GRANDVIEW, Mo. (BP)–Back in 1984, when he sat down at his new computer and began work on a program to track church membership, layman John Ware wanted his church to have an efficient and accurate method for communicating with and keeping track of members.
At the time, the handful of church database software programs on the brand-new market were quite expensive. Ware, a member of First Baptist Church, Grandview, Mo., decided to teach himself how to write programs using DBASE as a language. It was a tool that would be useful in his business as well as the church.
The result of his effort was a piece of software called CHDB (Church DataBase).
Over the years, Ware’s CHDB has been expanded and refined with input from many Baptist churches. Blue River-Kansas City Baptist Association and many of its churches also have relied on Ware as a consultant on computer systems since the early 1980s. His work as a manufacturer’s representative in the electronics industry has kept him up to date on developments and systems.
Each year, something new has been added to CHDB, usually a feature suggested by one of the 50-plus churches in the area using the program.
More than a year ago, the BR-KC staff decided to make Ware’s program available over the Internet. CHDB, along with a contributions database called CONCORD and a prospect database called OUTREACH, were advertised as “free church software” through the association’s website.
CHDB has been downloaded more than 1,300 times since November 1997. The association currently averages four downloads a day. Users have registered from 38 states, five provinces of Canada and 13 other nations.
Churches are welcome to download Ware’s software at the website, http://www.sky.net/~baptist.
Hutchinson is associate director of missions of the Blue River-Kansas City Baptist Association.