Acts 6:1–7 records the growing pains of the early Christian church and the process by which they arrived at a solution to address them.
The apostles had been responsible for church life in general, including the ministry of the word of God and care of the needy. Convening one of the first General Conference sessions, the twelve apostles, along with the rest of the disciples, concluded that specialization of work responsibilities was necessary so that the demands of administering the material affairs of the church would not cause the spiritual affairs to be neglected. The solution they arrived at was to turn the administration of church affairs over to a new group, allowing the apostles to concentrate on prayer and the ministry of the word. It is recorded that this pleased the whole group.
This solution is still successfully working for the church today. There are some charged with administering material affairs of the church so that those called to preach the word, evangelize, and spiritually feed the flock can fulfill their calling.
Information systems is one material area addressed by the Lake Union Conference. Over the years a small group at the Lake Union Conference office has dedicated itself to developing and supporting computer software for use in churches, schools, and administrative offices of the church where alternatives are non-existent, uneconomical, or do not fit the church's needs. This software has become known as LUCIS Software (LUCIS = Lake Union Conference Information Systems).
Though originally designed for use by Lake Union organizations, the Lake Union churches, schools, and conferences have represented a minority of the users for many years. Sales and maintenance fees charged to organizations outside the Lake Union territory help provide funds for continued development.
Besides maintaining payroll and other applications, a new advanced version of our General Ledger was released in 2004. The Lake and Columbia Union offices started using the new version in mid-year 2004. General implementation of the new software began within a month of the decision by the North American Division, in October 2004, to disassociate itself from the General Conference SunPlus general ledger software project. Within three months most conferences and academies within the Lake and Columbia Union territories had installed and were using the new LUCIS Software. Installation is continuing in other territories. New sites are joining the LUCIS Software group while others continue to wait for an attempt by the North American Division to develop an independent software package.
The new LUCIS Software is much more powerful and user-friendly. It includes many new query and reporting features. Much to the relief of entry operators, the new software, designed to be keyboard-friendly, has proved to be as fast to operate as previous versions and is easier to use. It is also compatible with the new global reporting standard being adopted by the General Conference for all Adventist organizations world-wide. Our partnership with the General Conference Auditing Service has been further strengthened with their use of the new software which has a number of new features to assist with auditing. Significant auditing savings continue as a result of this partnership.
Recognizing that the Adventist Church is made up of organizations of varying size with different levels of expertise and needs, LUCIS Software is provided in five editions: Lite, Standard, Standard Plus, Advanced, and Professional. Though the engine that drives the software behind the scenes is identical in all cases, the user interface differs depending on the edition chosen. The different editions allow us to accommodate small, medium, and large churches, schools, and conference offices (local and union) keeping the interface appropriate to the level of expertise and needs of the different organizations.
Please feel free to contact me for more information.