worry about version upgrades, improvements, and new features, because they are automatic. The obvious disadvantage of a cloud-based app like ChMeetings is that you must have an Internet connection to access it, but your data is always up-to-date and secure. Multiple users, including members, can access your data from any device, regardless of operating system, and at the same time, thus enhancing performance and efficiency.

Shepherd’s Staff is more complex. ChMeetings is streamlined.

  • Since it is a desktop app, Shepherd’s Staff lags behind the newest technological developments and has a less user-friendly, more complex interface.
  • ChMeetings constantly improves user experience and provides a more streamlined interface.

Shepherd’s Staff’s help center is well-built and user-friendly, but lacks detail. ChMeetings’ help center is streamlined and covers features comprehensively.

  • The Shepherd’s Staff Help Center is easy to navigate, with well-organized sections and articles. If you don’t pay for support, you have access to a lot of useful information for those times when you need to clarify something. However, most articles only show one product screenshot and the instructions sometimes do not go into much detail.
  • ChMeetings’ Help Center is also very easy to navigate, being organized by modules. The key difference is that ChMeetings provides detailed documentation on all features, and includes screenshots to help you more easily find what you need on the screen.

Free Trial

Shepherd’s Staff allows you to download a free trial app but does not specify the trial period.

ChMeetings provides a 14-day free trial. You can choose to add demo data to use during the trial and see if ChMeetings fits your needs. After the trial, you can decide to continue with our free plan or subscribe. Check out our Pricing page for details.

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