On Friday, Jan. 30, members of the Administrative Services, Office of Connectional Ministries, Ministerial Services, Congregational Development and Pastoral Counseling teams met in Macon to collaborate and converse.
The meeting developed after several conversations between department leaders focused on more collaboration and less redundancy in each conference ministry area. The recommendation made by the Conference’s Enhanced Technology Team to use new technology to increase efficiency, be better stewards of resources, and to eliminate redundancy in staff and duties was a part of the discussions.
Meeting attendees were introduced to and trained on a new Conference-wide database which will allow for improved information sharing and collaboration. Each office, including those in the Conference’s six districts, will use the shared database and its various tools.
“This is a historic moment with many crucial conversations taking place within each conference ministry area,” said Rev. Denise Walton, Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries. “The new data management system will allow us to streamline the process of gathering data and will decrease the margin of error as all departments have access to the same database.”
The conversion and migration of data into the new database was a monumental undertaking, but will allow for easier data management and manipulation. Staff members want to sync information previously kept in separate offices to make the maintenance and use of that information simpler.
“We are trying to make things easier for pastors and lay leaders across the conference,” said Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services. “People want it to be simpler to make corrections and get information, and we are looking for ways to help them.”
A day-long training session for district office staff is scheduled for Feb. 12. All district superintendents and several conference ministry directors will also be involved in the training.
“There are still software compatibility issues with one department, but we are working toward a solution that will be beneficial to the annual conference,” Rev. Walton said. “We are looking forward to Feb. 12 and the future.”