By Mark Littleton
Need help with software to track members, finances and other elements of church life?
Loren Hutchinson, associate director of missions for Blue River-Kansas City Baptist Association, recommends trying the association's free software available on its Web site. "The software covers three areas of church function," he said. "And they're very effective.
• CHDB — "This is a complete church membership database program. It provides the user with complete flexibility in naming and defining Sunday School Class codes, mail codes and more than 60 other ministry and committee codes," he said. "It has a handshake relationship with CONCORD (a separate contributions software) to eliminate having to re-enter names and addresses. The program will generate many preset reports and mail-merge data files in an ASCII delimited text format."
• CONCORD — "(CONtributions reCORD) is a program that allows you to enter member contributions each week and generate quarterly, semi-annual, and annual statements. It is a stand-alone program, but has a handshake relationship with CHDB that allows it to automatically retrieve names and addresses from the CHDB database. The program is written so that you may name and define your own budget codes and line item codes to allow for tracking designated offerings."
• OUTREACH — "This is a computerized prospect file. It has built-in visitation forms that the user may print out and return after making a visit. Information on the prospect's family may be entered, as well as results of the last four visits. When a prospect joins the church, his or her information can be automatically transferred to CHDB."
The software was designed and made available as a ministry of John and Lee Ware of First Baptist Church, Grandview. For many years, Ware has developed and refined the programs. More than 2,000 churches worldwide currently use it.
What are the advantages of these databases?
First, they're free. Churches don't have to pay a penny to download and them in ministry. The programs offer uniquely church-designed material for leaders, laymen and volunteers.
Second, they're easy to use. Ware designed them specifically to make life easier for church leaders and volunteers.
Third, they're especially helpful to smaller churches with smaller budgets, but are just as effective for larger churches.
Individuals interested in these resources can find out more at www.kcbaptist.org. Go to the bottom of the bottom of the page and click on "Free Church Software."
(Read the Oct. 19 print edition for more tips to benefit your church office.)