AdventSource

Ministry Software Adds New Interest File in 2009 Version

In response to many requests, a brand new Interest File tracking module has been added to the already full-featured Church Membership Directory ministry software system. This new feature, which is fully integrated into the complete ministry software system, will be a useful tool for any pastor or church interested in evangelizing their community.

In addition to all the regular features already in “CMD” (which will be summarized briefly below), the Interest File dialog provides the tools and data fields you need to more easily track the progress and potential of interests on their way to becoming followers of Christ. Click on the attached graphic to see a screen grab of the actual dialog box that shows you what information can be tracked.

First, note there are two pages to this dialog: one for entering, viewing, and modifying information about your interests, and another for printing them. In this article, we’ll concentrate only on the Family Information page. To explore the Interest File feature further, please download the free, full-working demo of CMD 2009.1 from our website: www.softwareforministry.com

Family Information
The upper third of the dialog contains the information that is common to all members of the family. That means that address and phone information need only be entered once. In addition to the text information that may be entered into the various fields provided there, the Map button connects you quickly to an internet map of the address, the Family Picture button allows you to enter a picture of this family into your data file, and the small video camera icon provides access to a number of short, fully-narrated video training clips which make it easy to learn to use Interest File feature.

Individuals Information
The lower two-thirds of the dialog contain the information specific to each member of the family. In the above example, Don and Martina Abernathy each have a “page” that contains their specific data. To view Martina’s data, simply click directory on the tab with her name on it.

Basic name, personal, and contact information fields are provided so that you can enter at least some basic information about each name. If there is need to track additional information, names in the Interest File are also available in the CMD’s main data entry dialog, where you are free to add to the information about any person or persons in your Interest File using any of CMD’s extensive set of data fields available for any name in your data file.

Following is a detailed explanation of the fields specific to the Interest File:
  • Date of First Contact: This date tracks the time frame you first became aware of this person’s interest in your church. You can either type the date in directly, or you can click the small calendar icon on the right edge of the calendar edit box and then select the date from a pop-up calendar.

  • Last Visit Information: This line displays the date and type of the last recorded visit for the currently displayed name. To enter or view additional visitation information, click the Visits button just to the right of the visit information. You may track as many visits as you wish to record for any name in your interest file. In addition to the date and type of visit, you may record the name of the person who made the visit, and comments about each visit.

  • Religious Background: This is a free-form text field in which you may enter a short sentence describing any background information of which you are aware that would be helpful to know.

  • Source of Interest: When you click the small icon on the right edge of this “combo box,” a drop-down list appears from which you make a selection to denote the source of the interest. This list typically contains things like: Walk-in, Local Interest, Friend/Neighbor, Media Ministry Respondent, Local Mailing Respondent, Community Service, Revelation Seminar, etc. While we provide some default choices for you, you are free to edit or remove any of the defaults, and add any additional choices that you wish so that you can completely tailor the selection of choices to fit your ministry style and situation.

  • Degree of Interest: Two default sets are provide, a simple A, B, C, D list as well as High, Moderate, Casual, None. As with Source of Interest, you are free to completely change the items on this menu to suit your needs.

  • Learning Activity: This drop-down list displays the options for the various learning processes that are available to the interests in your file. Typically this list contains choices like: Pastor’s Bible Class, Personal Bible Studies, HBF, Discover Bible Series, Evangelistic Series, Revelation Seminar, etc. This list is also completely customizable to fit your needs. The View button just to the right of this field provides convenient access to the Christian Learning tool in CMD, which provides the means to track a person’s progress through Bible studies by topic, and also attendance and progress via an evangelistic series.

  • Decisions Made: While you also make your selections from a menu for this field, the Decisions Made and Materials Received fields differ from the previous menu fields in that for Decisions Made and Materials Received, you can select any number of choices from the list of possible selections to be saved for any person in your interest file. That means you can use this field to track the decisions that are the important waymarks to you as a pastor in deciding when to perhaps give the appeal for baptism. One important similarity to the previous fields, however, is that once again, you as the user are completely free to determine the list of choices that appear on the list so the fields matches your ministry style and needs.
  • Materials Received: This field records items such as Bible Lessons, Bible, Children’s Materials, etc.
  • Pastoral/Lay Contact: These two contact fields allow you to specify which pastor has been assigned as the pastoral contact person, and which person is assigned to be the lay contact person for the currently displayed name.
  • Comments Fields: There are comments fields for both the family and for the individual. Though the boxes where you see the comments are quite small, those boxes do not represent the limits of what you can enter. By simply double-clicking directly in either box, a larger box appears where you can enter up to 64,000 characters in the comments field.
Printing Interest Information
The Print Interest page provides the means to select names based on their source of interest, degree of interest, decisions made, and more. Names can be printed as mailing labels, addressed envelopes, name and phone lists, email addressing, full information, visitation cards and reports, and more. The best way to get a feel for how you select and print names here is to download and try the free demo.

How To Order
Visit www.softwareforministry.com to order.

CMD’s Full Features
The heart of CMD is that of a pastor – probably because a pastor is its author! Fields and features are provided in response to the needs of a church office and a pastor’s needs for timely, accurate, and easily accessible information that is important to ministry.

That means that fields are provided to manage mailing and contact information, appropriate personal information, and, of course, church and ministry-related information.

That means that CMD is set up to handle all your mailings (whether postal or email), print a wide variety of lists such as birthday and anniversary lists for your newsletter, tracks visitation, attendance grids, mailing labels, postcards, visitation cards, church directories (pictorial, text, or both together), mail-merge, rotary cards, name and phone lists, full-information lists, and much more.

Names selected for printing can be anything you can dream up – literally. With only a couple of mouse clicks, you can be printing labels for your newsletter. Or, with just a few mouse clicks, you could ask for, say, all the men in your church who are between 30 and 40 years of age who are single and who have been at church for 4 or more times in the last six weeks who like to play softball, are members of the choir, and who live in the 76123 zip code! While that list would probably not be useful to you, what is illustrated here is that you can select any combination of any number of the data fields provided in CMD as the basic for any list of names you want printed in any of the available forms.

Tools are provided to track attendance in a number of different names, including the use of bar codes and self-entry for attendance marking, printing of name badges, or both at the same time. Attendance may be tracked for any number of events (church worship, SS, board meetings, seasonal worships, special programs, evangelistic meetings, and more). There are tools to track room use in the church, nominating committee work, and much more.

There is complete, online, context-sensitive help virtually everywhere in the software, and a 220+ page PDF manual that you can print on your printer. There is a growing library of integrated, fully-narrated video training aids to help you learn to use the program visually.

There is more to describe about CMD than we have room for here. Please download the free, full-working demo of the software (it limits the number of families you can enter to 10) so you can sample its features and its feel for yourself.

What About eAdventist and CMD?
While our software also has clerk functions built-in, the NAD has adopted the NPUC’s eAdventist platform for clerk use. It is a marvelous and much-needed tool in our division. CMD’s thrust, however, is really geared toward church office and pastoral ministry use. So while that charter may contain clerk features where they are needed, think of CMD’s functionality as a super-set of eAdventist. There is a broad range of pastoral and church office needs that are simply not addressed by eAdventist. It is those areas that have been CMD’s strength for 25 years now!

Perhaps one day CMD and eAdventist can “talk” directly to each other. But even without this happening, there is a need for both types of programs in your ministry toolbox.

About the Software’s Author
The program’s designer and author, Mic Thurber, is a working pastor with 27 years of in-ministry experience with a computer, which explains why the software is so well tailored to meet the needs of the local church office and the pastor. This ministry software is his contribution to the wider ministry of work of God, and he is constantly working to enhance and improve this ministry tool so it can better enable your work as God’s voice to the people around you. Mic can be reached at mic@softwareforministry.com if you have questions about Software for Ministry or any of the program’s features.

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