BVCMS is a web-based, ministry-focused Church Management System with big church features. It is comparable to any of the popular ChMS systems on the market today. But unlike these other systems, BVCMS is an Open Source project. This means that the code underlying the software is available for free under the GPL license. The code cannot be sold or used in other commercial products. Churches can download the software and host it themselves on their own servers. Or, they can have bvcms.com host their database and do all that work for them. BVCMS.com is a separate, for-profit company that provides hosting, service and helpdesk support for over 110 churches using the BVCMS Open Source software. These churches are hosted on a rackspace.com web farm managed by bvcms.com.
Open Source software allows churches to have the system for a lower total cost. However, because there is no revenue from commercial license fees, this requires a different type of funding for the continued development of new software features. So, the Open Source BVCMS has become a Church Sponsored project. New features and improvements to the software are paid for and sponsored by churches. The Open Source BVCMS currently has two main sponsors: Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.
Bellevue was the originator of the project and is the largest church using the system. They generously released the source code under an Open Source license, which now benefits well over 100 churches and will continue to reap Kingdom rewards.
We are now fortunate to have Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC as a partner. Redeemer has used BVCMS since July 2010 and became an official sponsor in October 2011. Their attention to design, detail and user experience has helped improve BVCMS in many ways. Redeemer helped design our online registration system and our iPhone App used for directory search and recording attendance. They helped sponsor the new iPad BVCheckin App, used for self check-in for events and children’s ministries at their new W83 Ministry Center. Also, Redeemer directed the development of a complete API in BVCMS, used to run custom modules on redeemer.com.
But the sponsorship work of Bellevue and Redeemer doesn’t only benefit their own projects—the products go back into the Open Source project for the benefit of other churches too. In this way, churches can help each other, sharing even their technological talent and resources.
Sponsoring new features pays the costs of software development as well as the developers who work on it. Our developers start out as volunteers, but as they prove themselves productive, their time is paid for at industry competitive rates. We currently have four developers from various churches. One works on the iPad/iPhone Apps, another works on Facebook integration and reporting, and one, a developer from the Netherlands, works on internationalization of the user interface.
Finally, BVCMS stands apart from its competitors because it offers all churches, regardless of size, the full access to its features. Fees for hosting and support at BVCMS.com start at $15 per month to as much as $1,500/ month. Pricing is based on the number of active records. At these rates, churches can afford a full suite of church management capability—and even help sponsor new projects for the benefit of all.
This is a sponsored post from BVCMS, one of my ministry partners on TonyMorganLive.com