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Applying Tomorrow’s Technology to Today’s Ministry Volume 27
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e-Volved and Thriving in 2015 By Steve Hewitt
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It’s Not Just Filling Spots, it’s About the Right Person and the Right Fit By Michael Jordan
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Do you see Blue & Black or White & Gold, Harmless or Harmful? By Steven Sundermeier
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e-Volved and Thriving in 2015 By Steve Hewitt
anco Payment Solutions has been a pioneer in the electronic giving market since 1998. We sat down with David Eschen, Vice President of Product Strategy to talk about how e-Giving has evolved from the early days and what the trends are for the future.
What should churches know about e-Giving in 2015 and where e-Giving is poised to go? The adoption of e-Giving is following trends in retail payments. As consumers are getting more comfortable with paying online, and increasingly on mobile, it has increased the demand for churches to offer electronic payment options to members. It’s not just millennials carrying less cash and using less checks. It’s also baby boomers and they are the most generous group of givers. We just did a case study that showed e-Giving was 25% of the donation plate in a church where the average member age was 60. Another case study we will be releasing shortly shows e-Giving as 40 percent of the donation plate. There is definitely an uptick in churches wanting additional channels – requests for text messaging and kiosk payment options are on the upswing. Just looking at the sizeable increase in e-Giving providers in the market tells a lot about the increase in demand. Christian Computing® Magazine
On the horizon you will see things like the introduction of Apple Pay, with members making payments using their phone. These type of technologies enables churches to start doing things like geofencing which allows you to communicate with people based upon their physical location in the church. All this opens up the possibility of more spontaneous giving, as members hear something in church or get a text and think “I really like that” and make an on the spot donation. These are all exciting developments. But the bedrock benefit of e-Giving is still recurring donations, which do so much to help churches smooth out revenue and budget for the year. March 2015
Another exciting trend is revealed when you look at the data. There is more evidence accumulating that e-Giving is growing the donation plate, not just replacing existing revenue. There have been concerns that e-Giving would just replace cash and check but we just saw data from a partner that indicates overall giving increases when e-Giving is introduced. What is on the security horizon that churches should know about? For churches that process card-present transactions, EMV should be on their radar. EMV stands for an organization formed by EuroPay, MasterCard, and Visa to create standards that would reduce fraud. EMV enabled debit and credit cards have a computer chip to provide added security against fraud from counterfeit and lost and stolen cards. As of October 1st of this year, if churches don’t have a terminal that can accept EMV cards then the liability for fraudulent transactions will shift from the credit card companies to the church. So churches with a store, a kiosk, or who use a hand held terminal for auctions and events should evaluate their situation. Most processors are beginning to provide their clients with EMV educational material.
Churches that only accept online payments or recurring donations that are not part of a card-present transaction will not be affected. However, they should note this important change in case they onboard cardpresent payment options in the future. It’s important to note that the new EMV standard is not a mandate but it puts the church at unnecessary risk to ignore it. The EMV “chip” or “smart” cards have proven to be a very successful deterrent to fraud in Europe and most other parts of the world. The U.S. has been the last major country to adopt the EMV standards. David says that one way for churches to increase security is to take a hard look at casual practices that Christian Computing® Magazine
could be putting data at risk. Things like writing down the 3 digit card security code, and throwing sensitive data into the trash instead of shredding it. Here are 3 more risky security behaviors he suggests that church administrators watch out for: 1. Sharing passwords - Most churches are careful with data. But sometimes we see situations where a casual approach to compliance starts creeping in. Sharing passwords between staff and volunteers is one example. Each person entrusted with access to the admin portal should have their own password and it should not be “saved” on a device. 2. Device security - Churches should have a clear sign-in/sign-out policy for devices loaded with church software and sensitive data. Staff and volunteers should not be using their own devices to store sensitive member information. 3. Paper Matters - Keep any paper information under lock and key and restrict access to where it is stored to only those staff members that are on an approved list. Donors are increasingly aware of security vulnerabilities that could result in their private data being compromised. So when you hire a provider that is PCI Level 1 compliant demonstrate a culture of security compliance and follow major card updates like the EMV initiative. It shows donors that you are a trustworthy steward of their information. What are the biggest pain points to launching and managing e-Giving? If you are just getting started, coming to an agreement on the solution is the first hurdle. Some churches think that if they have older membership, e-Giving can’t work for them. But a high percentage of seniors do go online every day. The risk of trying e-Giving is very minimal. The risks of not adopting e-Giving are substantial since many members want to make donations using the same payment methods they use to pay other bills. March 2015
Some churches are concerned about the technical aspects. But you donâ€™t need to be an IT person or have one on staff to administer electronic giving. It is very user-friendly. Another challenge is communicating to members. This is an area where we have helped our churches by providing customizable messages for the website, email, direct mail, and pew cards. If you do
sectors we serve. Electronic giving is the focus of our new blog and we are investing in additional product updates and communication assets to help churches extract maximum benefit out of their e-Giving programs. We are fortunate to have been there in the early days to be part of the evolving solutions and to have a large base of long-term clients. They are an invaluable resource; a great group that generously shares success strategies. So whether a church wants to grow donations if they already have e-Giving, or are new clients that want to hit the ground running, we have offer a variety of tools and resources. Existing clients should know that the excellent support, which has been a hallmark of Vanco, will remain in Minneapolis while our new corporate office is in Atlanta. Itâ€™s been a smooth transition and we are even stronger now because of the combined talents of the two companies.
not have an up-to-date email list, a direct mail postcard can help direct members to your website to sign up for e-Giving.
For more information on Vanco Payment Solutions, visit www.vancopayments.com. Additional e-Giving tips and strategies can be found at blog. vancopayments.com.
What are the top 3 e-Giving success strategies? 1. Get everyone from finance and operations to the stewardship committee and pastor or minister working together to let members know how much e-Giving helps the church smooth out revenue throughout the year and budget for major goals. 2. Put an e-Giving sign-up form in the annual pledge letter. 0VSF(JWJOHTPMVUJPOTXPSL 3. Use all your channels of communication â€“ the webTFBNMFTTMZXJUI DIVSDI site, church bulletin, email, TPGUXBSFTZTUFNT direct mail, posters, and the pulpit to let members know about your new electronic donation option.
Vanco Payments Solutions launched a major rebrand and new website in January after being purchased earlier last year by Veracity Payment Solution. How does this affect your faith-based clients? Serving faith-based and nonprofit organizations are the top two Christian ComputingÂŽ Magazine
It’s Not Just Filling Spots, it’s About the Right Person and the Right Fit By: Michael Jordan
ou’ve invited friends or acquaintances to church before. When your friends attended, they really enjoyed the service. But they never came back. Most of the time this happens, but not because they didn’t want to return. The majority of the time it’s just because they don’t know how to get connected to what’s happening in your church’s ministry. But let’s be real for a minute. This doesn’t just happen to visitors. Being disconnected can also occur with members who become inactive in church activities, whatever the reason may be. “For believers in Christ, the Church is not a building, it is people. Whether they’ve been members for 30 years or if this week was their first time attending, each individual (and his or her overall spiritual health) is important,” according to the authors of the ministry guide Assimilation: Best Practices. “The truth is everyone in your congregation comes from different places. Some are brand new and looking to get involved with church activities quickly. Others may be new, but are looking to ease Christian Computing® Magazine
into being connected to what their passion in ministry is, evaluating where they stand before jumping in to becoming more involved. And still others may have been there for years without becoming involved at all.” From your ministry perspective, the chief goal should be to ensure your church is proactive in assimilating people into a healthy, interconnected group to form them into Disciples of Christ. However, getting people plugged in can be the most challenging aspect a church faces. March 2015
This is the key. Get them connected to where they best fit and they’ll hang around. Actually, more than hang around, they’ll become vested in your ministry, making it a priority in their lives. After this happens, normally the entire church body functions much better and can move deeper into meaningful service. According to the Assimilation: Best Practices guide, there are three things your ministry should consider before you ultimately dive into making connections in your community. 1. Don’t be pushy with visitors, but give them a place to get answers: New people may be non-Christians who are being nudged by the Holy Spirit to see what church is about. They may be new to the area and shopping around for a church. Perhaps they’ve left a neighboring church that’s going through a relationship split or other difficult situation. Either way, tread lightly, staying mindful to avoid the hard sell on your church. Remember, no one likes the hard sell.
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2. Create a sense of excitement among new members: During their “honeymoon” period with the church, it’s important to get people plugged in so they can become active, engaged members. When they’re plugged in, they can actively contribute to the church’s overall health. 3. Help lurkers and inactives realize they’re missing out: When it comes to trying to engage with non-engaged people who’ve been around for months or years, the temptation is often to resort using guilt as a tool. But this is seldom effective. True spiritual growth and contribution to the church body as a whole is the byproduct of a close, daily relationship with Jesus. So, instead of guilt, call attention to the activities and lifechanging events happening in the lives of active members. It’s not just filling spots, it’s about the right person and the right fit It’s 2015 and people everywhere, whether followers of Christ or not, are frazzled. They’re over-
worked and over-committed, leaving their spiritual lives in a depressed state. “Believers have a strong desire to go deeper and to grow in their faith while sharing life in their church community. Meanwhile, those who don’t yet know Jesus share the same need to belong. Salvation is often the result of a nagging sense of loneliness and a desire to find a new way of life,” said the authors of Assimilation: Best Practices. “What’s interesting is these things are happening in an era of unprecedented connectivity, thanks to the growth of social media, smart phones, text messaging, and the Internet.” But where’s the roadmap to get people “there”? There are numerous ways to get people plugged into your ministry via traditional means. This includes a welcome center in your church’s lobby, greeters at each service or connect cards. These are the absolutely necessary methods. However, there is an important next step you should take in today’s fast-paced world if you want to connect and convert. That step is to make a true connection with people outside of Sunday School or weekly services. It is to really bring that connectedness to people anytime, anywhere, through the use of technology. As society moves deeper into the future, most are embracing technology to communicate and better connect. But what churches need are viable online tools that can deliver real spiritual sustenance and a way of regularly connecting outside of normal church functions. Today’s fast-growing churchChristian Computing® Magazine
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es are places where people are engaged in one another’s lives continually throughout the week, around the clock. That kind of connectivity comes naturally because it’s the way their lives work outside the confines of their spiritual walk. They text, chat, email, utilize Twitter and Facebook at all hours of the day, so why should their communications with their church be any different? There are tools out there which are people-driven and designed for ministry growth. There are ones which help ministry meet their goals. Those marks include connecting people, providing deeper interaction and moving ministry forward. Some churches are doing it right and you can be too. Let Us Help You Get Better Connected ACS Technologies can help you assimilate new members while going deeper with those already in your congregation. Whether they’ve just walked through your front door or they’ve been quietly warming a seat for years without engaging, the key to a healthier, thriving body is getting people connected and properly assimilated. When you do, ultimately you’ll spread the Gospel more effectively. To learn more about assimilation and put best practices to use, including stories of how other churches have succeeded, download Assimilation: Best Practices today. You can also learn more by visiting www.acstechnologies.com/ assimilation.
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Do you see Blue & Black or White & Gold, Harmless or Harmful? By: Steven Sundermeier
y family and I were blessed late last month with free tickets to go downtown Cleveland and see a Cleveland Lake Erie Monsters game. The Lake Erie Monsters play at Quicken Loans Arena and are the American Hockey League affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. (Yes—they share the same complex that LeBron plays in!)
While we aren’t huge hockey fanatics, we enjoy attending games, as the atmosphere is very family-friendly and affordable. My kids take advantage of getting their hair chalk-painted with the team colors, making team poster signs (Go Monsters!), and pursuing their dream of getting their picture up on the Jumbotron. But if we’re honest, our favorite part of these Friday evening games Christian Computing® Magazine
centers around one main thing: Dollar Dog & Dollar Soda Night! Sometimes life doesn’t have to be complicated. However, if you’ve been to a sporting event recently, you can’t help but notice that the surroundings of these events are no longer simple, but have become extremely “techy.” In fact, it’s probably safe to say that sporting teams and areMarch 2015
nas are investing millions of dollars and lots of energy into their marketing departments in order for them to research and stay current on how to maintain our attention at the event by engaging and interacting with us on our portable devices. At the game last month, spectators were encouraged to take selfies while at the game and post them on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites for a chance to win gift cards and other team merchandise. The in-game questions are posted on the massive scoreboards and fans are asked to participate by texting the right answers. The simple days of getting out of our seats to yell and cheer for your favorite condiment in the Mustard, Ketchup, and Onion race seem to be far behind us. And I don’t think they will “ketchup” anytime soon. (Sorry, but I couldn’t resist!) To be sure, I am a techie, so please understand that I am not faulting the marketing departments for this digital/ technical approach, rather just calling it as I see it, because over 80 percent of those in attendance are staring into their devices rather than watching the live event. Anyhow, the reason for the longer than usual back story is that at last month’s game, one “device” moment clued me in to a technological social phenomenon to which I had not previously been introduced. While my wife and two of our children were walking around the arena and my oldest son and I had our attention blissfully focused on our seven dollar stadium super nacho (Can life get better?), there was a huge commotion heard throughout the hockey arena. When I inquired what was going on, our seat section neighbors above us, below us and on both sides aggressively started hounding me asking, “So what color do you see?” Excuse me? “Do you see blue and black or white and gold?” As you have probably already realized, the hullabaloo was concerning an Internet posting of the blue and black (Or is it white and gold?) dress that supposedly went viral days earlier. My fellow fans looked at me like I was an alien from Mars when I told them I wasn’t aware of the picture. (Who can keep up?) At any rate, when I looked up, we noticed the image was plastered on the Jumbotron, which had sparked this whole debate. Millions spent on marketing to keep us engaged at sporting events, right? We were engaged all right. Have you had “the dress color” debate yet? People get into it! Christian Computing® Magazine
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On my way home the silliness of that dress got me thinking about the social engineering aspect of malware writing. Yes-It is strange how my mind works at times. Quoting Wikipedia, “social engineering, in the context of information security, refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information.” So while I understand that the science of the blue and black dress and the aforementioned social engineering technique aren’t directly related (if at all), it does have me wondering what people “see” when they click on malicious attachments or embedded links within email, etc. Ever since the days of yore way back in 2000 when the “ILOVEYOU” computer worm affected over forty-five million computers worldwide when it wriggled into our (much-largerback-then) machines, the antivirus industry has been preaching the security dangers and risks associated with emails from both trusted and unknown senders. (Is anyone listening?) And despite our best attempts at internet security awareness, over the years we continue to experience many additional damaging famous (or infamous) email proliferating computers worms, such as: Anna Kournikova, Sircam, Klez, Nimda and the list goes on and on. Making matters worse (from an educational failure point of view), as I wrote last month, one of today’s (2015) top security threats is ransomware which is similarly spread using the same old-school social engineering tricks via social networking sites and email attachments. I suppose my questions (in no particular order) boil down to (1) March 2015
Why aren’t we scrutinizing over emails more carefully and thus avoiding opening email-based attachments and refraining from clicking on embedded links within emails? (2) Are we too rushed? (3) Were we really expecting a UPS or USPS “Package Delivery Confirmation” that day? (4)Was the opportunity to see a colleague’s “Payroll Report” or “Incoming Fax” too juicy to pass up? (5)Did curiosity get the better of us when we received a “Voice message from an unknown Caller” in our inbox? Maybe, all the security alerts and warnings regarding online fraud are counterintuitive, so that when we receive the email attachment “Wells Fargo Check Processing Services” (even though we don’t have a Wells Fargo bank account) we are drawn to investigate. Or maybe like the great dress discussion at the Cleveland Lake Erie Monster’s game, we are not all seeing the same thing (Harmless versus Harmful). Seeing “harmless” and thus proceeding to fall victim to social engineering techniques of cybercriminals, like the real-world examples above, would have resulted with your hard drive (and other connected drives) encrypted…courtesy of CryptoLocker. While I fully understand that there has been a lot happening in the Security realm over the last few weeks with Lenovo, one of the world’s largest vendors of personal computers, shipping some of its consumer notebooks with a bundled HTTPS-hijacking “Superfish Adware” or the more recent security advisories for the “FREAK Flaw”, the new SSL/TLS vulnerability catching the world across the web by surprise, for this column, I wanted to touch on the basics again. (Use caution when opening attachments. Do not open emails or attachments from unknown senders. In short…THINK before you click!) The dress-debate reminded me of something else— discussion is good. Let’s share Christian Computing® Magazine
in some! I’d like to do something I haven’t done before and open up this debate to your feedback. When you open emails, what are seeing? Email me your thoughts and ideas on this and how you feel that we as the church/the marketplace/leaders and laypeople can best convey the important message of email dangers so that it can “sink in” better with users. I’ve been doing this for over 16 years and believe me, the answer is not black and white. Clarify it for me. You can email your feedback to email@example.com.
church windows software
CHURCH WINDOWS SOFTWARE
Database Spring Cleaning By Maureen Wygant
pring is coming soon. And thoughts go to cleaning up, straightening up, and throwing out unneeded, unused items. The same can be true within your church software package. In your Membership database, you probably have names and addresses of people you haven’t seen for years or names that just got entered more than once. This would be a good time to consolidate the records and delete the duplicates or unwanted names so your reports aren’t “cluttered” with them. Often however, they are people you want to retain in the database for reference purposes. For example, “Give me a list of everyone who moved away in the last five years.” Or – “I need to know how many active members died last year.” Most good software packages contain a way to remove them from day-to-day reports but keep their data available for this type of reporting. Also, a good idea is to provide your staff and committee chairs reports on those who have sim-
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ply faded away. One of the favorite reports from our clients is one like – “Give me a list of all those who attended and/or contributed in 2014 but have since disappeared.” Sometimes there is a family situation going that they didn’t share and the church may be able to minister to them. Additional cleanup opportunities are to move adult children out of their parents’ households and into their own households. This can usually be done with a click or two of the software. Some folks make the mistake of doing this while March 2015
they are still college students. In this case, the committees see. Often, the treasurer has a full student still uses Mom and Dad’s address as their report in case there is a question. For example, “permanent” address. They just have a temporary the treasurer’s report might show a subtotal of college or summer address. The same is true for utility expenses but if someone has a question, someone who moves into a nursing home for an the treasurer has a breakdown of each line item. extended stay. The “permanent” address is still And – learn to email these reports directly from home with their spouse. The best way to handle your software package ahead of time to speed up these situations is to set up a date-sensitive your meeting times. alternate individual address, i.e. – from 09/01 through 06/01, the student is at the college address. Likewise, for the nursing home person, they are at the nursing home beginning on a certain date and plan to return home on a certain date. By having these dates entered, each will have a label printed for a newsletter or other mailings you may do. Along with cleanup opportunities, this may be a good time for updating incomplete records. Ask your software for a list of everyone whose birth date is equal to blank and then contact these folks to get the information. In most good software packages, you can also print a form that includes the information you already HAVE plus leaves blanks for them to fill in with needed data. Churches Continue to This might also a good time to do Choose Church Windows some clean-up work in Accounting For more than 25 years, the and Donations Modules. How many driving force behind everything we do chart of accounts line items have been at Computer Helper Publishing there for years and aren’t being used. has been to provide quality, proven software -- helping Looking at the items in the database churches get and stay organized. for my own church, I saw giving Save NOW on this Leader in accounts in Donations and income acChurch Management Software counts in Accounting for the tsunami from years ago, a youth fund raiser Now thru 01/31/2015, get the standard “Large” Church Windows from 2008, and one for the purchase for the price of the Small version. of a new organ back in 2001. You p definitely want to keep the historical hi LEARN MORE NOW rs be record, but there is no need to cluter em ul M ed h ns ter up your current system with these Sc io at g n o old accounts. Most good software tin D un o c l programs will let you delete accounts ol Ac yr Pa if there is no activity or at least mark them as inactive so they cannot be www.churchwindows.com urrchwindows.com used again. /churchwindows You can also streamline your ac800.533.5227 counting reporting so that you are Computer Helper Publishing • PO Box 30191 • Columbus OH 43230-0191 using subtotals to simplify what the Christian Computing® Magazine
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Creating Books Yourself for Bible Software
Kevin A. Purcell - firstname.lastname@example.org
reachers and teachers of the Bible are sitting on a wealth of useful documents that they could import into their Bible software, search and create hyperlinks to things like Bible verses and references to take advantage of their Bible software. Upon hearing that readers might ask two questions. What do I have and how do I import it? Answer one: Sermons, Bible studies or papers written in seminary or college make great tools for future study. Use what you taught or wrote previously to inform your future study. Don’t underestimate the interest people have in your past writings. You’d be surprised to find that church members, friends and family would enjoy reading a collection of your past sermons, especially if you repurpose sermon preaching notes into prose Christian Computing® Magazine
and create a book based on a series of sermons preached through a book or on a given topic. Did you preach about the family last year for six weeks? Turn that into a mini book. Got a great series on Ephesians? That’s a devotional book or commentary. Now for the harder question. How do I turn my sermons, Bible studies or papers into a book that others can read? Or how do I put it in my Bible software program so I can use it when I study March 2015
passages in the future? That depends on the Bible software and how much work users want to do. They could just copy and past a sermon into a Note file attached to a passage. However, it’s also possible to create an e-Book that your congregation, friends, family or colleagues would find useful. We’ll look at some of the most popular Bible software and point you to the details on how to create books or modules for those programs that you could then share with others who also use the program. Bibleworks 9 Build Module
Contributions by Text Easy for your members to contribute to your church. Use gifts by text and all contributions received are integrated with your RDS accounting system. Electronic payment solutions is the economical and easy way to linkGive contributors andthe yourconvenience RDS accounting. members of • Credit and/or Debit card contributions Internet contributions, tithes and pledges. • ACH (Automatic Clearing House) recurring gifts Secure, ease of use, customizable. • Text message gifts • Send text messages to on-line contributors • Use QR (Quick Response Code) codes on your website and literature • One electronic account can have records downloaded for many different bank accounts.
RDS ADVANTAGE Church Software For Today and Tomorrow www.rdsadvantage.com • 800.337.6328
Under Tools, Importing/Exporting Information choose Build Module Index. This opens a dialog box that lets the user point the program to the usercreated HTML files. That means the author must either know how to write in HTML or own a program that will create them. Microsoft Word and Corel WordPerfect both export to this file format. Learn more about building custom modules for Bibleworks 9 by opening the Help window. Choose Help, Bibleworks Help Contents and then click on the Search tab. Search for Build and the second item listed on the right will give you all the details on how to build custom modules. This involves creating the HTML file, tagging it using special coding that points Bibleworks to the links, and then import it using the above dialog box. This can take a long time for large documents. It can be worth it for the right content. Head over to the Bibleworks help forums to find books other users created (http://bit.ly/18fqiq0). These folks created the HTM files already and all the user needs to do is import them using the dialog box. Laridian PocketBible BookBuilder Unfortunately, Laridian doesn’t include custom book building in their software. People who plan to Christian Computing® Magazine
build a lot of books for personal use can get their BookBuilder for $19.99 (http://www.laridian.com/ catalog/products/PCDBBSTD.asp). People who want to distribute books to others will need the professional version for $49.99 (http://www.laridian. com/catalog/products/PCDBBPRO.asp). That may seem like a lot compared to free, but their software and books on average cost a lot less than other programs. We don’t have room to spend time discussing the building of the books, but BookBuilder uses HTML files as well. Logos Personal Books Logos includes the function to create personal books in Logos. They don’t offer an easy way to share them, but it’s simple to import the right kinds of files and they will sync with the Logos server so a user can access them on their other machines. Like Bibleworks, Faithlife (the new name for the company that makes Logos Bible Software) hosts a forum for sharing personal books (https://community. logos.com/forums/66.aspx). Learn how to create books compatible with Logos in the Logos Wiki (https://wiki.logos.com/Personal_Books). March 2015
The book builder will let the user add articles by clicking the New article button. Enter a title with a Bible verse, a word, or a date depending on which the three kinds of books you’re creating. Enter the text on the right side like you would with a word processor. Once finished, they will show up in the User Books section of WORDsearch at the bottom of the list on the left. The user can’t search user created books in WORDsearch 10. Accordance Bible Software Once a user creates the book, inside Logos click on Tools, Personal Books. This opens the Personal Books library. In that window a user can add a Personal Book by clicking on Add Book. The link to the Wiki above will show users how to fill out the form in the resulting dialog box. Make sure to hit the Upload button in order to sync Personal Books to other machines. WORDsearch
To create a custom book in WORDsearch 10 click on Tools and then either New Document or New User Book. A document behaves like a WORDsearch note file only it’s not tied to a specific passage in the Bible. That’s the simplest way to create files to use inside WORDsearch. To get more features, create a book instead of a document. The resulting dialog box asks the user which kind of User Book they want to create. The three options include:
In Accordance Bible Software users can create simple documents using the User Tool feature. Click on File, User Files, and New User Tool. Then, create the document like you would in your word processor. There’s a Sample Tool that you can read to get tips for how to create them. Open the Sample Tool from the My Stuff section of the library list that shows up along the left. If yours isn’t showing, click on the library tool in the toolbar. These differ from notes because they’re not tied to verses of the Bible. e-Sword A passionate and active community of e-Sword users gather at www.BibleSupport.com for sharing user-created modules for use in the program. Learn how to create modules using a tutorial posted the forums at Bible Support (http://bit.ly/1GJNfAq).
1. Verse – tags it with verses like a commentary 2. Words – creates a dictionary-style book 3. Date – use this for user created devotionals or journals Christian Computing® Magazine
Why Startups Matter
By Russ McGuire - email@example.com
ast month I started a new series titled “Startup.” In that first column I defined what I mean by “a startup.” This month I’ll discuss why Christian Computing readers should really care about startups. Starting next issue I’ll take a couple of months to discuss the latest thinking on how to successfully launch a startup. After that we’ll consider specific Christian startups (within the church and outside the church), hopefully with meaningful application to your work. Last month I talked through different aspects of the definition of a startup, but I didn’t provide a concise definition that we can use for our purposes in this series. To correct that oversight, I’d like to use a slightly modified version of Neil Blumenthal’s definition: A startup is a new venture working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed. Many people care about startups, and for good reason. It has long been recognized that small busiChristian Computing® Magazine
nesses are the drivers of economic growth and job creation, but recent analysis has actually shown that “young” businesses (i.e. startups) create virtually all net new jobs in the United States. Should Churches Care About Startups? That’s an interesting statistic, and I guess that economic growth and job creation are important to churches for the secondary benefits that the church can enjoy. But do startups have any direct impact March 2015
on churches and the work of the church? I would argue that the answer is “yes” and I can see strong evidence in the realities of our local churches, in the work of missionaries around the world, and in the church’s own “startup” activities. According to a recent article in Christian Media Magazine, the number of bi-vocational pastors is approaching one-third of all pastors. In some denominations, the numbers are much higher, with 75% of Baptist churches having fewer than 100 members, and 40% of ministers in the Nazarene Church being bivocational. This fact has led the Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City to add entrepreneurism to it’s curriculum. The school has recently been certified to offer the Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac NewVenture program. “Many of our graduates are likely to find that they need to have a second source of income as they begin their ministry career,” shares Chet Decker, Dean of Administration and Student Services for Nazarene Theological Seminary. “Their strong desire is to be able to have their second career as aligned as possible with their ministry focus. Starting a business provides the freedom to do just that.” There are two basic models for funding Gospel missionaries around the world. The one that is most common and most visible to Americans is where the missionary is financially supported by others who feel called to participate in the ministry by praying for, encouraging, and providing funding for the work. We see this model in the Bible (e.g. Philippians 4:14-15) and it Christian Computing® Magazine
still works today. “Another model for fulfilling the Great Commission is the tentmaking model that the Apostle Paul exemplified,” asserts Jason Fisher. Jason should know; he is a co-founder and CEO of Cornerstone Technologies International in Romania and a co-founder and investor in Highland Harvesters in Ethiopia. He also recently completed his Masters of Divinity at MidAmerica Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis. “Tentmakers can have a tremendous impact on the country where they serve. As successful businessmen, they have credibility with the locals and often have access to the true leaders in the country. God can use their business success to open many doors that are closed to other missionaries.” For tentmakers like Jason, tentmaking is a term reserved for those using their business as a platform for taking the Gospel to the nations. Often, but not always, this is a new business. Finally, I think it’s important to recognize how many activities in the church today are actually startup activities. A church plant is often referred to as a “startup” church for good reason. It is a “new venture working to solve a problem (the need for a strong gospel presence in a specific location) where the solution is not obvious (how to reach that local community) and success is not guaranteed.” Launching any new ministry will face many of the same challenges as launching a new business and the process lessons that have been learned around successfully launching startup businesses should not be ignored by the church. “When we moved to ManChristian Computing® Magazine
hattan, Kansas, I had some ideas from others who had started new campus ministries, but there were a lot more unknowns than knowns,” shares Rev. Jon Dunning who has spent the past couple of years establishing a new Reformed University Fellowship ministry on the Kansas State University campus and helping plant a new PCA church in Manhattan. “We’re learning to see that we don’t know what we don’t know. We’re taking the time to get to know the campus, it’s traditions, and patterns in order to serve effectively here. What ‘works’ on one campus, in one part of the country doesn’t necessarily work everywhere. The confidence we have is that this is God’s campus in His world, and He is at work.” With that as encouragement, I hope that this series will prove beneficial to you and that you will see yourself as an entrepreneur pursuing new ventures for the glory of God! Titus 3:14 tells us “And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.” It is my hope and prayer that these articles will help you be fruitful to the glory of God.
Special Offer If you have, or know someone who has a Christian startup (business, ministry, or missions) that is facing a significant strategic decision, I would be happy to provide 30 minutes of free telephone consultation to help work through the decision process for the first five startups to contact me at russ. firstname.lastname@example.org between now and the end of April. Russ McGuire is a trusted advisor with proven strategic insights. He has been blessed to serve as an executive in Fortune 500 companies, found technology startups, be awarded technology patents, author a book and contribute to others, write dozens of articles for various publications, and speak at many conferences. More importantly, he’s a husband and father who cares about people, and he’s a committed Christian who operates with integrity and believes in doing what is right. Learn more at http://sdgstrategy.com
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I N T E G R AT E D March 2015
Use All the Tools of Technology to Clearly Explain and Invite People to Easter Events Yvon Prehn - email@example.com
have never forgotten a statistic I read years ago by the Barna organization that of the non-Christians who were asked why Christians celebrate Easter, 46% could not give a correct answer. This statistic has huge implications for us as we plan our church communications for the Easter season and in the following article I’ll talk about why this is and how to use the tools we have today to help people understand the true meaning of Easter. Why we have this challenge To begin, the term “Easter” itself to most non-church goer’s today means chocolate bunnies, sugar eggs, and the Easter bunny. Look around stores filled with Easter goodies. You seldom see the chocolate crosses that were sold in the past—today, it’s all bunnies and chickies and happy little candy eggs. Even more than at Christmas time, we need to remind our communities that Jesus is the reason for the season. Easter is the pivotal point of our faith. It is the turning point of all history, when the God who became man in Jesus died on the cross and ROSE from the grave. Christian Computing® Magazine
That is what we celebrate, not a bunny dispensing chocolate eggs. Clarify the meaning of Easter So what does this mean in practical terms in our communications? Below are some suggestions: Be careful how you label events: When you use the term “Easter” as in “Easter Concert” it means nothing to unchurched people this time of year. Just because the term “Easter” is a big deal to you, doesn’t mean it is a big deal to any of the folks in your community. Instead of using the term “Easter” lots of churches March 2015
refer to it as Resurrection Sunday. That at least gives people a hint of what we are celebrating. In anything that you use to advertise events, or at the event itself, take the time and space to clearly let people know what you are celebrating. For example, instead of just an ad on your “Easter Concert” and in the program at the event, take the time and space for perhaps the pastor to do a brief article that starts out something like this: “For many of us, we have come to assume Easter is all about chocolate and Easter bunnies, but originally it was the celebration of the Christian church to
commemorate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He did that on his own power as the God who had come into human history in human form and died on the cross to redeem people from their sins. In all of history, no one had ever made that claim before. Because of this fact, history was split in two; the Christian church was started, and the disciples who ran away in fear after the cross became the fearless messengers of this message.” The pastor could continue by saying something like:
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“Many people today believe that life goes on after death and we would agree with that, but we also think it is important to share that though we believe that God created everyone to live eternally, we won’t all live in the same neighborhood. Not only do we believe that because of Jesus we can spend eternity in heaven, but we also believe that those who do not trust Jesus will spend eternity separated from God in conscious torment forever. Joy us for our Easter service and learn how you can choose to live in the neighborhood of joy forever.” A message like this clarifies that Easter is about personal salvation and we never know how God can use it to touch someone to explore the message more deeply, but we do know that if we don’t clearly get our message out there, people will not be able to respond to it. Use all the tools of social media and technology to implement these suggestions Your church bulletin at the various Easter services is a primary place to put in the suggestions and explanations above, but you have many more tools. Following are suggestions for your website and social media: Website: think of your website as a place to say all the things you March 2015
wish you could say to people if you had time to explain the Christian faith and what Easter is all about, such as:
encourage people to come to Easter events—but always remember that these two forms of media are like rivers that flow past your house—and you can’t always remember something that quickly streams by. The application here is that be sure that anything you post on Facebook and Twitter that you also have detailed information about it on your website so that when people forget the time of the kids Easter Egg event or the Maundy Thursday service they can look it up.
• Articles about the meaning of Easter, the history of Easter written from the viewpoint of someone new to the church. • Ideas on how to celebrate Easter with kids— this could contain links to the Jelly Bean Prayer: http://www.effectivechurchcom. com/2015/03/pdf-jelly-bean-prayer/ and Resurrection Cookies: http://www.effectivechurch- Don’t forget the most important communication tool com.com/2009/03/childrens-resurrectionMedia is wonderful, but some of the best things cookies-for-easter-outreach-teachin/ you can do to communicate the meaning of Easter is to • Questions about the Resurrection of Jesus, why you believe it’s true and links to apologetic websites • Complete and clear schedules and directions to all Easter events—this is so … reach out basic and important and so often forgotten. Being sure … minister to people all the details are easily … create fellowship available on your website is one of the greatest ways to … contribute to show you love your church your community family and community.
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YouTube: you don’t have to have perfect production values to get some church videos up on YouTube—you just have to have something significant to say. There are few messages more important than the message of Easter—that we are forgiven and will live forever because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Shoot short videos of people in your church sharing what this means to them, how Easter changed their life; what they wish their friends knew about Easter. Instagram and Pinterest— because these are so highly visual you should post your Easter outreach materials or great Easter graphics with clear captions and links back to your church website. Facebook and Twitter—make the obvious announcements and Christian Computing® Magazine
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provide in all your technical communications, ways to interact with humans: Have email addresses of your pastor and others who are willing to interact via email about the messages of salvation. Consider an invitation to “latte with the pastor” at a local coffee shop, a dessert time at someone’s home, or other setting where people are invited to come and ask any question they might have about the Christian faith. Provide a phone number of where people can call if they have questions about the meaning of Easter or if they would simply like someone to pray for them. The Apostle Paul talked about how he “became all things to all people that he might win some” Let his words challenge you this Easter season to use every technological and human tool you have to share Jesus and the joy of His resurrection. For many communication tools, templates, publications and more tips for effective Easter communications, go to http://www.effectivechurchcom.com/category/ seasonal/easter-seasonal-communications.
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Are Your Credit/Debit Card Readers Putting You At Risk? Nick Nicholaou - firstname.lastname@example.org
was surprised recently when our bank replaced one of my unexpired credit cards with one that had an embedded chip! “That’s cool,” I thought! Well, it turns out there’s more to it, and churches with debit/ credit card readers need to know what I recently learned. Not knowing can bring some heavy penalties. Change Is In The Air Credit and debit cards are usually processed at terminals in the United States by swiping them through a device that reads the magnetic stripe on their back. This methodology is vulnerable to fraud, and so a methodology was developed in Europe in the mid-1980s and formalized in the mid-1990s. The new methodology, or standard, has grown in ability and fraud prevention, and is now known as EMV (which stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa). The new standard uses a chip embedded in the credit (or debit) card, and improves fraud prevention (especially for counterfeit and lost/ stolen cards) while also improving worldwide processing for those who travel. On October 19, 2014 President Obama signed an executive order to speed the adoption of EMV in the United States, the last major market in the world where businesses primarily use magnetic-stripe card readers. Financial institutions strongly recommend Christian Computing® Magazine
that U.S. businesses begin using EMV processing terminals this year, though they won’t require the upgrades. (More on that in a minute….) Is This New Standard Really Better? There have been a few vulnerabilities to the new standard demonstrated. But proponents (the financial institutions) insist the risk for fraud is dramatically lower using cards with embedded chips vs than those that only have the traditional magnetic stripe. So, as is always true, our data— and funds— are at risk. That won’t change. But if we believe the experts, this new standard reduces the risk. What If You Don’t Change Your Terminals? Here’s where the banks put some teeth to their strong recommendation that businesses upgrade all of their processing terminals. Effective October 1, 2015— that’s this year!— United States financial inMarch 2015
stitutions will shift the liability of fraudulent transactions done on swipe-only terminals from the financial intuitions to the business using the swipe-only terminal. Said another way: • Currently, fraudulent credit/ debit card transactions are solely the banks’ responsibility; businesses and consumers are protected. • Effective October 1, 2015: • Financial institutions will have shifted the costs of fraudulent transactions to businesses using traditional swipe readers; consumers will still be protected. And so will the financial institutions! • Financial institutions will only be responsible for fraudulent transactions at businesses where the new EMV terminals are in use. So, if you change over all your terminals to EMV devices, you will still be protected from fraudulent transactions; and consumers will be protected either way. How much could not changing your terminals cost you? We don’t know; it depends on whether fraudulent transactions can be traced to originating through your church, and how large those transactions are. It stands to reason, however, that the cost of not
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changing is potentially much greater than the cost of changing your terminals. What Should You Do? Contact the vendor or vendors who supply your credit/ debit card terminals and find out if your devices are ready for this shift. This has not caught your vendors by surprise; they have known about it for months (since President Obama’s executive order, at least!) and should have transition protocols in place for you. Remember: it impacts every credit/ debit card processing terminal—even Square! If your terminals are not EMV compliant, put a plan in place ASAP to be ready before October 1st. The sooner, the better! This is an easy fix with a small price tag that can potentially save you thousands! 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 email@example.com and may want to check out his firm’s website (www. mbsinc.com) and his blog at http://ministry-it.blogspot.com.