Content Suggestions

May 29, 2010 at 1:35 AM
Edited Jun 1, 2010 at 4:21 AM

In this post I will attempt to offer small suggestions on how to improve the content on the main BVCMS website. Much of this is not objective "this is the only way to do it" but subjective opinion:


  • Remove the information about BVCMS being ready to host small churches from top of page, instead add an item to the navigation "Hosted BVCMS" or "SaaS BVCMS".
  • While minor, it would be good to update the copyright year. This is one of the first ways I know a project is still being actively developed/maintained/supported.


  • Remove the information about wiki/documentation/blogs at top of site, link to wiki is fine.
  • Perhaps change the FAQ section to something like this: Do you have questions about the bvcms open source project? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions document for answers to common questions such as: How does Bellevue benefit from open sourcing bvcms? How do other churches benefit from bvcms? How does an open source project work?

Take this: 

  • bvcms started as a project in November 2007 to upgrade and eventually replace an existing church management system for Bellevue Baptist Church. In under 12 months, the previous system was uplugged and bvcms took on all duties of managing members, visitors, contacts, attendance, and contributions. Starting in May 2008, about half way through the year long process, bvcms was introduced to staff for read-only access. The existing system continued to be the system of record handling all data entry tasks while bvcms took on more and more search and reporting responsibilities. In August, access to bvcms was rolled out to Bible fellowship teachers and lay leaders to manage and track their groups. As of April, 2009 there are over 500 active users on the system.
  • Because bvcms has been so successful at Bellevue with rave reviews from users, the next question was how do we make it available to other churches? Not wanting to introduce to the market yet another proprietary and commercial church management system, Bellevue decided to make bvcms an Open Source software project.
  • To something like this:
    • Bellevue Baptist Church experienced a dilemma in 2007. BBC found that the commercial and proprietary church management system they had been utilizing to manage the church was no longer fitting their needs. In November of 2007 BBC initiated the bvcms project - an endeavor to write a new ChMS from the ground up. In May of 2008 bvcms was introduced to the staff of BBC for read-only access. The legacy system continued to be utilized for all data entry but bvcms became the option of choice for search and reporting. In August BBC extended access to bvcms to the Bible fellowship teachers and lay leaders so that they could better manage and track their groups. Before a year had passed the legacy system had been entirely retired and by April of 2009 five hundred active users were working with bvcms.
    • bvcms was such a success (including rave reviews from BBC's in-house user base) that it made sense to share this innovation with other churches. BBC didn't want to add yet another commercial and proprietary solution to the marketplace, so instead BBC launched bvcms as a free and open source software project. On April 19, 2009 the first public release of bvcms was made available on CodePlex and now bvcms is utilized by churches around the world.
  • "Open source means the software is free" might be expanded to something like "Since BVCMS is open source it is both free (in monetary cost) and open in its source code (you can edit, expand, revise, or entirely rewrite the software from the source code)."

May 29, 2010 at 1:54 AM

Wow, Dave,

Thanks for the suggestions. I just briefly looked through it and first blush I think you made a lot of really great suggestions. Thank you for doing this. has been a neglected stepchild much in need of love and attention. I suppose you might suspect that I have been so slammed with development work that the site has not been updated in quite a while.

I'll work on this later this weekend.

Thanks again!

May 29, 2010 at 2:03 AM


    I entirely understand what this is like - and I hope as time progresses I will be able to assist not only with documentation / suggestions but also with actual code changes. I'll be spending more time with bvcms over the weekend and hope to have at least one or two patch recommendations ready before the weekend is out. :)