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TECHNOLOGY EMPOWERING MINISTRY www.ministrytech.com

June 2016

Volunteers How to effectively use them to create all the communications your church needs

>> KEEPING YOUR FAMILY SAFE THIS SUMMER >> BIBLE APP OR PAPER BIBLE: WHAT’S BEST FOR PERSONAL DEVOTIONS? >> CONFESSIONS OF AN ARROGANT MAN


CONTENTS

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Effectively Use 4 Volunteers For All Your Church CommunicationS While some needs can only be met by paid staff, your volunteers are a great source of help for other communication needs.

BIBLE APP OR PAPER BIBLE?

CONFESSIONS OF AN ARROGANT MAN

What’s Best for Personal Devotions?

How God used a debilitating disease to uncover a common leadership hangup in this man’s life.

Digital Bibles sometimes get a bad wrap for personal devotions. But, they don’t have to.

30 KEEPING YOUR FAMILY SAFE THIS SUMMER

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Your kids will likely spend more time on their mobile devices this summer than any other time of year. Here’s how to keep them safe.

Fashion vs. Function with CHMS Systems . . . . . . . . . 10 5 Reasons Why Your Church Needs to Prioritize Social Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 START-UP | Altimeter Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Sound Equipment Essentials for Portable Churches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Church Production: The Power of the Unseen . . . . . . . 28 2 | MinistryTech.com

THE ROLE OF CHURCH DATA (AND KEEPING IT SAFE AND SOUND)

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Data management systems enable you to keep up with the task of leading a church.


A Word from the editor Joey Tindell Editor Joey Tindell jtindell@outreach.com

Art Director Beth VanDyke bethvandyke.com

Contributing Editors Yvon Prehn Nick Nicholaou Russ McGuire Jonathan Smith Steven Sundermeier Kevin Purcell

Copy Editor Rachael Mitchell

Publisher

Outreach Inc. 5550 Tech Center Dr. Colorado Springs, CO 80919 (800) 991-6011 Ministry Tech® is a registered trademark of Outreach, Inc. Written materials submitted to Ministry Tech® Magazine become the property of Outreach, Inc. upon receipt and may not necessarily be returned. Ministry Tech® Magazine reserves the right to make any changes to materials submitted for publication that are deemed necessary for editorial purposes. The content of this publication may not be copied in any way, shape or form without the express permission of Outreach, Inc. Views expressed in the

Gone In 60 Seconds

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ou’re probably familiar with the Nicholas Cage, car theft movie Gone In 60 Seconds. This letter from the editor actually has nothing to do with that movie. But, stay with me here, it does pertain to the tile of said movie. Why, you ask? Consider this scenario . . . A new couple in their mid 30s moves to your city and are looking for a church to get plugged into. They get on Google maps and search for churches nearest where they live. They see your church pop up on the map and swipe on their phone to display your website. The moment they hit your church website, the clock is ticking. According to a Nielson Norman Group report, most web users give a site 59 seconds before moving on. Throw into the mix the fact that our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, and the challenge of keeping them on your site grows even more difficult.. Immediately, the couple perusing your church’s website begins making split-second decisions about whether or not they will visit.

Are they seeing photos of people in the same life stage as they are? They may be interested in getting plugged into a small group. Can they find that information easily? Sometimes in ministry, it’s easy to get into a bubble. If our technology makes sense to us, it must make sense to everyone, right? If our website is easy for us to navigate, it must be easy for everyone to navigate surely. But, this is the danger of the bubble. This week, try this. Do a roleplaying experiment in which you create scenarios for non-staff and non “techy” people in your congregation to navigate through your site. Give an assignment to find the service times and address, to find the “contact us” page, to find information about small groups . . . etc. Next, have them time themselves. If it takes longer than 60 seconds to get where they need to go, you may consider moving things around. Remember, the clock is ticking. (P.S. Yvon Prehn has written extensively on this topic both on MinistryTech and on effectivechurchcom.com. If you’d like to learn more, check out both resources.)

articles and reviews printed within are not necessarily the views of the editor, publisher, or employees of Ministry Tech® Magazine, or Outreach, Inc. © Copyright 2016 Outreach, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Joey Tindell is the Web Marketing Manager of ChurchLeaders.com and the Editor of MinistryTech Magazine. He has worked for several ministry-minded organizations including In Touch Ministries and The Rocket Company. You can reach him at jtindell@outreach.com. June 2016 | 3


COVER STORY

How to effectively use

Volunteers to create all the communications your church needs Yvon Prehn yvon@effectivechurchcom.com

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Every church has communication needs. And, while some needs can only be met by paid staff, your volunteers are a great source of help for other communication needs.

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ou need a team of communicators to get all the work done you need in any size of church. Some may be paid staff, some volunteers, or they might be all volunteers. Whenever I mention volunteers in my seminars there is a gasp and the spoken or unspoken fear expressed, “What if I can’t get them to do what I want them to do? What if volunteers create materials that are not appropriate or up to the quality we want for the church?” These are valid concerns and I’ve found that almost all of them can be answered if you divide your church communication team of staff and volunteers into two production levels.

The Two Production Levels of Effective Church Communications are: 1. The PR Communication Production Level 2. The Ministry Communication Production Level

It is important to understand these two levels in terms of: • The communications produced in each one • Who does the communications in each one • The guidelines and standards for each one

Important reminder of the need for multichannel communications Before we look at each level in detail, it is very important to keep in mind that the communications produced need to be produced in both print and digital formats. In this column, I talk about this a lot, but it serves us well to always remind ourselves that we live in a time of multichannel communications, of both/ and, not either/or and to reach all of the people in our congregations we need communications in all media formats. This is another reason why it is so important to have a communication TEAM. Each person on the team will have his or her favored communication methods, often

divided along the lines of whether they prefer print or digital media. Following that media preference that person is most likely the most skilled and comfortable working with that media channel. To reach all of the church and to have a harmonious communication team, it makes sense to have a variety of people who prefer and are good at the different media channels. With this foundation in mind, here are some suggestions on how to divide the communication tasks in the church:

PR Communication Production Level 1. Communications produced— Overall pieces that represent the church or ministry area, such as the logo, stationary, business cards, primary bulletin, newsletter, major outreach pieces and major ministry brochures; the primary church website and social media. In the case of a ministry within the church, the primary pieces and the pieces that interface with the church communications program overall would also be included. (Cont. on page 6)

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Remember, the Lord put us into a body in the church, in part so our gifts can help and build up each other. The Two Production Levels of Effective Church Communication gives you a way to practically live out this biblical reality. 2. Communications producer — Usually a staff person, whose job may or may not have other responsibilities. The larger the church, the more it is recommended that the church hire someone specifically to create and oversee communications. This could also be done by a volunteer who has the time and commitment to work closely with the church staff, or who is in charge of a ministry communications program within the church. In addition to being the primary producer of communications, this person should also be in charge of training staff or volunteers in the various ministry areas of the church so they can create the volume of materials that are needed to complete the communications needed. My website, http://www. effectivechurchcom.com has many resources that will help you do this. 3. Communications standards — Usually somewhat strict, as these pieces reflect the overall vision and reputation of the church or of a ministry within the church. Also, this is the level where the standards 6 | MinistryTech.com

are set for what is expected in all other communications. My recommendation past this first level (e.g. for the postcard that goes out to remind the guys of workday), to be pretty flexible. If you try to be too strict in areas other than key communications, people just won’t do them or they’ll do their own communication pieces and avoid the church office entirely.

Ministry Communication Production Level 1. Communications produced— Everything else in the church outside the communications listed above, from very simple notices, lessons, flyers and announcements to more complex communication projects. These are the many, many pieces that are needed within individual ministries of the church. Some that come to mind include: children’s, youth, women’s, men’s, missions, singles, etc. These ministries need communications done, but the church staff simply does not have time to do them. They may not get done if standards are too tight or the church staff is expected to do everything. As a

result events aren’t promoted or explained; and the overall ministry suffers. 2. Communications producers — THIS IS IMPORTANT: here a staff person or perhaps a key volunteer may oversee, train, encourage and help, but that person cannot do everything needed for a complete communications ministry in the church, nor should they. Ideally, every ministry in the church (children’s, youth, men’s, women’s, etc.) should have at least one person who can help do the communications needed for that ministry. Usually that person is a volunteer. At this level, the overall church ministry communications staff member (from the level above) becomes a coach and encourager. 3. Communications standards (much more flexible) —You do not need the same standards of design or perfection for a one-time postcard to remind the guys of the men’s breakfast that you do for the fourcolor, outreach brochure for the church. If you are too hard on volunteers,


they’ll quit. People do improve in communication creation skills with time, training, and encouragement and the ministry communication staff person needs to decide what is really important in standards and what picky personal preference is. Train to bring up to important standards and let the personal preference issues slide.

other. The Two Production Levels of Effective Church Communication gives you a way to practically live out this biblical reality and can enable your church to create all the communications needed to help your community come to know Jesus and your congregation to grow to mature disciples. MT For much more information on this

Remember, the Lord put us into a body in the church, in part so our gifts can help and build up each

topic and others related to church communications, please go to: http://www.effectivechurchcom.com

For more advice on church communications from Yvon Prehn in our constantly changing communication world, go to http://www.effectivechurchcom.com.

June 2016 | 7


Keeping Your Family SAFE this Summer by Jonathan Smith

Your kids will likely spend more time on their mobile devices this summer than any other time of year. Here’s how to keep them safe.

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ho doesn’t love summer time? The sunshine and warmer temperatures, the family vacations, the lack of school homework, and of course, an evening on the porch sipping a refreshing iced beverage. You’d think we would find ourselves outdoors more enjoying creation. Often times though the opposite is true and we end up spending more time looking at our screens during the summer than we do the rest of the year. Summer time can also be a cruel welcome to reality. As kids we look forward to summer time because school is out and we get to play. As adults we realize that summer time is

no different from any other time of the year—we still have to work and life goes on as normal. That makes it easy to use screens to keep our kids entertained during those long summer days. Fortunately, the good folks at Microsoft have built some pretty cool tools into the Windows operating system to make it easy for families to manage their screen time. While other software vendors also have family safety built into their products, Microsoft does it in a unique way that allows for native, remote control over your family’s computers without having to install or manage any additional software. Windows Family Safety is a


fantastic tool built right into all versions of Windows. Windows 10 has the most features available but Family Safety is still available all the way back to Windows 7. Using Windows Family Safety, you can set filters and block lists, control access time windows and set curfews, track device location, and even get a detailed report emailed to you about all activity taking place with the computer. Not only is Windows Family Safety a powerful tool, it is also easy to use and Microsoft has done a great job providing helpful documentation. All it takes is a few clicks and you will soon be monitoring all of the Windows devices in your family. One feature that sets Windows Family Safety apart from other filtering or block services that are built into some operating systems is that you can remote control the settings. Once setup on the computer, the parent can change settings remotely without having to touch the kid’s device. This allows mom and dad to control the device from anywhere. It also allows the child to request additional privileges and mom and dad to approve the request via email. The content rating and restriction tools are most effective. If you already have content filtering setup on your home network, Windows Family Safety works right along with it. Then when the child takes their device to a friend’s house or other location where the internet might not be filtered Windows Family Safety keeps doing its thing so you know wherever the device is the content is filtered and your time limits and

curfews will still be enforced. You can also set it up to send you a weekly activity report of each child’s activity. The report shows you which devices the child used, what they searched for on the internet, how long they used each app, the total amount of time they spent on the device, and any content that they attempted to access and was blocked. This is a tremendous accountability tool—especially when you see what they are searching for online. If the device is lost or stolen, you can also use Windows Family Safety to track the last known location of the device and disable it to protect your child’s personal information. The goal here is not to be oppressive but to use this tool to help teach them to live a godly life, both online and offline. As the child grows

and matures you can use Windows Family Safety to provide additional online privileges—Windows Family Safety works from the youngest of kids to the oldest of adults. It can even be used for adult accountability. All you need to get started is a Microsoft account, which you probably already have if you are a Windows user. Teaching responsibility with technology and providing accountability is made easier with Windows Family Safety. Visit https://account.microsoft.com/ family/about to learn more and get started and see if Windows Family Safety can help your family. MT Jonathan Smith is the Director of Technology at Faith Ministries in Lafayette, Indiana. You can reach Jonathan at jsmith@faithlafayette.org and also follow him on Twitter @JonathanESmith.

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Fashion vs. Function with CHMS Systems When it comes to CHMS systems, don’t be deceived by flashy marketing. by Jazmin Laskowski

I

was at Best Buy last week looking for headphones. I saw some name-brand earphones for forty dollars. They were stylish and cool— looked great aesthetically. But the quality of sound was as good as a ten dollar pair of knock-offs. Were they worth the extra thirty bucks just for the “stylish” and “cool?” Which is the better buy? It’s important to remember that a big name doesn’t always guarantee better quality. There may be databases out there that are popular because they have great branding, they know how to market their product, or they’ve been around a while. But the real question to ask is, what is the quality or value of the product? And what services are you actually getting for the amount of money you are spending? What we’ve found is that most people are looking for something that is user-friendly, easy to customize, and affordable. More than anything, you want simplicity. Something you can figure out and manage without needing to reference a user-manual. Simplicity is key. WCC-Lite provides you with the tools you need to design and handcraft your database to accommodate

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your specific church needs without sacrificing simplicity or functionality. Sometimes “pretty” or “popular” limits your ability to change or modify the standard 1-2-3 process set in place for you. But no one wants or has the time to learn a database that is not user-friendly and requires extensive training. WCC-Lite is extremely userfriendly and customizable-allowing you to set up what you want, how you want it. It is easy to learn, fully responsive, powerful and affordable. Our culture at WCC-Lite is also one of the things that sets us apart from other companies. We have a commitment to go above and beyond the call

of duty to make sure our clients are taken care of with utmost care and attention. While most businesses are primarily focused on financial gain, that is not our priority at WCC-Lite. We have created our software to be affordable in order to allow churches of all sizes to benefit from what we have to offer with price never being a hinderance. Our goal is to partner with the vision of our churches to help them in their mission of reaching

WCC-Lite is like a virtual personal assistant, making life easy and nearly stressfree for your staff—live check in your members, visitors, and children to any service or event in seconds.


and ministering effectively to more people. We believe in working to-gether as one body of Christ towards one mission of building the Kingdom. The Communication systems we have put in place make sure that people don’t fall through the cracks. Proper follow-up to members and visitors creates a healthy environ-ment for personal and community growth. Communications with your members via email and text is seamless and extremely convenient in WCC-Lite.. First, you can create static and dynamic groups to filter out the specific people in your database you want to communicate with, then send out bulk messages via email/ text immediately, or at a scheduled date of your choosing. Each email you send out can have your church logo, personalized email signature, and populate the first name of every person you are sending it to along with the day’s date. WCC-Lite allows you to make a lot of your communication and management of your members automatic. Create campaigns to automatically follow up with your first-time visitors, new members, new Christians, etc. Our Assimilations module is especially useful as it is the area in the database that helps ensure there is efficient follow-up with your people. You can generate personalized automated emails, texts and letters that are triggered by specific criteria you set up. These tools are vital to keeping a healthy church connected and thriving. If you are looking for a way to track member’s attendance and donations, your search is over. WCC-Lite -Lite makes it easy to track member activJune 2016 | 11


You may also:

WCC-Lite allows you to generate personalized automated emails, texts and letters that are triggered by specific criteria you set up—tools vital to keeping a healthy church connected.

u   Check in members with ease to the appropriate services, and the system will track and record their attendance within their member profile, and allow you to see service details and view and print reports. u  Manage recurring services and onetime events, and customize dates on your Church Calendar. u  Track service attendance, giving, and print detailed service reports. Live check in your members, visitors, and children, to any service. For child check-in, choose to automatically print off a name tag and a parent copy for child pick-up. u  Set up your ministries and sub

ity. Once you set it up, WCC-Lite does the work for you, making life for your staff easy, and nearly stress-free. Best of all, it frees up your staff to focus on the important stuff, leaving the little things to take care of themselves. We like to refer WCC-Lite as a “virtual personal assistant.” Our Donations area gives you the ability to track total giving, manage pledges, create pledge drives, view member giving, run reports, print statements, and offer online giving to your members! Our online giving integration is simple and quick. Your Givers may choose to do a one-time donation, or they may schedule multiple donations at one time to come out weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. Once an online donation is made, you are able to merge the Giving to the appropriate member so the system 12 | MinistryTech.com

keeps track of who gave what. Search for specific donations, funds, organizations, amounts, batches, payment methods, and specific dates, then edit, export, or print your results. Member profiles contain personal, contact, family and household information to help you manage your members with ease. You will find all tracked and recorded attendance, as well as ministry involvement, and notes. You also have the option to create custom fields within your member profiles so you have specific information you can filter by and search for within the member’s list. The member filters allow you to find exactly who you are looking for, and once you have your selected group of members, you can bulk email, text, export, assign to ministry, remove from ministry, update, or remove members from the database.

ministries, assign your leaders and add members to ministries within seconds. Email, Text, and Export within each ministry overview. In addition to the management side, we have recently launched our Member portal, which allows your members to access their Profile, Donations, and Check in to services and events from their mobile device. This will be very helpful for your active members to keep their personal information up-to-date, check in their children or themselves into a service/ event, and view and print out their own donation statements. Bottom line: If you’re looking for something functional that gives you the freedom to invent and customize a program that fits your church like a tailored suit, and still have the simplicity and speed of a ‘basic’ program, then you needn’t look further, my friend. Your search just ended with WCC-Lite. MT


The Role Of Church Data (And Keeping It Safe & Sound)

In today’s world of technology, churches and organizations have access to many valuable tools to help them

interact with their members, record contributions, and share information on the go. However, in order to get the most out of valuable resources such as these, you must maintain accurate and secure data in them.

Reliable searches and reports. Let’s say that in a few weeks your church is going to have a special event for the young married couples who attend, and you want to send

out invitations or announcements to these couples. In order to find out who these people are, you need to run a search or query. Using an up-to-date church management solution, you can search on marital status and age range, then send out a mass email or print out mailing labels to send out a letter about the event.

Accurate contact information. In addition to searches and reports, contact information is also key. If email addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses are not correct, your members will not receive contribution statements, newsletters, phone

calls, and other communication sent out from the church.

Filling in the gaps. The first question you probably have is, “How do I find out which records have missing information?” Just as you can use searches and queries to find out which records have certain information, you can use them to find out who doesn’t have certain information on their record. The next question you need an answer to is “Now that I know who these people are, what is the best way to get their missing information?” The method you use to obtain missing information will depend on what May 2016 | 13


software you use and what type of information is missing. Using a church management software like Realm, if you process a search for those missing birth dates, and the majority of these individuals have email addresses, you could send out a mass email requesting this information, then follow up with the others via a phone call or a letter. However, if the search you run is for those who don’t have email addresses on their record, you may want to send out letters or put an announcement in the bulletin requesting members to contact the church to update and verify their information. When you have up-to-date information on your members, your searches and reports will return accurate results, and you can rest assured that your members are receiving the communication you send out. Understanding the data in the church can also help teach you about the effect you are making on the community and amongst your members. Here are a few ways data can play a role in your church:

Numbers matter. Numbers represent people. Someone counted the thousands of people Jesus fed with five loaves and two fish, and someone counted the leftover baskets because the numbers told the story of Jesus’ love and power. Others counted the 3,000 people who came to faith following Peter’s Pentecost sermon because it mattered.

People’s needs matter. The apostle Paul had his finger on the pulse of the churches he 14 | MinistryTech.com

planted. He wrote letters to them that dealt with specific issues they faced. Paul knew their needs, kept up with their growth and their struggles because he listened to couriers who traveled long distances with important messages. He used this information to pray for them and speak words of life to them.

Churches who effectively gather and analyze data make better decisions for people. Good decisions come from good information. Churches who know their people adjust their processes to fit their people rather than trying to fit people into their rigid processes.

We have become dependent on data management systems to keep up with the task of leading a church.

Accurate data keeps the needs of your people first so you can focus on discipleship. And in turn, you need to promise your members the safety they crave by coming to church every Sunday. This doesn’t only apply to the safety they feel when speaking and listening to God, but in the data that is helping run the church. Keeping your data safe and secure is more important today than it has ever been before. We hear about security breaches on the news more and more frequently, and sometimes they affect us personally. You want to keep your personal information secure as well as that of your church and its members. In the church software you

use, make sure to follow these tips to maximize your security and keep your data safe, secure and untouchable:

Use strong passwords. Many people use very easy to guess passwords because they don’t realize how dangerous they are. You want passwords that you can remember, but that others cannot easily guess. This should apply to any passwords you use for any programs. You may want to think of a phrase, song title, or verse that you can easily remember and use the first letter of each word along with numbers or special characters.

Set up the appropriate permissions for the right people. This is important because everyone who works within your software doesn’t need access to everything. For example, you may have a user who needs to add and look up members, but since this person doesn’t work with the financial information, they don’t need to have access to it. On the other hand, you may have a user who needs to see financial information, but not personal comments and notes on an individual’s record or profile since that information may be sensitive.

Purchase and use antivirus software and firewalls. It is vital that you maintain antivirus software on all of your workstations. Antivirus software removes computer viruses, spyware, adware, and other harmful items from your computers. This is so important because these items can actually steal your usernames and passwords


and interfere with your data and software programs. Many operating systems have built-in firewalls. Make sure these are enabled on your computer. You can also acquire additional firewall software and hardware for further protection. Staying alert and maintaining the safety and integrity of your data will keep your church and its members focused on why they come to church in the first place. Take a proactive approach and incorporate data safely in your congregation so you can make smart, effective and impactful decisions.

Technology as a Means of Discipleship But even with all this new technology, your church should still be centered around its people. We track attendance, phone calls, giving, and participation in whatever way we can to ensure that people are involved with the church, but the real value comes when we realize that there are people behind those numbers. Though data and security clearly have their place in the church, at the heart of it all, church needs to be based on people making disciples, and making disciples, as Jesus practiced it, isn’t as simple as datamanagement.

Let technology be used as a stepping stone on the path to discipleship, but do not rely on technology alone to execute the task of growing your

meaningful, impactful way. MT church in a

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HIGHER POWER

BibleApporPaperBible?

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A

lot of people will use digital Bible tools for sermon prep or Bible study prep, but they still use their physical paper Bible for their personal study AKA devotions or Quiet Time. There’s an interesting website that offers ideas and helps for pastors and church leaders that included a post in which the author gave four reasons for ditching a tablet and moving back to using a physical paper Bible for personal Bible study (devotions or Quiet Times). I’d like to respond to the original article so consider

got some suggestions for ways to overcome the perceived weakness of digital Bibles. Read on and learn what you can do with a digital Bible.

Bible Markup “I want to take margin notes, highlight and underline in my Bible. I can’t do that on my iPad.” Yes, you can! What’s more, those Bible markups will stay with you even if you lose your Bible, it wears out or gets destroyed. Get the right app and it’s easy to also sync these Bible markups between the phone, tablet and computer. My preferred Bible app (which also comes with a

much I can write. Some people write their whole sermon or Bible study in the notes of their Bible app. I don’t recommend that, but it’s possible. If these apps or computer programs can handle that much text, they certainly can handle your personal devotional observations. In digital form the notes become searchable. Many apps let me search the notes to find all the notes I write about James or Galilee or grace. I can also include links to websites or other books in the Bible app in some of the apps I use. People who definitely want to write in their own handwriting

What’s Best for Personal Devotions? Digital Bibles sometimes get a bad wrap for personal devotions. But, they don’t have to. reading it first at http://bit. ly/4reasons4paperBible. Before diving in, let me say that I don’t have a problem with people preferring to read from physical books. That’s a common statement. I hear it a lot when I suggest using a tablet or phone for Bible study and reading. My own son, a selfdescribed geek who loves tech, also prefers reading his Bible in a print Bible and journaling in a moleskine notebook. If that describes your feelings, great. No reasons to argue. Keep using paper/physical books. I don’t prefer paper books for a number of reasons. However, if you don’t want to use a digital Bible for the same reasons found in the article linked above, then I’ve

[  byKevinPurcell  ] desktop/laptop and online option) holds thousands of highlights, underlines, notes and bookmarks. It’s easier to do with digital since bookmarking a Bible means tons of stuff in your Bible that can fall out and easily lose your spot and get unwieldy. I don’t want to get into comparisons as to which apps do the best job. This column doesn’t have enough space for that this time. While I agree that I’d like to write (in my own handwriting) in my Bible app, that’s a problem if you have bad handwriting. I often struggle to read what I’ve written. Plus, my Bible apps don’t limit how

can still do this in a specific digital Bible. I don’t know of a Bible app or software program that allows this, but there is an add-in for Microsoft OneNote that’s free and lets users draw on the screen with their stylus or finger using a tablet or phone. Get the BibleNote add-in for OneNote which I reviewed in a recent column here. (http://biblenote.pro/) Finally, if I change physical Bibles, I don’t lose my digital markings. They’re still there.

It’s Harder to Study Cross References on an iPad or Tablet I can’t disagree more with this concern. I can find cross June 2016 | 17


HIGHER POWER

references far easier to use in an app. The creators of the Bible translations include the notes that came with that translation. You can also read in one translation, say the ESV, and find the cross reference links from every other translation you own. I have one app that shows these in links that I tap and a box pops up and shows me the cross reference without navigating to that reference. I can see the text I was reading and the cross reference all in one place. As a result, I can get to know the Bible more fully in less time. I can go

mastery). However, I think time spent reading and reacting to God’s word in one way or another really leads to mastery. This happens with both digital or print. There’s one thing a digital Bible might do that a print can’t do. My Bible apps will remind me to read the Bible and I can open it and read it anywhere, anytime. I may not always carry my large heavy study Bible when I go to my wife’s

the subject of the Bible makes me a more effective evangelist. It’s true I cannot leave a digital tract in a bathroom or hotel room. I can’t put iPads in every Holiday Inn night stand like the Gideons do with their print copies of the King James Version. However, there is a way to leave a digital tract. Print a card with a QR code that opens a media rich and interactive website or offers a free app ready to share

workplace. However, I do always have my phone. I can open it up as I wait in the car and read. I could do this with a print Bible if

the Gospel and connect the recipient with a team of trained counsellors. I can scan the code and get the link, view it on my phone or tablet

Neither digital nor print makes me a master of the Bible. Time spent in the Word makes me more of a Bible master. Time spent reading and reacting to God’s word in one way or another really leads to mastery. This happens with both digital or print. deeper with digital than I can with print in the same amount of time.

Print Makes Bible Masters Faster than Digital Neither digital nor print makes me a master of the Bible. Time spent in the Word makes me more of a Bible master. The original author says print makes this faster because he can mark up his Bible. I can just as easily mark my Bible in digital form, and can also save them across multiple translations and save them even if I change or lose my print Bible. So I could argue that digital actually leads to better knowledge and understanding of the Bible (Bible 18 | MinistryTech.com

I remembered to bring it with me every time, but few people actually do this while hardly anyone leaves their smartphone at home.

Evangelism is Aided by Bible Mastery If print Bibles make for better Bible knowledge and understanding, then this is true. However, I just argued that neither platform has an advantage, unless you count the time you can spend with a digital Bible in those moments throughout the day when your phone is with you but your digital Bible isn’t. Time spent in the word, either digitally or in print, leads to better mastery. Knowing the content and

and react to it that way. Younger generations might find this more appealing. One to one evangelism (the most Biblical approach since we never saw Jesus leaving tracts) works great with print or digital. What works better is a conversation where I have the word in my heart and I quote it instead of reading it. I can pull out my phone or tablet to let them see it in digital text if they want that. Or I can just talk to them like a friend.

The Book is NOT Divine I read the article with great interest. Then I read some of the comments. Most of them were people saying something like, “I like reading


physical books better than reading on a screen.” That’s great and if that describes you then more power to you. We don’t have to argue. It’s not a better/worse situation. It’s personal preference. I like steak better than chicken and the Packers over the Chicago Bears. We can give our reasons why we prefer them, but it’s foolish to judge another for their personal preference unless their personal preference is to shack up instead of getting married. That’s a clear contradiction of the Word. Digital v. Print is not that kind of thing. It’s preference. However, many of the people who commented on the article linked above said that the book itself was Divine and that digital was detracting from the holiness of the Bible. I dare say the author of the article would disagree as strongly as I do. That’s idolatry. God’s word is not in a physical paper book any more than it is in parchment or stone tablets. I suppose a digital tablet is closer to a stone tablet since it has the word tablet. Does that sound ridiculous? It’s no more foolish than saying the Bible app on my iPad is sinful since it’s not in a leather bound book with black ink and thin pages. MT

Kevin Purcell is a news and reviews tech writer for gottabemobile.com and brings more than five years of mobile technology experience to MinistryTech magazine. You can email Kevin at kevin@kevinpurcell.org or connect with him on Twitter @kapurcell.

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June 2016 | 19


sharing your culture with people who might be open to learning more.

3 G

oogle “church social media” and you’ll be served up over 200 million articles about using social platforms for your ministry. There’s no longer any question about whether your church should be on social media or not, but being on social media isn’t enough. You need to prioritize using it well. If you want to take advantage of all the opportunities social media provides, you might need to elevate its importance. Let’s face it, there are a lot of churches and ministries vying for people’s attention out there. If your church is involved but not invested in growing their presence and social media skills, you might be wasting the time you are investing. But social media offers so many perks and possibilities, it’d be foolhardy not to devote more time to your social media channels. In fact, it might the secret weapon for struggling churches, or a great tool to boost your attendance for important holidays. If you can’t justify time spent on social media, I encourage you to consider the following ways your ministry might be missing out.

1

Social media might be the first place people find your church — Over 46 percent

of church planters say that social

20 | MinistryTech.com

media is their most effective method of outreach. Think about that for a second . . . out of all the possible outreach methods, almost half of today’s church plants are seeing a bigger return for time they invest into social media than anything else. So it isn’t like social media is competing with your website for the most visible digital channel; it’s competing with every method churches are using to draw attention to themselves. With a thoughtful church strategy for social engagement and some regular money devoted to advertising, you can create an awareness of your ministry and send people to your website where they can learn more. Plus, when you add the Facebook pixel to your site, you can retarget the people that Facebook has sent to your website.

2

You can build a relationship with your congregation’s friends —

Let’s face it, this is the reason you’re on Facebook. Through the likes and shares of your updates from people who already attend your church, your content is pushed into the feed of their friends and family. When you explain to your congregation that their interaction with your Facebook page is a form of outreach, you can build a strategy around

Facebook’s groups and events rival some church social networks — There are

some great software solutions out there for churches to use to facilitate digital community. But one thing that’s fantastic about Facebook is the fact that most of your people are already there every day. Using Facebook groups for ministries or studies is an incredibly easy (and free) way to keep everyone together and on the same page. You can create groups for prayer, home groups, Bible studies, classes, or lifestyle groups for people that like to do things like hike or garden. You can make them as private as you want, and you can invite people outside the church, too. This gives people another level of exposure and interaction with your church. Facebook events are another stellar way to raise awareness for an event. You can invite everyone in the church, and they can invite others, too. All updates and important information can be communicated in the event group. And you can even experiment with ads to promote your event. And, again, the great thing about it is everyone’s already on Facebook.

4

You’re meeting people where they are —

Community is in transition. People are building important networks and connections online, and it is becoming a valuable way for people to connect. For instance, did you know that 35 percent of the couples married between 2005 and 2012 met online? Instead of fighting this transition,


the church should be embracing its inherent positives and opportunities. We should be taking advantage of every tool at our disposal to reach people where they are, and there may be no greater tool available than social media.

5

Your social media accounts represent your church vitality — I know

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it doesn’t feel like it should be the case, but when people come to one of your social media platforms and you haven’t updated it in months, it shapes their impression of your church. If you’re going to have a social-media presence it’s important for you to regularly update it. This means that you need to be very particular about the social-media platforms your church adopts. It’s better to have one or two platforms you really excel at than to be on every platform and to do them terribly.

Integrating social with your church app — If you already have a church app, you have an intuitive way to to integrate social media into your engagement strategy. Since more people are using mobile devices to shop and interact online, an app is a great way to keep people involved, to tell your story, and to share your church’s teaching and content. People can share your content to their social-media platforms from your app and you can use your social channels to promote the app. It creates a seamless way to build an audience and expose more people to your church culture. If you don’t have a church app, contact eChurch today for a free demo and find out how an app can revolutionize your engagement. MT

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June 2016 | 21


STARTUP

Altimeter Software This Oklahoma Christian University project is growing into something bigger than the founders imagined. byRussMcGuire(russ.mcguire@gmail.com)

I

n this article series, we’ve defined a Christian entrepreneur as: a person, driven to glorify God in all he does, and ruled by the Word of God, who starts a new venture and is willing to risk a loss in order to achieve the success of the venture. Each month I’ve been introducing you to specific Christian startups and entrepre-

of an established Christian organization with entrepreneurial spirit leveraging technology to introduce a new program that is core to the university’s mission. Today I’m excited to share with you how that initial effort has been spun-out into a new stand-alone startup business to serve other universities, large churches, and high schools.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” — Col. 3:23–24 neurs, some of which may be helpful to your church, ministry, business, or family, but my main intent is to encourage and inspire you to be entrepreneurial in your ministry and career. Six months ago, I introduced you to Summer Lashley and Oklahoma Christian University’s Ethos spiritual development program as an example 22 | MinistryTech.com

Introducing Altimeter Last year, another Christian university approached OC about licensing the Ethos software, so when I arrived on campus in the Fall as the Entrepreneur in Residence, I was asked to look into this new business opportunity. We formed a team of four students: one computer science major, a double-major in

Russ McGuire A trusted advisor with proven strategic insights, Russ has been blessed by God in many ways including serving as a corporate executive, co-founding technology startups, and writing a technology/business book. More importantly, he’s a husband and father who cares about people, and a committed Christian who seeks to honor God in all that he does. His newest venture is as Entrepreneur in Residence at Oklahoma Christian University.

CS and electrical engineering, an accounting major, and a marketing major. For the next several months, these four examined the product capabilities, the potential market fit, the competitive landscape, and built a relatively sophisticated financial model to test different scenarios. In January of this year, the team presented their recommendations to university leadership. Altimeter Software, LLC was formed later that month and entered into an agreement with OC to license the intellectual property. The university also agreed to incubate the business on-campus to minimize start-up costs. Two of those students have continued with the business as it has launched, and Summer Lashley has stepped in as CEO. What the team realized is that the software is good for more than just spiritual development. In fact, it can work for any use where you should get credit for being in the right place


at the right time. The product has two components: a mobile app and a management dashboard. The mobile app allows users to discover events, check into those events (via GPS, beacon, card-swipe, or manual entry), and track their progress towards a goal. The web-based dashboard enables organizations to set goals, add events, track user progress, and run reports to identify opportunities for improvement. For example, one report showed that students living in the on-campus apartments were falling behind their goal, so the Ethos team created more events convenient for them. Another report showed that Engineering students were overly focused on formal worship events, so the Ethos team worked with faculty to create more small group opportunities. Those capabilities have worked great for OC’s Ethos program, but can have much broader appeal in other types of organizations. The team identified three reference “meters” that a broad array of potential customers might be able to use. Obviously, the first is a meter for people to gauge how they’re doing in their spiritual development. The second meter is for community service, for organizations that encourage or require their members to be active in serving the community. The third meter measures fan loyalty, setting goals (with rewards) for attending a team’s sporting events. Based on just these three uses, the target market broadens from Christian universities to churches, Christian high schools, secular colleges and high schools, and even recreational to professional sports teams. But, in reality, a customer can create a meter to track just about anything. Altimeter’s first

customer, another Christian university, plans to introduce meters in the Fall to track attendance in large classes and for curfew check-in for Freshman dorms.

Introducing Austin One of the founders of Altimeter is Austin McRay. Austin graduated from Oklahoma Christian in April

with a Marketing degree with an emphasis on Professional Sales. Instead of getting a sales job with an existing company, Austin has chosen to start his career as the head of business development for this startup. One area that he’s particularly excited about is helping large churches. “As I’ve talked to large churches, it’s clear that two (Cont. on page 22)

For the scholar, the seeker, the servant. OC is home. ·

Recognized as one of the best universities in the west by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review.

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More than 80 areas of study. More than 40 current National Merit Finalists. Named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

www.oc.edu/tech

June 2016 | 23


areas of challenge for them are accountability and engagement. They have lots of programs and lots of people, but it’s pretty clear that not all the people are connecting with even some of the programs. What’s

engaged members enhances many congregational dynamics” (including increased giving and healthier small group participation). And that “innovation and willingness to change are strongly correlated to growth and

Leadership Network & Hartford Institute research says “having a high percentage of actively-engaged members enhances many congregational dynamics.”

not clear is the who and the what, which makes it impossible to figure out the why.” Austin points to research by the Leadership Network and Hartford Institute that says that “having a high percentage of robust actively

24 | MinistryTech.com

health.” He hopes that the Altimeter software can provide an innovative solution for large churches to drive accountability and engagement. “My grandpa was a preacher and I grew up in the church. I’ve been blessed to enjoy healthy church

communities. But I also know people who are struggling with how to get connected into the church and just need a little guidance and encouragement. I’m excited that we can help people rise to new heights in the dimension of their life that should be most important to them.” I’m impressed with Austin’s maturity and his focus on creating value—in terms of his customer’s objectives, but more importantly in terms of spiritual growth. Colossians 3:23–24 tells us “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” I look forward to seeing how Austin will be blessed through this entrepreneurial experience. MT


June 2016 | 25


Sound Equipment Essentials For Portable Churches

Here’s a list of the audio equipment you’ll need to make each week’s service the best it can be.

I

f your congregation meets in a secular space each weekend, like a school gymnasium, community center, or outdoor space, then you’re probably spending hours loading and unloading equipment. Being a portable church can have its challenges, but audio doesn’t have to be one of them. Full Compass can help you build a foundation of audio equipment that allows you to create a sacred space anywhere, under any budget. Lets explore the gear you’ll need to fit your unique needs, streamline your set up, and do it all while wisely stewarding your congregation’s resources.

All-In-One Portable Sound Systems: All-in-one options can make your money go far. Products like the Anchor Audio Liberty feature wireless and Bluetooth capabilities, which really reduce the amount of equipment to buy and lug out of storage each weekend. Alternatively, products like the Yamaha Anchor Liberty Platinum Portable PA System StagePas 400i and the Fender Passport offer high-quality sound in a lightweight, affordable 26 | MinistryTech.com

package. All are great options if you want to mix your audio in the same unit as your speaker.

Audio Mixers: At the low budget price point, you’ll want to look at the 8-16 channel Analog mixing board options, such as the Mackie VLZ4 Series, Yamaha MG, Allen & Heath Soundcraft Qu-32c – Chrome Edition EPM, or Allen & Heath ZED. These merchandisers offer mixers under $500 that are compact in size, and deliver proven performance and flexibility, which make them ideal for lectures, bands and more. However, you can buy more flexibility at a higher price point, so if your congregation can spend $1,500 or more on a mixer, go for a 16, 24, or 32 channel digital board. The options seem endless, but some great choices for 32 channel boards include the Behringer X32, Midas M32, Allen & Heath QU or GLD series, Soundcraft SI, PreSonus StudioLive, or the Yamaha CL and QL series.

Speakers: Powered speakers will help with setup and teardown, and

reduce the complexity and time required ahead of any service. Some quality options at a $700 and lower price point include the Mackie Thump, JBL Eon, or Electro-Voice ELX. Plus, they will pair well with your audio mixer options above. If you’re planning to mic a full contemporary worship band that features electric guitar, then at minimum you’ll need 12 inch mains with subwoofers. We recommend QSC K or KW, Electro-Voice ELX, or PreSonus StudioLive.

Subwoofers: We recommend 15– 18 inch powered models that match your top speakers. You should try to keep the speaker manufacturers the same, and preferably the model series as well. They have builtin crossovers and amps that are specifically matched to the output characteristics of the subwoofer. Some good options include the Mackie Thump-18S, Electro-Voice ETX-15SP, JBL PRX418S, or one of the many options from Bose.

House Speaker Management:  These units provide all of the processing needed between the mixer and amplifiers to optimize and protect your loudspeakers. Two options to consider are the dbx Driverack or Driverack PA2. They are pretty standard units and easy to use, featuring house EQ functions, delay function, feedback suppressor, and more.

In-Ear Monitors: Whether you’re in a school cafeteria, conference center, or on a beach somewhere, lecturers and performers will want to be able to hear their own voice, the band, and drown out the ambient noise. That leads us to personal


monitor options. A few dependable products that won’t break the bank include PreSonus HP2 the PreSonus Headphone Amp HP2 and the Behringer HA modules that allow you to adjust audio levels on your individual ear piece. At a higher price point, systems like the Aviom A320 or the Allen & Heath ME1 offer high-quality performance, with more features. We suggest pairing your personal monitor system with in-ear headphones. A terrific buy for any budget is the Shure SE215. At less than $100, these in-ear headphones offer tremendous sound isolation and great sound quality. If you have a few more dollars to spend, you should connect well-fitting, isolationtype, high-fidelity earphones to your personal monitor. For that, we recommend you head straight to the Shure SE535-V or level up within the Westone UM-PRO Series.

Microphones: Microphones are a segment where a church can find a great product at a lower price point. There are two major categories for microphones: wired and wireless. Among the wired options is the Shure SM58. It’s considered an

industry standard, and is among the most reliable microphones out there. However, the Sennheiser e835, AKG P3S, and Audix F50 are three great options for any church service, offering high-quality sound and longlasting performance on a budget. If you’re looking to invest, go for the Shure BETA58A, which is still an exceptional value, but delivers amazing sound. You can also opt for the Sennheiser e845, Audix OM3, AKG C5, or Audio-Technica AE6100. In the wireless category, you’ll want to consider a Shure BLX,AKG WMS, or an Audio-Technica ATW wireless bodypack system. All three can offer you wireless set up for a handheld mic, lavalier mic or headset microphone, giving you a lot of flexibility in your mobile setting.

Audio Snakes: If you’re not familiar, audio snakes are used to simplify the set up time and cable clutter involved in bringing multiple microphone signals to a final destination (generally a soundboard). Audio snakes are usually the longest piece of cabling that a church PA system will need. You’ll want to pick up an audio snake from Elite Core Audio or ProCo RM to streamline your set up.

Power Protection: Protecting your investments comes down to how you handle them, but also what

you plug them into. You’ll want to rely on a rack-mountable Furman M 8Dx or similar power distribution unit because you have a lot of expensive equipment to protect. But your speakers and subwoofers should get separate attention, so we recommend plugging them into a Furman on-stage surge protector.

…The best advice we can give you is to invest in new equipment. Finally, a mobile congregation on a tight budget might be tempted by an incredible low price on a used item, but the best advice we can give you is to invest in new equipment. When you buy new your gear almost always comes with a warranty, which makes sense at any budget. In the rare chance your equipment is faulty or damaged your warranty will help cover any repair expense expenses. This list is by no means allinclusive, but is meant to be a guide to get you thinking about your congregation’s unique needs. Our Full Compass Sales Professionals specialize in working with House of Worship professionals who are dedicated to delivering the very best message every week. Call 800-476-9886 for more information about any of the products discussed in this article and to share more information about your individual needs. MT

June 2016 | 27


Church Production:

The Power of the Unseen Should you focus more on what you don’t see in your church production? | by Andrew Stone, Church on the Move

I

n the world of live production, most have come to rely on their obvious senses when analyzing what’s going on: How does the audio sound? Aren’t the lights beautiful? Is the video style enhancing the vibe onstage? How does this song make me feel? Although it’s certainly gratifying, and perhaps even fun, to determine our success based on these mostly visible senses, I contend that the invisible side (read unseen), is far more important, and is perhaps one of the most ignored. For me, this invisible side is comprised of systems, processes, maintenance, equipment, skill-sets, and even attitude. These invisible elements are what comprise the basis for the visible, or tangible side, to come into existence in the first place. We’ve spent many years at Church on the Move establishing invisible procedures to deal with almost every situation we may encounter in a live production event. Simple procedures. You know, like preparing for failure. Human, technical, act of God, whatever. But I thought we were supposed to avoid

28 | MinistryTech.com

failure? How in the world does one prepare for failure when we’re not supposed to fail? Become a fatalist? Adopt an overly morbid outlook? Not at all. We’ve done it by staying cognizant of this one fact: every single technician and every single piece of equipment CAN and WILL fail at some time. Although no one ever told me I wasn’t allowed to fail, I’ve opted to

spend our time developing ways to deal with failure accordingly. The crazy thing is that even though this is perhaps our biggest cornerstone tenet, it’s completely invisible to almost everyone—because it’s literally had to become a state of mind, not a tangible object. Here’s a good one: when mixing, how often does your audio engineer check a mic before it goes live onstage? Our engineers do this more times than you can even imagine. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve caught a problem and fixed it before anyone ever knew—all from exercising one of my obsessive compulsive habits of checking a mic a zillion times. And then checking it once more just to be safe. Again, a seemingly invisible system,

but yet SO IMPORTANT to the success of an event!

What about establishing paperwork to support your events? Input lists, stage plots, rigging plots, schedules? They might seem overkill or boring to some, but these can help relay pertinent information to how an event is going to function. Beyond that though, they create an invisible procedure that can set your team up for a win. A win that can be repeated consistently time and time again. All because someone took a few minutes to think through the plan thoroughly and commit it to paper. All that work and all those printed pages for a procedure that is completely invisible to the audience? You know it.

How about a gear maintenance schedule? This one is absolutely invisible—that is until something breaks . . . Taking time to routinely inspect your gear can allow you to find and fix a multitude of problems before they cause an interruption during an event. Numerous times, we’ve discovered potential failure points with gear that we were


actively using and had “assumed” was working fine, all from employing a simple, boring, and INVISIBLE maintenance schedule. How about this one: how neat

and tidy are your spare parts and unused extra gear? Funny how quick this seemingly invisible part of the production world can become visible. I was at a church recently and couldn’t find a working mic cable to save my life. How they had working band inputs still baffles me. Implementing a plan to store and categorize your unused gear sets you up to actually go with the flow when situations change unexpectedly. Which of these would you rather do when a mic cable fails on stage: Walk calmly to the backstage storage closet, get another cable and switch it out and move on? OR race around, frantically tugging at a massive pile of nasty old cables that were shoved underneath the audio console while praying to God to save you and hope that a decent cable magically appears? I’ll be honest, at COTMProd, job longevity isn’t often associated with the latter.

strength, wear and tear, and safety compliance. Interestingly enough, EVERY time we do this invisible task, we find something that would have eventually become a VERY visible problem if left unchecked.

So herein lies the simple point: excelling at the invisible side of what we do is one of the biggest ways we can build a quality visible side. As we serve the church and strive to make a difference, consider making the invisible parts of the job the most important and you may find that the visible side just got a heck of lot easier. As a Tech Director or Tech Team member these are all challenges you are facing. The Tech Team Track sessions at WFX Louisville will touch upon all of these topics and more. Plus visit the WFX Expo that has over

225+ exhibitors. Get all the production and technology solutions you need for your church all under one roof at WFX. The 2016 WFX Conference and Expo will be held September 2122, 2016 at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Learn more or register for WFX at wfxweb.com. MT Article is courtesy of ProSoundWeb. The author, Andrew Stone is the Production Manager and Audio Director at Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK. His 25 years of touring experience have brought a unique, and sometimes unorthodox, perspective to his approach towards production in the church. He has been a key part of changing the culture behind COTM’s live events and he loves sharing his knowledge with other churches. He’s been married for 19 years, rarely wears anything but black, and genuinely loves to rock. You can find him on Twitter (@stone_rocks) or on Seeds, COTM’s free resource site, as a blog contributor.

What about rigging? The mostly invisible world hanging above everyone’s head comprised of shackles, span sets, chain hoists, cabling and such. Is all of this equipment deployed correctly and safely for both stage personnel and talent as well as the audience in your room? Even though these parts are specifically designed to be remain invisible during an event, we still subject them to a very visible annual rigging inspection where every item is examined for June 2016 | 29


Confessions of an

Arrogant Man [

by Nick Nicholaou

]

the hospital; that my organs were Humbly Arrogant? When your life is rocked I get invited to speak at many national already beginning to shut down. All by circumstances beyond I knew was that I was fighting for and regional conferences. A client your control, your focus breath and health. My prayers were who knew me well and for a long is on survival. While in time once introduced me at a national earnest and nearly constant. survival mode we often cry out to God. And some- conference as the most humble guy times we get the sense that he knew. (Some might say he needs How Did Arrogance Grow? to get out more!) But if that was true, He is responding to us in I became a Christian a little more how could I be arrogant? The Lord the midst of our survival than 40 years ago. In 1 Timothy 3:1 sees our hearts, and that’s where mode. That happened to Paul told Timothy that aspiring to be arrogance had been growing. me recently while battling an elder is a good thing, so I decided Maybe humbly arrogant is a a severe form of pneumoearly on to hang with the guys who good description of what I learned nia and coming close to were my church’s spiritual leaders. I about myself those first two nights the end of life’s journey. was willing to be used however the in the hospital. Sleep was sparse, The message of this article Lord saw fit, and honestly sought His is healthy for me to articu- and so I prayed a lot. We weren’t leading and direction. I focused on late, and perhaps my jour- told for many days that I had been being faithful with the little things ney will impact others too. near death when I checked in to He entrusted to me, knowing that 30 | MinistryTech.com


doing so would grow my character and that He might choose to use me in larger ways (Luke 16:10). This was not a pursuit of position or power, but of service to the Lord. One of my favorite prayer pictures was that of a glove, whose animation without the complete filling of its master was impossible.

So, What Changed? I always acknowledge the Lord’s power in all I’m effective at. But my heart began to change very subtly over time. The change was that some of what I was doing was almost like a force of my own personality. Yes, I still prayed and asked for wisdom, appropriate words, and his filling; but I was in the mix too. And that is the seed of arrogance I felt Him challenging me about those nights of intense prayer. How does the Lord feel about arrogance? In 1 Samuel 15 Saul is chastised by the Lord through Samuel. Verse 23 says: “For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.” (NIV) In my subtle arrogance I was loving the pedestal of importance and admiration. Not good.

What Was I Doing? My arrogance grew and became part of me in a few ways. These may seem small, but they became huge to me in those nights of prayer. n Even though I had nothing to do with my general good health (that, too, is a gift from the Lord), I was kind of proud that I never got flu

shots! And it was getting the flu that gave me pneumonia. I can’t remember ever getting the flu before, so it kind of makes sense that I never got flu shots. But being proud of not getting them was arrogant.

similarly spiritually unhealthy things, and need to stop doing so. Flirting with sin is inviting opportunity to cross the line, and I need to be further back from that line.

This was very uncomfortable n I developed a subtly arrogant variation of a truth— The truth: In Job 1 and 2 we see that the enemy’s power against us is limited by the Lord. I interpret that to mean that until the Lord is done working through me and calls me home, my life is not in danger of being ended by the enemy. My subtle arrogant variation: I didn’t need to take some of life’s normal precautions because I was sort of invincible! This arrogance may be related to not getting flu shots. But it is more than that; it is a larger approach to life that impacts exercise, diet, and more. n Samson (see Judges 13-16) was a man filled with The Spirit and used significantly by the Lord. He arrogantly flirted with things he knew could jeopardize him being God’s man, and eventually he lost that battle. In my heart I entertain

to learn about myself. I don’t believe it is the reason I got sick. Rather, I believe the illness the Lord allowed to nearly take me out was something He chose to use to get me to focus intently in prayer and open my heart to His leading. Like Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:9, I got “struck down, but [was] not destroyed.” (NIV) That calamity exposed my pride, and resulted in humility. The issues He dealt with me about may seem slight. But after more than 40 years of knowing Him, trying to follow and grow in Him, and serve Him, they were significant to me. My hope is that it grew me in ways the Lord can use me further and will prolong His choice to use me as a tool to accomplish his will. MT © 2016 by Nick B. Nicholaou, all rights reserved. President, Ministry Business Services, Inc. Reprinted from inSIGHT.

Nick Nicholaou is president of MBS, an IT consulting firm specializing in church and ministry computer networks, VoIP, and private cloud hosted services. You can reach Nick at nick@mbsinc.com, and may want to check out his firm’s website (www.mbsinc.com) and his blog at http://ministry-it.blogspot.com. June 2016 | 31


THE LAST WORD

32 | MinistryTech.com

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