How to See Blocked Out Dates When Scheduling in Planning Center Services

Our church uses Planning Center Services to schedule volunteers and plan worship services.  Under Services volunteers can actually block out dates that they will be gone so that schedulers do not waste time by scheduling people for dates when they will be gone.

Planning Center Services

Recently I found myself scheduling people for dates they had blocked out. Needless to say, I was frustrated. My volunteers were doing what I asked them to do by blocking out the dates they are gone, but I was not seeing that information when I added them to a service. Not seeing this information also added lots of time to my scheduling because I had to fix the mistakes as people informed me they would be gone.

I fired off a quick email to Planning Center Services tech support and I received a prompt reply. Their answer was simple and direct and I learned something I have not known since I began using Planning Center.

In order to demonstrate what I learned, let’s add someone to a service.

I want to add a Presenter for Announcements on July 21, so let’s go to the service flow page for that date and open up the “Presenter” positions category on the left of the screen. There I find “1 person needed” under “Announcements.”

Planning Center Services - Service Flow - "1 person needed"

When I click on the “1 person needed” window, this is what I see:

Planning Center Services - Select People for Announcements Window - no blocked out dates

In reality four of those people are unavailable, but I will not be able to see that information until I fix a small issue.

In order to see who is unavailable, I need to click “cancel” on this window and return to the main service flow page. When I get there I need to click on the Service Time in the upper left hand corner:

Planning Center Services - Service Flow - Service Times

After clicking on the Service Time I see this window:

Planning Center Services - Editing Time Window - unchecked Assigned People Categories

You can see the red oval around the unchecked boxes. In order for me to see the blocked out dates when I schedule someone their category of service needs to be checked here.

Planning Center Services - Editing Time Window - checked Assigned People Categories

Now that the categories are checked off, I am going to return to the service flow page and click on the “1 person needed” window under “Announcements” to see if I see anything different:

Planning Center Services - Select People for Announcements - blocked out datesNow I can clearly see that four of the people have blocked out July 21 on their calendar and I will be able to avoid scheduling them.

Thanks to Planning Center Services’ prompt tech support I am up and running smoothly again.

When you create a Service Time, Rehearsal Time, or Other Time, make certain you have checked the boxes for the relevant “Assigned People Categories” to make certain you can see their blocked out dates while scheduling.

3 Truths on How to Place Your Singers on Stage

As a worship leader and planner I have often struggled with placing my vocalists. Juggling singers’ egos with stage layout concerns can be an interesting experience.

The question I received at the beginning of rehearsal that night was predictable and expected: “Why are we standing back here instead of out front? I’m a worship leader just like you.”

Ever hear that question before?

I prefer to use different stage setups from week to week to keep things a little fresh, but musicians – especially singers – can really struggle with that kind of change.

The perception is that stage placement denotes value, but the drummer is in the back every week and he is not worried.

The singer will most likely also bemoan the loss of a close connection with the audience because they are further apart. So is the bass player usually, but singers will say that the difference has to do with communicating lyrics.

Here’s the truth of the matter:

1. The primary connection with the congregation comes from the main worship leader. Other connections are secondary.

2. Too many people up front can obscure the leader, making it hard for the congregation to know who to follow.

3. Most importantly, behind all of the Christian jargon stage placement is a matter of ego and the heart. John modeled a right attitude when he said of Christ, “He must become greater, and I must become less.”

Musicians – singers especially – need to check their motives before complaining about where they are standing on stage.

Of course, worship leaders should ask the same question of themselves as they plan. Worship is about Christ, not our ego.

How have you dealt with staging your vocalists?

worship hubs

Recently I have been perusing the worship world for apps and connecting points for worship leaders, pastors and service producers.  I have been using Planning Center Online almost since it began and am a major fan, but I am convinced we have only reached the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is possible in worship service planning.

For those of you who are worship leaders, what online tools do you use in your planning?

For those of you who have bands, do you use online planning tools?  If so, which ones?

For all of the musicians out there, what hardware tools do you use (metronome, tuner, etc.) that you would love to see incorporated into an online tool or iPhone/iPad app?

In your ideal world, what would the perfect online tool or app for worship planning look like?