What is all this?

Ma-amad (English spelling) has an archaic meaning, something like "ministry" or "service." It's also quick and easy to type. This is a place where I collect and test software that can be used in the ministry of the Gospel, either by churches or by those called to serve them. For those who don't mind paying a small fee for the service that will help to offset my hosting expenses and time, I also host some of the same software on this web site for their use.

I am a Lutheran pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. These software projects began as ideas for improving my own efficiency and that of my parish. They have matured over time to the point where they are probably useful for others. If you subscribe to have something hosted here, it removes the necessity for you to install the hosted software to your own web site, and to maintain the installation. Everyone wins!

How do I get started?

A monthly subscription for a hosted application costs $2.25, which is billed automatically through a Paypal invoice sent to your email address. You may pay it securely through a Paypal account of your own, with a credit card, or any other way that Paypal supports. Since you receive invoices for the service, you also have something you can submit for reimbursement.

Invoices overdue by three months are subject to having the subscription cancelled and the installation deleted. That means all you have to do to quit your subscription is stop paying the invoices. On the other hand, if you want to try the software for up to three months before compensating me for my time and supporting my expenses, you can do so.

Service Planner

Pastors need a system for planning church services that can contain enough information in one place to assemble the parts of the service. The parts include the rite that will be used with any modifications, as well as the propers for the particular day. It can include the sermon text and even the sermon itself. It certainly includes the hymns. It would help greatly to have the system be aware of the church year and capable of finding the propers on its own, and yet configurable enough so that alternative propers may be used. It would also be helpful to archive past service plans indefinitely either for reuse or for reference.

Organists, altar guild, ushers, and other contributors to a service need a way to see the plans for upcoming services and organize themselves according to those plans. It can include a schedule for taking turns serving, or special notes that the pastor may find useful.

All of these collaborators need to be able to work together in a way that is

The Ma-amad Service Planner is designed to fit these needs.

A limited comparison of capabilities:

Ma-amadPaperMS Office
Can contain your service plansYes
Can contain your sermon plansYes
Modifiable from any web browser, anywhereYesNo
Automatically published for access by othersYesNo
Helps to coordinate service contributorsYesNo
Automatically finds lectionary daysYesNo
Reminds last use of hymn choicesYesNo
Special support for block plansYesNo
Automatically shows lesson textsYesNo
Comes with technical supportYesNo
Includes sortable hymnbook cross-referenceYesNo
Can integrate into your existing web siteEasilyWith lots of work
Lists Reverse-chronological past OR Chronological futureYesNo
Integrates Custom/Other LectionariesYesWhat?No
Includes Hymnary propersYesNo
Forum to request new featuresYesNo
Proceeds benefit a Lutheran elementary schoolYesNo

Noted Features

The Ma-amad service planner provides a web-based solution for planning church services, and is optimized for the Lutheran tradition as found especially in the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary.

For the convenience of pastors and service planners

Pastors no longer have to send their hymns or other service info to organists and others. You can do your planning in a web browser. As soon as you finish, the service is immediately available to your organists, etc. through their own web browser.

For the convenience of organists and other service contributors

There are many more features, too many to list here.

Video Tutorials

Introduction to All Parts

How to Add a Service

How an Organist Can Show Availability For a Service

How to Use a Reminder Message

Status and Support

If you think you have found a bug, or if you have a suggested improvement, please contact me. The best way may be through the Ma-amad Google group, where you may also find support from other users of this software.

Subscription for Hosted Service Planner

Subscribe to a service planner by clicking on this painfully-obvious, glossy button:

If you wish to install the service planner to your own web site, you may do so. In fact, you may also customize it to your heart's content. You can see and download the code from the public Git repository. The only catch is that if you distribute the service planner or make it available for download in a modified form, you are also required to make the source code of your changes available. That's what "open source" means. Your improvements may be incorporated back into the Ma-amad Service Planner.

Flexical: an Online, Month-printable Calendar

This is actually an older project than the service planner, but it's not as near to being ready for public deployment. The author has been using it for over a decade, as it has slowly developed to its present form. You can see it in action at the web site for Bethany and Concordia and for Columbia Lutheran School.

Unlike the Service Planner, the calendar shares a niche with many other choices, including very slick ones from the likes of Google and Yahoo!, not to mention desktop applications in practically every operating system. The difference with Flexical is simply that you can access it from any web browser, and it can be printed in a nice, traditional, landscape-oriented calendar for church members who may have resisted the Internet so far. Not even Google's online calendar can do that, though there are desktop applications that do. In the author's opinion, Flexical does it better, though the quality of printing varies widely from one web browser to another. This is due to deficiencies in particular browsers, not in Flexical. (Google Chrome's printing support is the best at this writing.) Flexical started as a fork of another person's project called PHPEventCalendar.

Once the first public release of the service planner has debuted, and hopefully there are some hosted installations on this web site helping to defray the cost, I hope to prepare a similar public release of Flexical. In the meantime, the code is already available for anyone who wants to install it themselves, at this public Git repository.

Church Database

There are expensive solutions in this domain. This one is free. Built upon the database component of OpenOffice/LibreOffice called Base, this database is really a work-in-progress. It was once implemented as a database-driven web site. Though it worked well for me, it was not an easy thing for other people to install and learn. Now it is reimplemented in Base, which is freely available on multiple computing platforms. All that is needed to install it is to install OpenOffice or LibreOffice with its Base component, and open the database file provided in the archived folder. To use it, you will begin by entering data using one of several Forms you can open. Eventually, there will also be reports that allow you to present various data and the results of processing it.

Church Database stores the usual vital statistics that churches record about individuals and families in a relational database that can be backed up by copying a collection of files.

Download Church Database from here: There may be updates that haven't been published to this link yet, so if you try it and find it lacking some feature you'd like, feel free to contact the author about getting the latest version.