Starting this fall, congregations will have access to ALEX, a database that will be shared by the whole Church. General Minister and President Terri Hord Owens set this as an objective early in her tenure, knowing from her earlier experience in corporate settings that business intelligence (data) is key to making informed decisions. ALEX will position Disciples to finally have a real-time directory and picture of churchwide trends that has been impossible with the current yearbook system.
But there’s more! The goal is that as we build out the system congregations, regions, and general ministries will be able to analyze trends in geographical areas, see changes in staffing models, look for ways to combine strengths, and more. We will eventually have all our historical data in the system to get a firm grasp on the past as we chart our future together.
This work is only possible if we have good data. The database will draw in select data from our current yearbook legacy system, from the financial database maintained by Treasury Services, and from the ministerial directory housed in Disciples Home Missions. Congregations will be able to update their contact and staff information in real time for submission to the regions for verification before pushing it out to the existing databases housed in general ministries.
We are gathering initial contact names and e-mail addresses now for the fall introduction. You will receive an e-mail invitation from firstname.lastname@example.org to initiate your account. A single e-mail and password will be shared among your congregation’s attendance, financial or other leaders. Each congregation will have just one e-mail address/password combination that is shared among the pastor, administrative assistant and whomever is designated to enter attendance and/or financial data.
Once a year, a snapshot of all data will be taken for historical records (like the year book does now). ALEX however, will allow for an online interface that will be updated in real time.
An added benefit is that your giving to Disciples Mission Fund and the special offerings will be updated as soon as it is received so you will have accurate records of your tithing to the whole Church.
Your congregation’s data will be rolled up into region-wide totals that your regional staff will be able to see for a real-time picture of activity. A training video and instructions will be available this fall so you will want to make sure the regional office has accurate contact information.