Ward Mission Program

Discussions around miscellaneous technologies and projects for the general membership.
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WelchTC
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Ward Mission Program

Postby WelchTC » Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:21 am

This web site is dedicated to technology projects so I thought I would share with you one of the projects that I have been working on and ask for your help with it. This program is designed to help ward mission leaders and ward missionaries conduct the missionary work within their wards. It will help them track those people being taught in the ward, track missionary exchanges and meals for the missionaries. It came out of a need I had as a ward mission leader to better organize and conduct the missionary efforts within my ward.

This was my very first big project in Java so I'm sure that there are a lot of things I could do better. I would value any feedback you may have. More importantly, I would value anyone willing to give me a hand to make it better.

You can find out about it here.

Tom

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Postby michaelcox » Sun Feb 25, 2007 12:55 pm

I used to be WML in a previous ward. Looks kinda cool. My brother is WML in his Ward so I'll see if he wants to download it and then give feedback on it.
Thanks,

Michael H. Cox

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Postby bhofmann-p40 » Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:37 pm

This is very interesting to me and looks like a great idea. In the past we have tried to assign out missionary exchanges 6 mths to a year in advance. It would be nice to have it entered in the calendar ahead of time. Having the missionary meals on the calendar is a nice touch. Sometimes we have a meal coordinator that could keep this up-to-date.

Basically our missionary program is a bunch of handwritten reports and calendars and your program could really help streamline that. Often we end up with incomplete information and no way to track what is going on unless we have a good memory or a binder full of the past handwritten reports.

One thing I thought of while looking at your screen shots is that it might be nice to track if they have been attending church and how often.

The old convert baptism checklist really isn't used anymore but it had some great information. It might be nice to expand your program to track members for a little while after baptism. This would help make sure they are being fellowshipped, have callings, are attending church, and planning for the temple. It might even be nice to track if they have given a talk in church or born their testimony. This might add a lot to the program and might be a good phase II.

I like your interface because it is simple and intuitive. My philosophy has always been to keep it simple and your tool looks simple to use. I'm a certified Java programmer but my many years of programming focused on JSP/Servlet technology. I really haven't done much swing or AWT programming but I would be willing to help define specifications for the reporting. Here are some ideas I have off the top of my head.

There is a report that the missionaries handwrite and then copy for PEC, Welfare, and Correlation meetings. It would be nice to have one of your reports mimic this report. Also, it would be nice to have a report that lists people that have not been contacted in awhile. The Bishop likes to make sure people don't fall through the cracks because they were not contacted for a few weeks. If you want me to come up with real specifications for the reporting let me know.

Again, I think you're on to something here. Keep up the good work. I'll download your application and kick it around a bit. I might be able to help on some of the programming.

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WelchTC
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Postby WelchTC » Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:37 am

bhofmann wrote:This is very interesting to me and looks like a great idea. In the past we have tried to assign out missionary exchanges 6 mths to a year in advance. It would be nice to have it entered in the calendar ahead of time. Having the missionary meals on the calendar is a nice touch. Sometimes we have a meal coordinator that could keep this up-to-date.

My goal is to eventually have the the ability to auto-assign splits from a pool of available people and then you can make the calls. It would be cool to be able to export the calendars (both meal and splits) to an HTML file so that you could post it on a web server.

Basically our missionary program is a bunch of handwritten reports and calendars and your program could really help streamline that. Often we end up with incomplete information and no way to track what is going on unless we have a good memory or a binder full of the past handwritten reports.
Yes, keeping good records is what I wanted to do so that as missionaries change or as ward missionaries or WML change, they have a good idea as to what was happening.

One thing I thought of while looking at your screen shots is that it might be nice to track if they have been attending church and how often.
Good suggestion. I have a "history" section that I could beef up to include types of history .. such as attending church.

The old convert baptism checklist really isn't used anymore but it had some great information. It might be nice to expand your program to track members for a little while after baptism. This would help make sure they are being fellowshipped, have callings, are attending church, and planning for the temple. It might even be nice to track if they have given a talk in church or born their testimony. This might add a lot to the program and might be a good phase II.
There is nothing that says you could not continue to track peoples progress after they are baptized. In fact, I did. It is important that they continue to receive the new member missionary lessons, receive a calling, etc. Great ideas!

I like your interface because it is simple and intuitive. My philosophy has always been to keep it simple and your tool looks simple to use. I'm a certified Java programmer but my many years of programming focused on JSP/Servlet technology. I really haven't done much swing or AWT programming but I would be willing to help define specifications for the reporting. Here are some ideas I have off the top of my head.

There is a report that the missionaries handwrite and then copy for PEC, Welfare, and Correlation meetings. It would be nice to have one of your reports mimic this report. Also, it would be nice to have a report that lists people that have not been contacted in awhile. The Bishop likes to make sure people don't fall through the cracks because they were not contacted for a few weeks. If you want me to come up with real specifications for the reporting let me know.
Your first report is already something I plan on doing. I've got the template...just need to code it. Your second report idea is a fantastic idea. What do you think the report would have on it?

Again, I think you're on to something here. Keep up the good work. I'll download your application and kick it around a bit. I might be able to help on some of the programming.
I look forward to any help you could give!

Tom

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Postby greenwoodkl » Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:14 am

I imagine this app could someday be integrated Church-wide if well-designed and portable. The calendar could get integrated into the ward calendar on LUWS (at least the meals portion). It could hopefully also be integrated into the missionary referral system for Church materials, MOS, etc... Then we could track the entire cycle from referral called into the MTC Referral Center, to missionary contact to deliver an item, to ward contact and post-baptism. If those investigating the Church move, their records and history could be transferred to the next "Ward Mission" system.

I know there is a fine line between how much technology to give full-time missionaries (i.e. cell phones, etc...) to avoid abuse and distraction. However, I know as a missionary I would've liked to have had access to the ward websites of the area in which I was serving (often several wards/branch) in addition to my home ward. If there were a "Ward Mission" system, I would've liked to have access to the calendar, items on some sort of handheld electronic device. So I could also see this potentially being a tool accessible by the missionaries themselves as technology tools are conservatively adopted by the Church. :)

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Postby bhofmann-p40 » Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:42 pm

tomw wrote:
Your first report is already something I plan on doing. I've got the template...just need to code it. Your second report idea is a fantastic idea. What do you think the report would have on it?

Tom


I think the follow-up report could be very similar to the weekly report except it would list people that have not had any activity for a specified date range, maybe 2-3 weeks. I guess that leads to one other field you may need to have if you don't already. An active/inactive flag would be needed so those that told the missionaries to take a hike don't keep showing up on the follow-up report.

For the follow-up report it would be good to allow length of time since activity and active or inactive flag (or both) as input parameters. This would allow a second report to be pulled a couple of times a year to see if any flames could be kindled for those who were flagged inactive.

I'm going to think about this in this weeks Correlation meeting and see if I can think of anything else that might be useful.

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Postby WelchTC » Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:17 pm

Awesome data. If you think of more things, let me know.

Tom

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Referral Manager vs. Ward Mission Program

Postby jeffphil-p40 » Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:58 pm

Ward Mission Program looks pretty nifty. The thing is though, we have the Referral Manager website under development which is in competition to it. See: http://referrals.lds.org/

Both have strengths and weaknesses. I really like the idea of our branch missionaries, branch mission leader, branch presidency, the mission president, and those at the MTC referral call center all being able to login to the site and collaborate our efforts in one place online, and get whatever reports or level of data we each need. Referral Manager has some short comings as far as not allowing enough detail for the missionaries that are actually teaching the investigator -- keeping track of where we left off with each visit, when our appointments are, etc. These are things easier done in Ward Mission Program, or on pen and paper--but both of those options lacks the online collaboration tools that really make Referral Manager most useful.

-Jeff Phillips

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Teamwork, not competition

Postby mkmurray » Sat Mar 03, 2007 10:58 pm

jeffphil wrote:The thing is though, we have the Referral Manager website under development which is in competition to it. See: http://referrals.lds.org/

I don't know if I agree that they are in direct compeititon with each other. I think it sounds like they would greatly supplement each other.

The local running program Ward Mission Program can contain the same information as the online Referrals Manager, however it does more than that too. The Ward Mission Program seems to be perfect for coordinating Ward Mission Leader specific tasks at the ward level (reports, dinners, exchanges, etc.). The Referrals Manager seems to be good at connecting MTC, Mission Leader, bishopric/branch presidency, ward/branch mission leader, and missionaries over a worldwide connection if necessary.

I think used in conjuction, it could be a powerful team.

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Postby jeffphil-p40 » Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:21 pm

Really wouldn't it be nicer if the missionary's dinner appointments were on a calendar in the missionary section of the LUWS? Then members could just mark down which days they would be availble to invite the missionaries over, and perhaps the ward missionary leader could approve the final schedule and e-mail them a confirmation.

As for the actual missionary work, keeping up with investigators and such, an online site is much better for colaboration. Referral Manager isn't just for headquarters referrals. Mission leaders can enter anybody's name in there locally for everyone we're teaching.

A desktop application is nice for organizing one's own notes, but when I'm out in the mission field I want to have everything on paper so I can carry it with me and see what is going on in the neighborhood I'm in. I'm not sure I want to be dragging my laptop around. I suppose I can print reports. But, that requires me to enter all the information I can into Referral Manager, and then that same information again into this Ward Mission Program, plus the rest of the details Referral Manager didn't have room for. Then I'd still be printing the reports to take with me. Where as now, I enter what I can in referral manager, print the reports, and then write the rest of the details on those reports in my binder to take with me. Seems a little easier just to do it on paper, at least for me. I can see where the program would be nice for some people though.


-Jeff.


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