CHURCH DATA MASTER PLUS
By: John Tisdale
Randy Clay was the developer of Church Data Master Plus. Randy made what would become a very good decision in writing this package. It was the use of a programming environment/language called OMNIS. This allowed them to write the software on the Apple Macintosh and later convert it for window use. Now OMNIS is available with a Windows version. This allowed Randy’s team to instantly convert their product
over to Windows. This meant that they did not have to start over writing their software. Rather, they had the same code that had been tried, tested and debugged for many years. This gave them a big headstart in the Windows game.
In the old days when church management packages were priced in the thousands and were hard to find I wrote church management software and customized spread sheets and databases for church use. The task is no small one. I found that the first question that had to be addressed (and one of the most important) is how the information will be organized. I have worked with some church management packages that were structured in such strange ways that I simply could not figure out how to do the simplest of tasks. In this area I think that Computer Helper Publishing has done a very good job. The information is straight forward and easy to understand. They follow the normal Windows conventions that make this task even easier.
The master selection menu offers the following:
As you select one of these features a second menu becomes available. This menu offers the choices within the module just selected (the same holds true for all modules). Since all of the menus pull-down in the
usual Windows fashion you can instantly move from one module to another. For example, if you select accounting and then ledger you can check the balances on the ledger very conveniently. While looking at
the ledger you can pull down the main menu and instantly go to membership. This makes moving from one feature to another extremely simple. Some packages I have worked with offer so many levels of menus
that you can easily get lost within them and spend precious time trying to get from one place to another.
As for features Church Data Master Plus offers all of the needed functions. Membership divides the information into family and individual records. Visitors as well as members can easily be tracked
and reported. The membership module offers the following reports:
Work Phone Numbers
Address Access Codes
Individual Master Listing
Birthdates by Month
Anniversary by Month
Individual Record Selection
Master Coding Systems
The reports are very well laid out and offer a wide range of possible layouts, styles and custom options. There are a variety of other printing tasks available for membership such as Rolodex cards and mailing labels.
Another nice feature of this software is that any time you prepare a report for printing you are given a choice of where to send it. They are Printer, Screen, Page Preview, File, Port, Clipboard and Channel.
This allows you to, say, view the report exactly as it will look on the printer by selecting Page Preview from the list. This saves wasted time and paper versus printing without first viewing the report.
Working with information is very simple. If you select MEMBERSHIP and then FAMILY ADDRESS RECORD you are presented with a well organize window. All of the fields are located on the left-hand side of the window and a variety of tasks are presented on the right-hand side (NEXT, PREVIOUS, FIND, INSERT, EDIT, DELETE, DIAL, TO CLIPBOARD ). You simply click on the action you want to take on the right hand and then enter the data to the left. For example, you can click on find and then type in the name of a member and instantly pull up that family’s record (wild cards are available). The information is presented in exactly the same manner and in the same window whether you are inserting a record, searching for one or dialing a person’s phone number.
The bottom of the windows displays additional information such as geographical information, pastoral notes, whether they receive tapes of the services, the last date the family record was amended and others. A
button is also available for INDIVIDUALS LIVING AT ADDRESS. Clicking on this button opens up an additional window showing all of the individuals living at this household. Another button labeled VISITS
MADE TO HOUSEHOLD is available. Upon clicking this button a window is opened presenting the dates of past visits and related information. If no visits have been made to the household another window opens
informing the user of this.
Special letters can be sent to members or visitors very easily. For example, a letter can automatically be prepared for visitors on first time visits, second time, special occasions and virtually anything else you can think imagine.
The accounting segment of the program is as well equipped and organized as the other modules. Accounts Payable, Ledger and Payroll modules are incorporated. Accounts payable allows you to assign vendor codes, write checks and generate report by period, date and vendor. The ledger and payroll are equally equipped.
The speed of the program seemed to be very good. Searches were very fast and screen redraws were quick. This will naturally depend on the machine you are using (I tested this on a 48633 Mhz with 16MBRAM and a 9mS hard drive, so most software performs well). Keep in mind that it runs under Windows. If you are using an XT with 640K of RAM you would not be satisfied with the performance of Windows and consequently this software package.
Discussing all of the features of this program are simply not possible here. So, I will offer the following conclusions. Church Data Master Plus offers all of the essential features needed to manage a church of any size. Further, it provides many innovative and useful features. It provides intuitive design to help the user know what to do when and if an action is taken out of order or without some needed information the
software prompts the user for the information or directs them in the proper actions to take to accomplish the desired task.
Church Data Master Plus is the easiest church management package to use on the market that I have used. I put it through my “non-manual test” and was able to accomplish all of the tasks I undertook without having to refer to the manual (which I have not been able to do with any another package). All of the information is displayed in very logical, easy-to-read windows. The key to Church Data Master Plus is ease of use. And that is very important for the average church with under-trained staff.
Computer Helper Publishing
5898 Cleveland Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43231
(The original publisher of the above material is unknown.)
Christian Information Network