Month: August 2010

Innovative use of technology for a conference

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...

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Creative way to get touch screens without buying touch screens

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...

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Your Sunday morning playlist: Welcome Music

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...

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Leadership Weekend Review

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...

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I need help with a report

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...

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-30

CMO: #kidmin Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-23 # CMO: #kidmin The social church database: a new concept # CMO: #kidmin Using the iPad for check-in # dang! # Feeling a little sluggish this morning. Work kept up too late last night. # CMO: #kidmin The social church database: who is doing it? # CMO: #kidmin The social church database: what to watch out for # taking the kid for a ride. # CMO: #kidmin Do you know of any great Bible Songs? # Out with my nextgen team today doing research and gathering info about families in Austin. # @robpatterson cradle to college. Actually, our college stuff is very new and just starting up… I'm not over it, but connected to. in reply to robpatterson # @yancynotnancy hey, I've got a question for you about music… Can you send me your email address? in reply to yancynotnancy # Advance leadership weekend is live! Woo hoo! #adv10 # So excited about the coming era at Gateway!!! #adv10 # Kicking off a church leadership weekend in an unusual way. Hundreds decentralized in dozens of homes…. Streaming the content thru Internet # RT @chadswanzy: our next dance off… #adv10 ha! That was fast! # Powered by Twitter...

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Do you know of any great Bible Songs?

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....

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The social church database: what to watch out for

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...

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The social church database: who is doing it?

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...

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Using the iPad for check-in

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....

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