Church Windows by Computer Helper Publishing has supported more than 12,000 churches of all sizes and denominations since 1987.
The Church Windows church management system is comprised of five core modules: Membership, Scheduler, Donations, Accounting and Payroll. Each can operate individually as a stand-alone application, or integrate with other modules.
Membership features enable church administrators to view and track household and individual records, customize data fields, record interaction notes and create attendance and visitation reports.
Church resources, events, volunteers and rooms are managed and tracked within the scheduling application, while member contributions and giving histories are maintained in the donations module. And Church Windows’ accounting module offers full fund accounting capabilities with a customizable chart of accounts, recurring transactions, reconciliation and more.
Many training options—including live Web training, online videos, workbooks, webinars and individual customized training sessions—are available for customers who want to take advantage of the software’s full scope of features.
Vicky from Bellpoint United Methodist Church
Specialty: Christian, Protestant
Employees number: 2-10 employees
Would not recommend Church Windows, especially because of the customer service "call back" issue.
Seems programmers understand basic "church" use needs. What I like most about the program is the graphics, they are fairing instinctive.
Customer service is provided only on a "call back" basis. This means whatever/wherever the user was into at the time of question, they must go on with something else while waiting. Many times it's difficult to reinact the event or remember the nuances. Some of the responses by the Customer Services staff only cause greater confusion, i.e. "warning" you of what might happen when you're not going down that path anyway, or not asking whether you use their payroll system before directing you to make a change, etc.
Heather from Cross of Peace Lutheran Church
Specialty: Christian, Protestant
The designers "get" what a church needs to function efficiently. The finance module is the strongest part of the software package.
Church Windows proved difficult to use when it worked, even for professional IT people in the congregation. Unfortunately it was even worse when we attempted to generate lists such as "6th grade Sunday School Students" or identifying regular givers. People who visited once, years ago, showed up on lists of active members, while many of our most faithful and generous people were left off entirely. We spent hundreds of dollars on a contract for live support, but even the CW support team was unable to get the program to function correctly.
Request a full trial run before investing in Church Windows. COmpare and contrast with other available church management programs.
Beth from First Congregational
I didn't like a lot. It was an outdated system visually, and functionally. I guess I appreciated that those who didn't know much about tech since 1995 wouldn't feel out of place
The features and functions require redundancy, which became impossible to use. ability for multiple people to manage it was also therefore impossible .
Kimberly from First Presbyterian Church of Bridgeton
Employees number: 2-10 employees
Always looking to improve the software. Help is a phone call away and they usually know their stuff. I really like how I can use to site and email questions instead of calling for something simple.
Some functions just are not user friendly. I hate leaving a message and waiting for a call back. It seems maybe they can do some one step process instead of more than functional ones.
Eve from Maple Grove United Methodist Church
I did not receive any benefits from this software. The only thing I received by using this software is frustration.
When info is typed in one field, it does not populate in other fields that essentially mean the same thing. Example, when a church member dies ... I have to mark them "dead" in three places! The visual appearance of Church Windows is dated ... back to the late 90's ... it it's functionality is pretty much stuck there, too.
Nicholas from Atonement Lutheran Church
Church Windows software is great for tracking the tithes for your church. We updated our old version when we got a new computer. The download process wasn't the easiest and ended up having a bad CD sent to us by the company but after 2 months of finally talking to someone who knew what the were doing, we had a file uploaded to us by email and were able to download it and now everything works. The program is hard to understand right off the bat, but if you use it weekly you get used to it.
Great software to use if you know what your doing or have time to do learn it.
Not easily usable
Technical Services and Customer Support as well as Technical Support, not the most knowledgeable. Took over 2 months to finally get the system running and each time they said it was a windows update issue. which was not true.
Use if you need to track offering or tithing. If you have a knowledgeable person for computers then the accounting part of the software is very useful and can create clear and precise reports for your council and budget needs.
Beth from Shepherd of Life Lutheran Church
Worked with Church Windows over 12 years. Easy to use, integrated payroll, donations, acctg and membership. Everything you need in one place. On the rare occasions I did need to call, the support couldn't have been better. Perfect for the non-accountant, non- payroll people and those well versed in it.
Response: Computer Helper Publishing, Computer Helper Publishing
Date: October 2015
Thank you so much for your kind words, Beth! We've been glad to have you as a customer for 12 years!
Ellie from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
Much more complex than the original church window program. If it were not for the tech assistance most users would be completely overwhelmed. The program was suppose to make many jobs easier, but we have not notice any simplicity.
Our office has some very proficient computer people and find that your email of statements, that was suppose to be a "slam dunk", do not have the time to try to figure out how it works. So we do the statements the old fashion way instead of emailing.Much too complex for the average user.
The tech people are mostly helpful but not 100%. Some have an attitude problem. My favorite is Rachel. She is extremely helpful, patient and knowledgeable plus thorough. She is a real asset to your organization.
Kristin from Lake Park United Methodist Church
Our church has been using Church Windows for about a year and couldn't be happier!
Each module of the Church Windows software is so helpful! It is so clean to have all our administrative and financial software in the same system. Each module is so well laid out and readable. I learned Church Windows just by using it - it's that intuitive! And, if you want to know how to get more out your software, they offer quick webinars and have a library of training videos! Church Windows phone support is extremely friendly and their email support responds very quickly!
I work heavily with membership and it stores detailed contact information on each of our members and enables us to easily print specific reports for any need: detailed contact list for a ministry area, simplified birthday reports, those we don't have an address for, and all kinds of attendance summaries.
This software is helping us to define and fill-in our membership roles, helps our ministry areas run more smoothly, and allows us to track and define membership goals.
Thank you Church Windows for such a useful and comprehensive product! I suggest this to any organization looking for a thorough,yet easy to use software.
John from Worthington United Methodist Church
My primary use is the membership module. The telephone support and user manuals are very helpful in getting CW to create nearly anything I need for membership tracking, records, and reports.
Judy from Salem Baptist Church
CW software helps you keep all financial records recorded and at your fingertips with a few strokes of the keyboard. The different modules allow you to jump from year to year with ease to find or make any type report. As you learn how to navigate CW, your calls to the support staff reduces, which is bittersweet. The support staff consist of all kinds of personalities to suit any personality......and you learn how to maneuver around and figure out your question before they return your call sometimes..... The great advantage of CW is the support of the staff to help you when you have a question. They are like friends and family....I joyfully recommend them. I've never been employed in a career like this and would consider myself with no experience. I enjoy this work and CW has been one of the reasons for my success in my opinion
Dave from Gates Fourth United Methodist Church
I had a few minutes of training on the Donations module and have used it successfully for 16 months. It is very easy. I've used the Membership module for the same amount of time and been able to produce many reports that are helpful to the Pastor. About six months ago, we received the Accounting module, and while I don't know much about accounting, I am able to quickly produce the major accounting reports and draw information from them for our church meetings and annual report.
Jeff from Grace Church, Episcopal
When I took on a new job recently, I was introduced to Church Windows. At first, I used the same logic as I did with a comparable software, at the end of the day, that approach didn't work. So, rather than trying to figure it out myself, I was going to call its help desk every time I needed help. And you know what, that's how I learned the system. I spoke with Church Windows technicians almost daily, sometime two and three times for the first month or two. There is no better customer service. I would rate each technician with a nine out of 10. As each day passed during the first two months on the job, working with Church Windows just got better and better, and a whole lot easier. I was amazed at how many functions the software can perform. At the end of the day, it beats ACS hands down. Now that I'm comfortable with the system, I don't talk with the techs too much anymore, unless it's to call them up and say hi.
Page from Emmanuel Episcopal Church
I have been using this program for a number of years and have assisted a number of church in getting it set up. I attended the local training which they provided on the west coast every year when we first began using the program . I find the customer service to be outstanding . The only problem I find is that when a new person takes over in a church , they don't call for help and get messed up.... my advice...use customer service, check their website and keep up to date with what they offer you and things will go well.
Patty from First Presbyterian Church
Church Windows is very flexible. There is usually a way to access the information that you need. It is not particularly easy to use. The options which give it the flexibility also make it quite cumbersome to learn and use. Several people with whom I work think Church Windows is very tedious and frustrating, but I find simpler software can also be frustrating because you do not always have the options to get the information you need without cut and pasting into excel spreadsheets. I personally have found the webinars very helpful and the customer support very knowledgeable and willing to help. We are fortunate enough to have a computer "guru" on staff, but I would think that it would be difficult to run Church Windows without in house technical support to discuss technical issues with Church Windows (no one else here is able to "talk the talk"). The simpler programs with which I have worked have required much less customer support interaction- fewer updates, fewer options, but also fewer problems/ unknowns. Bottom line for me is that I believe accounting software is a trade off between ease of use and flexibility of use. I find Church Windows to be more flexible than simple.
Leslie from Peace Lutheran Church
Easy to use, great tech support, very helpful
Heather from Cross of Peace Lutheran Church
I've now watched three church administrators in two different congregations struggle with Church Windows. It is neither clear nor functional: even generating a simple membership report is inordinately difficult. We spent hundred$$ for live tech support in December 2014. In without getting what our people needed to make it useful. In Feb 2015 we got a new administrator who must learn the software, but Church Windows will not allow us to purchase another live tech support subscription unless we put several hundred more dollars into a software upgrade and sign up for their most expensive 12 month subscription. In both my congregations I've had tech professionals in the congregation try to figure out Church Windows. Even they come back shaking their heads over how difficult this software is to use.
Dale from Bethany Lutheran Church
Pros - I'm thinking hold on. It has nice stain glass window on its product. It is a software written just for churches.
Cons - It terrible in being user friendly. To follow a transaction such as Utilities Expenses for the last 5 years you have to do the following; I'm going to start after I have clicked 3 times to get to where you need to go. You click on a year, 01/01/2013 to 12/31/31, then in a drop down box you find the expense account. Did I mention you have to scroll through all vendor names to get to expenses? Well this is what you have to do. Once you find the account you click OK. If what you are trying to find is not in this year, you have to repeat by changing the year then finding the Expense account again and repeat, repeat and again repeat till you have gone through each year.
Overall - DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT. I have a background in finance and accounting. I'm use to hospital software, sure it is much more expensive, also using QuickBooks ( which is cheap but you get so much more than CW offers) for small businesses. Becoming our church treasurer last fall I agreed to take this volunteer position if we went to QuickBooks. Buy QuickBooks Pro 2014. You can do my example above by clicking on Chart of Accounts find Utilities Expense do Quick Report and by changing the year to 2008 it will give you all five years of this accounts transactions. What took you five minutes or more you can do in less than a minute. Also buy Lisa London's book QuickBooks for Churches. I gave Customer Review 4 Stars; reason if you buy the monthly support which we have they get back to you quickly but if you don't have it takes a while maybe even the next day.
Robert from Mansfield Congregational Church
As you can tell by my title, we've been using Church Windows for a long time. Up until about two years ago, we used four modules: Accounting, Membership, Contributions, and Scheduling. Given a need for better reporting, we stopped using the Accounting module, replacing it with QuickBooks. Our church secretary is our our sole user. We've found that to figure out a process, you usually need to call customer service (which is very good); we typically call every couple of weeks with a question, so Ease of Use could clearly be improved.
T. from Northshore UCC
Have used this program for over 10 years. If you need a serious program to take care of every aspect of your church organization, I would recommend this program or something very similar. Church Management Software programs are designed for the special accounting that is required for churches, known as "Fund Accounting". This is different from accounting for "Profit" businesses.
This multi-faceted program can take care of all your church needs. Membership database, Contributions, Scheduler, Accounting & Payroll. Modules can be purchased separately to meet the specific needs of your church. Customer support is fabulous as is the training available. Payroll module takes care of Pastor housing allowance and other payroll that is unique to churches. Weaves together all of the modules to provide smooth accounting.
Not exactly a con- To get the full use out of the program Training is recommended.
Training and full telephone support is a yearly fee, this includes unlimited telephone & e-mail support, program updates (usually 2 a year), reduced rate for training classes, monthly newletter.
Stanton from Gethsemane United Methodist Church Inc.
I do recommend Church Windows as an excellent product and their customer support is excellent, from the person who answers the phone, yes really a person who you can tell has a smile on their face and sometimes can even solve your problem to the technical person who ultimately and courtesly solves your problem. Their call back times are very acceptable. I highly recommend this product and the ease of use.
Thank you for your help today. I talked with you at least twice and a couple of your associates, trying to recover from a computer disaster. Your help was perfect and
very easy to understand. I appreciated the attitudes and helpfulness of everyone I spoke with today.
Gethsemane United Methodist Church
I did have some challenges in the beginning and most of them were my fault. We have used the is product over 5 years.
June from Church of the Nazarene
We would and have highly recommended this software to others. It is a great tool for our church and we utilize all the features almost daily.
Software does everything we needed it to do and more! Great reporting tools. The thing we have been most impressed with is the Customer Support we receive. They are very responsive and they always go above and beyond to make sure we are satisfied with the product and support. Nikki is our hero!
Not available for Mac :( But then again....It is Church WINDOWS!