The ChurchLink database is in the final testing phase. We hope to have it up and running—and ready for you to use—within the next few days. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
(Christian Standard’s article from the April issue)
The Center for Church Leadership and Christian Standard Media Partner to Produce an Updated—and Updatable—Digital Database
By Jim Nieman
It’s taken longer than either the Center for Church Leadership or Christian Standard Media had hoped or previously promised, but a partnership to provide an updated—and updatable—online database of Christian churches and churches of Christ called ChurchLink should have made its debut by now.
Two large listings of churches have been updated, vetted, merged, and then pruned—a process that workers with CCL and CSM both describe as “painstaking.”
Jeffrey Derico, content specialist with the Center for Church Leadership, even used the term “triangulate” to explain the process of determining what information to include (correct information about church names, physical and primary email addresses, phone numbers, and websites), and what to exclude (incorrect and outdated information).
“Two years ago, when we took over Christian Standard Media, we wanted our mission to be ‘leveraging the power that comes from our unity,’” said CSM publisher Jerry Harris. “It’s pretty hard to do that if we have no up-to-date database of who ‘we’ are. Having a digital platform for that data is just critical in today’s world.”
The goal, Derico said, is to “offer the most complete and accurate list of Christian churches and churches of Christ available anywhere.”
While some decisions about ChurchLink had not been made when this was written in late January, and Derico was on the cusp of devoting at least six solid weeks to the project, he is planning a database available at many websites. The database will live at ccchurchlink.com, but various faith-based nonprofits in our stream of the Restoration Movement will be invited to “provide a portal to the database” from their websites: Christian colleges, magazines, extension funds, missionary agencies, etc.
CCL and CSM websites that will likely offer access to the database include: the Center for Church Leadership (centerforchurchleadership.org), Christian Standard Media (www.christianstandardmedia.com), Christian Standard (christianstandard.com), and The Lookout (lookoutmag.com).
Churches will be invited—encouraged—to keep their information up-to-date, and there will be a system in place for doing so. Churches should also be able to provide additional information, such as service times and other helpful information.
“We want to create a system that compels people to keep the information accurate,” Derico said. “Come look over the database, and make sure your information is correct while you’re there.”
Derico said he envisions churches, ministers, and Christian nonprofits to seek out the information available in the free database.
“Ministers will use it because they are interested in finding good, reliable information about Christian churches in other cities for their people who are going on vacation . . . or for people sending their children to college.”
Additional database functionality, and the possibility of adding listings for other faith-based nonprofits in our movement, were still being discussed in late January. It’s likely some improvements will occur after initial launch.
“The partnership with CCL and CSM to create this incredibly important tool is a testimony to our mission,” Harris said. “It’s in our unity that we can accomplish things that we never could have done by ourselves.”
Derico said CCL and CSM have similar goals: connecting a rather disconnected collection of independent Christian churches and churches of Christ, while also equipping, encouraging, and sustaining those who are called into ministry.
The ChurchLink database should help move our churches and ministers forward toward that goal . . . together.
For the most recent updates about the database, go to ChristianStandard.com/updatable-database.
Jim Nieman serves as managing editor of Christian Standard.