Shelby Arena Software


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.



35 Reviews of Shelby Arena

Overall rating

3.94 / 5 stars

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Showing 1 - 20 of 35 reviews

May 2018

Erik from Bethany Baptist Church

Company Size: 11-50 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Value for money

4 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

May 2018

For anything more customizable, you'd have to make it yourself.

Pros

I just wrote a review about 6 months ago, but Capterra invited me to write another one.

It seems unusual Arena would give you so much customizing freedom. You can totally change up the look, navigation, fields, options, reports, etc. to really fit your needs or make it easier for your staff to get things done. We're using Arena to cross-reference data and automate to streamline processes and help people making meaningful connections. For example, we just started using an Arena driven process where prayer requests are assigned to elders. An algorithm (built with SQL and the Holy Spirit) is used to choose the best connection. Instead of an overwhelming list of all prayer requests, Arena sends an email to each elder each week with just a few requests so they can make more personal connections and they follow up and pray with people. I hear the elders love it.

Oh, in response to the recent review, 'Arena check-in system for kids church': Check-in is one small part of the huge program. I would not suggest Arena just for check-in. But, it's check-in is quite customizable with some effort. That flexibility comes with an amount of complexity which takes some training, and if you don't have the resources to make the desired customization, there are companies out there that can help. The friendly guys at Arena can help connect you up.

Cons

Arena isn't for everyone. You really need a trusted person on staff who understands your culture, processes, and workflows that can then dig into the capabilities of the software and make it fit those needs. But, it's worth it.

May 2018

Cara from Hope Lutheran Church

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

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.

June 2018

Connie from Lighthouse Christian Church of Oceanside

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

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

May 2018

Elizabeth from Bellevue Presbyterian Church

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

3 of 5

Value for money

3 of 5

Customer support

4 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

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.

January 2019

STEPHANIE from Church

Company Size: 11-50 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

January 2019

Arena Shelby for religious organizations

I would say my overall experience is good. It provides the level of detail that is needed for the religious organization that I work for . It has many different tools to utilize.

Pros

I like the fact that you can be able to go into a members record and track their giving as well as set them up with different committees that they may be a part of within the church. Arena has a function that will allow you to categorize individuals who serve in different areas of the church. Also, it will generate giving statement for end of year and allows you to input service tags for the different services that the church has on Sunday in order to track finances etc.

Cons

The only thing I have just a slight problem with in when you are inputting certain contributions you have to go it will not allow you to select the individual you have to go through the entire batch in order to make corrections within it. It also is not compatible with certain web browsers.

October 2018

Mark from Watermark Community Church

Company Size: 201-500 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

2 of 5

Value for money

1 of 5

Customer support

1 of 5

Functionality

2 of 5

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.

May 2018

Stephanie from Village Church of Barrington

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

2 of 5

Value for money

3 of 5

Customer support

2 of 5

Functionality

2 of 5

May 2018

Overall decent church database program

Pros

Ability to have child check-in for weekend services, ability to tag individuals to groups and create lists (reports) from said tags. Some areas are customizable which is nice (we've added a field for school attending for our student ministry and a field to track background check dates).

Cons

Not very user friendly nor customizable. Have repeatedly had difficulty generating lists without always having to scrub/review for individuals that should not be on list, individuals being left off etc. For check-in procedure we require parents to enter a pager number, in Shelby V.5, I was able to go back and look at who checked-in with which pager. Lost ability to do this with Arena which has been a challenge.

May 2018

Vicki from Ebenezer UMC

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Value for money

4 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

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.

September 2018

Shelby from ECO

Company Size: 11-50 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

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.

November 2018

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

1 of 5

Value for money

2 of 5

Customer support

3 of 5

Functionality

1 of 5

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.

June 2018

Barbara from First Baptist Church Pasadena

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

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.

March 2015

Jim from River Valley Church


Ease-of-use

2.5 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

4.5 of 5

March 2015

Review of Shelby Arena

Pros

Have been a customer of Shelby Service products for over 20 years. Service and responsiveness is the cornerstone of what Shelby offers when it comes to operational use and implementations. No calling to get Ticket number and waiting for a response, no frustration in the CSR not understanding what you are asking and having someone else call you back after another waiting period. Willing to hand hold admin people on the phone and using webconnect to solve the issue or train the worker. Offering a web based Prodsuct (Arena) that allows us to virtually do what we need to do in and present it in a way that our church expects to see it and identify it.

Cons

Sometimes the bug fixes take longer to get fixed than they should.

May 2018

Susan from Word of Life Christian Center

Company Size: 11-50 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5 of 5

Value for money

4 of 5

Customer support

4 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

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.

May 2018

Teresa from Heart of the Bay Christian Center

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Value for money

4 of 5

Customer support

3 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

May 2018

They definitely need more customer service reps.

It integrates well with Shelby Financial. That makes things a lot easier. It's nice to have everything under one roof so to speak.

Pros

It is pretty well all inclusive. Offerings are rather easy to process and to look up information on persons in the system. It is rather easy to enter new people and I do like the fact that it is an online system. That makes it a lot easier.

Cons

Customer service is a very long wait. Way too long in my opinion. I also wish the check reading system, ie, Shelby Teller was also an online system.

May 2018

Melanie from FUMC

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

1 of 5

Value for money

2 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

2 of 5

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.

November 2018

Christina from Highland Park United Methodist Church

Company Size: 51-200 employees

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Functionality

2 of 5

November 2018

Ok, but limited

Fine, but it didn't change my world. It works well, but I want to do more and be more efficient, and it's just a little behind what I think a large database management software should do - but this may also be because I'm not fully educated on it's capabilities, in which case I think that's at the fault of Arena support staff. If it has the capabilities to make my job easier, they should be showing that to us.

Pros

I like the visual layout of member profiles. It shows all the info I need very simply, cleanly, and in one place. Easy for me to create/edit new groups.

Cons

It is limited in it's capabilities moving forward, but also what I really like least is how it is used and implemented here. It has the ability to take roll via a phone of a member, but we don't use that. Instead we run paper rolls and print them each week and have to enter attendance manually - all this to say I don't think Arena was set up well here - not sure who's fault that was, ours or theirs, but that's how it is and is annoying. Also - the entering of notes on a profile and tracking them is not great or useful, but that would be an important feature. Running reports/lists to get a specific list of what I'm looking for is more difficult and time consuming than it should be; I can work around it and figure it out, but this should be something users should be able to use easily.

May 2018

Louie from Illinois District Council of the Assemblies of God

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Value for money

5 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

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.

May 2018

Jennifer from Bartlett United Methodist Church

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4 of 5

Value for money

4 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

May 2018

I use Arena every day to keep up with membership information, bulk mailing, and bulk emails.

The appearance and structure of data is much better on Arena than V5.

Pros

Easy to navigate, for the most part. Customer service is always friendly and solves my problem the day it occurs.

Cons

When there are issues due to updates or changes to my computer, I cannot fix it without calling customer support which can be time consuming.

January 2018

Peterson from p2son production

Company Size: 2-10 employees

Review Source


Ease-of-use

3 of 5

Value for money

4 of 5

Customer support

5 of 5

Functionality

4 of 5

January 2018

Incredibly Thorough and Excellent Support

They run the business like a family and are very helpful and very friendly.

Pros

There are many features to this software including multiple ways to track members and prospective members. The accounting portion is robust with an understanding of tax law for churches. Since there are so many features, it is important to get the support needed to pull off the many different searches and actions. Fortunately they provide really helpful, friendly support people. In fact, all the support seems to be in close contact with the programmers, which makes it easier to get answers whenever there is an issue or possible bug.

Cons

When there is an update, there are sometimes issues. They usually correct them right away, but it can be a pain. The software is easy to use once you know how to do it, and training is required to get the most out of it.

May 2018

Kimberly from Christ Church United Methodist

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

3 of 5

Value for money

3 of 5

Customer support

4 of 5

Functionality

5 of 5

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.