Efficient Effectiveness

by Terry Wilhite

"Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things," says author Thomas K. Connellan. I think he'd like the resources that I'm going to share with you this month.

First is Getting Things Done by David Allen. While this book is not new, (Viking, 2001), it is the best that I've ever read on the subject of productivity. Mr. Allen's book has had a tremendous impact in my work and home life. He proposes that one's "organizational life" should be natural and fun.

That's the reason I like the next resource that I'm recommending: The Pastor's Study. At $37.50 to download the software, you can't beat the price nor the organization it will help bring to your ministry. It includes data base provisions for sermon creation and cataloging, library cataloging, illustration cataloging, daily journaling, counseling notes, a visitation diary, prayer list, expense tracking, personal goal setting, and contact management. The interface is clean, simple, and very intuitive. The "Help" menu can also serve as an owner's manual, in case you need it.

The man behind the software, Bob Laner, is clear about his mission: "This ministry's goal is to develop software for God's servants, be they pastors or ministry leaders, in the hope that the software will contributeto the bringing of souls to Jesus Christ." You can download the software from www.rclsoftware.com.

I particularly like this software's ability to set up committees in the database and send an email to every member on the committee. Granted, email software will do that, but it's nice to have that feature and many others "under one roof." Counseling notes, journaling and the expense section can all be password protected. The software allows you to import Microsoft Outlook contacts and offers a convenient way to back up your files, which I heartily recommend. Expense data, sermon records and library information can all be exported to Microsoft Excel—especially nice if you want to use your expense information for budgeting. Exporting is as simple and effortless as "clicking" one button on the simple interface.

Next up is a program that takes away all excuses you've ever had for not using Bible software, particularly if all your obstacles have been money. The software I'm referring to is called e-Sword and it's free.

"Jesus told us that since we've been blessed, we should bless others. For years I have been on the receiving end of His glorious riches, and I am happy to provide this blessing to others in the form of free Bible study software," says Rick Myers, the software's developer.

"The fact that e-Sword is free is just one of the blessings and does not speak of the quality of the software. I make my living writing software and I believe I have put forth my best effort in this endeavor," he says. I couldn't agree more. Two million people apparently concur. That's how many have downloaded it as of August, 2004. I totally agree with Rick that often there are so many "bells and whistles" in some Bible software programs that you couldn't possibly use or decipher them all.

This software offers nine Bibles, along with commentaries and dictionaries, and they all can be viewed without having to "tile" windows. Further, you can view parallel Bibles and compare passages. It has nice printing capabilities, too. To see Strong's definitions, all you have to do is place your mouse pointer over a Strong's number and the definition will appear.

e-Sword is gaining power by the day. In March of this year, AMG Publishers granted permission to use The Complete Word Study Dictionary series by Spiros Zodhiates, Warren Baker, and Eugene Carpenter. Then recently, Rick says, Good News Publishers granted permission for the use of the English Standard Version Bible for free. He has also created a free Pocket PC version of e-Sword.

Let me encourage you to check out this product. Even if you already have Bible software, I strongly encourage you to tell all of your teachers to get this software on their computers. It's powerful, simple, elegantly designed, and best of all, it's free. Rick's Web site is www.e-sword.com. For a donation, he will send you a CD in lieu of downloading. His address is: Equipping Ministries Foundation, 5902 Parham Road, Franklin, TN 37064.

Terry Wilhite is a communications and multimedia specialist.

He welcomes your emails at: writeme@terrywilhite.com


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