Founder & Editor-in-Chief Steve Hewitt - firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor Kevin Cross - email@example.com
Applying Tomorrow’s Technology to Today’s Ministry Volume 27
Contributing Editors Yvon Prehn Nick Nicholaou Kevin A. Purcell Russ McGuire Michael L White
4 cover story 5 Steps to a Solid Children’s Ministry Foundation
Copy Editors Gina Hewitt Magen Cross
By Lauren Hunter
Corporate Home Office
Standards Make Technology Move
The Importance of Training and Networking
By Michael Jordan
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By Craig Chadwell
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By Russ McGuire
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Spring Communication Resource Round-Up By Yvon Prehn
29 Nick At Church
A Surprising Discussion on Email to Staff in their Off-Hours
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26 Ministry Communication
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Introducing the Lean Startup
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Higher Power With Kevin
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14 Church Windows Software
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Securing your Galaxy
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Standards Make Technology Move There has always been a need for diversity when it comes to technology, but when the populace settles on a standard, technology clicks. Because I am SO old, I remember the beginning years of home and office computers. There were so many players, but more importantly, there was so much diversity. Here is a list of a few that I remember: Atari ST, Tandy (TRS-80 and the Color Computer), IBM, Macintosh (Apple), Commodore (Vic-20, 64 and the 128 and the powerful Amiga), Texas Instruments T1, Sinclair ZX, Epson, and the list goes on and on. Of course, by the end of the 1980’s a standard was born, the IBM PC (Compatible). Of course, Apple stayed in there with the Mac, but most of the other companies slowly dropped away. For those of you too young to remember, these computers had little in common other than a keyboard. They were not compatible with each other. It wasn’t until Microsoft’s MS-DOS became the standard that multiple companies sprang up using IBM compatible MS-DOS that computers really came into their own. Although it is 2015, it seems like we are back in the 80’s. Only this time it is the wide variety of social media offerings that makes life confusing. After all, if you want to be compatible with others, which social media should you dedicate your time and effort toward? Should you be using Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, etc.? I have been frustrated, trying to keep up with all of the options, but I think it is time to name a standard. According to several studies, (including but not limited to http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/socialnetworking-websites), Facebook is the clear winner. Christian Computing® Magazine
They have an estimated 900,000,000 visitors each month. The second most popular, Twitter, drops down to a third of what Facebook sees each month, and the rest continue to show a lower and lower user base. I use Facebook. I don’t like Facebook because of the malware, the tracking, the way your “likes” are manipulated, and how vulnerable your personal ID information has become on their site. However, one in seven people in the world are using Facebook, and it IS the place to be to connect with friends and family, and it IS the place to connect with others about your ministry. My second option is not considered by most to be “social media”. However, YouTube claims to have around 1 billion regular users, and it is the second most popular search engine. It has become a standard all its own when it comes to streaming video. Back in the 80’s it was difficult to know which computer to buy (I picked the Radio Shack Color Computer). But eventually there was a standard. It might seem like you can’t keep up with social media with all of the many ways to communicate and connect, but a standard has raised its head above the rest. Facebook and YouTube accomplish two different things, but they ARE the place to be! Together We Serve Him,
Steve Hewitt firstname.lastname@example.org April 2015
5 Steps to a Solid Children’s Ministry Foundation
By Lauren Hunter
etting up, improving, and running a children’s ministry program is no small task. From curriculum to volunteer coordination to classroom setup to safety and security, there are many facets to the equation that add up to a successful program. Whether your ministry is brand new or centuries old, it is vital to evaluate from year to year to improve upon the well-being—both physical and spiritual—of the children your church serves. When parents bring their children to church, they are entrusting a part of their spiritual development to the teachers and staff. They’re also putting their child’s physical safety in the hands of the ministry leaders. Ministry leaders, in turn, want to serve kids and provide a fun, enriching, and safe environment. However, many children’s ministry classrooms have no security system at all, or one that is casual and inconsistent. Many churches, eager to recruit volunteers for kids’ ministry, don’t require a background check of any kind for volunteers or staff in Christian Computing® Magazine
children’s ministry—this puts the children they desire to serve at risk. Church for Modern Families One in fourteen children in America lives in a household headed by a grandparent, according to the 2010 Census data. About 4.9 million are being raised solely by their grandparents, up from 2.4 million in 2000.1 By some estimates, 35 percent of children in America live in single-parent households.2 Do the math and you’ll see that children in your ministry are impacted by these trends. In these days of blended families and complicated custody arrangements, it is essential to have a clear, consistent, computerized child check-in system to protect children and their families. Any child in your classroom might be being raised by a grandparent, or might spend every other weekend with a different parent, or might be protected by a court order. An electronic children’s check-in system stores all documents about the child’s situation so that staff is aware of special situations. It allows parents to update information when it changes, and can accommodate different family members dropping off and picking up kids, as long as they are both authorized in the system. Having this information readily available keeps kids safe and helps parents feel reassured—which is important in these complex situations. Children’s Ministry Foundation A strong foundation for children’s ministry strives for excellent safety and security by having a system in place that includes: 1. Clearly defined emergency procedures 2. A clear process for screening and recruiting volunteers that includes criminal background checks 3. Policies that protect children, including student-to-teacher ratios, incident reporting, procedures for allergies or medical issues 4. A secure area for classrooms that is both selfcontained yet visible from the outside 5. A check-in system that will allow only authorized guardians to drop off and pick up children Christian Computing® Magazine
In addition to protecting the church from liability, utilizing an electronic check-in software system provides an easy way to protect children and let parents know that you care about their kids and make safety a priority. A check-in software system immediately reassures parents, especially newcomers, that you care about what is most precious to them—their children.
It protects children from specific risks, including food allergies, abuse, and even abduction. It helps you to grow your ministry, and supports your efforts to serve children. It also helps you track attendance patterns and growth in your ministry. The best system in the world, however, only works if the staff is trained to use it, and then actually uses it consistently. A secure check-in system needs to offer the following: • Accurate records of all children who check in and check-out • Assurance that the volunteers working with children are qualified and safe • Specific and easily viewable information about food allergies and medical issues • A way to verify the identity of people picking up and dropping off children According to one survey from k! report, only 37 percent of churches use a children’s check-in software system. While some use a written ledger or attendance list, those systems can easily fail and do not adequately provide enough ways to track and secure children with allergy and medical needs, as well as custody details. Additionally, checking attendance patterns or trends on handwritten systems is cumbersome. April 2015
Big or Small, Safety Matters Even small churches can make their children’s ministry more welcoming and safer by using an electronic children’s check-in system, in addition to having clear policies about check-in and check-out. While your ministry volunteers may know all the parents personally, what happens when a new child comes? Or ten new children show up one Sunday morning? What happens if a child’s parents divorce and only one has custody? What if a child has severe allergies your ministry wasn’t aware of? If ministry growth is a goal, a check-in system is
essential. It not only helps keep track of children who may not yet be familiar to the staff, it also makes newcomers feel cared for and secure in leaving their precious kids in your care. It also provides a clear way to track attendance and growth. Whether your organization is a tiny church, a mega church, or a church plant, having a plan in place (and making sure everyone follows it) that includes secure check-in procedures will help your ministry to be a safe place for all involved. This article is taken from the first chapter of a free ebook on Children’s CheckIn technology. Download the free ebook here: http://vid.us/sna95q _________________________
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 http://www.usatoday.com/ story/news/nation/2014/07/26/ more-grandparents-raising-theirgrandkids/13225569/  http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/106children-in-single-parentfamilies#detailed/1/any/ false/36,868,867,133,38/ any/429,430 Lauren Hunter is a freelance writer, consultant, and entrepreneur who loves the Lord and desires to encourage churches to better use technology to improve every aspect of ministry. She has written for Children’s Ministry Magazine, Ministry Today, Outreach, ChurchLeaders.com, and many other print and online publications. In 2007, she founded ChurchTechToday (http:// churchtechtoday.com), the #1 church technology website for pastors, church communicators, and leaders.
855-862-7827 WWW.NCSSERVICES.ORG SMARTSOLUTIONS@NCSSERVICES.ORG
Christian Computing® Magazine
The Importance of Training and Networking By Michael Jordan
tudy and fellowship are key components to ministry. Whether you’re studying scripture by yourself or learning within a group setting, it’s important to help you grow spiritually. Often, this is something that doesn’t happen enough for followers of Christ. This issue isn’t just confined to Bible study though. It also happens within other elements of ministry. However, there are options available that allow you to move your ministry forward. One such option is the Ideas to Impact Conference hosted by ACS Technologies. Focused on creating momentum for your ministry, this annual ideas and implementation event is one of the largest church management software gatherings in the country. On average, more than 1,000 administrators, lay leaders and pastors all looking for the latest tools, doable ideas and resources to take back to their churches, schools and organizations attend. “(Ideas to Impact) allowed me to see areas in our ministry where we can grow and it’s also allowed me to meet other people who are using the (ACS Technologies) software, so we can feed off of each other,” said Jerlen Nelson, a Christian school business administrator in Mississippi. A Learning Environment Ideas to Impact is home to more than 200 classes, which are organized in tracks, to help you select the training that best meets your needs. Whether Christian Computing® Magazine
the training is on specific ACS Technologies software or relevant ministry classes like: • Changing the Way Your Members Think About Generosity • Safeguarding from Abuse - Child Abuse Awareness • Connecting with Volunteers ages 8-108 • Tax-Related Issues and Churches • Leading in a Multi-Generational Church All the classes are taught by your peers and ministry software experts who are already doing what you want to be doing. You can gain new skills and ideas that are immediately implementable for your church, meet other church people that you can consult with throughout the year, all of which will help propel your mission (and ministry) forward. This conference focuses on more than just learning. There are also opportunities for fellowship, daily praise and worship/Mass and fun activities to help energize you. There are also opportunities to have one-onone access to experienced tech support, research April 2015
and development staff and trainers from ACS Technologies. “I love being able to talk to ACS Technologies staff members one-on-one. The best part about the Ideas to Impact Conference is learning new ways our ministry can make an impact in our community,” said Cynthia Fancher, a church financial manager from Texas. Making Acquaintances At the Ideas to Impact conference, attendees are surrounded by hundreds of like-minded people who come from similar, and sometimes different, church environments. It’s a great place to learn what’s working for churches that may be just like yours or learn something different that can be applied to your ministry. You can also make new friends with ACS Technologies employees. As an ACS Technologies client, you’ll be putting faces with names of support people you’ve spoken with in the past, meeting the people that are building your software and have full access to senior management who want to hear your thoughts and concerns.
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Exhibits Another benefit in attending Ideas to Impact is the conference Exhibit Area. Packed with ACS Technologies partners and other vendors, it provides practical opportunities to learn more about third-party products that can help make your ministry more effective. With their products and services on display, vendors also spend ample time answering your questions. Some of the exhibitors this year include: • • • • • • • •
iDonate Vanco MBS, Inc. SecureSearch Constant Contact Gateway Learning and Development Ministry Scheduler Pro LifeTouch
Keynote Speakers Each year at the Ideas to Impact conference, there are also highly acclaimed speakers from around the United States. These keynote speakers
are not only inspiring, but relatable. From award winning authors and musicians to pastors and ministry leaders, the Ideas to Impact Conference delivers motivational keynote speakers who have inspiring messages, coupled with practical insight, for you to take back to your church, school, or organization. One of the speakers this year is Chet Haney, lead pastor of Highland Terrace Baptist Church. “Attending the Ideas to Impact conference gives me a chance to choose from a wide variety of software and ministry implementation classes, ask questions, network and return to my church empowered, rejuvenated and ready to serve,” said Kathy Howell of Spring Hills Baptist Church in Ohio. Make the Trip to Dallas For more than 30 years, ACS Technologies has developed outstanding technology solutions specifically for faith-based organizations. With more than 50,000 clients nationwide, we have the largest client base in our market which means we know how to help you achieve your ministry goals. If you’re ready to take your ministry idea to true ministry impact, you should join us. The 2015 Ideas to Impact Conference at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas, Texas, is the best place for users of ACS, PDS, The City, HeadMaster, and Realm to come together to learn how to take your ministry to the next level. You’re called to go. We’re here to help. We hope to see you in Dallas, May 26 - 29! You can learn more by visiting ideastoimpact.com or acstechnologies.com.
Christian Computing® Magazine
protected with purpose
Securing your Galaxy
By Steven Sundermeier
he first week of April was a very special time for my family as we prepared our hearts and minds for the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. The meaningful week was shared with lots of family. During one of our dining room table discussions, I was asked by one of my siblings about my familiarity with a certain antivirus app for Android. I was not familiar with it, which made me skeptical, and unfortunately, for the life of me I can’t remember the name of it anymore, as the product name was suspiciously generic. But I removed it immediately for her and installed our trusted Thirtyseven4 Total Security Mobile App. Her question about the app surfaced because a week or so prior, she was alerted by a warning Christian Computing® Magazine
message on her Samsung Galaxy S4 that her phone was infected with twenty virus threats, and that downloading this free security app would resolve her issue (Textbook scareware!! Do NOT fall for these! Never a good idea!). Upon my investigation of her phone, I quickly found that this “security app” was not the app it pretended to be but rather an adware driven app that continually served April 2015
unwanted advertisements to her phone. Over the years, we have grown leery of such “Scareware” threats on the Windows side of things, but cybercriminals are now using this same scare tactic with mobile security apps in alarming numbers. Unfortunately, situations like this on smartphones and other mobile devices are becoming very common, and to test your knowledge on just how serious the threat of malicious Android based malware is, we have used our Thirtyseven4 realworld statistics generated by our Virus Lab to create a quick quiz. Let’s take a quick multiple choice test. Question 1: How many Android-based samples were received into our Thirtyseven4 Virus Lab in the 1st Quarter of 2015 (Jan-March)? A)1,700 B)17,000 C)170,000 D)1,700,000 Question 2: The number of samples in Question 1 resulted in roughly what percentage of increase over the same period last year? A)0% B) 20% C) 100% D) 200% Question 3: True or False: Android-based samples received into our Thirtyseven4 Virus Lab in the 1st Quarter 2015 outpaced Windows-based malware. A)True B)False If you answered D, D, A-- Congratulations! Mobile malware is on the increase. In fact, of the Android samples our Thirtyseven4 Virus Lab received last Quarter, we discovered roughly 160 new malware families and over 200 new variations of existing malware families. And drilling deeper into those statistics, Android Adware samples were the most common form of malware received (at over 50%!). Navigating the Internet on your mobile devices, clicking on ads and links, and downloading free apps (even for a noble reason like keeping your child occupied) should no longer be taken lightly. Even ransomware (i.e. CryptoLocker, CryptoWall) threats now have mobile app Christian Computing® Magazine
counterparts (Android.Simplocker). And the scariest aspect of the 1st Quarter findings was that a high number of mobile malware received into our Team were originally downloaded from Google Play. This means that hackers are now reaching their victims over trusted platforms! Given the alarming 1st quarter statistics and the Android-targeted trends that we anticipate will significantly increase in 2015 for mobile malware, here are five suggestions for securing your Galaxy (and other Android-based devices). And while this may appear to some as simply a shameless plug to promote our Thirtyseven4 Total Security solution for Android—it is not. There are a plenty of other trusted security apps available, however, I will use Thirtyseven4 Total Security as an example when necessary.
to enable it.). The good news is that mobile security apps are typically available at low costs. For example the Thirtyseven4 solution is only $5.00. Avoid accessing public Wi-Fi. Unlike websites, mobile apps don’t encrypt data properly, so the information shared while on public Wi-Fi networks can be easily intercepted and stolen by a hacker. A good rule of thumb is if the website you are accessing on public Wi-Fi requires you to login with your user credentials think twice and do not proceed. All information shared over public Wi-Fi can be viewed and then potentially used against you in a targeted attack. Armor your Android (or other mobile platform) with a password. A recent published study found that close to 40% of mobile device owners don’t password protect their device. Without a password, if your phone is lost or stolen all your information- including banking apps, email accounts, and so much more- is at the mercy of the finder or thief. Even if you password protect your phone, the auto-save password feature can come back to bite you. This is the main driving force behind the AntiTheft module in Thirtyseven4 Total Security. With the Anti-Theft module configured, if your phone is lost or stolen, you have the ability to remotely lock your phone or wipe all the data from it, thus protecting your data from falling into the wrong hands. Never click on links or open attachments received in unwanted or unexpected emails and text messages. Access websites directly. If there is an app you are curious about, research it thoroughly and then visit a genuine app store directly (i.e. Google Play or Apple Store). Fake Amazon or Costco coupon advertisements are a dime a dozen. Don’t be fooled! Before installing a new app, read the required permissions carefully before proceeding.
1. Install a trusted mobile Total Security app. The mobile security app should be downloaded from a genuine source and should do more than simply detect existing threats. For all the reasons and stats provided above, conventional scanning no longer cuts it. The selected app must implement aggressive and specialized detection and prevention methodologies against new and existing mobile threats. Also because mobile malware authors are continually implementing new techniques, the following features are also very important to look for (and are included in Thirtyseven4 Total Security). Parental Controls- this setting blocks malicious and potentially dangerous websites. With this feature, a parent can 4. block user specified websites based on their category such as adult, gambling, pornography, violence, etc. Secure Data- this backup feature allows a user to backup their data to the Cloud or restore lost data from the Cloud. Privacy Blocker- safeguards against unknown callers or unknown texts. Many of today’s threats are a result of unsolicited links in texts. Privacy Advisor- notifies 5. and allows a user to do a quick inspection of apps that might affect your privacy. Security Advisor- guides you about settings that can enhance the overall security It is my intent each month to educate CCMag of your mobile device (i.e. “Screen lock” readers about tech issues and topics that are relesetting is not enabled on your phone, and vant and helpful. It is not my intent to shamelessly then the Security Advisor will instruct you pitch Thirtyseven4 to said Readership. But as a Christian Computing® Magazine
security expert, and in discussion about a topic that I see changing in a volatile nature in a matter of a few months—I feel it is in your best interest for me to advise you on acting proactively. There are other solid mobile-security products out there (email me and I will verify before you purchase!), but I created Thirtyseven4’s Mobile Security and I know it will keep you, your phone and your data safe, so it is what I recommend. My scripture memorizations brought Paul’s words to mind: (14) I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. (I Corinthians 4:14). My heart is truly to help educate the public on the dangers/vulnerabilities that our virus labs monitor. In my case I am not trying to scare anyone, but rather educate that things are getting worse on smartphones. And so that is how our Easter dinner-table discussion went: computers are my thing, and so my sibling asked my advice. As we explored the situation, I realized she had downloaded a scareware wolf in sheep’s clothing. Which is exactly the plan for virus-writers. Join me in thwarting their plans. We are more educated than that, and you can install a trusted Mobile Security App before they prompt you to install their “security”, which does quite the opposite of keeping you and your information safe. Now that we have Mobile Security covered, can someone please pass the rolls?
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church windows software
CHURCH WINDOWS SOFTWARE
Suggested Internal Audit or Financial Review Procedures
By Craig Chadwell
he purpose of an audit is to determine if the organization is in compliance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and whether the financial statements are comparable to previous year’s financial statements. If your church does not have the budget for a full-fledged audit, there are still some things you can do. While some of the steps below reference Church Windows Software-specific report names, other software options may have a similar report. Here is a compilation of practices passed on to us by our customers. This list is for informational purposes only. Computer Helper Publishing is not responsible for the conduct of church audits, nor does it provide legal or financial advice to congregations through this resource. However, if you are looking for assistance with an audit, we are pleased to refer you to Steeple Accounting Services’ owner, Mary Lou Turnbull. Mary Lou was a Church Windows trainer for
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over ten years and is a Certified Fraud Examiner. The web address for the company is www. steepleaccounting.com. 1. Donations vs. Accounting • Compare a sampling of donation dates to the deposits on the bank statement for the given week and to the deposits in the Accounting module. Reports: Batch Report or Log Report in Donations; Transaction April 2015
Journal in Accounting; Bank Statement. • Compare hand-written source documents (i.e., teller sheets, money counter deposit records or randomly selected dates of giving envelopes) with the summary from the Donation module for a given week(s). Reports: Batch Report as printed on date of donation entry, Log Report in Donations; Summary of Cash Activity and Transaction Journal in Accounting. • If the church utilizes pass-through liability accounts, check to ensure that the amounts were forwarded to the proper parties. Reports: General Ledger and Balance Sheet in Accounting. • Randomly select 10 – 15 names of members who donate to the church. Send each person or family a donation statement for the prior year that prints amounts given to ALL accounts. In the accompanying letter to them ask them to verify that what they gave in the prior year as shown on the CW statement matches their personal information. If this includes accounts not printed typically on a statement, such as nondeductible amounts, explain those accounts. You may have already sent them a donation statement, but it is advised that you send this one as well.
ticular attention to debit memos and other charges from the bank. You are trying to verify each transaction as to purpose and amount. Reports: Summary of Cash Activity, General Ledger and Bank Reconciliation in Accounting. • Summary of Cash Activity, General Ledger and Bank Reconciliation in Accounting. • Make sure that all check numbers are accounted for in the Check Register. Report: Check Register in Accounting. • If there are any checks on the check register made out to cash or to the check signer, verify the legitimacy of the transaction. Look at the supporting documentation for the payment. Report: Check Register in Accounting and Transaction Journal. 3. Budget vs. Actual Expenditures • If the church has a budget for expenses, compare actual amounts spent to the budget amounts and investigate all differences over a certain dollar amount
2. Bank Reconciliation • Ensure that bank reconciliations are being completed within the Bank Reconciliation area of Accounting. The finalized bank reconciliation (with a $0 difference to reconcile) should be filed with the bank statement for that month. Report: Bank Reconciliation in Accounting. • Review the bank reconciliation for each month and compare to the bank statement paying parChristian Computing® Magazine
as determined by the Audit Committee. Report: Treasurer’s Report (including Budget comparison) in Accounting. • Select a small sample of checks that have cleared the bank and go back to the supporting documentation (i.e., paid invoices, expense reimbursement, etc.) to make sure that the charge was approved, that the church received the item/service and that it was charged to the proper account. Also, ensure that the check signer is authorized. Report: Transaction Journal and the Accounts Payable Journal in Accounting. 4. Payroll • Compare the payroll amounts to the salary/wage authorized or budgeted. Make sure that the related payroll reports (941, W-2, etc.) and tax deposits were filed and remitted to the proper taxing authorities on a timely basis. The bank statement will show the withdrawals that should match the payments made out of Church Windows. It is recommended that a printed copy of each 941 be signed, dated as to date it was filed and then stored with payroll information. Reports: Pay Period Deductions, W-2 Forms and Quarterly 941 Form in Payroll; General Ledger and Treasurer’s Report in Accounting. 5. Accounts Payable • Scan the list of accounts payable vendors for any new or unknown vendors. Review supporting documentation for any payments to unknown vendors. Reports: Accounts Payable List and Accounts Payable Journal in Accounting. 6. General Ledger and Other Items • Review a transaction journal for items such as journal entries and transfers to make sure they Christian Computing® Magazine
were handled correctly. Is there a sufficient explanation in the comments area on journal entries? Report: General Ledger or Transaction Journal in Accounting. • If the church has designated or restricted funds (other than the General/Operating fund), are expenditures from the fund in compliance with the purpose of the fund? Reports: Fund Activity Report and General Ledger in Accounting.
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higher power with kevin
By Kevin A. Purcell
any Logos users thought Faithlife might one day go to a subscription model since they’ve talked about it for years. Bob Pritchett, CEO of Faithlife, took to the company’s user forums to announce Logos Now, their new monthly subscription based service that will give users access to some content not available otherwise. This also includes a new web app that’s in very early beta stage. I signed up for the Logos Now service and went over to the Logos Now Web App, the thing I’m most excited to use, and the user-interface looks a lot like the Logos 6 desktop app, but without most of the features functioning. A number of features don’t work while some do. Others don’t yet show up as available. Christian Computing® Magazine
What Does and Doesn’t Work in Logos Now Web App Despite that it’s a beta, or more accurately a nearly non-functioning pre-Alpha, it’s promising. We will hopefully one day see the things we love about Logos Bible software, like the Tools, Library access and syncing of content like notes, highlights and documents. April 2015
Enter a passage reference and the passage will load. Click on the Library button to open books.
Logos Now is a little more than the Web App. Here what’s exclusive to Logos Now subscribers in addition to Logos Now Web App. • • • • • •
Click on Documents, Guides and Tools and you’ll get a screen like the one above which says, ‘Check back soon!” This also happens on the Home and Search buttons too. In the upper right we get the layouts, help and account buttons, all non-working. Sometimes things seem to work fine and other times they fail miserably. For a while I couldn’t navigate to other passages or scroll through more than a few passages before the window went blank. Then I got logged out, not on purpose. I logged back in and I could move around the Bible. It seems this was a login/logout issue more than anything else. Table of Contents, at least on my preferred Bible shows nothing. However, other tools in the drop down box that shows up after clicking the Book cover work. I could increase and decrease font size, use column or full screen viewing mode. Other Things in Logos Now If you want to see it in action, watch the company’s YouTube videos. (https:// youtu.be/aSBkxOZ1LeQ?list=PLXkjd_ l1xkSRrOK9yxOkwNay6aNmH82C2 and https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXkjd_ l1xkSRrOK9yxOkwNay6aNmH82C2)
• • •
Old Testament Propositional Outlines Dataset Greek Grammatical Constructions Dataset Commandments of the Law Logos Stock Images, vol. 2 Visual Copy Templates for Visual Copy tool new in Logos 6 Author Slide Templates for Visual Copy tool new in Logos 6 Proclaim Starter for Visual Copy tool new in Logos 6 Concordance Tool Media Browser
The Old Testament Propositional Outlines Dataset is describe as follows: This visual filter reformats Old Testament text into a narrative outline that labels the purpose or theme of each line, and offers easyto-read primary points and secondary points. With a click, see how the text flows, how ideas
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 Logos Now adds some interesting visuals to the Visual Copy tool new with Logos 6. Christian Computing® Magazine
Church Software For Today and Tomorrow www.rdsadvantage.com • 800.337.6328
fit together, and how each line relates to the next. This outline also exposes key aspects of biblical narratives, like events, purposes, and characterization. More and more Old Testament books will be added over time, and eventually, this dataset will include the entire Old Testament. The site says it would cost $39.95 if bought separately, however it’s also exclusive to Logos Now. That means seems to mean buyers can get it outside of the subscription. Here’s how Faithlife describes the Greek Grammatical Constructions Dataset: With the Greek Grammatical Constructions Dataset, you can simplify complex constructions with ease. This new dataset identifies grammatical constructions in the New Testament and finds other occurrences of the construction in the Bible. Create visual filters to mark constructions in your favorite Bible as well as find and test your knowledge of rules and constructions. Filter results in the resource menu to make certain constructions easy to spot in future studies and limit your search by book of the Bible. Faithlife says this would cost $14.95 if they sold it outside the subscription. Read the description of the Commandments of the Law tool.
principles for identifying the 613mitzvoth and also provided a reliable list. His list contains 248 positive commandments and 365 negative ones. The Commandments of the Law interactive allows you to group the 613 mitzvoth (commandments) into various categories (State, People, Category, etc.) and track down a specific type of law. It would cost $5.95. So that’s $61 of content. Add the visual media, which would add up to a total of $125 sold separately. It will take you almost 21 months if they added nothing new to buy them at $9/ month. That’s not a bad deal, if they do add more content within that time. Some critics say that Logos started charging their loyal customers for the right to beta test their product while some companies instead offer incentives like free books to beta testers. I’ve received free content from other Bible software after I beta tested their mobile apps when the iPad first came out. The other way to look at the charge is to see it as a small fee to get early access to something we wouldn’t get to use for maybe a year or more until Logos 7 comes out. There’s no word on whether Logos Now subscribers will get a discount on the new version when and if it ships. Let’s hope Faithlife does. New Logos Now Media Browser
The Commandments of the Law Interactive provides information on the 613mitzvoth (commandments) as delineated by Maimonides (Rambam) in the Middle Ages, around 1170 C.E. While the Rabbis freely referred to the 613mitzvoth and agreed on their number, they rarely provided a completed list and therefore understood the commandments differently. These commandments are explicit commandments found within the Torah as understood by the Rabbis. Maimonides distilled the Christian Computing® Magazine
There’s now a Media Browser under the Tools menu. Click it and see all the new media options listed above. The Media Browser shows image and multimedia files. Use it to teach or preach. Use it to enhance your own personal study. Share images or media online to help others. Along the left there’s a list with categories of kinds of media or ways of organizing it. Things like tags, kinds, topics, or collections organizes the media. Should You Subscribe Yes or no! Not very helpful I know. People who hate subscription software should stay away. Those who like it should sign up. Others, who want the Web App access or want early access to new features that normally wouldn’t become available till Logos 7, should sign up. I signed up for the free 30day subscription, which Logos offers so anyone can get a look for free and cancel if you’re not impressed. I plan to pay for the first month and if there’s no improvement to the web app or nothing new that I find useful in the new features for the desktop app, then I’ll cancel until it becomes more useful. I did that with Proclaim, the company’s worship presentation software and never felt it lived up to the promises. I’ve never subscribed again. I hope they do a better job with Logos Now and especially the web app than they did with Proclaim.
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Introducing the Lean Startup By Russ McGuire
ver the past couple of months, I’ve introduced the concept of a “startup” and we’ve discussed why the church should really care about startups. As you’ll recall, we’ve developed this definition for our discussion: A startup is a new venture working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed. Starting this month, we’ll talk about the latest thinking on how to successfully launch a new startup. The Old Model and Why It Changed For the past dozen years, I’ve served as an executive for a large corporation. I’ve worked with startups in various ways over those years, but my head hasn’t been completely “in the game” of entrepreneurship. Over the past several months I’ve reimmersed myself in the startup community. What I’ve found has been very refreshing and encouraging. In the past, the generally accepted approach for Christian Computing® Magazine
starting a new business was to spend a few months developing a detailed business plan, raising all the funding needed to get the business off the ground, and then seeing if it worked. One way this has been described is that startups were managed as if they were simply tiny versions of big businesses. The general rule of thumb is that 9 out of 10 new businesses fail. In the old model, if your business failed, you would have invested months of your time and significant amounts of money typically invested April 2015
by family members, friends, and others. This type of failure can be devastating and often makes a second attempt impossible. This approach naturally constrained the number of new businesses that were even attempted. Most successful small business owners continued to run their business just like big businesses and didn’t feel significant kinship with other “entrepreneurs.” That started to change, somewhat, with the emergence of “rock star” entrepreneurs emerging from the computer revolution including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. However, it was the Internet revolution that fundamentally changed the nature of startups. The New Model With the emergence of the Internet, and follow-on capabilities, such as e-commerce, social networking, and cloud-based services, the upfront investment (in time and money) to launch a new business has been dramatically reduced. Also, the Internet has ushered in new models for funding startups including Angel Investors and crowd funding (e.g. Kickstarter). While I was quite aware of these changes, what I had missed was how these changes fundamentally altered how entrepreneurs launch new businesses. I think the two most significant impacts have been the emergence of startup communities and the development of the Lean Startup methodology. When I founded or cofounded my first two startups, I felt very much like a lone wolf. Today, entrepreneurs are blessed with tremendous opportunities to network with other startupminded people who help share Christian Computing® Magazine
the burden and provide encouragement along the way. This community networking takes many forms from fairly informal meetup opportunities (like 1millioncups.com groups which meet in over 50 cities around the world), to short term opportunities to engage on new business ideas (like Startup Weekend) to extended support engagements including accelerators and incubators. While most entrepreneurs, and therefore most startup community activities, won’t be focused on advancing the gospel, some (for example Praxis Labs) are emerging at the intersection of faith and entrepreneurism. Seeing this level of community support for entrepreneurs has been incredibly encouraging to me, but the biggest change that I’ve noticed is in the process of launching a new business. As I implied above, new technologies have made it easier to launch startups faster and with less upfront investment. While this hasn’t necessarily changed the rule of thumb that 9 out of every 10 startups will fail, it does mean that startups can fail faster and less catastrophically. It also means that many more entrepreneurs can take a shot at starting a new business, and can try and try again without crushing discouragement. The Lean Startup methodology has emerged as the most accepted process for launching a new unproven business model. In my simplified way of thinking about it, Lean Startup changes the model from emulating how big businesses operate to instead emulating how scientists discover and better understand the wonders of God’s creation. In the Lean Startup methodology, the Christian Computing® Magazine
business model is viewed as a collection of hypothesis to be tested. While we, as founders, probably have a good basis for making a good guess at what customers want or how we can make money, it’s still a guess. In the old model, we would take our collection of guesses (which we actually considered to be facts or truths), spend months doing as much old-fashioned research as we could to prove they were true, collect the “truths” and research into a 100-page business plan, and then try to convince investors to give us the money to implement this untested business model. In the Lean Startup methodology, we acknowledge each hypothesis and figure out how best to test and refine each one. As with the scientific method, we iterate multiple times through a loop of hypothesis-test-observe-refine until we have great confidence that our hypothesis is true enough to go with. In fact, even after we launch, we continue to test and refine to improve the business and to adapt to changes in the environment. Testing may involve hitting the streets and talking to real customers and potential partners. Instead of assuming what they want and need, we ask them and match that up with the value proposition we are building. Testing may
also involve launching an early prototype of the business and letting real customers use it to see if it really creates value for them in the way we imagined and to see if they really use it in the way that we thought they would. Depending on the nature of your product, the Internet may make this easier and less expensive than you might imagine. While this discussion has focused on business startups, I’m guessing that many readers see the old 100 page business plan approach at work in their churches and ministries, and I hope you are starting to see how the Lean Startup approach could be a better model. Instead of spending months planning and gaining approvals and funding before you test, why don’t you start testing in small ways now? Instead of waiting until everything is in place before you launch, why not launch a minimized version of what you’re envisioning now and see how the community starts to engage with it? Of course, we know that “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) No matter what methodology we use, the most important thing we can do is to pray for God’s wisdom, direction, discernment, and blessing on our efforts.
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With that as encouragement, I hope that this series will prove beneficial to you and that some will start to consider yourselves to be entrepreneurs who can pursue 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.
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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. email@example.com between now and the end of May. 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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Spring Communication Resource Round-Up
By Yvon Prehn
n a variety of situations and on a variety of topics I’ve been asked for resources lately, and I realized that it might be helpful if I passed them on to CCMag readers. The following links are a mixture— some very basic (but people are always starting out in church communications) and some more advanced web-creation resources. Some are links to free ebooks that I have (no strings attached, no signups or anything, just download). I’ve added a few comments on each so you won’t bother checking out ones that may not be useful to you. One more caveat, my ministry takes no advertising or affiliate relationships, the following are all ones I simply feel are useful for church communicators. Basics Lynda.com, http://www.lynda.com - This is one of the best resources for learning all things about communications, design, computers, online. I am a little concerned because they are in the process of being bought out by LinkedIn, so get it while you can. They only charge $25 a month for unlimited classes. Christian Computing® Magazine
Communications Resources, http://www.comresources.com - A classic source for basic church artwork—though they have expanded into a lot of other useful resources such as their Online Member Directory. You don’t always need edgy, contemporary photos to illustrate your communications and their clipart is great for kids and many other traditional church ministries. April 2015
Lightstock, http://www.lightstock.com - When you do need the edgy, contemporary photos for your church communications, this group has some very nice ones. They aren’t the biggest, but I find when I want to create something for both print and the web as I did with a recent brochure and web feature for the adult discipleship classes at our church, out of the many resources I have, this is often the one I turn to. Pricing is average, but one major reason I’m listing this is that each week they give away free photos and a vector image, plus sometimes free video clips—worth getting on their mailing list for that.
Canva, https://www.canva.com/ -If you haven’t tried Canva you are missing out on one of the greatest both design resources and training resources on the web today. Their Design School tutorials are free, easy, take just minutes, and have great quality content. Very contemporary designs, lots of fun.
Website resources Upfront caveat from me—I think WordPress is the best way to build a website, for many, many reasons, too lengthy to detail here, and a skill every church communicator (and most staff members and pastors) should have. I have built many sites with it over the years and I continuously am amazed at all it does and what features are added to it. It is also free. You have to pay for hosting, but that can be minimal get your free demo and instead of being locked into a www.servantpc.com/ccmag proprietary system and cost, once you learn this (and it is easy to 800-773-7570 learn) WordPress is one of the most cost-effective way for a church to have a complete and flexible site. If Manage your ministry with something else is working for you great, but if you are checking out systems for websites, make WordTrack donations, Email Statements, Press on the top of your list. Manage: Small Groups, Classes, Attendance, WP101, https://www.wp101. com/ - One of the best ways to get Visitor follow-up, Outreach and MORE! up and running quickly with WordPress. Easy-to-follow and understand tutorials. Sure, you can view a million of them on YouTube, but Keep children safe with you never know what version they are demonstrating. This site constantly updates their training. In Easy check-in, secure check-out, addition to basics, more advanced Syncs with Servant Keeper, topics easily explained. Name badges w/ allergies, notes, alerts, class info. Note: Lynda.com, referenced above does have a number of Claim tickets for parents/guardians, run background checks WordPress tutorials—but for some reason, I think they are some of her weakest courses—this is much better for WordPress. Plan worship effortlessly with WP Beginner, http://www. wpbeginner.com/ - Not only beginners, but everyone who uses Keeps your song library at your fingertips, WordPress can benefit from the Quickly plan and schedule services and teams blogs and resource links on this Easily track song usage and do reports site. Not terribly advanced, but
SOFTWARE FOR MINISTRY ou: y e r A
ou: y e r A Caring for Children?
ou: y e r A Leading Worship?
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very useful materials. “A free WordPress newsletter” http://wpmail.me/ - This is the geeky newsletter with the latest news from the WordPress organization, developers, and gurus. However, it has a lot for ordinary users, including great articles about plugins and overviews of new themes that have passed the WordPress standards. It comes out once a week and I always find something useful in it. Church Themes http://churchthemes.com/ - My favorite theme site—for many kinds of WordPress sites—I recently discovered it and am building some sites with it. I wanted to wait to tell people about it until I launched them, but I like it too much to wait. The reason I like this site so much (other than the obvious reason of well-designed themes) is that it has the best tutorials for how to use the theme. I have spent way too much money buying premium themes that sounded so good but it was next to impossible (for me anyway) to make them do what the demo theme did. The theme creator walks you through each step. You can modify the themes for many purposes other than churches, but it has great, built-in tools for a great church site. Free e-books from Effective Church Communications In the past, we sold these books, but decided to make all of them free for a limited time at these links. They are some of our most popular and helpful resources. The titles are self-explanatory. You have our permission to make copies and share them with whoever you want. Are printed bulletins still needed in the church? https://www.smashwords.com/books/ view/52689 Church Connection Cards, Special Edition, connect with visitors, grow your church, pastor your people, little cards, big results https://www.smashwords.com/books/ view/53563 If you want the free KINDLE version of this book, go to this link: http://www.amazon.com/Church-Connection-Cards-Yvon-Prehn-ebook/dp/ B005CHQLYK/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF 8&qid=1384731047&sr=8-1-fkmr2&keywo rds=Yvon+prehn+kindle+books
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Devotions for Church Communicators, the heart of church communications https://www.smashwords.com/books/ view/55323 Mother’s Day and the often-missed evangelism and spiritual growth opportunities https://www.smashwords.com/books/ view/55831 The Six Strategies of Effective Church Communications https://www.smashwords.com/books/ view/165163 PLEASE share your resources! I know these are just a few of the great resources out there for church communicators. Please send your favorites to: yvon@ effectivechurchcom.com and I’ll pass them on.
nick at church
A Surprising Discussion on Email to Staff in their Off-Hours
By Nick Nicholaou
inistry staff is mobile, and most on the team feel called to their role. It makes sense, then, to make ministry email available to staff on their mobile devices so they can access it when not at work, right? Well, surprisingly, not always! We’ve Got a Big Mission to Fulfill The work of Christian churches and ministries is arguably the most important on Earth. The eternal future of peoples’ souls are at stake, and how efficiently and effectively we fulfill our call to ministry has an impact. Not that God is dependent on us to accomplish his will, but he has chosen to work through people. We are fortunate to be some of the people he has chosen to work through. Christian Computing® Magazine
That said, we want to do as much as possible to fulfill his call with all of the flexibility our lives and schedule require! We’re not always at work, sitting at our desk or whatever other kind of workstation we may have. So it makes perfect sense that we want to have access to our email— and perhaps even other data— wherever we are and whenever we want it. Some call that pervasive technology. Technologically, this is easy to accomplish. That April 2015
is to say, it is not a very big IT challenge; the tools to do this are very mature. We can enable off-site access to email and other data very easily with today’s technology tool-set. But there may be reasons why our leadership should prefer that we don’t accommodate everyone on the team in this way. HR Rules and Laws that Impact Pervasive Technology In the U.S. there are laws that govern whether someone can be considered salaried (or exempt from overtime) or not. There are qualifying factors for exempt employees, mostly based on how much they make or on the types of responsibilities they have. If someone is not exempt based on those legal requirements, they are subject to overtime for hours beyond the maximum limits set in law in your location. Here’s where it gets tricky with pervasive technology. If someone is not exempt from overtime, they must be paid for the time spent responding to emails and working in their off hours. Depending on how many hours they work, those hours could also be subject to overtime rules in your location. And some localities have a minimum amount of time an employee must be paid when they work during their off hours!
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If your organization sends email to non-exempt employees when those employees are off work, and the employees respond while off work because they feel they need to, the cost could go very high. For example, where I live, the minimum amount of time an employee must be paid is two hours. That’s a lot for a quick email response! And if they do that a lot throughout the week, it could amount to a lot of overtime! To protect our ministries from legal exposures in this area, here are some steps to take: • Establish a corporate culture in which team members don’t feel they need to respond to emails and do work after hours. This is especially important for those who are not exempt from overtime rules. • Set a policy that says non-exempt employees are not to respond to work-related email or do work after hours— even if your systems make available the resources necessary to do so. • Set policies for your email server, terminal/ remote desktop servers, etc so that those who are not exempt from overtime cannot access
their email or your data via their mobile devices or home computers. • Train your team members to include, when sending emails after hours to someone on staff, a statement that the recipient should wait until their next work day to respond (unless that is not true, and then the opposite should be stated); that the email is only being sent after hours because the sender had an idea and didn’t want to forget it by waiting until the normal workday. Golden Rule Impact on Pervasive Technology For those of us in ministry, protecting our “off time” is a challenge. This is especially true for those on church teams. The folks we serve often think of ministry issues when they’re off work, which is also the time we’re off work! The unfortunate ones who pay the biggest price for this are those in our families. It’s so important for our family members to feel that they are important to us— a priority in our lives, and working in ministry often has us communicating that others are more important to us. To protect our time with our family, we need to
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set a corporate culture where it’s okay to ignore phone calls and text messages and emails— even when they’re from those we work with and for— after work hours! There are Christian churches and ministries across the country who are surprised when they find themselves in labor court over issues like this, and there are many raised in Christian homes who grew bitter because they didn’t feel appropriately important to their parents who worked for a church or ministry. The steps recommended here can help avoid both of those situations, and can help make your ministry an even more wonderful place to work. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and may want to check out his firm’s website (www. mbsinc.com) and his blog at http://ministry-it.blogspot.com.