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February 2017









Great filtering apps are available for the Internet, but what about TV and movies?



How to make your tablet serve you, rather than the other way around.




Software companies can help you guard your kids: discover your options.





Technology and Christian Entrepreneurship: Paths to Human 22 FlourishinG


Three Must-Have Graphic Programs for Social Media


10 Apps, Sites, & Services To Make You More Effective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 4 Reasons Your Church Should Embrace Email Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Fostering a Thriving, Robust Congregation . . . . . . . . 38

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5 Ways Your TECHNOLOGY Church Plant Why You Can Use Tech Should Effectively planters must tell Record Every Church the Gospel story visually with Service Live! the effective use of technology.


Preach From Your iPad, But Be Careful!




Eight gadgets that combine brand new ideas and tried-and-true elements for the worship stage.



FREE Resources Available to Church Planters

A Word from the editor Ray Hollenbach Editor Ray Hollenbach

Art Director Beth VanDyke

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

Copy Editor Rachael Mitchell


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® become the property of Outreach, Inc. upon receipt and may not necessarily be returned. Ministry Tech® 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

Our Calling Beyond the Tech We are so excited to present this double issue of Ministry Tech: Top Tech Tools 2017! We hope to present this issue annually, so please let us know what you think. With each passing year new technologies take their place as part of our lives, and this has always been so: one hundred years ago radios and automobiles were “high tech,” and typewriters were the newest things in office machinery. All over the world the church was among the early adopters of these tools. Technology change is the one constant in modern life, inside the church and out. For those of us who feel called to ministry (in all its various forms), there are three considerations to keep in mind about technology and faith. First, the people who come to church have used tech tools all week long, and whether they say it or not, they carry expectations with them that their place of worship will be “up to date.” Second, although bits, bytes and

processors are morally neutral, every technology carries with it the ability to draw people closer to Jesus—or further away. And finally, the tech we choose in the church (and how we use it) becomes part of the message the church presents. Anyone involved in the use of tech ministry should remember Marshall McLuhan’s teaching: the medium is the message. This issue welcomes some new contributors to the Ministry Tech team while also showcasing the contributors you’ve come to look for and trust. Behind each article is a person: and the contributors to Ministry Tech are committed to the Lord Jesus, his church and serving others. Together, we recognize that’s why you read (and share) Ministry Tech—because throughout the church are people doing the very same thing: thinking, innovating and utilizing modern tools for an eternal cause. And together (both contributors and readers) we want to be a part of the Good News entrusted to us. May we use these tools for the gospel!

or form without the express permission of Outreach, Inc. Views expressed in the articles and reviews printed within are not necessarily the views of the editor, publisher, or employees of Ministry Tech®, or Outreach, Inc. © Copyright 2017 Outreach, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Ray Hollenbach is the Editor of Ministry Tech magazine. He has previously served as the editor of Outreach’s Better Preaching Update, and as the editor of the Pastor channel at You can reach him at February 2017 | 3


Protecting Little Eyes— and Big Ones, Too! Protecting our kids’ eyes and hearts is a steep mountain to climb | Protected with Purpose by Steven Sundermeier


or this special issue of Ministry Tech I was asked to write a column on software and apps to protect your family. As the owner of Thirtyseven4, a leading provider of Windows, Mac and Android antivirus/security solutions, I really wanted to challenge myself to focus on a protection “app” not developed by Thirtyseven4. This task proved harder than I thought, as I’ve devoted my entire 17-year career in the online security software industry to creating products that can protect families, businesses

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and schools against the growing and always evolving cyber security threats. Thirtyseven4 products not only proactively protect devices against malicious programs like ransomware, viruses and Trojans, but our solutions have also evolved to protect children from visiting unwanted web content on the Internet, to protect against unwanted programs and online advertisements, and to provide anti-theft modules with GPS location tracking, and there’s even a module to help you in times of an emergency (pressing a panic button within our mobile device solution will automatically send a message with your current location to alternate contact numbers). I thought long and hard about what app(s) or software to specifically highlight to benefit readers and their families, and it wasn’t until I reflected back on the Christmas weekend that I realized the answer was literally in front of me the whole time. Monday, the 26th, was a Federal Holiday. This extra day off (I use this term loosely as a business owner) provided me an opportunity to see a movie at the theater. As is always the case, I enjoy watching movies, whether at home or at the show, with my family. I wanted to take my family to Star Wars: Rogue One. It was rated PG-13, so I wanted to research how age-appropriate the content was. For this, I usually have two go-to resources: n  I like to check out the webpage

Studies by Focus on the Family found a direct correlation between kids viewing violence and acting out aggressively. The same goes for viewing sexual content in media outlets and teens acting out sexually. of Common Sense Media. Their website explains, “Common Sense Media is the leading independent nonprofit organization that helps families make smart media choices. We offer the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books and music.” n  My other option is the Plugged In app available within Google Play, created by Focus on the Family. The core mission of the Plugged In app is to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment. The nice thing about both resources is that the content of their reviews, feedback and insights are not limited to movies at the theater but also DVD/Blu-Ray releases, downloadable apps and regular TV programming. Additionally (and fascinatingly!), while researching some information from the Focus on Family webpage, I also noticed that in addition to the Plugged In app, they also

recommend a Blu-ray player that contains the ClearPlay software for filtering violence, profanity, nudity and other types of content from Blu-ray and DVD movies. And while I can’t personally attest to the solution, it’s my understanding that you can utilize the ClearPlay software (minus the purchase of the Blu-ray player) to stream and filter content purchased or rented on GooglePlay. As a father of kids ages 6, 8 and 10, ClearPlay sounds like peace-of-mind, and definitely something I will be looking into. It’s interesting how the Lord plants different things in your mind and your life. I often think back to one of my favorite Vacation Bible School songs, “O Be Careful Little Eyes”: O be careful little eyes what you see O be careful little eyes what you see There’s a Father up above And He’s looking down in love So, be careful little eyes what you see Not only have I prioritized this idea February 2017 | 5

You can also follow up with a discussion about the movie afterwards. If you are making decisions on the go, get their free mobile app.


Model wise entertainment decisions. It’s an absolute certainty that if you say one thing and do something else, your children will pick up on it sooner or later.


Consider putting your family media guidelines down in writing.

of protecting our eyes in the products that my business creates for webpages, but I am equally aware and vigilant toward the content my kids are exposed to while watching TV or movies. Studies by Focus on the Family found a direct correlation between kids viewing violence and acting out aggressively. The same goes for viewing sexual content in media outlets and teens acting out sexually. In the antivirus world, we invest heavily in finances, resources, and energy toward our proactive approaches to combat the threat of cybercriminals so why not also take the time and invest in the lives of our children to proactively safeguard their eyes and ears? By using available apps and software to make informed choices over what we feel are acceptable shows and movies to watch and apps to download, we can do just that. 6 |

Here are a few guidelines from Bob Waliszewski, author of Plugged-In Parenting:


Have an honest and ongoing discussion with your children about the importance of protecting their minds. Waliszewski recommends having this talk at least twice a year.


Use filtering software like ClearPlay for playing DVD and streaming movies in the home. Set it to remove unwanted violence, profanity, nudity, and sexual dialogue and content.


Make it a habit to read movie reviews from to find out about what is in the movie before choosing it to view in your home or at the theater.

The Media War is an all-out battle. The images, suggestions and acceptable practices that are portrayed as “normal” on our screens most-often paint a picture in direct conflict with what the Bible says, and today’s movies and TV shows are on the opposite side of morals and any type of Bible-based upbringing. What shall we say then? Ban the TV? No more going to the movie theater and getting the large buttery popcorn? No—retreating from society doesn’t solve anything, and it doesn’t prepare or teach our children (or us!) to live in the world, but not be of the world. We must educate ourselves. We must arm our families (and ourselves) with knowledge and also the “why’s” to back up the facts. Discuss with your kids why the high schoolers on TV embraced in a passionate kiss don’t usually end up happily-ever-after. We must do our research on

sites such as Common Sense Media and Plugged In. Then stick to your principles—don’t say yes if the right answer is a no. Become informed about what your kids are watching or logged into at home and at friends’ houses. The innocence lost while staring at a computer screen (child or adult) is a sum that only God knows, and I believe His heart is heavy over the rampant assault of the entertainment industry and the toll it takes on our families and society. Protecting our kids’ eyes and hearts is a steep mountain to climb. But we start with a step or two. I have made a couple recommendations for available apps, software and webpages available to help assist parents from the relentless war between them and the entertainment industry and the values you try to instill in your kids. However, the war is far from won. I told you at the beginning of this article that the direction for this article was staring me in the face. Twice this past weekend, once while watching a college bowl football game and again later that evening while innocently watching the old-school Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with all my kids, I had to quickly scream at them to close their eyes and then I spoke loudly over the TV. In both cases it wasn’t the program itself but the commercials. As if there are not already enough alcohol related commercials on TV during every live sporting event you watch, what place does a Viagra or similar commercial have

during a daytime game or commercials featuring lingerie on kidfriendly stations? It’s deplorable. So I end this article asking you this question (apart from recording all TV shows in advance so that commercials can be skipped or not recorded): What software/app are

you using for filtering out the inappropriate images and messages displayed in commercials? I feel there is a need and I may just have to do something about it. MT Any ideas? Feel free to email me your thoughts and opinions at

February 2017 | 7


How To Protect Your Family Online Two Vital Steps You Must Take

by Jonathan Smith


ne of the most common questions I’m asked is how can parents protect their kids online. Many parents have the goal of helping their kids become more like Christ while they use technology but need help. Combined with the technology gap (where kids know more than parents about all these newfangled devices), what seems like a simple goal of using technology to provide accountability becomes daunting. The Bible instructs parents to raise their children to live their lives to honor Christ (Eph. 6:4, Prov. 22:6). This applies to all areas of life; from driving a car to playing sports—and using technology. One of the biggest

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ways parents can help their children use technology in a God-honoring fashion is to spend time with them and their favorite devices. If your child is not a good driver, you spend time with them driving. If your child struggles with athletics, you spend time with them playing sports. The same is true with technology, only in this case you are spending time with them so they can teach you. Our children are 11 and 9 years old, and it is very humbling when they teach me things about their devices that I don’t know. I try to spend time with them each week having them show me what they like to do on their devices. As much as I love our children, I also know that they are sinners

(just like their parents) and need some help obeying online. They definitely need some accountability for what they do on their devices and how much time they spend on their devices. There are two ways to provide accountability: the first is to control the network and the second is to control the device.


Network control is

setting up a filter on your home router that protects and limits all the devices connected to it. This is what many schools and churches do with their networks to protect their users. Any device that connects to the network has its traffic filtered. One option is called CleanRouter. This router

provides filtering for all devices that connect to the network. Disney makes a device that allows you to control your home network called Circle, http://


The second method to provide accountability is device control . This involves installing some software on each device you want to manage. Network control only protects devices on the network that is being controlled, but what happens when the device leaves that network? For example, your child takes his or her device to Starbucks or a friend’s house. How do you ensure accountability when your child is at a friend’s house? This is where device control works. No matter where the device is and no matter what network the device is connected to, the device is protected. Device control requires more work: you have to setup software on each device you want to manage. This can be time consuming to make sure all your family’s devices are protected, but it provides much more flexibility in terms of protection For iOS and Android devices I suggest Curbi. Curbi allows you to not only control screen time with set schedules, but also filters the Internet connection no matter where the device is or what network it is connected to. While no Internet filter is perfect I have found that Curbi is very accurate in blocking content based on category

assignments that the parents can set. Curbi works by routing all traffic through a VPN connection (virtual private network) to Curbi’s servers. It allows us to set schedules for various apps, and emails us a weekly report of how much time our kids have spent on their devices. We can also view the amount of time they’ve spent per app. Going through a VPN also ensures that no matter what app is used to access the Internet, the content is filtered. Curbi does take a little bit of effort to setup but their website has all the resources and videos you need to get up and

Internet filtering, age-graded content limits, and schedule limits for each device. You can also set ratings for Xbox content and Windows Store apps. Best of all: it’s totally free and already a part of Windows. Each week it emails us a very detailed report on what each of our children has done on their Windows devices. Because Microsoft, the same company that makes Windows, builds Microsoft Family Safety, it is by far the most robust family protection option available. You can manage everything remotely via a website, and if a child requests

As much as I love our children I also know that they are sinners (just like their parents) and need some help obeying online—accountability for what they do on their devices and how much time they spend on their devices. running quickly. We use Curbi on our children’s devices. We get an email each week detailing their activity and if anything needs to be adjusted or a website unblocked we can manage everything through a web browser remotely, without having to touch their device again. This allows us to dynamically update their filtering settings as needed.

For Windows-based devices (running Windows 7 or later) Microsoft has built in a great tool called Microsoft Family Safety. Family Safety allows you to enroll your children’s devices and set

additional time or needs a website unblocked you will get an email and be able to address the issue quickly from anywhere you have access to the Internet. While these options work well for families, I’m also asked about how to filter and manage devices across larger networks, such as for schools and churches. The ministry I serve at has a Christian school, where is issued a Windows-based device. We have network filtering available for all devices on our networks, but what about when students and staff take their devices February 2017 | 9

For clips, screenings and more info go to:

OUTREACH.COM/THESHACK Features clips from the movie!

home? We use Thirtyseven4 to protect these devices. I highly recommend Thirtyseven4 for everyone looking for an antivirus and malware protection for their devices. In a larger setting they also provide content filtering and application control through the Enterprise Protection Server. This means that no matter where the device is we are able to provide Internet filtering and content control. The built in reporting for the Enterprise Protection Server helps us with providing accountability for all our users, and in ministry now more than ever it is imperative to have that accountability. Above all, remember God: while all parents have a responsibility to teach their children, only the Holy Spirit can change the heart. No filtering or monitoring solution is perfect; inappropriate content will slip through. Make sure your kids know they can bring their questions and mistakes to you. Spend time with your kids browsing the Internet. Learn their favorite games and websites. Network and device control are valuable tools but they aren’t everything; it’s still important to build the kind of relationship with your kids where you can learn and grow together. MT Additional resources are available at Jonathan Smith is the Director of Technology at Faith Ministries in Lafayette, Indiana. You can reach Jonathan at and also follow him on Twitter @JonathanESmith.

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Security FAQ’s Which option is best? There is no one-size-fits-all approach here. Each device, each user and each family is different. At the very least you should consider some sort of device control: without device control you have to make sure your kids are never on an unprotected network. Ideally, you should do a combination of device and network control. A combination will keep all of your devices protected no matter where they are and protect any unprotected guest devices that may visit your home.

How much does it cost? Many vendors offer free versions of their products but in most cases the free versions will not provide all the protection you need. The only product that offers full functionality for free is Microsoft Family Safety. For the other products there is a cost to access all of the features, but it’s totally worth it—consider the cost of a device or network management against your children learning about pornography on their own.

How much time is involved? Each of the products mentioned have great support and help pages along with tutorials and videos. Depending on your level of tech awareness, you can be up and running in no time. Remember, if your child was a bad driver or needed help with sports you’d probably spend as much time as necessary helping them drive and practicing athletics. The same is true here, take what time is needed to ensure your family is protected—from learning it yourself to applying it to your devices.

Will my kids think I don’t trust them? Maybe. It depends on how you present this to them. As your children grow and mature you can grant them more and more access. Many products offer age-grading options so more and more content is automatically available as your children grow older. Our children know that we are watching what they do on their devices. They know the limits we have set and the great freedom they have within those limits. They also are well aware of the consequences of trying to go around the limits we have set.

Which platform is better for parental control, Apple, Android, Windows, etc.? Android and Microsoft allow for much easier device control based on how their operating systems are written. Due to the way Apple’s software works on iPhones and iPads there are some limits to how much filtering and device control you can enforce. This isn’t to say that Apple devices are better or worse, merely to point out that while still effective, device control is somewhat limited on Apple devices.

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Great Sound Gear for Your Stage 8


Technology advances two ways: new inventions and improvements to old gear. It’s a great idea to check out what’s new in both areas. > > > 12 |

> > > There are technologies you might have written off years ago that have evolved into very useful tools for the worship stage. For example, I told myself for years I would never install a digital sound board in our church because of the complexity, but over time my volunteers became more technologically savvy—and now they actually prefer digital interfaces to analog. In addition to the technological advances, there are lots of inventors, and companies who continue to develop new and exciting tools for the stage. Here’s a list that combines brand new ideas and tried-and-true elements for the worship stage.


Lo-Profile Condenser Microphones

There are some really fun emerging microphone makers now creating affordable tools that are perfect for many church needs. Adding a pair of these 12 Gauge microphones for your drum set overheads, ambient (room) microphones or choir will turn some heads and they sound fantastic!


An increasing number of churches are now considering using more inear monitor applications as Westone 78536 technology Clear AM Pro 10 is improving Single-Driver Universal for both the Ambient In-Ear operators and Monitors musicians. One of the improvements in in-ear monitors is the ability to allow the performer to hear ambient sounds while at the same time using their ear buds. Check out these MEE audio M6 very affordable PRO Universal-Fit ambient friendly Noise-Isolating Musician’s In-Ear ear buds. Monitors with Detachable If you Cables don’t need the ambient feature and simply want several sturdy, low-profile in-ear monitors for your team, check out these highly rated MEE Audio M6 universal fit ear buds.

3 RED12 - Shotgun Shell Omni Condenser Microphone SDC

Ambient In-Ear Monitors

stage can also leak into those microphones. Many sound techs will depend on gating that sound from the main soundboard, but there is new technology that uses lasers to detect when the singer is on the mic, and in turn releases the gate so you can hear Optogate Automatic PIR the vocal. It sounds Microphone like science fiction, Switch for DYNAMIC but its real. Check Microphones out the Optogate Automatic PIR Microphone Switch for DYNAMIC Microphones. This device is also great for musical directors who only need to communicate only to the band.


Kick Drum Stomp Boxes

If your worship team is short a drummer the worship leader can add a simple device on the floor that

Auto Gate Device for Microphones

Vocal microphones are made for vocals, but unfortunately audio from other instruments on the

Volume and Tone Control Stompbox Rhythm Foot Drum

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Gathered worship is about our engagement in the story of God. Using new technologies to create what the Psalmist calls “a new song” might be the inspiration that draws a seeker or inspires a new team member.


simulates a kick drum. It’s a little wooden box that plugs in just like another acoustic guitar. This sound can really add some nice low end to an otherwise acoustic ensemble sound. Check out a very affordable option by Dark Cat.


Affordable wireless technology for instrumentalists has been a long time coming until recently. If you want to remove some of the cable craziness from the stage, look into this new technology from Line 6. It’s getting rave reviews:

Compact Sound Systems

There are some incredible new portable sound system options available for church planters, youth group rooms, and traveling ministries. These set ups are made to break down small and they are super lightweight. Having one of these systems on hand is perfect for parking lot outreaches, mission trips, and backup systems. I recommend either of these: > B ose L1 Compact System > Turbosound iNSPIRE iP1000 14 |

Wireless Instrument Packs

> L  ine 6 Relay G50 Wireless Guitar System


Turbosound iNSPIRE iP1000 Powered Column Loudspeaker

Monk Drum

The Cajon drum has been popularized in the last few years. It’s a wooden box that you sit on and play with your hands. It’s a great percussive tool but it’s very hard to put a microphone on it. The folks at Monk Drums have developed an amazing drum, similar to a cajon but it sounds even better and is easier

Line 6 Relay G50 Wireless Guitar System: Wired Tone, Wireless Freedom

to mic. Check it out here:

Mike O’Brien holds a B.A. in Music from Kennesaw State University and Master of Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. He

> Rustic Wood Burn Chamber Drum

has worked as a producer, engineer and mixer at Lucko Sound Studio, and with a collective of over 25 musicians called Poured Out Like Wine. Together, they produced seven albums with over 15 published songs with Vineyard Worship USA. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Susan, and son, Ezekiel. You can Monk Drums Rustic Wood Burn Chamber Drum


reach Mike at

Multi Input DI Box

There is an increased need for devices that can help translate differing computing devices to the sound system. Having a few direct boxes that have multiple input options is vital in this digital age. Here are two options that work really well: > Whirlwind PCDI Direct Box > Radial Engineering Pro AV2

Whirlwind pcDI Direct Box

Gathered worship is about our engagement in the story of God. Using new technologies to create what the Psalmist calls “a new song” might be the inspiration that draws a seeker or inspires a new team member. Look at these options and more to breathe new life into your services. MT February 2017 | 15


Why You Should Record Every Church Service LIVE! Three great benefits of capturing the moment

by Caleb Neff

About 12 years ago I said “Why not?” to a Musicians Friend home recording starter kit. I had never even so much as sat behind the soundboard in our church, but I foolishly thought, “How hard could it be?” Three months and many sleepless nights later, our church’s youth band 16 |

had an EP and I had unintentionally begun the best music education journey of my life. The EP wasn’t very good, but it became a learning tool. Here are three gamechanging shifts that happened through getting our team into recording.

Listening to live recordings helps us embrace objectivity as a gateway to improvement. Through the painful, unbiased honesty of playback, I discovered my weaknesses as a sound tech and a musician. I was going flat on every high note I sang. I was strumming the guitar like I was trying to chop down a tree. Once I got over the initial “that doesn’t sound like me at all!” syndrome, I decided that instead of delving deeper into the digital tools that could mask my inadequacies, I was going to do whatever it took to actually make these issues get better. It’s been a long journey; you don’t become a better player or singer over night, but the truth of playback has been my greatest teacher in the process.

It helped the team to open up about how to improve. Almost everywhere I’ve worked on a sound system or worship-team training, there are “elephant-in-theroom conversations” people have avoided, sometimes for years! They’ve avoided these conversations because they might sound like subjective criticism, but recording every service helps people listen to the realities of what the team sounds like. Listening to the playback opened up opportunities to have honest discussions: n  “Our sound guy mixes the vocals way too hot

and the band way too low, but he owns the sound system.” (Unfortunately I’ve encountered this more than once!) n  “Our guitar player always leaves his fuzz, flange

and wah on for every song.” n  “Susie is rarely on pitch during high parts, but we

don’t want to hurt her feelings.” I could go on, but I’m sure you have your own stories. Within the next few years I’m sure Siri will help us have these awkward conversations, but until then what’s often needed most is a way to introduce objectivity into these situations. So many of the leaders I’ve met don’t want to end up in what would seem like a battle of personal preferences, so I recommend using

Recording every service helps people listen to the realities of what the team sounds like. Listening to the playback opens up opportunities to have those honest but difficult discussions. the always-honest, never-biased recording. I don’t want to oversell this; it’s not magic. However, something different, some kind of left brain/right brain thing that I’m not smart enough to understand, does happen when we’re listening rather than playing. After all, most of us can attend a live performance and agree on what’s good or not—where it gets muddled is when we’re the ones doing the playing. In relaxed (usually one-on-one) contexts, I’ve been able to have breakthrough conversations with team members by listening to the recordings of our services. Usually we would start with, “Let’s listen to this section that is really awesome. Do you hear how you and the other guitar player are really locked in—and how great that is?” Then, once we’ve highlighted a strength or two, we listen to a section that needs some work and offer some practical tips on how to grow. When bad tone is the issue, I’ve found that the 45 seconds of isolated tracks you can listen to for free on is a fantastic education for the ear about what sounds work well together in the modern worship context. I don’t think I’ve ever had someone get upset at me for challenging them in this type of environment (I repeat: use this method one-on-one; group contexts are another story). It seems that most folks I’ve worked with really do have a desire to grow to be their best, but lack clarity about how to improve. And keep in mind that a great way to lighten the tension of sitting with someone February 2017 | 17

listening to his or her mistakes is to point out some of your own. I’ve never had a hard time finding some. The longer we practiced this discipline as a team, the more our conversations became collaborative. The electric guitar player and the sound person would listen back and discuss tones. The drummer and bass player would listen to the playback and discuss improvements to the rhythm section. When we introduced original songs, we had a way of documenting different ideas for an arrangement before we settled on the best one. As we moved into having multiple leaders at weekend services, I was able to steal great ideas from the other teams! The team began taking ownership of the things they were playing in a different way; it inspired new levels of creativity and renewed desires for excellence.

It’s encouraging! When you play back something that you were a part of and it’s awesome, that’s supposed to feel really good. I’m

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no great theologian, but I’m pretty sure it was God who gave us the ears and the inspiration, and Who designed us to delight in this stuff. You put all this work in—you should enjoy it! As much as the recording process will reveal that which is frustrating and highlight room for growth, it will capture moments that will remind you why you’re so darn passionate about ministry to begin with. The archive recordings become markers of what God was doing in your community over time. Some of my favorite worship records are ones we made with dear friends who are with Jesus now, and they are gold to me. I even love that (kind of) lame sounding EP I made with my friends in the youth group band! MT Caleb Neff is a producer, pastor, songwriter, worship leader, husband, and dad from Cape Coral, Florida. His passion is helping artists both inside and outside the church develop their full creative potential. You can contact Caleb at


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Ways Your Church Plant Can Use Tech Effectively What church plants might lack in terms of finance or staff, we make up for in creativity | by Daniel So

lanter, it’s probably not a stretch to guess that you felt called to plant a church to join in God’s mission of redemption by reaching people with the Gospel and not to show off your tech skills. If you’re anything like me, in fact, your tech “plan” probably sounds something like this: Keep building the ship as you’re sailing! At the same time, though, we know that communicating the Good News of Jesus effectively in our culture today requires being able to utilize technology and design. While some plants are blessed with abundant resources from the outset (e.g., finances, technology, staff), many of the rest of us are faced with constraints of budget and expertise. As General Editor of the website, and a church planter myself, I can relate to these challenges. Over the years, I have gained a baseline level of proficiency with church tech (which is sort of like youth pastors having to learn

to drive the church van and play a couple of chords on the guitar, as I did many years ago), but I share the following ideas, tips and insights from a non-technical perspective.

Build A Team It might feel counterintuitive to begin with people rather than equipment when writing about tech, but I believe you will find several benefits from taking this approach. First, you will be surprised at what volunteers can provide. When you ask for help in developing your plant’s audio, visual or web ministries, you are opening the doors for people to contribute meaningfully to the mission who might otherwise not imagine themselves doing so. For example, you might discover someone who DJs on the side and can provide insight and expertise into PAs, speakers and how music can affect the flow of a gathering. Your plant might have a freelance

photographer who can donate free headshots of your staff for your church’s website or document a local outreach. Or, you might find people within your community who are willing to donate equipment. One generous family in our plant donated a 42-inch flat screen television they were no longer using after upgrading their set: we use it to project lyrics and slides during our Sunday worship gatherings. One simple onramp for tech participation is asking people to help set up and tear down on a weekly basis. You might also consider reaching out to other churches in your local area, both established churches and newer plants, to find out what kind of tech setup they use. Ask them how their tech usage has evolved. When I reached out to another congregation in the area with questions, they were happy to share their tech story because it related directly to the ways in which God enabled their plant to grow. I gained a few February 2017 | 19

practical insights about computer hardware and software for visual presentations, and got a glimpse into how our plant’s needs might evolve in the future. Finally, planters are notoriously prone to burnout. I have often found that trying to take on too much of the tech burden can drain planters and distract their focus from why they felt called to this unique ministry in the first place. Building a tech team will not only free you from this burden, but it will also enable you to invest more directly in ministry to the people on that team.

Tell Your Story Visually Instagram surpassed Twitter (in terms of popularity and usage) back in 2015. This confirms that we live in a visual culture. Plants must learn to tell their story—and the Gospel story—visually.



Even on a limited budget, it is within reach for many plants to purchase either a simple projector/screen (or blank wall) setup or to use a flat screen television (mounted to rolling monitor stand, if you need to set up/ tear down weekly). Forty-eight-inch televisions can be purchased for under $350, or even under $300, if you’re able to catch the right sale. You can also check your local big box retailer’s clearance or open-box selection for even lower prices. Our group of 50 on Sundays has been able to view a 42-inch screen

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without issue. Just make sure, whatever the size of your screen, to set text on each slide to a large enough size. In terms of visual presentations, you’ll often find that “less is more”— fewer words per slide and more images will reinforce your message more effectively than attempting to display the entire transcript of what you’re saying. The in-house designer for TED offers these helpful insights in crafting effective slides. If you use slides during your sermon (and don’t want to have to say, “Please advance the slide” 10 times per sermon), you could invest in this Kensington wireless presenter so that you can advance the slides as you preach. It is available for under $40, but you can find even less expensive ones.



Presentation programs like Proclaim, ProPresenter and MediaShout are powerful and robust, but your plant might not be able to afford the financial cost or time spent learning how to use them. Applications like Keynote for Mac and, yes, the old warhorse PowerPoint for Windows can be rolled out effectively for worship settings. Here are a couple of quick tips for using PowerPoint, as our plant does: First, set your presentations to widescreen (16:9 dimensions). Second, set your computer monitor’s appearance to “extended desktop”—this will allow you to view/edit your presentation on the computer you’re using, but continue to project the desired image onto the screen.

You might also find new uses for other apps you already have. For example, if you’re in the Apple ecosystem, you can utilize the Remote app on your iPhone to control iTunes on your Macbook (just make sure both your iPhone and Macbook are on the same wireless network). This way, if you don’t have a dedicated soundboard operator, you can control music during entrance/exit, communion, prayer, etc. from the front.





Again, even without a dedicated stage designer on your team, you can utilize many free or low-cost resources to add visual impact to your worship gatherings. Even simple lighting can provide creative, artistic stage design. These copper string lights are available for less than $10, and can be used in a variety of ways—on stage, in your foyer, to highlight signage, or even in a bowl to decorate a table during your fellowship hour. These simple multicolored floodlights are also less than $20, and can help set your worship environment. One local San Diego church built a beautiful stage backdrop using free reclaimed pallets (and a little elbow grease) along with simple colored lights. You can find many ideas, inspirations and tips at Church Stage Design Ideas.

Even if you don’t have a graphic designer on your team, your plant still has access to many high-quality, free resources. Websites like Open Network, CreationSwap and RiseUp

Resources consistently provide a wide range of high quality free resources, including sermon series and social media graphics, videos and design templates. Each week on we feature the best free resources for planters, including design resources, eBooks and student ministry resources.


community. You can find a free eBook here, along with a helpful article about harnessing the power of social media in plan=ting, over at If you utilize email newsletters, MailChimp offers free services (for up to 2,000 subscribers) and a simple drag-and-drop interface, along with a variety of templates to choose from.


You don’t have to be a social media “guru” or “maven” for your church to use Twitter, Facebook or Instagram effectively. These free apps can be powerful tools in reaching people and building up your

Go Forth What church plants might lack in terms of financial or staffing resources, we make up for in adaptability and creativity. May

this sampling of tech and design resources strengthen your plant’s mission to honor God and reach the lost. Keep building that ship and keep on sailing! MT Daniel So is the General Editor of and Resource Editor of Daniel and his wife, along with an incredible team, helped plant Anchor City Church in San Diego—a third culture, multi-generational church who seeks to join the redemptive mission of God for our city and for the world. Daniel also serves on the advisory board of Justice Ventures International, a non-profit organization working to fight human trafficking and modernday slavery around the world.

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February 2017 | 21


Preach from Your iPad, but Be Careful! Practical Tips From Five Years of Preaching

iPad preaching is becoming commonplace.

I’ve been using an iPad to preach since mid-2011. I just use a single page outline with only scripture references, the essential big ideas and any quotes/statistics that I need to reference. If anything doesn’t fit on the one page, it gets cut. by Brandon Hilgemann 22 |

Here are 10 lessons I’ve learned by experience.


Turn off notifications.

The only thing worse than a cell phone ringing in the middle of a prayer is the preacher’s iPad ringing in the middle of a prayer. Make sure to turn on the Do Not Disturb switch in Settings. I also turn on Airplane Mode just to make sure I don’t have anything popping up from Wi-Fi. At one location where I preached, there was a very weak Wi-Fi signal that I didn’t have the password to. A Wi-Fi connection message kept popping up while I was preaching. You don’t want any distractions from the message God has given you.


Turn off auto-lock.

I have forgotten to do this a few times. Five minutes into the message my iPad blacked out. It totally threw me off. I had to pause what I was saying, open the iPad and swipe to unlock before resuming the message. This is even worse if your iPad is password protected. Always make sure to open up Setting > General > set Auto-Lock to Never.


Lower the brightness.

If the stage is dark and the brightness is too high, your iPad will make your lectern glow. In addition, your face will light up like you are telling scary stories around a campfire. If you wear glasses, the iPad can also reflect off your lenses.

The only thing worse than a cell phone ringing in the middle of the prayer is the preacher’s iPad ringing in the middle of a prayer. You don’t want any distractions from the message God has given you. Eliminate this distraction. Adjust brightness accordingly. The goal is easy readability for you while glowing low enough so the audience doesn’t notice. A cool trick that many people don’t know is that you can invert the colors on the iPad to make the

screen dark. In Settings, tap General, then Accessibility, and switch Invert Colors to On. (A great tip is that you can set up a triple click of the home button to invert colors to save time. Settings > General > Accessibility > then triple click.)

Do not draw attention to your iPad.


Don’t show off your new gadget. Don’t say, “Look at this amazingly awesome piece of technology. Don’t you wish you were as cool as me?” You are not an Apple commercial. This is a tool to help you as you proclaim God’s message. Don’t let the iPad become a distraction from the main focus. I recommend getting a case that covers the logo. I use an amazing case that looks like a vintage book. I definitely recommend it.

Use a PDF reader app for your notes.


I love having an editable Pages doc in case I want to make last second changes, but hate preaching off the Pages app. One wrong tap and you deleted your notes and brought up the editing tools or keyboard. It can be highly distracting—a PDF viewer eliminates distractions and keeps it simple.

February 2017 | 23

You can easily convert a Pages doc to a PDF. Tap the wrenchlooking Tools icon in the upper right corner. Hit Share and Print, then Open in Another App. Choose PDF as a format, then Choose App. You will then have the option to select any app that handles PDFs. Some people like using free apps like iBooks or Kindle. However, my favorite is GoodReader, because it lets me add notes, highlight text (I color code illustrations, scripture, videos, etc.), and crop the document to eliminate margins and make the text larger and more readable. It’s worth the extra couple of bucks, in my opinion.


Still carry a Bible.

Make sure the iPad is fully charged.

Always make sure your iPad is fully charged. You do not want the battery dying mid-sermon. Have a charger with you just in case you 24 |


Have a backup.

Always, always, always have a backup. Either a physical copy of your

Yes, I read and study the Bible online or in my iPad or iPhone, but there is something powerful about a preacher holding a physical Bible. It shows the audience that your authority comes from God.

This is just a personal preference, but I still like to have a physical Bible on stage with me. Yes, I read and study the Bible almost entirely online or in my iPad or iPhone, but I find that there is just something powerful about a preacher holding a physical Bible. It shows the audience that your authority comes from God, not Steve Jobs.


need a last-minute power up before walking onto stage. Fortunately, the iPad has such an incredibly long battery life that this has rarely been a problem for me.

notes or a Dropbox/Evernote/Google Doc you can pull up with your phone. You never know when technology might fail you. The battery could die unexpectedly, you could accidentally spill coffee on it or it might freeze up for no reason on you. Always be prepared just in case. I have had to pull out my backup a few times (more on that in lesson number 9).


Don’t leave your iPad unattended.

I set my iPad down one time—just once! I forgot about it, walked away, and when I came back it was gone! Someone had the nerve to steal my iPad only two minutes before I stood up to preach! I was upset, but not as upset as I would have been if I didn’t have a backup. That is a $400 mistake I will never make again! Just because you are in church doesn’t mean that someone won’t give into the temptation to steal an easy target.

Don’t have an open beverage next to your iPad.


I’m all about baptism by full immersion—just not for my iPad! If enough liquid spills on an iPad, it is game over. You don’t want an open water bottle on your lectern. You might get excited while preaching, swing your arms around and accidentally knock it over. Not only will you lose your iPad, you will have to explain to the elders why you cussed on stage. (Just kidding.) MT Brandon Hilgemann has been on a 10-year journey to become the best preacher he can possibly be. During this time, he has worked in churches of all sizes, from a church plant to some of the largest and fastest growing churches in the United States. Brandon writes his thoughts and ideas from his journey at

HOW TO from one pastor’s experience I bought an iPad the first day they were for sale in 2010. My main purpose in this purchase was for preaching. It has been a great transition over the last few years from my leather preaching notebook to my iPad. I preface my explanation of how I preach from an iPad with the disclaimer that this system may not be best for you, but it is my favorite process after a few years of tweaking it. n I am a manuscript preacher. I highlight key words and color-code my manuscript to make it simpler to follow.
 n Once I finish my manuscript, I save it in landscape format as both a PDF and a Word document. I save it in landscape because I like to have my iPad in landscape on the pulpit. n I put all of the files pertaining to one sermon in a note in Evernote.
 n I access my sermon manuscript in Evernote on my iPad, and open it into iBooks. iBooks has clearly become the best option pertaining to simplicity in flipping through pages. If you simply preach from the PDF within Evernote, one accidental swipe can cause you to move from page one to nine in the blink of an
eye. iBooks is key to effective page turning during preaching. n I put my iPad on the pulpit before the service ever begins. This may not be something everyone does, but I like to just carry my Bible with me when I walk onto the platform. Furthermore, it’s less cumbersome. When I walk up to the pulpit, I simply hit the home button, swipe, and the manuscript is right there. The people sitting in the congregation cannot tell I’m preaching from an iPad, and I like it that way. I was initially afraid I would appear flashy for preaching from an iPad, but that quickly became a non-issue. I preach from it for the sake of efficiency. — Jeremy Roberts

February 2017 | 25


Technology and Christian Entrepreneurship: Paths to Human Flourishing Does Our Work Really Matter? |


his month, I want to take a pause in our monthly profiles of Christian entrepreneurs to reflect again on why this topic should matter to Christians. We spent a few issues at the beginning of the series on what

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START UP by Russ McGuire

startups and entrepreneurs are and why the church should care about them, but that was two years ago, perhaps before some of you were even reading Ministry Tech. Can entrepreneurship contribute to human flourishing?

For that matter, can technology contribute to human flourishing? I hope this continuing series gives you a glimpse into how Christian entrepreneurs around the world are using their God-given gifts in service to God, whether it be building web

sites or solving major world problems or simply providing jobs and dignity to the hopeless.

What Is Human Flourishing? It seems like the concept of human flourishing has become trendy again. The Greek philosophers often debated the concept of eudaimonia, which some have translated as human flourishing. Plato’s definition of eudaimonia was “the good composed of all goods; an ability which suffices for living well; perfection in respect of virtue; resources sufficient for a living creature.” Today, we are aware of poverty in the world around us, and we may be tempted to think of flourishing as the absence of poverty, but it’s much more than that. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” In their book Entrepreneurship for Human Flourishing, Chris Horst and Peter Greer (of Hope International) link the concept to the Hebrew word shalom. “The ancient Hebrew word shalom goes beyond our modern concept of peace and embodies completeness in relationships with God, others, ourselves and creation. Human flourishing happens when people and communities thrive—when they experience wholeness and restoration in their relationships, in their view of themselves, and in their relationship with their Creator.” We get a sense for the richness of this concept when Jesus uses the

Greek equivalent of shalom in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Who Brings About Human Flourishing? So human flourishing is a really big concept. Although the Bible doesn’t use the words, we certainly get a sense that Adam and Eve, in the garden before the fall, had the kind of wholeness and perfect relationships described in all three definitions above. We also know that all will be redeemed and restored in paradise, and if you go back up and read Plato’s, Bradley’s or Hope’s definitions, you’ll see that they accurately reflect what we see promised for us in the Bible. But that will be accomplished by Christ, and not by man. As Christians we are called to “put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). We are commanded to love our neighbor as our selves (Matthew 22:39). We have been given “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). We are told that the peacemakers are blessed and “shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Many in Christian ministry have taken these words to heart and are working diligently and effectively to address the issues of the world, the effects of the fall, that keep people from truly flourishing. Their work is critical, impactful and God honoring. Although their reward will be in heaven and all praise is

due to God, they deserve our admiration and support.

How Do Tech Entrepreneurs Contribute? Business does more to address human flourishing than just provide funds for those in “full-time ministry.” As U2’s Bono said, “Commerce is real . . . aid is just a stopgap. Commerce— entrepreneurial capitalism—takes more people out of poverty than aid.” The Goldwater Institute found that “economic freedom and entrepreneurship are keys to escaping poverty for many. There is a strong connection between a state’s rate of entrepreneurship and declines in poverty.” The Economist wrote, “The world’s achievement in the field of poverty reduction is, by almost any measure, impressive . . . the aim of halving global poverty between 1990 and 2015 was achieved five years early. Most of the credit, however, must go to capitalism and free trade, for they enable economies to grow— and it was growth, principally, that has eased destitution.” But advances in human flourishing are about more than just addressing poverty. Horst and Greer write in their book, “Entrepreneurship is not something we should just tolerate. We should celebrate it. Average life expectancy has more than doubled globally over the past 200 years. During that time, we’ve moved from a nearly illiterate population to one in which 84 percent of adults can now read. In the past 40 years alone, the percentage of undernourished people February 2017 | 27

in the world has dropped by half.” They point to innovation and entrepreneurship as foundational to these incredible advances. But they also point to the more mundane impacts that entrepreneurs have on eudaimonia. “In general, entrepreneurs are in the business of solving problems, not creating them. Their

initiatives and inventions—and the businesses that sustain them—meet human needs. Tables allow families to share meals together. Telephones enable friends to communicate in real time. Airplanes permit people to travel the globe. Tables, telephones and airplanes are handicrafts of entrepreneurs. When entrepreneurs fulfill

their mandate to serve others and solve problems, humans flourish. And to solve these problems, entrepreneurs recruit workers, who can also then experience the dignity of work.” Entrepreneurs are very good at creating jobs. According to a Baylor University study, between 1980 and 2000, small businesses in the U.S. created more than 34 million new jobs. And according to a National Bureau of Economic Research study, in one year in the U.S., 2.5 million net new jobs were created in total, while companies less than one year old created 3.5 million net new jobs—meaning that all companies more than one year old combined, eliminated a million jobs. And jobs do matter. Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup found “if countries fail at creating jobs, their societies will fall apart. Countries, and more specifically cities, will experience suffering, instability, chaos and eventually revolution.” Technology is used in ministry, and “ministry” reaches beyond the walls of the church building. It’s my hope these stories may inspire some of you to use your God-given gifts to love your neighbor and bring glory to God. MT Russ McGuire ( is a trusted advisor with proven strategic insights. He 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 he’s 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.

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3 Must-Have Graphic Programs for Social Media [ ] An unusual trio of solutions to solve your social media challenges.

by Yvon Prehn


ocial media is an indispensable part of church communications programs today, and social media platforms do best when they include great images. But in the church you need more than random photos: you need to have text added; you need logos and ministry images combined; and you want to coordinate all your images

through all the social media platforms. It can be challenging. For starters, you probably aren’t an expert in Photoshop, and second, you’re operating with limited resources and time. The good news is that the tips in this article really work, cost very little and require almost no training. Each of these programs is worthy of its own article

(and demonstration), so I’m only going to discuss how they fit into social media. You’ll discover what you can do with each program, the costs (if any) and then how they fit into the workflow of social media. Though the trio of programs in this article may seem an odd partnership, they can solve social media creation challenges—here’s how. February 2017 | 29

Canva Canva originated in Australia in 2007 and has become one of the most popular image generating programs because you can create high-end graphics so easily. Although Canva has lots of templates that you can modify, I want to focus on Canva as an image creation program. Many of the features of Canva are free, but for social media you need the Canva for Work version. This costs $12.95 a month, but as a church you can apply for their nonprofit rate and get it for free. To get the most out of Canva, follow these steps: 1.  After you’ve created your account, select the Facebook post template. (You could start with any other social media template you want, but let’s assume your church has an active Facebook community.) 2.  A blank page, the size of a Facebook image, will come up with lots of templates on the side of the page. 3.  If you are starting an announcement from scratch, you may want to use one of the templates, but in most cases, you already have some images (or even edited pictures from PicMonkey). 4.  To get your images into Canva, go to the UPLOAD label on the side and upload your images. 5.  Then drag what you want into Canva. 30 |

6.  You can resize, add text or effects. 7.  Save it as your “Facebook Image.” 8.  Go up to the top of the page and under “File” select “Magic Resize.” (Here’s where it gets fun for Social media.) 9.  Select a new social media where you want to use your message, then go to the bottom of the page and hit “Resize.” 10.  Canva will immediately put your image into a template customized to the size of the social media you selected. 11.  Save and repeat through as many formats as you want. 12.  Be sure to save and label each image, and then when you are finished you can download them

and use them in whatever social media you want. Your graphics and text will be clear and have a professional look. Here’s why this last step is vital: to keep your social media messages coordinated for the church, the similarity of images is essential so that your audience will know you are talking about the same program through all your various social media channels.

PicMonkey The place of PicMonkey is to take your raw photos and by spending a few minutes with the editing program polish them to make them look their best. This is a tremendously fun program to use and you can easily get distracted playing with it. However, for our social media purposes, I’ve found it is one of the easiest to use and perhaps most powerful photo editing programs ever. PicMonkey is

particularly good at editing photos. You can remove lines, blemishes, whiten teeth, add eyeliner and blush, and make some very advanced changes very easily. (It’s honestly a challenge to know when to quit because the modifications are so easy to make.) It can also very easily change the whole look of images to black and white, tints, gritty look and many more. You can also add text, stamps, overlays and many complex edits very easily. The basic editing program is free, but the advanced retouching tools are $7.99 a month or $47.88 a year. I couldn’t do without it for the photo editing tools.

in our new section on “Training.” It will be a top-level label and I’ll illustrate in a video the things I talked about above. For that and many other tips, training and resources in church communications, visit www.

Yvon Prehn is the founder and director of Effective Church Communications,, a ministry that helps churches create communications that help fulfill the Great Commission. She has been writing and teaching about church communications for over 20 years. Her latest book is The Five Steps of Effective Church Communication and Marketing.

Church Communicator's Bookstore

PowerPoint Almost every church has PowerPoint and uses it for slides before, during and after church services for announcements. What many people don’t realize is that you can save your PowerPoint slide as a graphic, either in jpg or png. Here’s how: Select “Save As.” Then scroll down and select jpg or png. PowerPoint will ask you if you want to save all or “just this one.” Click “just this one.” By doing this you don’t have to recreate the content for social media. Plus you capture the same look and style of the graphics used inside the church for all your communications going outside the church. To see a video that illustrates this and the programs talked about in this article, go to the Effective Church Communications website

from Yvon Prehn February 2017 | 31


FREE Resources

Available to Church Planters by Kevin Purcell

Church planters have free resources available online; sometimes you just need to know where to look. During a recent Theotek Podcast, my hosts and I suggested free software, apps and services to help any church planter. You can also see the video or listen to the audio version of the episode. 32 |

Free Bible Study Tools We started by looking at a few free Bible study tools. The most popular free Bible study software for Windows is e-Sword, from It runs on Windows and is also now available for Mac for a slight fee ($10). The user interface is simple and easy to learn. It allows users to get at the original languages through some links with pop-up tool tips showing Strong’s Definitions and you can add dictionaries. This site also has public domain works and even a few recently published works available online. Whenever you’re ready to start buying more recent books, eStudySource markets plenty more: you can enter your eStudySource account information into e-Sword and download the paid modules inside the same software. Some of the bigger names in Bible study software also offer free content. Olive Tree Bible Reader has apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS for free. You can sign in with a free user account, then go to the store and get a number of free books from Bibles like the NIV, NKJV and HCSB to other public domain works in commentaries, dictionaries and Christian Living titles. The Olive Tree Resource Guide makes it an easy program to use.

Find a passage in your preferred Bible and the Resource Guide “flies” in from the right to show you all of the books with content related to that passage. Accordance Bible Software lets users download their iOS app and register as a user. You’ll get a collection of free books from them, too. Accordance has added interlinear support, which helps users get at the original languages. WORDsearch offers a free version of their program called WORDsearch Basic. It’s an easy-touse tool with free books to download if you register for a free account. The best-selling hardcore Bible software program Logos Bible Software also lets users access some free content by downloading their mobile app and logging in with a free Faithlife user account (www. One more (lesser known) free Bible app is Verse3. It focuses more on note taking along with Bible texts. (I did an in-depth look at all six of these free online Bible study sites at my website. It took two posts since I did a deep dive, with videos demonstrating each of the six sites. Here are the links to Part One and Part Two)

Other Free Resources Church plants need more than Bible study software. In our podcast we talked about other free services or programs. There’s plenty of software if you just take time to locate it—I’ve assembled some of the best here: n  Facebook and Facebook Messenger—offers free video streaming of live events, private groups for ministries, a public page to promote the ministry and a great messenger service to connect with people. n  WordPress—this is a website service that helps ministries put together a free website with anywhere from simple blogging to more complex sites. n  Podbean—free audio hosting that helps users do a podcast or post weekly sermons. n  Soundcloud—like Podbean but more popular. n  And don’t forget YouTube—put your worship services online or use the mobile apps that let you post directly to YouTube. n  Vimeo—like YouTube, Vimeo lets you post video for free. February 2017 | 33

Free Office Software If you need some good office software for word processing, spreadsheets or presentations, check out the following sites: n  Libra Office—It used to be called Open Office: a free office suite that plays nicely with Microsoft Office files. n  Google Docs—Google Docs gives users all they need for office management and writing. It’s not as complex as some other free

programs, and it also works with Microsoft Office files. n  Microsoft Office 365—Many people don’t know that Microsoft offers a free version of their Office suite for nonprofit organizations. If that’s you, then head over to their site and see if you qualify—they use a service called TechSoup to verify qualified nonprofits.


September 2016

Is Your Data Part of a


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You can watch Kevin’s podcast on free resources here, or subscribe to all of them. MT Kevin Purcell is a news and reviews tech writer for and brings more than five years of mobile technology experience to MinistryTech magazine. You can email Kevin at or connect with him on Twitter @kapurcell.

Do you have the tech tools you need? Your FREE subscription brings all the info Ministry Tech provides each month directly to your inbox. Click here to sign up now! It’s easy, free, and fast!


10 APPS, SITES AND SERVICES TO MAKE YOU MORE EFFECTIVE Productivity Goes Mobile | We’ve all got a lot on our to-do lists and we all want to be more effective. These 10 apps, sites and services will help you stay on track in 2017.


MOMENTUM: Find yourself

getting sidetracked by menial “to-do’s” each day? This free Chrome extension puts a “start screen” on your browser and lets you list your most important task of the day. And, the background image changes daily.


SNIPLEY: Share content on so-

cial media with your followers, but include a link to your own site or a call to action.


CANVA: Don’t have the budget

for Adobe Photoshop? Canva is a free (they also have a paid version) site that allows you to create beautiful graphics without having any design experience. You also have access to hundreds of free graphics, predetermined image sizes for social media, print and other channels, and loads of beautiful fonts at your fingertips. Did we mention it’s mostly free?


by Michael Lukaszewski

EVERNOTE: The go-to place

to store meeting notes, sermon ideas and illustrations, anything written on a dry-erase board, voice memos, and just about anything else you’d want to save. Plus, the mobile app and site are synced so whatever you do on your phone also shows on the browser version and vice versa. Free and paid versions are available.


FIVERR: Do you need a com-

munity outreach poster designed but don’t have a graphic designer on staff at your church? Or, maybe your church is starting a podcast and you need a fun audio intro created for the podcast but don’t know anyone to help. Enter Fiverr. Fiverr gives you access to thousands of creative professionals, and for only $5, you can hire someone to do a voiceover, make a video intro, update a graphic or record a silly video.


WP CURVE: Does your church

have a Wordpress site? If so, you can use WP Curve to access unlimited support, make updates and do small jobs for your wordpress site.




MAILCHIMP: Mailchimp is


THINGS: Things is our favorite

Mapping out your yearly ministry calendar doesn’t have to be stressful. Buy a bunch of small, colored post-it notes and this calendar by Neuyear to map out what needs to happen when. Then, you can look at it at a glance to know what’s coming.

pretty much the go-to source for communicating with your church via email. It’s easy to set up, comes with pre-designed templates, requires no coding skills and includes a basic plan that is free.

task management program. Here’s why: you can set up recurring tasks with due dates, AND it’s simple to use AND it synchs across all your devices. (Honorable mention goes to Nozbe, Asana and Todoist. But remember: the task management system you master is better than a new one with more bells and whistles.)



create a nice looking org chart for your volunteer teams? Or maybe you need to design a flowchart for follow up processes guests, givers and new Christians. Omnigraffle makes it easy. MT Visit to get the complete Pastors Toolbox from Michael Lukaszewski is the founder of which provides practical coaching and ready-to-use resources for pastors and ministry leaders. February 2017 | 35

4 Reasons Your Church Should Embrace Email Marketing Research Shows Email Is the Most Effective Online Tool


hurches are swamped with blog posts, podcasts and conferences about how social media is a must for churches that want to improve their marketing efforts, but it’s rare to hear anything about the power of building an email list. But did you know that email still outperforms social media across most industries? Marketers spend quite a bit of time analyzing and optimizing their marketing channels. One marketing insider reports if you have 2,000 email subscribers, 2,000 Facebook fans, and 2,000 followers on Twitter, you can expect: n 435 people will open your email (22 percent) n 120 Facebook fans will see your message (6 percent) n 40 Twitter followers will see your message (2 percent) And the difference gets even sharper when you look at how many people actually click on your messages in each of these channels: n  Email marketing 3.57 percent n  Facebook 0.07 percent n  Twitter 0.03 percent

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In terms of percentage, more people are reached and more people respond to messages through traditional emails than they do through social media. Here are four more reasons why every church should seriously consider building an email list:

1. Email lists are easy to build—You can create a lot of on-ramps to your email list. The obvious includes your contact cards and signup forms on your website, but there are other ways to get information. For instance, why not create an eBook that would be of particular interest to people in your community like: n 10 Ways You Can Pray for the City of _________________________________ n 20 Fun Things to Do on a Date Night in _______________________________ n 5 Local Charities in _________________ and How You Can Get Involved Once you put together a piece, you can host it on your website and people can download it for free by providing you with some contact

information. Now you have local people you can communicate with regularly!

2. Emails can be automated— Once people download your content, there are a lot of email services you can use to set up a campaign to follow up with them. For instance, let’s say someone downloaded your eBook about ways they can pray for your community. You can immediately sign them up for a three-email campaign, which will give them more information about various local concerns and how your church is addressing them. These kinds of campaigns help people get a real sense of what sets your church apart.

3. Email allows you to send messages to specific people— In many ways, your Facebook posts are a public bulletin board. You have some control over who sees your messages, but even if you pay to promote your material, Facebook is charging you based on the people that see it: They’re not always people that are going to benefit from

hearing from you. When you’re intentional about the way you build your email lists, you’re sending emails to specific people who have expressed interest in your ministry in the past.

4. Analytics can help you create better messaging— Your ability to analyze an email trumps what you’re able to learn from a tweet or a Facebook post. With email analytics, you can learn about who’s reading your email, how many people are following up on your calls to action by clicking on links, when they’re reading them, and even what kinds of devices they’re using to read your emails. All of this information can help you create subject lines to get more people to open your emails and click on your links. And that can make a huge difference in your marketing efforts.

Everything you need for a successful Easter Sunday The free ebook & checklist you can’t afford to miss

Invest effort where it matters most There’s no question that social media is an important way to build relationships with people online, but it would be a travesty to pass up on email opportunities. You don’t have to be an expert to get started reaching out to people with email, and you’ll be surprised at the impact it will have. MT


Discover the best tools available for managing your people, your content and your Sunday morning experience by downloading our FREE eBook, Top 10 Tech Tools for Your Church. February 2017 | 37

Fostering a Thriving, Robust Congregation It’s not just about the numbers


rowing membership is a top priority for many churches. However, church leaders know all too well that becoming a member doesn’t always mean long-term commitment—or even active involvement in the church community. Perhaps the answer to cultivating a more engaged congregation lies in focusing on more than just member counts. Rushing visitors along to membership does little more than leave churches with reluctant newcomers or, worse yet, empty seats. Regardless of membership status, there’s a big difference between being a passive worship attendee and being a dynamic, thriving member of the body of Christ. The process requires getting your church visitors and members from passive to active assimilation. This is a major objective for churches and one that takes far

38 |

more effort than simple visitor outreach. Assimilation is more than just one strategy. It’s a process that takes time. Think of assimilation as a mindset toward growing your church family—an ongoing cycle of turning visitors into members and promoting the spiritual growth of all believers. The assimilation process can be divided into four steps, each designed to go beyond just drawing in new believers, but also showing them that they are cherished and valued.

INNOVATION Before a church can begin to assimilate members, it must get them through the doors. Churches can do this with informative, welcoming signage, in-person and social media outreach, and invitations asking members to “bring a friend.” Have greeters ready on Sundays to receive

visitors and answer questions. Survey your most involved new members. Ask them about their initial impressions of your church and what prompted them to join. This may provide insight into how your church is perceived, and it will help you learn what’s working and where you may need to refine your communication.

CONNECTION Once visitors gain a first impression of your church as a warm, caring community, you’ll want to make good on that promise by starting to build relationships. Many pastors do this by setting aside a moment during or after a service for congregants to greet their neighbors and introduce themselves to new faces. Returning visitors may appreciate being paired with prayer partners— church members with whom visitors can share concerns, ask questions

and reflect on weekly sermons. The more meaningful the bonds that visitors form with established members, the more reasons they’ll have to return to church. This is also the stage at which churches may want to implement a communications plan. Phone calls, emails or text messages keep visitors engaged from one week to the next. Some churches may have the resources to make phone calls or write notes individually. However, many churches rely on automated messaging systems to reach out.

PARTICIPATION After spending some time getting to know your church, visitors may be ready to get more involved. This could mean becoming a member—or simply joining a Sunday school class or a choral group. Resist the urge to pressure visitors into membership before they’re ready. Instead, let each visitor draw closer to your church at his or her own pace. If a visitor does decide to become a member, be clear about your church’s

expectations for membership. Be sure that new members understand basics, such as: what is our church’s doctrine—what do we believe? How often am I expected to attend worship? How else can I contribute (tithing, time, service)? What can I do to grow in faith? Establishing clear guidelines for what it means to be a member of your church family helps ensure that those who do choose to join are truly dedicated—and become engaged, involved members.

DO’S AND DON’TS DO have clear, prominent, welcoming signage. DO strategically place greeters throughout your church, parking area and walkways. DO personally greet every visitor.

DO learn more about visitors’ interests and where they are in their spiritual journey. DO personalize event/group recommendations: match visitor interests with what your church offers.

DO make sure greeters are friendly and knowledgeable

DO help visitors make new connections: introduce visitors to regular members.

DO follow-up with visitors within two to three days.

DON’T be pushy—let visitors join at their pace, not

about the church, the building and ministries offered.

tion on groups/ministries, volunteer opportunities, next steps, etc.

yours. Remember, in most cases, visitors initiated a relationship with you and your congregation. This may be intimidating to some, and many people don’t enjoy being “ the spotlight.”

DO collect contact information including informa-

DON’T assume that one welcoming or communication

DO have a welcome packet for visitors with informa-

tion about interests and preferred method of communication.

DO have well-identified ushers who know where class-

rooms and restrooms are located.

DO learn people’s names and remember them. DO make a good impression—make sure website is upto-date and facilities are clean.

method fits every visitor.

DON’T automatically join visitors to your members mailing, emailing or call list.

DON’T use “insider language” when talking to visitors. This creates unnecessary barriers.

DON’T be sloppy: make sure sermons, presentations and lighting are well planned and organized.

February 2017 | 39


Good communication is at the heart of every growing congregation MAKE IT SIMPLE WITH ONE CALL NOW. QUICKLY SEND MESSAGES TO EVERYONE (OR ANY GROUP) •

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Import your names, phone numbers and email addresses from an Excel or .csv file. You can also add or update contacts individually.




Create subgroups within your contact list for group-specific communications (Board of Directors, Staff, Clients, Volunteers, etc.)


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40 |

Churches may eventually ask visitors who have transitioned into full members to take on more responsibility. For example, they might ask new members to chair a committee, teach a Sunday school class or help organize a mission trip. A crucial part of building engagement is helping members see that their involvement matters. As they take on new leadership roles, they discover that their assigned programs and events truly can’t run without them. Serving as a Sunday-morning greeter is an excellent job for new members. It gives them the opportunity to meet fellow congregants and share the joy of their new church home with first-timers. In this way, new members become a fruitful source of yet more engaged visitors and members—bringing the cycle of assimilation full circle. The time required to move through the assimilation cycle will be different for every new member. Some may be ready to dive right in to life in your church, while others may need more encouragement or choose a slower pace. Practice patience and understanding. The results, as 1 Corinthians reminds us, are positively Christlike: “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” MT Learn how the One Call Now notification solution for churches can help you implement the right assimilation strategy for your unique congregation. You can request a communication consultation with One Call Now.


Faith Steward Web from Diakonia In 2016 Faithful Steward Web empowered church staff with a new mobile application. This app enables users to access current member contact information from mobile phones and tablets. Your devices have built-in contact information, but that is often out of date and incomplete. Additionally, if you added everyone from the church to your device’s contacts it might be hard to distinguish between church and non-church associates. The FS Web People mobile application was designed to solve these challenges by providing an actionable mobile membership directory for church staff that is always up to date. It is frustrating when you accidentally visit an old address because your contact information is out of date. Now, instead of logging into FS Web from your browser, use the mobile app to view a new address on a map with the convenience of your mobile device. From there you can easily get GPS step-by-step directions from your current location. Have you ever gotten near a person’s street and drawn a blank as to how to identify them? Using the mobile app you can now quickly find a photo of a person so you can easily recognize them when you arrive. We’ve all had questions for a church member who

is not in our phone’s contacts. An easy solution: use the mobile app to quickly locate a member’s new phone number and in one click either call them on your phone or send them a text. You can also use the mobile app to quickly send someone an email. Directions, phone calls, texts and emails . . . all just a few clicks

away using the FS Web application for mobile devices! FS Web also includes Membership, Attendance, Messaging and Fund Accounting. To find out more call us at 314-256-9073 or try our FREE demo at

February 2017 | 41


There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (NLT)

Ministry Tech Magazine - February 2017  
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