Inside MSP, the word ministry is used to refer to any task that is performed at a service or event. Some common ministries are usher, altar server, lector, or Extraordinary minister, but you can create ministries for any other task which volunteers perform at a service, such as alms basin, beverage server, floor sweeper – you name it! For each of your services or events, you will be able to specify how many people from each ministry should be scheduled for that service.

A video tutorial for this topic is also available.

New Ministry…

Click this button to create a ministry now. In the dialog that appears first enter a name for the new ministry. Note that you should specify the singular name for a ministry as opposed to the plural name; for instance use “Usher” rather than “Ushers.”

New Folder

Click to create a new folder. Folders are available in the Plus Edition of MSP to help organize your ministries.

Edit Ministry

Allows you to edit a selected ministry.

Delete Ministry

Deleting a ministry will completely remove all related data from the database, including all schedules. Before deleting a ministry, please be sure to export any needed information (such as volunteer service records) and make sure it is not being used on any active schedules.

Copy Ministry

Copies the current ministry. This can be useful in creating multiple ministries with many of the same settings.


Allows you to combine two ministries into one ministry with subdivisions.

Export List

Allows you to export a .txt document of ministries.

Show Subdivisions

Allows you to show or hide listed subdivisions in the Ministries pane. If hidden, subdivisions will still be visible by editing the ministry.

Breakup into separate ministries

For a ministry with subdivision, this will allow you to break up the subdivisions into multiple ministries. To undo this action, use the Combine button.

Edit Ministry window

Ministry head

This field can be used to hold the name and contact information for the head of this ministry. The information entered into this field will be displayed next to the ministry name in Rosters. Note that this is NOT tied to the Ministry Leaders feature, which will be discussed in the Web Terminal Settings.


Click New to create a subdivision for the ministry.

Note: if adding subdivisions after creating your first schedule, you will want to use the steps in this article to make sure you do not accidentally change any current schedules. Similarly, to remove subdivisions you will want to follow the steps in this article.

Qualified volunteers list

On the right side of the window, a list of qualified volunteers will appear. This will be empty if you have not yet entered any of your volunteers. After you have created your volunteers, this list will contain all of the volunteers who are qualified to serve in this ministry.


Now let’s look at the check box options on the left hand side of the Edit Ministry dialog. Note that these options apply to the ministry as a whole if the ministry does not contain subdivisions, or they apply just to the selected subdivision if the ministry is subdivided. (See below for an explanation of subdivisions.) The following discussion assumes the ministry is not subdivided.

Automatically number or label positions in schedules

If you would like MSP to automatically label scheduled positions in this ministry then check the check box. This feature is useful if you have, for instance, four different Usher positions and would like to indicate which volunteer is assigned to which position using a predefined numbering or labeling system. Once this option is selected, a new window will open and you can select whether to automatically number positions sequentially, or define a custom label for each position.

A video tutorial for this topic is also available.

Never split up family members in this ministry

This option can be used to ensure that when two or more members of the same family are qualified to serve in this ministry, they will always be scheduled together when they are scheduled in this ministry. This option does not affect the way family members are scheduled in any other ministry. Note that if some families contain more volunteers than there are positions in the ministry at any weekly service time, the number of required positions for a service may be expanded to allow for these oversized families. For instance, if one family has three Gift Bearers but only one Gift Bearer is required per service, all three Gift Bearers will still be scheduled at the single service, expanding the number of required Gift Bearers from one to three. You may override this behavior by checking the “Allow members of this family to be split up in ministries for which families are flagged to always be scheduled together.” This option is found in the Edit Family dialog inside the Family Groupings pane of the family with too many qualified volunteers to fit into any weekly service time.

This ministry may be scheduled in combination with…

This option is used to specify that this ministry role may be performed by the same person already scheduled at the same service in another one of your ministries. This feature is useful if, for example, your Greeters may also serve as Lectors at the same service. When you indicate that two ministries may be scheduled together, the scheduler will attempt to schedule one volunteer for both of the ministries at the same service whenever possible (instead of scheduling the volunteer in the two ministries at two separate services). You may also specify that certain ministries are always scheduled together. This feature is useful if, for example, you have volunteers to visit the homebound that should be pulled from the Extraordinary ministers at the same service time.

Schedule this ministry autonomously

This option affects how the load of volunteers who belong to this ministry as well as other ministries is distributed across all their ministries. By default, MSP will schedule volunteers most in the ministries which need them the most and least in those that need them the least. However, by checking this option you can specify that MSP give the same number of services in this ministry to every volunteer who is qualified to serve in this ministry, regardless of what their load may be in the other ministries to which they belong.

Schedule this ministry in one week blocks

This option causes the scheduler to schedule the same volunteers in this ministry at each of your weekly service times for an entire week at a time. (If you do not turn on this option different volunteers are scheduled for each service time in the week.) Using this setting you can also form more complex scheduling patterns like scheduling one volunteer for the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday services and another for the Tuesday and Thursday services by creating two separate subdivisions that are both scheduled in one week blocks, and requiring volunteers from the first subdivision on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the second on Tuesday and Thursday. You may also choose to “Schedule this ministry in one month blocks” by selecting “month” instead of “week” from the drop down menu. When this option is turned on, each of your weekly service times will have a separate group of volunteers from this ministry for an entire month, and then the next month new groups of volunteers will be chosen for each service.

This ministry is a choir (schedule everyone together)

This option helps when scheduling choirs or music groups. After turning on this option, you may specify that the ministry (choir) is either present or not present for each service. If the choir is present, ALL the members of the ministry (choir) will be scheduled at that time automatically, but only the name of the ministry (choir) will appear on the schedule, rather than each volunteer’s name. This way, members of a choir are recognized by MSP as being scheduled at a particular service, so that they are not double scheduled in another ministry and so their family members are scheduled at the same service, but the names of each person in the choir will not take up space the schedule. An additional difference between choir ministries and normal ministries is that individuals are not able to request a sub in choir ministries, since each member of the ministry will always be scheduled when the choir is present.

“Show more options for this ministry…”

Roster code

This field can be used in rosters as an indicator to show which volunteers are qualified for which ministries using a “short hand” notation. See “Included Field Panes” in Rosterizer for more information on how roster codes may be used in rosters.

Edit description (shown in online enrollment form)…

Click this link to update the description for the ministry. This description can be displayed on online enrollment forms, as well as My Profile forms. Note that in order for descriptions to appear on the My Profile tab, they must be enabled in the Enrollment settings.

Bind together all subdivision qualifications

Checking this box will qualify anyone who is qualified for the first listed subdivision for all subdivisions. (Note: If some volunteers are qualified for later subdivisions, first qualify the volunteer for the first subdivision and then check the “bind” option so they do not lose their qualification.) If the box is checked, you will not be able to manage who is qualified for each individual subdivision any longer.

Keep assignments in this ministry private

This checkbox allows you to specify that the assignments in this ministry should be kept private and by default not included on exported schedules or online schedules. Only volunteers scheduled in these ministries will see these positions when viewing the service plan online.

When you are done setting up a ministry, click the OK button. Then click the “New Ministry…” or “Copy Ministry” button again and repeat this process for each ministry you will use MSP to schedule. Note that the order in which the ministries appear in this list will be the order in which they appear in schedules and in other lists throughout the program. You can click and drag a ministry to change its position in the list. You can also change the order of subdivisions within a ministry in the same manner.