I first heard about Planning Center Online (PCO) from a friend serving on the Hillsong team at the Hills campus in Sydney. Every team I’ve served on or lead in the past decade has used this fabulous application to manage rostering as well as the distribution of lyric sheets, charts, and audio files.

When I interviewed Dave Krysl, the Guitar Oversight for the Hillsong New York City campus I was pleased to hear that even with some pretty sophisticated internal applications, Hillsong is still using PCO. So, it is with great pleasure I get show how Hillsong New York City uses my beloved PCO.

[WM] Hillsong was the first place I heard about PCO. I love this resource, and in the last issue I mentioned that for me it is as much a pastoral care vehicle as it is an admin app. People are busy, and PCO makes it easy to let everyone know when they’re supposed to serve that is user friendly for everyone. It also makes it easy to distribute charts and audio files. I’m super excited that you’re still using PCO after all these years – can you tell us how you’re using it?

[Dave Krysl] We do still use PCO every week for our musician and production team. We use it to roster our services and also to upload media, like demos that Chris Davenport has made of songs that he’s written.

[WM] How far out do you schedule your teams?

[Dave] We usually do it at the beginning of every month for the coming month, and send out notifications the Monday before the first Sunday of the month.

[WM] What is the shortest period of time between a notification and when someone is rostered?

[Dave] It could be as short as twelve hours. That’s happened to me, where you get an email on Saturday night saying that I was switched to play electric guitar for the Sunday morning service, and the call time was only 10 hours away. Obviously, we try to be respectful of people’s time so that they can prepare. But sometimes it’s just the reality of how life goes, like living in New York City and dealing with everyone’s different schedules. As much planning as goes into our services, we try to also have an equal amount of necessary flexibility.

Sometimes it’s easy for things to become routine, like follow-ups, or if you have played for too many services in a row and you’re tired from a long Sunday. It can become easy to lose sight of why it is that you’re doing this. So we try to maintain a healthy perspective, which helps with having flexibility for last minute roster changes or set list changes.

We’ve also gotten used to the idea of doing whatever it takes. Each service is an opportunity. Instead of thinking, “I have to do this,” we try to take the attitude of, “I get to do this.” I have friends who don’t have a church to serve in like I do here, and they would love to have an opportunity to be a part of something like what we’re doing here.

[WM] What kinds of files do usually you share?

[Dave] It’s usually just the demos or the album recordings. There is a master song list that we have that gets updated from time to time. When the songs are added to a set list we have the associated MP3 files with them so the musicians can practice along with the MP3’s in the set list. Also, for the songs that haven’t officially been recorded yet, but the musicians need access to be able to hear and learn them, PCO is the most efficient platform for that.

With our Hillsong campuses, we try to keep things as uniform as possible between all of our campuses. We see ourselves as a global church, a global movement, and a global team. I think Bobbie Houston says all the time that, “God’s house is just one big house, and there’s many different rooms.” Hillsong NYC is just one room out of many, just like Hillsong Sydney is too. So, we try to keep things pretty uniform, as far as what resources we’re using, the training tools and software platforms.

[WM] Awesome, thanks again Dave!

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