Archive for August, 2010

Innovative use of technology for a conference

Posted on 31. Aug, 2010 by .

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As I posted earlier today, we held an annual Church Leadership Weekend at our church. For the last several years, we simply gather 400-500 of our leadership core in the auditorium for vision, worship and prayer. However, someone had the brilliant idea to try something really creative.

Rather than assemble the masses at the church on Friday evening for dinner and opening sessions, we decided to distribute the meetings around the city. Close to 30 leaders opened up their homes to host the opening session in their houses. People came to houses where they had relationship already or some people came to specific houses because the house was close to where they lived. Most of the houses were pot luck dinners, so the food and fellowship was amazing. Every house connected a laptop or computer to a large screen TV or projector and connected to our church’s live stream. During dinner, music was playing and occasionally our internet campus pastor would come online and give updates on when programing would start.

To connect everyone together with what was going on in the larger context of the city-wide gatherings, people were submitting photos of the groups at their houses as well as funny pictures of celebrity look-alikes. At a specific time, the live feed came online and our internet campus pastor and co-host welcomed everyone with funny dialogue and color commentary of the pictures submitted of home gatherings as well as celebrity look-alikes. It was a lot of fun.

Following this stuff, one of our teaching pastors kicked off the first session with a 15-20 minute message about what the weekend was to be about, where we are as a church and hints of where we are headed. I was absolutely amazed by how powerful it was. Around the crowded living room, 32 people were engaged in what was being said on the TV, being delivered live through the internet feed.… Read the rest

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Creative way to get touch screens without buying touch screens

Posted on 31. Aug, 2010 by .

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So I’m excited about this little piece of technology. We currently use Fellowship One for check-in, but we’re only using it as assisted check-in. I want to move toward self check-in stations, but I only have one touch screen. I know that you don’t have to use touch screens, but let’s face it, it’s a better experience. I know that there may be others in a similar situation. You have a lot of monitors already, but you want to move to touch screens. Touch screens cost $500 each (let me know if you know of a better deal) and that’s cost prohibitive for most ministry budgets.

Then I came across Magic Touch, a little device that turns any monitor into a touch screen. It plugs into USB and then calibrates with your screen. I haven’t tested this yet, but I’ve got one on order. In a few weeks I’ll post a review and let you know how it works.

You can get more information on this device here. I actually bought it from here. Check out the video below for and idea of what it looks like. However… although this piece of equipment is pretty innovative and new… the video looks like it was made in the 80’s.

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Your Sunday morning playlist: Welcome Music

Posted on 31. Aug, 2010 by .

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Music is a powerful tool. It has a powerful affect on environment. I remember walking through UpStreet Kids at North Point Church for the first time a few years ago on a Sunday morning and they had High School Musical booming loud through the hallways. Upstreet had a great decor, but the music literally put a little extra bounce in my step. Amazing how it affected me.

So, what music are you playing in your environments as the kids are coming in? Do you play music in your lobbies or hallways? If so, what is on your playlist?… Read the rest

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Leadership Weekend Review

Posted on 31. Aug, 2010 by .

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This weekend was Gateway’s annual Leadership Weekend. Every year it’s a Friday night and most of the day Saturday event where the core of the church comes to worship together, pray, be challenged and hear the vision for the upcoming year and engage in how God is leading us. This was my third such event at Gateway, and it was absolutely phenomenal. This year we laid out some pretty major challenges for the leaders of Gateway. The staff has been in an organizational restructuring for the last 6 months and the full plan of why we restructured and what the new structure is setting us up to do was revealed. It was met with excitement and zeal. The energy surrounding this weekend was absolutely contagious.

What’s really exciting is to see all the progress. I remember sitting in an off site meeting with our directional team a little over a year ago as we got stuck while talking through some issues. It was during this frustrating meeting where some ideas were brought up for the first time that led to where we’re headed right now. I also remember sitting in another overnight off site last Fall when early ideas were presented to the group, ideas that might address problems we were facing as an organization. Many people have prayed, fasted, discussed and strategized for thousands of hours to come up with what was presented this weekend. I’m totally excited about where we are heading as a body and it was thrilling to see the buy in.… Read the rest

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I need help with a report

Posted on 30. Aug, 2010 by .

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Okay, I’m crowdsourcing a problem I’ve run into. I found the PERFECT volunteer report for Fellowship One. We check all of our volunteers in every Sunday. We keep up with our volunteers as well. If one drops out, we make their ministry assignment inactive. This way, I can run a report and pull up the names of only those who are active. Likewise, I can pull the same report of those who are inactive to see who isn’t serving anymore.

As PERFECT as this report is, it’s got one little problem. Actually, it’s big enough to make it report frustrating. I’ve sent in a request to have this enhanced, but I’m hoping that someone out there can help me before I hear back from the fine folks at Fellowship Tech. So, I figure that one of three people could help me out. If you’re one of these three types of people, then read on. If you’re not, then feel free to move along unless this just sounds absolutely intriguing.

  • You work for Fellowship Tech and you’d like to have mercy on me and pass my request to the front of the line to have it fixed before the end of the day. (Hey, it’s worth a shot, right?)
  • You’re a Fellowship One ninja and know of another report that will get me the same information (or enough to satisfy my needs).
  • You’re an Excel genius that can help me extract the information I need that is already in the report, just not in a convenient way to access.

So, I’m betting that at least one of you three are reading this post and are going to have a solution for me. Here we go:

The report is M3739E. It’s a fantastic report that spits out the names, addresses and communication information of all active or inactive volunteers for a ministry.… Read the rest

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-30

Posted on 30. Aug, 2010 by .

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Powered by Twitter ToolsRead the rest

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Do you know of any great Bible Songs?

Posted on 26. Aug, 2010 by .

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Okay, I’m going a little old school here. I’m looking for some really good “old-fashion” Bible Songs. Cheesy instrumentation is okay. Before you disown me and unsubscribe from this blog, let me explain… please. :)

Every night when I put Titus to bed, we read from his Bible and something that has been significant is singing together. For close to a month, we read the story of Joshua and Jericho because he really likes the song. I know that he’s learning the story and falling in love with his time in the Bible even more because he loves singing the songs. A few weeks later we started reading the story of Zacchaeus and he really likes that song as well. This week, we’ve been reading Daniel and the Lions Den, but I don’t know a song for that. However, I know that there are hundreds of simple Bible Songs and maybe there’s one about Daniel and the Lions Den.

So, do you know of a great resource for simple Bible Songs? Simple is okay, we just need to learn them some we can sing them during our Bible time. If the music is a little cooler and up-to-date, then that’s a bonus… but I’m not interested in techno or rap versions of these songs… my son is 3. :)Read the rest

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The social church database: what to watch out for

Posted on 25. Aug, 2010 by .

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If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Kids Pastor or somehow involved in the world of kidmin (although I know there are others as well… including my mom and other extended family). So, I need to throw you a serious line of caution. Don’t miss this… seriously.

When it comes to your role and what you’re responsible for, these social church database tools are the icing on the cake. I do believe that both tools (and those yet to come out) will enhance our ministry to our volunteers and better equip them to do their jobs. However, the people who are really going to get excited about these tools is everyone in your staff outside of the children’s ministry. Actually, they’re all going to go nuts, especially your pastor, small group pastors and the like. They’re going to be ready to make the switch yesterday. My word of caution for you is to hold the line.

We’ve actually been on the search for something like this for a few years now. Over two years ago we flirted with a company that allowed us to have a facebook-like experience that wasn’t very expensive, so we moved on it to check it out. They had plans to integrate (share the API) with a church database system so that all of it would fluidly talk together. The software turned out to be kind of crappy (totally not user friendly) and the church database system they were integrating with had some major deficiencies in areas that were essential to us as a church. So for them, it was a no-go. I wonder though, if this software we were looking at was as good (or better) than a facebook-like experience, would we have given in to the not-so-great church software and compromised? That’s where you might have to hold the line.… Read the rest

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The social church database: who is doing it?

Posted on 24. Aug, 2010 by .

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Yesterday I started a new series about the social church database. If you’re like me, you got excited about the possibilities. So, who is already doing this? How do I get more information?

I’m by no means an expert in this stuff, but I try to keep up-to-date with what’s out there. So here’s what I’ve learned these last few months.

The first instance I’ve seen of the social church database is The City. It’s gotten a lot of buzz the last few months, a connectivity tool developed at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Several big churches have moved to it and more are looking at it. I totally understand why… it’s beautiful. I’ve spent many hours on The City and it is what’s been missing. It’s a powerful tool to connect people to each other and to communicate information to the entire body in clear and concise ways. It’s a tool you don’t have to “lure” your people to use, but something they’ll want to use on a regular (if not daily basis). Seriously, The City is a bold step forward for connecting with the people who attend your church.

The second instance I’ve seen of the social church database is Fellowship One’s Table Project. I actually watched a demo last week and I’m equally excited about Fellowship Technologies solution to the social media problem. Where The City is an approach to a new database for your church, the Table Project is a tool that connects to your already existing Fellowship One database (assuming you already use Fellowship One… or plan to move to F1). The Table Project is an outside tool that has partnered with Fellowship One and seems to offer most of what the City does, just in different ways. I’m a big fan of Fellowship One and seeing this demo last week was very encouraging, something I’m really excited about.… Read the rest

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Using the iPad for check-in

Posted on 23. Aug, 2010 by .

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I’ll be the first to admit. Using the iPad for check-in was beyond cool. It’s funny how many of you commented and messaged me for more information about using the iPad for check in. A few weeks ago when I first wrote about the idea of using the iPad for check-in, that post got more hits than anything I’ve written in a long time. I think I know what it is. You really want and iPad, don’t you?

Ha! Well, here is what I posted a few weeks ago along with links and video. This is where it all started. :)

I wasn’t overly creative. I simply copied what they did. I downloaded WinAdmin on my iPad. From there, I ran into problems. When it comes to tech, gadgets and applications, I’m pretty knowledgeable. However, when it comes to networking and connectivity, I’m not your man. I was having network issues, so I had our IT guy get me hooked up. Because our wireless in our Kids lobby is a different network than the actual check-in machines, he had to set up the iPad for VPN. It gave him some trouble at first, but within a few minutes, that was working. He put all the server information in WinAdmin and within minutes, it was working perfectly. I really like the VPN feature which gives me a lot more options.

So this Sunday, we were looking for new 1st graders. We were doing something special for their promotion, so I was checking in families that had a first grader. We had a huge crowd on Sunday and having me on the iPad seemed to help with flow (even though one machine was down becasue that’s the computer I was logged into with the iPad). I was pretty busy, but it was fun and personal.… Read the rest

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