Shelby Arena is a church management solution that can be deployed online and can be hosted on-premise. The customizable solution helps church leaders to manage membership data, member check-ins, attendance and more. It also integrates with its sister applications such as Shelby’s accounting software and Shelby Financials for extended functionalities.

Core member management features include directories, member lists and addresses, while premium accounts also support bulk mailings, background checks, in-depth metrics and reporting. Arena’s contributions module can manage both online and offline giving campaigns, pledges and recurring payments. Its reporting tools enable staff to create contribution summaries and history reports and track fund distribution.

Other features include online access for group leaders, team schedules and online standings for sports teams, internal and external prayer requests, trip registration and document tracking, email and text communication tools and more.

Administration home page
Administration home page

Administration home page

Attendance tracking and reports

Attendance tracking and reports

Group management

Group management

Member location maps

Member location maps

Volunteer coordination

Volunteer coordination

Volunteer requirements

Volunteer requirements

Supported Operating System(s):

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Web browser (OS agnostic), Windows 2000, Windows 8



31 Reviews of Shelby Arena

Overall rating

4.0 / 5 stars

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Verified Reviewer

Number of employees:  51-200 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

November 2018

Way behind the times

The people at Shelby are nice people, they just aren't up with the times. If they could get ahead and make things easier to use and more attractive or just add simple things like making their group search feature customization so it could be integrated into your existing website's design - and making everything platform agnostic so it would easier to use on tablets and phones, then they'd be halfway there. They're just so far behind and still not catching up that I would really recommend against putting your church management needs in their hands, because if you do you'll be stuck there.

Pros

If you're using arena, it's probably because you used Shelby - they'll port your info from your old Shelby account making it easier to move from one system to the other. It is web based and it generally functions as a decent database.

Cons

If Shelby classic was stuck in the 1990s Arena is stuck in the early 2000's - Shelby is at least ten years behind with everything they do. The small groups search function isn't really useful and doesn't look good when integrated into a well-designed website. All the interfaces are archaic and difficult to use. It isn't intuitive or forward thinking in its interface. It seems stuck in the 80s and 90s when it comes to its way of thinking. It has no worship planning component, no event planning component, no options for creating calendars that are accessible or visible to the public. (though if it did have those features I have no doubt they would be difficult to use and unattractive.) Anyone who is knowledgeable about modern church management software will hate everything Shelby produces.

Review Source: Capterra
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Verified Reviewer

Number of employees:  501-1,000 employees

Ease-of-use

Functionality

October 2018

Decent Software

Pros

Easy to look up a specific members information.

Cons

Not easy to use, prompts are misleading; prompts are unclear when running reports IE: When i go to comprise a list of leaders in bulk is not clear. The steps are not clear. I don't sent bulk emails anymore through Arena.

Review Source: Capterra

Mark from Watermark Community Church

Number of employees:  201-500 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

October 2018

Old and Dusty

We used it for 10 years. It provided us with more tools than our previous ChMS when we moved onto it in 2007. It was a good tool at the time, but as time passed it never updated with the time and become a better tool. It just did the basics and mostly stuck with them. In the current development environment it is a dinosaur that is unwieldy. One of our happiest days in the past 4 years was when we got to put a bullet in it when we switched to another ChMS in early 2018.

Pros

Checkin was very stable and was very consistent.

Cons

Pretty much everything. It functioned well when it was working. You got what you expected to get. the bugs were minimal, but what you get feels like it is from the late 1990's or early 2000's. To get anything modern requires a herculean effort, and if you want to get that data into another program or application good luck getting it out of the API. Arena had its time and place, but it did not keep up with the times. It has stagnated and no longer has the tools needed for a modern church.

Review Source: Capterra

Shelby from ECO

Number of employees:  11-50 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

September 2018

Great Church Management Software

I have really enjoyed using Arena and it has helped us keep track of our growing denomination and all the churches we are adding.

Pros

We use the customizable function of this product to really create what we want. This is helpful because while the product is geared towards churches we have the ability to customize it to our needs as a denomination. The layout is easy to use and we have the ability to take a birds eye view of all our churches. Even our presbyteries made up of an older generation can use it well.

Cons

The reporting function is not the easiest to use. We often have to create our own reports and unfortunately they do not come out like I wish they would.

Review Source: Capterra

Brett from Real Life Christian Church

Number of employees:  2-10 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

August 2018

Great Resource

Those I know still using this service don't care for it much but aren't in an extreme hurry to change. Not the highest recommended amount users.

Pros

Effective tool in database and communication reach. Allows many features to ensure you are on track with your people and your staff can track progress. Multiplatform engagement allows use among many ministry areas.

Cons

A bit outdated when it comes to other companies like Planning Center

Review Source: Capterra
LinkedIn icon
Verified Reviewer

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

July 2018

We use this software in our church.

Pros

The things Arena has to offer far exceeded that of the old software our church used. It offers many extra features most softwares to not offer.

Cons

We were promised lots of bells and whistles and I am sure they are out there, but without a dedicated Arena expert we are unable to fully use this software to its potential. We use to have a phone app to use but that longer works.

Review Source: Capterra

Barbara from First Baptist Church Pasadena

Number of employees:  51-200 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

We use reports for our weekly attendance and Arena has updated and enhanced our reports.

It helps with keeping the different type list organized and available at a moments notice.

Pros

Versatility with reports. We use reports to keep up with weekly connection group attendance, we use reports to add our new members weekly, and keep up with all the groups with in the church like Deacons, Ushers, Finance Committee and several other leadership type roles.

Cons

That it doesn't have financials so we still use Shelby and the 2 programs don't coordinate or update well together. As far as contributions go if someone changes a name or address somewhere in Arena we have to manually change it in Shelby to match.

Review Source: Capterra

Connie from Lighthouse Christian Church of Oceanside

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

June 2018

User for 3 years, Arena is user friendly

Pros

Easily accessible, able to locate files in multiple ways i.e phone #, email, b-day, areas of ministry. Well organized, provides for detailed info (W9s, areas where volunteering/ ministries, individual notes) & easy to edit. Address provides map/directions; feature pastor's use for visitation. Contributions used by Accounting Dept-- Fund Management allows for large number of purpose codes so donations can be categorized for easy access when doing reports. Batch Lists provide donor info; particularly useful when using ShelbyGiving which aids in identifying donors of Online Giving donations. Ability to use Check Scan for large volume of in-house donations to be processed quickly & provides ability to store records of all checks received--a very useful tool to provide copies of checks when bank disputes Deposit Total & deducts funds from account. Annual Contribution Statements can be easily printed for mailing & Contribution tab allows Accounting personnel to give donors quick info regarding receipt of check/donation or to generate statements on demand; a priceless addition which saves time when donor wants mid- year statement. Online giving also allows donors to access their own account at any time during year. Provides ability to email Contribution Statements rather than mail, an option we will use at end of 2018. Contribution analysis offers various breakdowns of data; providing useful info for Elders to make sound financial decisions.

Cons

Printing on tabs at top of individual's account info is too light, sometimes difficult to read. Print is small in body of forms. would like Arena to have longer access time; having to logon repeatedly is frustrating

Review Source: Capterra

Kimberly from Christ Church United Methodist

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

Very robust software, but Shelby needs to realize users are not all IT and computer programmers.

Pros

It's ability to import into Shelby Next Financials and receive imports from Shelby Next Giving and Teller. Ability to give certain users access to certain features and tabs.

Cons

Everything is not setup on your account. You have to call support for every new feature to be utilized.

Review Source: Capterra

Vicki from Ebenezer UMC

Number of employees:  51-200 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

Arena is part of my every day life!

very easy to use

Pros

Arena is our database for almost everything we do. I like that i have one place for all of the info for Groups, Members, Check in , Contributions, etc. Having one system to manage all of that has helped with maintaining up to date info correctly! I like that I can now see my contacts online in an easy format for my phone. The system has been easy to teach others who are not regular users of the larger database. Overall, Arena has been a great system!

Cons

In order to customize the look of Arena it requires skills we do not have on staff. We have been able to do a little bit on our own. I wish there were more choices on the front end.

Review Source: Capterra

Mary from The Orchard Evangelical Free Church

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

As the DBA, Arena is powerful, versatile and helps us know our church is growing. We love it!

Pros

I can customize the data, reporting and screen presentation to meet user needs. Security setup is outstanding. We find new functionality every week.

Cons

I'm not thrilled that the Person ID is changed when records are merged. I would prefer the oldest number be kept.

Review Source: Capterra

Susan from Word of Life Christian Center

Number of employees:  11-50 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

We have yet to tap into all areas of this software and continue to open new areas of information.

The ability to access our data base from several different devices. We are still developing some aspects of the software and are looking forward to implementing these areas.

Pros

It is user friendly and can be customized to fit individual company needs. This software can accomplish various aspects of daily business relieving the need for several different softwares.

Cons

Although it is customizable it does take quite the effort to make it happen. There are areas of the software that cannot not be utilized for any purpose other than what it was created for.

Review Source: Capterra

Melanie from FUMC

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

This software has great potential but we have been unable to get the functions to sync with ministry

We have enjoyed many of the membership options but are going to need to move to a new software soon if staff continue to struggle with the ease of use.

Pros

We enjoy using the Membership module which includes profile pages, list, search and report functions.

Cons

Many of the volunteer tracking, webview calendar option and shelbyweb functions have been difficult to understand and implement. Staff of all ages and abilities seems to struggle in becoming self-sufficient and random errors happen more than we would like.

Review Source: Capterra

Karen from World Impact Inc

Number of employees:  51-200 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

Does provide information I need

Pros

Opening donor page is good for most information I need. Can sort out easy and adjust parameters to obtain information

Cons

Find it difficult to use all the features. Some I may want to use, but learning curve is time consuming.

Review Source: Capterra

Louie from Illinois District Council of the Assemblies of God

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

We have used Arena for over six years. We have been very pleased with the ease of use & updates.

Pros

Ease of use and functionality. While there is a learning curve, there is a lot of help and training available to become a good user of the software.

Cons

Communication is a big issue in today's modern church world. I wish Arena had more communication and feedback features built in. I know the Arena development team is working on some of this.

Review Source: Capterra

Justin from Westside Church

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

We transitioned away from using Arena because it was too difficult for our staff team to use.

Pros

It tracks lots of different kinds of data and is customizable if you have the knowledge required to do so.

Cons

It is very difficult to use and many of its features were either very hard to implement or didn't work correctly. For being highly customizable, it's not very flexible with certain things. It requires lots of centralized management to use and is antiquated.

Review Source: Capterra

Ndikumukiza from Magnolia Church

Number of employees:  11-50 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

Friendly User

Be able to connect with our church member and sent accurate statements.

Pros

I am able to have church members information and create a group and communicate easily with members whenever necessary. I can send contribution a statement via emails.

Cons

So far I don't have a complaint since it meets my needs. I wish if something is corrected in giving is corrected automatically in membership.

Review Source: Capterra

Elizabeth from Bellevue Presbyterian Church

Number of employees:  51-200 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

I enjoy using Arena but find challenges in customizing it with only minor SQL experience.

ability to know more about the people in our church, ways to track involvement and collect data. An easy directory system to find out how to contact people, a snapshot of individuals and families--not just actual picture, but a glimpse in ways they are connected to our church. in a large church it helps to know more about people in the congregation.

Pros

I really like that it is comprehensive and we are able to customize to make it fit our specific needs. We can add notes, update data, add information easily to people and tags. Sending communication to large numbers of people is easy and easily tracked. Having others who use the software and are happy to share is also a big bonus to use what they are and not have to create something new. Arena works with our finance system. the potential with arena is amazing and so thinking forward is exciting with this product of what could be done and how we might utilize more of its functionality for what we want to do.

Cons

The layers of permission and the skill necessary to take it to a level that is truly customized to what we want is challenging for those who don't have the time or skill level to go deep to create exactly what is desired. The look is not as current or "attractive" as some of the other programs and can be intimidating to those who only look at it on a rare basis--when they have to.

Review Source: Capterra

Cara from Hope Lutheran Church

Number of employees:  51-200 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

Arena allows our large staff to work together and mutually benefit each other in productivity.

Working with a common purpose as a whole staff. After getting all of the ministries working with a common goal and unified processes work became more efficient and understandable to staff members. It truly helps us work to support God's work in our world.

Pros

It is flexible and allows us to categorize things according to our needs. Maintaining records can be effectively done by a number of people, which in turn benefits the whole organization and makes communication and other work efficient. Maintaining family relationships is easy and clear. Each ministry can have its section but work is done similarly so cross training is easy. Security is specific and granular so it is easy manage the access people have. It is easy to see how people are involved and connect with them according to their interests. The Members Responsive Portal allows congregation participants to manage their personal information, register for events and connect to volunteer positions. All of that updates their records and their record shows their own activity. God's work in this world is supported and furthered because our staff works with a common purpose. The data work is done once, in one place and all are blessed by up-to-date shared information. Development is strong

Cons

The best part of Arena is also its hardest part - its ability to be customized. Each instance of Arena is unique. It takes a lot of work to move in and get ministries set to work efficiently. It takes a strong lead person to have a vision that gets the whole staff working together and moving in the same direction. Ministries are often used to working in isolation from each other. If they don't learn how to standardize the way they work so the whole organization works the same way, everyone fails. Following direction of the trainers is paramount! Incorrect set up of check in, group structure, etc. causes huge headaches and wastes time. Without a well developed strategy for setting up Arena it doesn't work. Strong guidance is needed for efficient set up. Communicating with PARENTS (or split households) of students who are connected to groups or tags is not effective. Custom procedures are needed to do this easily.

Review Source: Capterra

Teresa from New Hope Christian Church

Number of employees:  11-50 employees

Ease-of-use

Value for money

Customer support

Functionality

May 2018

Arena is pretty user friendly and if you have problems you can call customer service.

Easier to post payments to members. Easy to navigate.

Pros

User friendly and very easy to navigate. Easy to send out member statements at the end of the year.

Cons

I have not found anything that I don't like so far. It is very easy to use. The only major problem we have is when the internet goes down.

Review Source: Capterra

Displaying 1 - 20 of 31 reviews