Archive for November, 2011

Small changes can make a big difference

Posted on 30. Nov, 2011 by .

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Just a few hours ago this link came through my twitter feed. I’m glad I caught it when I did. It’s titled, “Googlie eyes give everything personality.” At first I thought it was talking about Google. Ha! I clicked on the post and just about laughed out loud.

There are only a few pictures, but it is amazing how a set of googlie eyes makes a por-a-potty urinal look lovable. Maybe that’s a stretch.

This fall I lead a breakout at Kidmin on Technology in Ministry and my main point was not just introducing a bunch of applications designed for ministry or talking about technology that needs to be created for ministry, but how existing technology can be tweaked for ministry. I shared that sometimes it’s just the smalled adjustment that changes everything. You’ll find yourself saying, I never even thought to use that tool to that.

This is true in other things as well. It’s called the Pareto Principle or Pareto’s Law. This is where 20% of effort produces 80% of the end product. This law is seen everywhere… even in church where usually somewhere around 20% of the congregation provides 80% of the money and 20% of people do 80% of the work.

Don’t under-estimate the 20%. As you walk through your ministry and see things that aren’t working or need an overhaul, chances are that you could make a minor tweak and see significant improvements right away. It may not be the end-all solution, but sometimes you have to let go of perfection and go with it until you have the time or resources to get it right.

Just like how googlie eyes can make a big difference, so can small changes and tweaks. When you walk around and inspect your ministry this weekend, look for more little things that pay big dividends.… Read the rest

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Animoto: Still one of my favorites

Posted on 30. Nov, 2011 by .

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Over the years you’ll see me post about various tech solutions for life and ministry. Some of these apps stick, others lose their luster over time. Back in 2008 I discovered Animoto, a slideshow application and fell in love. Of many of the things I find, Animoto has remained one of my absolute favorite tools. I know that there are many who read this blog who didn’t back in 2008, so I thought I’d visit this little app again and talk about what else it does as well.

When Animoto frist came out, it was an intelligent and simple slideshow creator. You simply upload photos and music and it would create a randomly generated slideshow using amazing transitions that seem to just move with the music. Well, over the years they’ve made adjustments and you can also add video. So, you can turn photos and short video clips into an amazing presentation.

I use Animoto for every child dedication, for many of our baptisms, and promos for many of our events as well as for personal family slideshows and video clips. Below are several videos I’ve made so you can see for yourself.

The great part about Animoto is that it’s so inexpensive. For the dedications, I’ll pay an extra $5 to export the high rez video and it’s absolutely brilliant. Now you even have HD options, which I haven’t tried yet.

Bottom line. For a lot of your video stuff, you don’t need to spend hours learning how to use iMovie or other programs. You’ll save a lot of money… and a lot more time using Animoto to do what you need… and it will probably look better than anything you’ll put together yourself (unless you’re really good and have spent a lot of time learning the tools).

To check out and start using Animoto, click here!… Read the rest

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Your ministry needs an app!

Posted on 29. Nov, 2011 by .

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My friend Matt McKee just announced something incredible. It’s called 1000 apps for Christmas. His company, ROAR, is offering 1000 free apps in the next 30 days. That means if you want an app for your ministry, they’ll build it for you for free. All you’ll pay for is the hosting. This is an incredible deal. I’ve seen places where you can get apps for cheap, but in most cases, you get what you pay for. ROAR is different. They build quality apps that are fast, stable and current technology. So, if you’ve been thinking about getting an app for that ministry or program… now’s the time!

Click here to get your app!

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Angry Birds like you’ve never seen it!!!

Posted on 29. Nov, 2011 by .

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I don’t really know if this is real or not, but one of my Children’s Pastors here at Gateway shared this video with me. It’s part of a T-Mobile commercial. I don’t have cable, so I wouldn’t know if the rest of the world has seen it already.

Yesterday I posted how we played Angry Birds at Illuminate and it was pretty incredible. However, what is shown in this commercial is mind boggling. My initial inclination is to think that this was a lot of fancy editing and staged effects, but it’s not so far out there to think that someone couldn’t build this. Could you imagine offering this experience for your kids or students? Amazing!… Read the rest

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Vision amnesia

Posted on 29. Nov, 2011 by .

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Is it just me, or have you ever stepped out of the shower and then wonder if you remembered to wash your hair? Sometimes I really can’t remember, so I jump back in again and wash it just in case. Don’t you hate it when you walk into the kitchen and as soon as you get there, you forgot why you went there in the first place. Usually, you don’t remember until you are comfortable on the couch again. We’re not stupid people, we just have an amazing capacity for so many thoughts, ideas and tasks that sometimes things get buried in all of that. Sometimes, the things that get buried are important.

Yesterday I spoke about how we often get so focused on our work that we can’t see the forest from the trees. We lose site of the vision. This happens even more so for those who work for us. Staff and volunteers sometimes see less of the whole picture than we do and sometimes the individual ministry that they’re seeking to fulfill is their big picture. This is why it is so important for ministry leaders to recast the vision on a regular basis. Not only does this keep the vision fresh for us, it gives the rest of the staff a fresh picture of how everyone is working toward a common cause. I don’t have to tell you how easy it is to get mad at another ministry area or staff person because their actions are in conflict with what we’re trying to do. However, in light of the vision, it may just be a simple misunderstanding.

I’ve been on staff where the attitude toward some changes were toxic. The attitude was so rotten because people were more focused on how the change would affect them, not on how the change might help them better achieve a grand vision.… Read the rest

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Let it fly!

Posted on 29. Nov, 2011 by .

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A few weeks ago, our internet campus pastor spoke to the High School students. He was talking about Peter and how he was a man who took some great risks. It was a pretty simple message, but there was an illustration that really resonated with me concerning a fear of taking risks.

He talked about how his son (when he was young) had a great bouncy ball. He would lean over the upstairs railing and bounce his ball from floor to ceiling trying to get as much bounce as he could. Later that day, the two of them went to pick up his sister from school. The young boy got out of the car where there was this great huge paved area. With a wide open sky and a huge pad of hard spaces to bounce, this may have been the perfect environment to “bounce.” However, the boy cautiously bounced the ball no higher than his waist, carefully making sure not to loose the ball. Sure, this space would be perfect for letting it fly, but if the ball hit a crack or some other object, it could ricochet off in another direction and be lost. As he told that story, I saw myself in exactly that same way. I probably still wouldn’t let it fly, because I wouldn’t want to lose the bouncy ball. At graduation, I only threw my cap up a few inches… because I didn’t want to lose it. Caution. Fear. Protection.

Vince passed out bouncy balls to most of the students and encouraged them to let them fly. He said, “I want to walk though the church courtyard later this week and find some of these bouncy balls under a bush or in a crack under the stairs, which is evidence that someone let it fly with little concern of holding on to it.”

Since that talk, I’ve been thinking about where I’ve played it safe.… Read the rest

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How important is vision?

Posted on 28. Nov, 2011 by .

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I’ve been thinking quite a bit about vision lately. A couple months ago I heard an interesting story. I don’t remember who told it to me, so I can’t confirm it’s validity. However, I was told about a church that was given a significant financial gift. When I say significant, I mean in the multiple millions of dollars. How amazing, right? What a blessing! Unfortunately, it wasn’t for this church. Within a couple of years, the church was defunct, no longer in existence. Why? Because leadership didn’t know what to do with the money and fighting tore the church apart until nothing was left.

I don’t know the details of this particular situation, but if I had to guess, they had a vision problem. Either they didn’t have one, or it wasn’t nearly big enough. At least it wasn’t a million dollar vision. In the case of this church, a lack of vision was fatal.

It seems to me that a ministry with a God-sized vision would know exactly what to do with a gift of any size. That way a substantial gift would immediately be applied toward the vision… no questions asked, right? I believe that God calls us to things that are far bigger than we could ever do just on our own. Maybe that’s because he wants us to truly depend on him… keeping us humble.

I get it though. We’re so busy that we loose track of the vision. We can’t see the forest from the trees. That’s normal and natural. However, I think that it’s healthy for us to take a step back from time to time and refresh ourselves with the God-sized vision he’s called us to. Maybe for you it’s reading back through your journal. For others, it might be enjoying a lunch with fellow staff and dreaming about all the “what ifs” and “what should bes.” These exercises are critical to keeping the vision in front of us.… Read the rest

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Angry Birds: LIVE!

Posted on 28. Nov, 2011 by .

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I was going to not say anything about this until a few months from now in case we choose to play this in Nashville, but I’m starting to see several other posts about playing Angry Birds in Kidmin. I figured I might as well share my recent Angry Birds experience with you.

First of all, I’ll give credit where credit is due. I take no responsibility for incorporating Angry Birds into one of our General Sessions at Illuminate. My staff really wanted to do it and honestly, I discouraged it. It looked expensive and like a lot of work (and we didn’t have the money or the time). However, they insisted and they pulled it off (now I’m glad they did). Secondly, they didn’t come up with the live version of Angry Birds either. Corey, my Kid’s Pastor at Gateway’s South Campus came across the Shine Middles School site with great video and PDF instructions on creating the game.

When I saw what they put together, I was blown away. The birds looked incredible and when we started playing the angry birds music on stage, people went wild. We had no problem finding volunteers to play.

Below are some pictures of our version of Angry Birds. I’ve also included a link to Shine and their stuff (as well as a great video).

Shine’s website
Angry Bird Instructions

Also, here is another post of a different version of Angry Birds you can create for your Kidmin.… Read the rest

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Searching for the perfect check-in kiosks

Posted on 28. Nov, 2011 by .

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I’m on a search for new check-in kiosks. A few months ago, we permanently moved our Middle School program to an are we call the Garage which is a great environment for the teens. To accomodate check-in, I just brought in two of the stations we weren’t using for kids. They’re nice looking kiosks (we use them all over the campus), but they have a serious design flaw. They’re made of laminated particle board. We just wheel them in and out of the Garage every Sunday, but going over the door frame and caused one of them to cave in already (another design flaw I’ve found… but I won’t go into details). So, I’m looking for new kiosks for the teens that looks good and is a little more rugged.

So, first of all, if you have some great check-in kiosk you’ve found, let me know. I’m still open to new ideas. Maybe you’re in the same places as me, so I’m going to share a few ideas of what I’ve found out there already. Lastly, I’m going to link to what I’m probably going to pick up at the end of the week, but my mind could be changed if someone lets me know of a better option.

Cornerstone Cabinetry

I wrote about these guys a few years ago. I think that they are associated with Granger Church in IN. We bought 3 of them at a past church I worked at and these were FANTASTIC. However, they we’re really expensive. Honestly, you get what you pay for. They were well made, they looked great and they were going to last a really long time. Read my post about them here. Visit their site here.

Build it Yourself Plans

Literally last week, I saw a tweet from James over at Help I’m A Children’s Pastor.… Read the rest

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Introducing Genevieve Pearl

Posted on 21. Nov, 2011 by .

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Totally unexpected, Genevieve came to meet us yesterday afternoon at 6:21 PM on 11/20/2011. Although her heartbeat and position was good, the doctors were concerned about her lack of movement and the low levels of amniotic fluid. We were in a gray area where we had a choice to move forward with a regular delivery where there were a lot of unknowns on how the baby was going to do with a lengthy process or just schedule a c-section where we could get her out quickly and avoid any potential complications. We’ve fought too hard for this little girl, so we opted for the c-section.

She was born at 6:21 PM at 6 pounds and 6 ounces and 19.25 inches long. He has a full head of dark hair and looks amazingly similar to Titus when he was a newborn.

Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us through facebook, twitter and text message congratulations. We look forward to introducing her to all of you soon! Enjoy the pictures below!

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