Why Bad Data Equals Bad Ministry

Thursday, February 6, 2014 6:12:00 AM Categories: Communication Ministry & Technology
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If you were able to look behind the curtain of most church databases, you would find:

· People listed multiple times - duplicates.

· Kids in families apart from their parents.

· Grown kids still in their parents' family.

· Out of date addresses, phone #s and email addresses.

· Incomplete contact data.

· Inaccurate involvement information.

· Uncontacted guests.

· Ignored people wanting to volunteer.

· Deceased people walking.

· Maybe even some molded bread.

The result of poor data management is always poor execution of the church's strategy.  Without accurate data and follow through, organizational structure (people, resources, groups, activities) is haphazard and severely disabled.   For instance, if a pastor wanted to map, group and then email people not involved in a small group, how difficult would that be for your church to do?  This really isn't a crazy request on the pastor's part.  It is a basic inquiry for shepherding people well.  

Church management software should be built for pastors who want to shepherd their people well.  That’s why, at Churchteams, we are constantly pushing the envelope to serve this purpose.  Early on we recognized that as long as you centralized data entry, you also bottle-necked opportunities for data collection.  So, we made it easy for group leaders to access the church database to keep everything current on their groups themselves.  This worked so well we developed the same push out notification system to have members update their information themselves.  

Last year we released a new user interface responsive to use on any mobile device.  It simplifies basic functions like communication and involvement management so much that pastors no longer have to rely on support staff for these functions.  This is doing a great deal to remove the database bottleneck.  But there still was the age old problem of needing to discover and merge duplicates.  

It used to be a hassle to identify and then merge duplicates.  It involved working through a list of people in the database, often times a printed out list, and then finding them in the merge feature to merge together.  We had clients that invested many hours in doing this and began envisioning a better way.  It made sense to us to assign the software itself the task of discovering and presenting potential merges.  We began working on it in the fall of 2013 and are excited to have released it in early January, 2014.  If you’re a ChurchTeams customer or if you are interested in knowing how this works, click here for step-by-step instructions.

When they looked behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and company found a very different man than had been projected.  With new trends and processes in software architecture, we've been able to take an ominous looking task like keeping church data current and make it a normal looking, user-friendly process.

Boyd Pelley.  Is Co-founder and CEO of Churchteams.com.  He served for 18 years as Discipleship Pastor, Church Administrator and Family Pastor  for churches in New Mexico, Nebraska and Texas.  He has a bent toward improving processes and a passion for making disciples.  Married for 27 years, he and Pam have 2 grown children.