Archive for 'Technology'

App of the Week: Google Drive

Posted on 17. Aug, 2014 by .

0

The app I’d like to introduce to you this week isn’t a new app, but over the years it has been nicely developed and has become more and more useful as time goes by. Quite simply, it’s the Google Drive app for the iPhone (I don’t have an android device, so I’m sure it works as well or better on one of those devices).

Several years ago, my entire team (and most of the church staff) converted to google docs/drive for word documents and spreadsheets. We created an official “NextGen” shared drive and virtually every file we create lives in this drive. It’s essentially like having a corporate server without the need for being on the church network or having to hassle with a VPN when offsite. Our team has adapted well and so everything is there.

The Google Drive app for the phone is amazingly convenient. Since EVERYTHING is in our Google Drive, accessing any document or spreadsheet is super easy. I can search any document or easily browse through all of our folders to find the document I’m looking for.

From the app, I can quickly view, share or print any file. Here’s what makes this app perfect:… Read the rest

Continue Reading

App of the week: Cluster

Posted on 03. Aug, 2014 by .

2

There are times when you find ¬†great app and it feels great. Then there are days when you find an app that is a game changer, and you can’t stop talking about it. Now it’s my turn to tell you about it. If you’re a ministry leader who ever hosts events, trips or special programs at your church, this app could become indispensable.

Earlier this summer, we were preparing to send off over 150 kids, teenagers and adults on summer mission projects. Our problem was that last year, we didn’t get a lot of great photos from the trip. All the leaders took lots of photos on their phones, but once the trip is over, getting the photos is very challenging. A few weeks before the trip, I tasked one of my staff to write up instructions for sharing photos to a dropbox folder that could be shared with all the leaders. I wasn’t a huge fan, but it seemed like the best option. I LOVE dropbox, but getting people who don’t use it would take a bit of explaining and there were several steps involved. Then we found Cluster and it changed everything. … Read the rest

Continue Reading

App of the Week: Cash

Posted on 28. May, 2014 by .

0
One of the most useful apps I've encountered lately has been the new Cash App from the makers of square. You know square, the people who made it super easy to take credit card payments over your iPhone or iPad. They've changed the landscape for small businesses, regular people who need to take credit card as payment as well as church bookstores or walk-up registration situations. Their new app "cash" has made digital payment among people you know easier than ever. I'm like a lot of people now days, I just don't carry much cash on me... and I usually only write checks a few times a year. It's nice to have extra payment options as it's not always convenient to have to run to the bank to pay a friend back. Here's how cash works:

Continue Reading

A new check-in comes to town

Posted on 09. Apr, 2014 by .

1
Last night someone sent me a link to the video posted below. I had no idea this was coming, but I'm very excited about it. Planning Center Online, the creators of the absolute best service planning software has just launched check-in software. Honestly, I wasn't expecting this but I think that this could be a game changer. I found Planning Center Online shortly after it came out. I personally didn't have a need for it as I wasn't planning services in a way that the software would help me. However, I was intrigued by how it scheduled volunteers. I exchanged emails with one of the developers making suggestions on how this software could be modified to help manage volunteers in a Children's Ministry context. At that point, it assumed that the same set of volunteers would serve for multiple services on a weekend. Since then they have modified their software to allow you to schedule volunteers for multiple services with an "evite" type feel.

Continue Reading

App of the Week: If This Then That

Posted on 23. Feb, 2014 by .

0
You might have heard of IFTTT, it's not really that new. Someone told me about this crazy new app/website nearly two years ago and I started using it a little over a year ago for simple things and I'm simply just amazed by what it can do. It's only limited by your imagination and creativity. I recently came across a few new formulas that have saved me time, so I thought I'd share these with you. If This Then That was first a website, but also comes as a very functional app. It's slogan is "putting the internet to work for you. Essentially, the website/app contains dozens of channels like gmail, dropbox, facebook, twitter, Instagram and many other apps/services you know and don't know. With these channels, you create formulas. Trust me, it's way easier than it sounds. Actually, you can browse hundreds of other people's formulas and simply copy or modify them to fit your own needs. Here are a couple of the formulas I've been using for a while.

Continue Reading

Password Hack: Recover Passwords on your Mac

Posted on 21. Feb, 2014 by .

0
Tell me if you've ever had this happen. You're at a family member's house and their internet is locked down with a wifi password. You have access on your computer but someone else needs it and the person who knows the password isn't there. It's not like this happens all the time, but it's happened often enough for me to be frustrated. Just a few weeks ago I was at a church for a conference. I had access on my computer from the previous year. I was trying to take care of email on my phone, but cell service in the part of the building I was in was non-existent. I needed access to the wifi on my phone, but no one was around who knew it. Good thing I'd learned how to recover a previously entered password on my computer. Here's how:

Continue Reading

Using audio to enhance environments

Posted on 03. Oct, 2013 by .

1
Earlier this week I wrote about using TV's in lobby spaces to communicate and to create a better environment... because environments matter. I got a couple of good ideas to run with, I'm still seeking some more solutions though. However, I need to move on to the next topic. Audio in your environment. We do have a CD player in our main lobby that we use to play music of speakers in the ceiling which is great. However, it's old tech. When the CD ends, the music stops and someone has to remember to start it over or change disks. How long have mp3 players been out? Trust me, I know it wouldn't be hard or cost much to swap out the CD player with an mp3 player, but I'm thinking bigger than that. Here's what I mean.

Continue Reading

Video displays in lobby space

Posted on 01. Oct, 2013 by .

4
Environments matter. Anyone who tells you otherwise... probably has a crappy environment. Ha! I couldn't resist. I'm actually doing what I can to improve our current environments. Last year we were hoping to do a 1-1.5 million dollar remodel, but things didn't play out the way we wanted to. I had a little extra money I didn't use on some staff positions, so I'm doing some work on our environments because they are in need of attention. Our building is 8 years old and it's starting to look a little tired. I'll write more about some of the things we've done later, but I had to throw a question out to the audience. I'm in need of some help from those who have some experience in this area. I had a good friend come visit last may and I asked him for an honest evaluation. Standing in the middle of my ministry lobby he spread his arms around indicating his surroundings and said, "You live in a high tech digital city, yet you're doing ministry in an analog building." Wow, so true. So many at our church work at Dell, Apple, Google and about every other tech start-up you can imagine. It seems that if that is a part of our audience, a somewhat digital environment would appeal to this part of our community. So, I'm 5-6 months out from this project, but I'm trying to do the research now.

Continue Reading

Emerging tech: Chromecast

Posted on 26. Aug, 2013 by .

0
It's been a crazy busy month, I totally missed the Chromecast announcement. Earlier this month, Google announced a new product called Chromecast. It's less than revolutionary, but there are several compelling reasons to keep your eye... or even purchase this little device. Let's be clear though, the Chromcast is no Apple TV. In it's current state, it will not replace your Apple TV. However, you might want one of these things for other reasons. Let's take a look at what it does.

Continue Reading

Barcode App Recomendations

Posted on 23. Aug, 2013 by .

0
Okay, in the next week or so, I'm going to write a little bit about moving to self check-in. For the past 4 years, I have been wanting to upgrade to self check-in at Gateway, but we've not had the resources to do it all at once. So, I've been working on it all summer and we're launching self check-in a week. We went the barcode route and started distributing them last week. Here's my big question though. Do any of you recommend a good barcode app for your smartphone? We spent a little extra money to get the nice barcode readers, like the ones they have at Starbucks and airports. It was important to me that we had another option for people who forgot to bring their barcode. The only app I know is the keyring app. It's a great app with lots of options, but a little more complicated than I'd like. I want to make it super simple for parents to create a digital copy of their assigned barcode. Keyring makes you walk through 2-3 steps I'd prefer to avoid for simplicity. So, does anyone know of a simple app that stores your barcodes for future scanning? Your help would be much appreciated!

Continue Reading