Planning Center Online Tips: The Value of the Matrix, Templates

While the basic functions are quickly learned by most everyone, it’s the array of options that bring out its true power, to where it amazes me today that some worship leaders are not using the software.

Planning Center Online Tips: The Value of the Matrix, Templates
An example of the "Matrix" view using Planning Center Online, as shown by David Erlandson, which is one of the useful features of the software, including templates.

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Planning Center Online Tips: The Value of the Matrix, Templates

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If you have constructed templates (more on that in a moment), you can easily change the template by clicking the “template” button.

If your church uses Planning Center to schedule other ministries outside of the “worship” department, you can also quickly see at a glance who might be a greeter or an usher for a particular week. This can be helpful on Sunday morning, but also while scheduling, especially if you have team members who work in multiple areas of ministry.

Templates are a simple way to set up a particular service with commonly used items without having to recreate them each time you create a service. For instance, we have an invocation, pastoral prayer, sermon, announcements, and a benediction nearly every week. I like to have those items in my plan so I can gauge time properly, but all of those are contained in my standard “Sunday Morning” template so when I create a new service, they are already added.

It is far faster to delete an item than add something, and again, the ease of dragging and dropping items to change the service order makes it simple to move things around as plans change.

To create a template, simply click “templates” from your main dashboard page. From here, you can either edit current templates or create a new one. Basically, any items you put into a template will appear automatically whenever you click “add a plan” and select the appropriate template.

This simple tool is a huge time saver!

Over the years, Planning Center has partnered with other great products in the worship realm and allowed those of us who use those products to integrate our workflows into Planning Center. They have integrations with PraiseCharts, RehearsalMix, SongSelect, and ProPresenter, as well as the ability to quickly import songs or videos from YouTube, Vimeo, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Essential Worship, Lifeway Worship, The Worship Initiative, and Worship Together.

Basically, whatever tools you use to provide rehearsal materials (videos, song links, charts, etc.), Planning Center probably offers a simple connection to it. They even offer the ability to upload your own charts or files (make sure you can do this legally!) or link to other websites.

When I first started using Planning Center, I had to download all my files from PraiseCharts, separate out each individual part and key, save them as separate files, then upload them all to Planning Center.


More About David Erlandson
David is the Pastor of Worship at Trinity Church in Mentor, Ohio. In addition to worship leader, he’s also tech director, IT, lighting designer, video producer, and stage designer. He and his amazing wife Sarah, have two little boys that keep them quite busy. When he’s not spending time with his family, he’s fixing the house, reading tech blogs, watching Star Wars, or cheering on the World Series champion Chicago Cubs. Connect with David on Twitter @daviderlandson.
Get in Touch: davide@trinitymentor.com    More by David Erlandson

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Article Topics

Visual Arts · Multi-media · Team Management · Leadership · Spiritual Health · Team Development · Volunteers · Matrix · Ministry · Ministry Centered Technologies · PraiseCharts · ProPresenter · Services · All Topics

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