Month: August 2012

iPad Check-In

Two years ago, we experimented with using iPad for check-in. It worked well, but  it didn’t seem like it’s something that would work every week. Fellowship One, the software we use for check-in, doesn’t have a mobile app, so to make it work on an iPad requires being creative. Two years ago, we used a remote desktop client that essentially allowed the iPad to take control of a check-in station. Having the iPad didn’t “add” a check-in station, but essentially replaced one. This is the time of the year when our crowds get pretty crazy, so we decided to...

Read More

App of the Week: Soocial

Okay, it’s not really an app. It’s a service… but it’s pretty cool.

I don’t know if you are like me, but I have multiple email account synced to my phone. Four to be exact. Now that I live in the smart phone era of the 21st century, I host all my contacts though my gmail account. No more contacts living only on my phone so that when the phone dies or I get a new phone, I have to worry about contacts that are on my phone. However, I have four gmail/google apps account synced to my phone. There have been times when I’m on my phone and I can’t find one of my contacts. I know I have their email address, but its not in my phone contacts? Why, because my contacts with my phone syncs to the contacts of one of my gmail accounts, but the contact I want is in the contacts of another google account. Frustrating!

Read More

Criticism is your friend

We all like a pat on the back, don’t we? When someone has something negative to say, most of us get an uneasy feeling in our gut. Upon hearing criticism, our thoughts immediately go to all the reasons why something is the way it is either because it is the truth or because we aren’t comfortable in the critical position. Out of a innate need for self-preservation, we avoid criticism like the plague. Most of us don’t willingly send out evaluations for personal reflection or invite people into a conversation beginning with, “What do I do that you hate?”

I think it’s really important for us to remember that criticism is our friend. We must not forget, we are biased individuals who are in love with ourselves and the way we do things. Criticism is just about the only honest way we’re going to get better and one of the best ways to utilize the amazing power of criticism is the systematize it. Send out a survey to first time visitors every Monday morning asking for feedback. Send an evaluation to families after events or classes like child dedication or baptism. Have leaders evaluate services/messages each week so your staff and planning team can know how to make improvements. I think its amazing how most of us continue to do the same things year after year without asking the question, “So, how are we doing?”

Read More

What motivates us

A good friend forwarded the following video. It was very intriguing. I encourage you to watch the full ten minutes. The ideas have implications on how we “reward or don’t reward” kids or volunteers. I’m not sure why, but we are always super quick to offer treats and rewards for specific behaviors. It’s like we’re all wired to do it. However, is it possible that rewards are harmful? According the this research, yes they can be. According to the research, rewards given for tasks that only involve mechanical skills (no higher thinking or creativity) increase productivity. The more the reward, the higher the productivity. However, any taks that involved even rudimentary cognitive skill, the higher the reward, the lower the performance. If this research is true, rewards don’t produce the outcome you want for tasks that require thinking.

They found that if you don’t pay people enough, they won’t be motivated. But, if you can pay them enough to take the issue of money off the table, they are motivated entirely by three different factors:

When I watched this video, I immediately thought of high level volunteers who give a lot to our ministries. I’m amazed by the people who give 10, 20 or more hours a week in serving in ministry as a volunteer.

Read More

Gmail hack: Scheduled emails

I love Gmail. I’ve been using it for almost a decade. I remember getting an invite from a buddy because it wasn’t public yet. In the years previous, I had to switch my email every 3-4 years because the spam would get so bad, it was easier to start over. Hotmail first, then Yahoo. In the 8-9 years of using Gmail, I’ve never had an issue with spam. Thank you Google. Gmail isn’t perfect though. It does have it’s shortcomings and is lacking certain functionality. One of which is the ability to schedule emails or even the ability to...

Read More

Doing Church Strategically

The High School serving trip to Branson I wrote about last week and the strategic view of a spiritual path of lost to leading has had me thinking quite a bit lately. Gateway Branson is crazy focused on reaching the homeless and working poor in Branson. Currently, they are working with about 20 hotels, serving meals to 700 or so people every week. They know that there are about 400-600 more that they need to provide meals for and they’re working hard to get the resources to do this.

Here’s what I love about this model of ministry. They have a hyper specific target, the poor and homeless. They know how many they are. They know where they live. They are actively pursuing ministry to their target. Probably within the next couple of years, they will have a significant presence that saturates their target. I think that success for them is probably where everyone in any one of those hotels feels loved and cared for by Gateway Branson. When that kind of environment is created, people will experience the life and freedom that only comes through Jesus. I’m sure their work will never be done, but with this very strategic target, you could almost set a deadline for “completion.” X Number of meals a week, X number of events at each hotel each month and X number of small groups/recovery groups at each hotel. I love that kind of strategy.

Last night I experienced the same kind of excitement about Gateway Austin.

Read More

Spiritual Path: Lost to Leading

On Tuesday, I wrote a blog post about Gateway Branson, one of my church’s networks that we took 30+ students to serve last week. The way ministry is happening there seems to have struck a chord. It’s so different, but it seems so right… like church in it’s purest form.

Gateway Branson actually started as a non-profit ministry that fed the homeless and working poor. That was and continues to be the mission. People, but Christ followers and those who don’t follow Jesus connected with the ministry because they caught the vision. It wasn’t until a few years later that the ministry began streaming live services from Austin to both volunteers and the people they served. Church as we know it, where we sing a few songs, hear a good message and then grab lunch before the Baptists, isn’t really at the center of who Gateway Branson is. They exist to serve the homeless and the working poor. Everyone helps and serves. Many of the most faithful volunteers every week are homeless and working poor, serving other homeless and working poor. Many of these faithful servants, being the hands and feet of Jesus haven’t even actually put their faith in Jesus… yet. Hmmm, that’s kind of radical.

Read More

Recent Comments