Archive for 'Technology'

What Social Media Use Says About Us

Posted on 26. Feb, 2015 by .

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My wife is so smart.

A few weeks I wrote a post about how young people are currently using social media linking to an article written by a 19 year-old about how he and his friends use social media. The point of my email was to communicate how quickly people are shifting from one social media platform to another and if we hope to influence young leaders, we need to connect communicate where they are. They’re not using facebook and only some of them are on twitter. It’s an interesting topic to consider.

A few hours after my post published, my wife Sara called me and told me that I missed the point of the article.

What?

This is what I love about my wife. She makes me better and she doesn’t just tell me what I want to hear. She encouraged me to read the article again because there was a different message there entirely. She was right, I missed it and there’s some really good stuff there.

So, I encourage you to read this article if you haven’t already. Your 4th and 5th grade students will be here in just a few years. The SIGNIFICANT number of teenagers who serve in our ministries are here right now. How they are using social media tells us a lot about who they are, how they think and what they struggle with.… Read the rest

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Manage appointments without any assistance (Part 2)

Posted on 12. Feb, 2015 by .

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Yesterday I wrote about my new favorite resource, appointlet.com. I’ve used it for two very specific scheduling events and it has proven itself to be an indispensable tool for my ministry tool belt. The practical example I provided yesterday is not how I use appointlet, at least not yet. Where I’ve been sold on this application is using it to schedule a large number of people on a single day or two and it has worked like a charm. Here’s how appointlet made a stressful and tedious task simple.

Earlier this week, I wrote about our baptism process. One of the best things we now do with kids and students for baptism is require on video baptism interviews that we can show right before we baptize them. There’s no better way to set up a baptism and there’s no better gift to give to a family than a beautiful video of their child/student expressing their faith in a personal and sincere way.

However, making baptism interviews happen is no easy task. … Read the rest

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Manage appointments without any assistance (Part 1)

Posted on 11. Feb, 2015 by .

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Sometimes I wonder how much time is wasted simply setting up appointments. Here’s what a conversation thread can often look like:

Me – “Hey, I’d really like to connect with you tomorrow! I have time at 2:00 and 3:30. Which time best works for you?

Them – “I can do 2:00.”

Me – “So sorry. I didn’t hear back from you in time and someone else snatch that time. Can you do 3:30?”

Them – “No, I have to be at work at 4:00. Do you have anytime tomorrow?”

Me – “I’m off tomorrow, sorry. However, I do have time on Monday. I’m open most of the morning except for an appointment at 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM. Do you have time on Monday morning?”

You know how this goes, right? This conversation takes place over a period of two days and you’re tentatively holding a space open for someone even though you’re not entirely sure they’re going to be able to make it.

How much time do we waste scheduling meetings. Not everyone has an assistant. Even if you do have an assistant, it’s likely they don’t have the time to manage your schedule like this either.

It’s a good thing there are some great tools that take the pain out of scheduling.… Read the rest

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Are you up on your social media?

Posted on 04. Feb, 2015 by .

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Congratulations, you’re finally on facebook. Unfortunately, now that you’re settled, it’s time to move on to what’s next. Okay, I’m just kidding… sorta.

Just repeat after me:

I will not be that guy/girl
who’s still talking about myspace
when the rest of the planet is using facebook

 Don’t be that guy, right? Here’s what you need to know. … Read the rest

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App of the Week: Google Drive

Posted on 17. Aug, 2014 by .

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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

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App of the week: Cluster

Posted on 03. Aug, 2014 by .

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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

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App of the Week: Cash

Posted on 28. May, 2014 by .

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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:

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A new check-in comes to town

Posted on 09. Apr, 2014 by .

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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.

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App of the Week: If This Then That

Posted on 23. Feb, 2014 by .

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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.

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Password Hack: Recover Passwords on your Mac

Posted on 21. Feb, 2014 by .

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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:

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