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
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An Interview with Matt Morris By Steve Hewitt
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The “Internet of Things”, or IoT
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Coordinating Small Groups
Protected with Purpose
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By Steven Sundermeier
Don’t Waste your Talent
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By Michael Jordan
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Higher Power With Kevin
Olive Tree’s Bible+ for Android Gets Big Update
How to be a Christian Entrepreneur
By Russ McGuire
OS Version Update Windows, OSX, Android, & iOS
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The â€œInternet of Thingsâ€?, or IoT IoT is the new buzz word in technology. What is the Internet of Things? It is a network of things, or people, that are embedded with sensors or other data transfer devices that share data over a network without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. The IoT is bringing us connected devices, such as thermostats, door locks, refrigerators, etc., that are all connected and can be programmed or controlled by apps. It is also much more. For example, new airbags in cars are no longer activated just because a sensor in your bumper was smashed. Now, some are triggered to activate depending on the rate of deceleration, and can even determine how firm the airbag should be when it deploys based upon the weight and size of the person in the seat. These are devices using sensors that control a device without our knowledge or interaction. As we move from smart phones, to smart cars, to smart homes, we will see more and more of the IoT. One of the best examples I have heard of recently came from my friend Craig Rairdin (Laridian), who took his family to Disney World on vacation. They used the Christian ComputingÂŽ Magazine
Disney wristbands, which got them into their hotel room, were used to pay for food, and gain entrance to the parks, etc. One of the coolest features was the ability for Disney to know when and where Craig and his family were during their stay. So, if they were on a particular ride, Disney could take photos, and then when they returned to their hotel room, present a variety of photo packages of Craig and his family, commemorating their vacation! Image what life might be when the IoT brings us a smart city! Together We Serve Him,
Steve Hewitt firstname.lastname@example.org
ShelbyNext An Interview with Matt Morris
By Steve Hewitt
e have seen many exciting announcements from Shelby Systems over the past 35 years, but some of the most exciting things are taking place right now! As I write this, I am preparing to head to San Antonio to attend and speak at the International Shelby Conference (ISC). On Wednesday morning at ISC, Shelby is expected to announce what some say will be known as the most comprehensive, unified technology platform for churches, ministries and non-profits. Simply put, they call it ShelbyNext. I interviewed Matt Morris, Chief Marketing Officer for Shelby Systems, for more information and thought you would appreciate what he has to share about ShelbyNext as well. Enjoy!”
Shelby has been on the pages of Christian Computing Magazine since 1989. This month at ISC, you’ll be announcing a new product. Tell us about that. We understand that every church is different. No two are alike. Our vision for Shelby is to continue to enhance and support our current product line, and to expand our product offering to provide more SaaSbased solutions as well. We will accomplish this through an ecosystem of fully integrated, cloud-based solutions called ShelbyNext. Christian Computing® Magazine
Traditionally, church technology has been very segmented. Churches often have one provider for church management software, one for online giving, another for websites, and yet another for financial software or mobile apps. Some churches have 8 or 10 solutions, all from different companies. With ShelbyNext, we have brought the solutions churches and ministries use daily into one ecosystem. This allows for one touch point for the church and one sign-on for the users. It will come at a much more affordable price point and will serve churches of all sizes. June 2015
In addition, we plan to build upon and expand the Shelby Financials Online product. It’s one of the best financial software products on the market for churches. We are also seeing parachurch ministries, non-profits and other businesses using Shelby Financials Online. Making strides in that software to make it easier to use and more affordable will be a priority as well. Bringing ShelbyNext to market will allow us to better serve churches in their mission of making disciples. What do you see as the vision and future for Shelby? Where do you want to take things? Shelby has served churches for more than 35 years. We have a passion to continue serving churches, ministries and non-profits for many years to come. This passion will always be at the center of our decisions. Moving forward, our customers will see access to expanded technology resources and products that are much easier to use. Churches today have different technology needs than they did 20, 10, or even 5 years ago. Ministry in the connected digital world requires a church to be smart, agile, and results-focused. We are called to touch more lives, at a faster pace, with tools that keep changing. Our goal is to deliver kingdom-focused technology solutions and services to churches, ministries and non-profits that help them do one thing: make disciples. We believe that technology will play a large role in the future of the Church and disciple-making by allowing ministries to leverage technology to reach, connect and serve. We have the unique opportunity to be a part of this movement. I want to know more about ShelbyNext! We’ve had really great success with our Shelby products, but our customers are telling us they want more! They want products that are simpler to implement, easy to use and optimized for mobile devices. ShelbyNext is the platform that will enable us to deliver all of this and more to the churches we serve. We will offer five services through ShelbyNext; Membership, Giving, Financials, Websites and Mobile Apps. ShelbyNext | Membership allows churches to: • Track attendance and membership • Check children and adults in via Apple, Windows or mobile devices Christian Computing® Magazine
• Communicate with your entire congregation over text, email or voice • Automate workflows and processes within the church • Schedule events and reserve rooms and resources through your church campus ShelbyNext | Giving allows churches to: • Receive online contributions via web, mobile, kiosk or text • Engage members with a quick process to increase giving ShelbyNext | Financials • State-of-the-art program specifically designed to meet the needs of churches, ministries, non-profits and denominational headquarters • Manage all accounting operations including: • Payroll • A/R • A/P • Purchasing • Management and Financial Reporting ShelbyNext | Websites • Build and manage your church, ministry or non-profit website • Pre-designed themes, or have our team of designers create a completely unique, beautiful online home for your church ShelbyNext | Mobile • Connect via customized mobile apps for: • Church management • Child check-in • Events • Sermon audio and video • Blog and social integration You can learn more at www.shelbynext.com. Who should use ShelbyNext? We built ShelbyNext for all churches. This includes large churches, but also very small churches and church plants. Some congregations tend to think Shelby is too big for them. We’re changing that with ShelbyNext. Our products and pricing are specifically tuned to fit any size congregation, because we want the best tools in the hands of every church. How is ShelbyNext | Membership different from v.5 or Arena? With ShelbyNext, we’ve re-thought membership and database tracking from the ground up. You will be amazed at the ease of use in this product. June 2015
For churches who value mobile ministry capabilities, along with a cloud-based approach to church management, ShelbyNext | Membership is a home run. Behind the scenes, we have also streamlined the database structure to be faster, easier to adopt, and simultaneously available on a wide array of devices and systems. Shelby will continue fully supporting v.5 and Arena, especially for our largest church and HQ customers. We understand that there is no one-sizefits-all product, since each ministry is unique. We have the resources to build future-looking products, while still providing the same stable, robust environment that our enterprise ministry clients have come to know and love from Shelby. Can a church use just part of ShelbyNext? Yes. ShelbyNext is designed to work best as a full “ecosystem”, but it is possible to start small. For example, you could begin by offering our affordable online giving product to your congregation, and then gradually grow into our accounting, church management, or mobile offerings. The more pieces of ShelbyNext you use, the bigger the impact you’ll have, and the greater your cost savings will be.
What is the pricing for ShelbyNext? Pricing is available for each separate component of ShelbyNext, and bundle discounts are available when you combine the different components together. The more you use, the more you save. For complete pricing information, visit our website at www. shelbynext.com. Will more things be added to ShelbyNext in the future? You bet! We picked the name ShelbyNext because technology is always changing. We want your church to always be on the front lines of what’s next in ministry. Our team is already hard at work, planning our roadmap to additional tools and services that we think will complement the core features in today’s ShelbyNext. Churches have trusted Shelby for 35 years to provide you great technology and friendly, ministry-centric service. Our tools and technology may evolve, but our commitment to serving churches will always stay the same.
guiding Kingdom-minded technology solutions through you membership
shelbynext.com | 800.877.0222
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Coordinating Small Groups By Michael Jordan
t doesn’t matter if your church refers to them as small groups, community groups, home groups or some other name, they’re all a variation on the same thing and provide the same opportunities among ministries. These smaller groups are more suited to better develop close relationships, encourage more responsibility and support spiritual growth. “People who are part of small groups experience connections with others that can be difficult to foster in a large congregation. For many, small groups act as a second family of which they’d be lost – spiritually and otherwise – without them in their lives. This is truly where the real ministry happens,” according to the authors of the ministry guide Creating Big Success With Small Groups. Even though good things happen in small group fellowship, there is a contingency of people who feel they are putting more into small groups than what they’re getting out of them. “Despite all the benefits, many groups lack direction from group leaders, a clear understanding about goals and objectives for participants and communication between staff members and other group leaders. Without organized systems and processes in place for managing small groups, staff members can’t know what groups are available, when they meet, what topics are being studied, how many people are in the group, when new members join the group or even which groups Christian Computing® Magazine
are still meeting,” continued the authors of the ministry guide Creating Big Success With Small Groups. When this happens, groups are dissolved or splintered, possibly turning off members to joining a small group in the future. This begs the question of how to mitigate these issues within small groups. The simple answer to this frustration is normally found in Web-based solutions that focus on small group management, such as Church Management Software, otherwise known as ChMS. “Online ChMS tools can be implemented by any church, from the newest ministries to the largest congregations with hundreds of small groups. There are great tools and strategies available to help create, structure, and facilitate small groups which can open new doors for outreach and assimilation,” said the authors of the ministry guide Creating Big Success With Small Groups. It’s no small secret that the management and implementation of small groups can be a dauntJune 2015
ing task for those in ministry. But, there are ways churches can make small groups work for the betterment of everyone. With the right ChMS, churches can: • Effectively create groups that incorporate the interests of the congregation members • Select the proper leadership • Easily communicate important group information to potential members • Invite individuals to take part in group meetings
cessful. The guide includes a step-by-step process which details: • • • •
Designing effective leadership roles Creating groups that further ministry Communicating with specific groups Managing groups for continued success
Perhaps the most important aspects of small groups is the need for them to be effective in the church. And according to the authors, the key cog for successful small groups is the leader. “There could be 100 small groups, but if they Also, small groups are a tremendous avenue aren’t moving towards a specific mission, then for keeping others in the congregation, as well as they’re nothing more than a support group. Not the community, involved. This is done by informonly is the effectiveness of the groups a priority, ing members of the community about future events but the person leading them should be effective as and volunteer opportunities associated with partic- well. Whether the small group ministry director is ular small groups and increasing outreach opportu- the pastor, a staff member or an unpaid volunteer, nities through posts on social networking sites and the end result is the same. The person in charge online church software of small groups is tasked with the responsibility to The authors of Creating Big Success With Small care for the groups in the congregation,” according Groups dive into deep detail on the proper meato the authors of Big Success With Small Groups. sures to ensure small group systems can be suc“This person sets the vision and direction of
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the entire small groups ministry. The small groups director is responsible for developing the mission strategy, choosing and training various types of leaders and communicating that vision to other members of the church staff and the congregation as a whole. Your ministry should begin by creating a small team of people who not only have strong leadership characteristics in your church, but also have the available time to devote to leading.” There are several key factors that make making small groups successful for both the participants and the entire church. By implementing and executing the proper tools and ideas, there can be a measurable and visible increase in the number of people taking part in small groups. In turn, this can assist in redefining how churches help change lives. If you have been waiting for the perfect time to redefine your ministry, the time is now. Take control of your church’s small group destiny today. Let Us Help You Get Better Connected ACS Technologies can help you properly implement and execute small groups within your ministry. Whether you’re already doing small groups or looking to get started, the keys to success are within reach. When you do get these keys, ultimately your small groups will flourish and the Gospel is spread more effectively. To learn more about small groups and put best practices to use, including stories of how other churches have succeeded, download Creating Big Success With Small Groups today.
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Don’t Waste your Talent
By Steven Sundermeier
he arrival of June brings a bittersweet time for the parents of high school seniors. Their “babies” (Wasn’t that just yesterday?) are somehow grown up now, and they are walking across the stage: clutching a diploma and looking ahead to their futures.
This past Sunday, our church held a graduationthemed service for our high school and college graduates. The service allowed our teens to lead worship (What talent these young people have!), provided a well-deserved Sunday off for our Senior Pastor and gave the stage to our Pastor of Teen Ministry. (No wonder the teens love him! Talk about a heart for Jesus!) The overall message was very clear, not only to the graduates, but also to the entire congregation- be a positive influence on others and make a difference in this world for Christ. While this is sound advice for all aspects of life, it is also very similar to the message that we try to teach when given the opportuChristian Computing® Magazine
nity to speak on cyber security awareness in front of children and adults, whether at a local county career center, an educational service center or even teaching Sunday school. The message: Use your God-given talents (in our case computer skills) for good and not for evil. While I try to incorporate this message into all my security talks and interviews, late last week I was reminded of the reality that the choice between good and bad decisions is a daily battle. As a recognized expert in the field of cyber security, I am routinely contacted by radio talk shows, newspapers and other media outlets regarding hot new security stories and asked my professional June 2015
opinion and comments on them. I received one such email last week from a business writer asking me to validate a lead she had gained from a press release. The press release originated from an organization I was unfamiliar with. The subject of the email she received was “New ‘Sleeper’ Ransomware Hits Hard”, and the actual press release title claimed a new dormant strain of ransomware that “awakens” and causes a surge of trouble. The ransomware was labeled “Locker”. FYI-Ransomware is a malicious application that encrypts specific files on connected drives on the system. The user is asked to pay a ransom (in the form of Bitcoins) in order to recover the encrypted files. This category of malware generated tens of millions of dollars for cybercriminals in 2014, and it is running rampant in the first six months of 2015. At the time of receiving this editor’s request, I was unfamiliar with said malware, so I proceeded to follow my usual protocol for investigating new malware threats. Initially I checked our suspicious detection reports to quickly see if there was any significant spike in activity. There was not. I then met and discussed the “sleeper” malware with our Viruslab Manager. Within an hour, we confirmed that we did not have a sample on file. This was both odd and very unusual (But don’t call Ripley’s yet…) given Thirtyseven4’s proactive behavior detection systems module that is able to quickly stop, trap and submit new threats such as this for immediate analysis. Following this, I contacted a couple fellow anti-virus researchers - their labs had yet to receive a sample or even hear of the threat. This was even stranger, given the terminology used in the press release - “surge of trouble”, “swarmed”, “infecting”, “100s of emails from consultants all over the world”. The next step in the investigation process was to reach out to the organization that issued the security “alert”. A representative from the organization was kind enough to respond, however, informed me that they didn’t have a sample either and that the alert was generated from communication seen on a public forum. I was told my best bet was to review the particular forum thread and request a sample there. We did this and were able to retrieve the noted files. However, the files weren’t the actual malware but instead component files (just stand-alone pieces) of Locker, so there was no way proper analysis could be done. After a day or so of looking into the threat, my professional advice was to pass on the story. Fast forward a couple days- a new story is pubChristian Computing® Magazine
lished regarding Locker. The new headlines read that the author of Locker repents, offers an apology and expresses remorse that the malware was ever released. In an attempt to right a wrong, the author (who according to reports goes by the name Poka Brightminds) decides to offer an automated decryption routine for any system that was infected with Locker. When a further investigation was done into the total dollar value scammed from “infected” customers, the dollar value totaled a mere $169.00. All but a few of the transactions were $.02 or under. I suspect that these amounts were from the author himself while testing his creation and payment system. From the database provided, it appears no more than seven total systems were compromised over a course of eight days. The question becomes- why would someone go through all the hard work and spend endless hours setting up a command and control network, and develop a new piece of ransomware just to shut it down less than two weeks into it? Could this be a modern day version of Judas betrayal? While they didn’t have Bitcoins back in Jesus’ day, in Matthew 26 we read how the chief priests and Judas agree to handing Jesus over for thirty silver coins. Fast forward to Matthew 27, we read in verse 3, “When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” The allure of money and world gain can make people do hard-to-understand things. While it is anybody’s guess what the true motive for the author’s change of heart was, my idea is that this was a proof-of-concept Christian Computing® Magazine
creation that for one reason or another was publically leaked by mistake. (Maybe accidentally,maybe his infrastructure was hacked.) And while repentance may have been the cry of the author, I feel it may also have been the fear of his identity being revealed and the very-real threat of getting arrested which may have changed his course. Because after all, (whether unintentionally or intentionally) the author officially broke the law. This person obviously had serious talent, and our choices (in my opinion) often all come back to the simple words preached last Sunday to our graduating youth: “Be a positive influence on others and make a difference in this world for Christ.” Use your God-given talents (for many of us reading this article, computer skills are one of our talents) for good and not for evil. I feel this message/moral also speaks convictingly to the organization that issued the scare tactic press release. Stirring up false accusations isn’t exactly an example of being a positive influence on others. Fighting cybercrime is an uphill battle, but we can advance in the fight by joining forces. One angle of protection is teaching/encouraging/praying for young minds in this area to make the right choices with their gifts. We must work together on educating our family, friends and inner circle on the actual dangers in the Security arena and how to stay protected…while at the same time not hitting the panic button without having all the facts. Good lessons for security awareness, graduates and all of us. Congratulations to the class of 2015 and may the Lord guide your steps!
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higher power with kevin
Olive Tree’s Bible+ for Android Gets Big Update
By Kevin A. Purcell
live Tree let their Android app languish in mediocrity for a couple of years, but that ended this June with a nice update to the Bible+ by Olive Tree app for Android. It sports a whole new polished look that feels more like a modern Android app than the previous version. What’s new, and should you get Bible+ by Olive Tree for your Android phone or tablet? More Attractive Material Design User-interface One of the most obvious changes comes with the new look of the user-interface. Google promotes something called “Material Design” which means they’ve created some standards that they hope app developers will follow. Material Design gives Android apps a unified look and Bible+ follows the standards quite well. The Book, Chapter, Verse Chooser shows off the new look of the app. It’s more colorful and that makes it easier to see what’s on screen and interact with it. Christian Computing® Magazine
Olive Tree describes their new look as “bold color and flat icons” which is accurate. The app looks better and closer to the iOS version, which Olive Tree clearly put more effort into developing before this. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another two years to get a nice Android update. Take a look at the Strong’s dictionary pop up to see an example of the more attractive looking user interface. Open a Bible with Strong’s tags and tap on a word. The box pops up giving the Dictionary Definition, the Strong’s number for the word, and two buttons. One button searches the Bible for that Strong’s numbered word. Searching is fast. Tap on a result to jump to the verse. Tapping on the Look Up button will open a list of all the dictionaries and user notes for that word that the app can find. Tap one to open it inside the popup. This makes word studies easy. Better Highlighting Now, in Bible+ users can highlight more than just a verse. They can select one word or a phrase and highlight it. They also added the ability to highlight non-Bible books, which is hard to believe you couldn’t do before on Android.
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In either case, select what you wish to highlight and the highlighting toolbar pops up hovering over the text just above the portion selected. Tap on highlight. The new highlighter box pops up with the various colors the user can use to highlight. Tap on one of the highlighter colors and it applies the highlight to the selected text. The highlighter tool includes five colors by default (yellow, pink, purple, green, and blue). You can add new colors or rename the included colors with things like “sermon notes” or “sermon illustrations” or whatever you like. At the bottom of the highlighter color selector box there’s a couple of buttons. Tags let users add tags to a highlight to make it easier to find. Categories will gather highlights into a category. Under the Hood Improvements Some of the best improvements won’t show themselves obviously to the user. However, over a period of time they will notice that things run smoother and faster. The text gets displayed better and overall performance is better, at least that’s the promise. My Nexus 9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, two of the newest Android devices running Android Lollipop 5, usually run Bible+ faster, but opening a new book still results in the Android circle that shows the OS is still working and you have to wait for it to finish what it’s doing. In other words, the developers at Olive Tree need to do some more work optimizing the app’s speed and user-interface. Once the app does draw the screen, which usually takes about five seconds, and loads everything, the app is clearly faster and scrolls smoother. The handle that opens the second window is smooth and lets me open the Resource Guide quickly. June 2015
Thanks to these under-the-hood improvements, new kinds of resources become possible. For example, study Bibles with things like tables, can now show them as tables. The iOS version could do this for a long time, but the Android app was way behind in this area until now. If you have the NIV Study Bible app you will see an example of this. Open it to John 3 and you’ll see a table in the notes. The included screen shot comes from the ESV Study Bible Intro to Matthew. This same display engine lets them layout with text flowing around visual elements. That seems like a minor thing, but the Android app couldn’t do it
before this version. Thankfully Olive Tree caught up with 2015.
The Great Resource Guide While the Resource Guide isn’t new, it deserves mention since it’s such a useful feature. At the bottom of the window you’ll notice a handle. Pull it up by tapping and holding on it and then swiping up. This opens a second window. At the top left corner there’s a drop down box. Tap it to show the list of available resources. Library opens the user’s library so they can open a second book in that second window. Tap on My Stuff to open things like Notes, Bookmarks, Highlights, or Book Ribbons. Tap on the Resource Guide, which serves as a digital research assistant ready to show the user all of their books related to the passage in the first window. On the top right corner, there’s a settings icon. Tap it to customize what kinds of resources will show up in the Resource Guide. It also lets the user order their resources. For example, I’ve put my Commentaries first, followed by Churches Continue to Introductions, People, Places, Choose Church Windows Maps, and then left the rest of the For more than 25 years, the items on the list alone. driving force behind everything we do Now when I open a passage at Computer Helper Publishing in the first window, the Resource has been to provide quality, proven software -- helping Guide will show me all of my churches get and stay organized. commentaries in the second Save NOW on this Leader in window ready to open them to Church Management Software that passage. It also shows me book introductions so I can learn Now thru 01/31/2015, get the standard “Large” Church Windows what’s going on in that book for the price of the Small version. of the Bible. Then it shows me p i information about people, places h LEARN MORE NOW rs be r m and any maps that might relate to e e ul M ed s h n the passage. The Resource Guide Sc tio na ng o i offers other things like related t D un co l c l verses (cross references), notes o A yr Pa that I’ve written on the verses in the passage, images from books www.churchwindows.com urrchwindows.com in my library that are tagged /churchwindows with this verse or topics from the 800.533.5227 verses and much more. Computer Helper Publishing • PO Box 30191 • Columbus OH 43230-0191 Other Bible apps offer
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something like the Resource Guide, but the Bible+ app from Olive Tree executes it in one of the best ways available. This reason alone makes it one of the best mobile apps available. Other New Features Here’s some of the other new features available in the new Bible+ for Android. The new app display engine can finally show Interlinears, like the ESV Greek-English Interlinear. It goes beyond what the Strong’s tagged Bibles offer. Tap on the Greek word and it shows the word, Strong’s numbers, parsing information and will search for the word in all forms, not just the form in that verse. Tap just the Strong’s number to see the Strong’s dictionary entry, like you would with the ESV with Strong’s tagging. If you want to search for the word as it’s used in that verse with its present format, it will do that too. That way you can find other instances of a word with the same parsing. Bible+ for Android uses a new font that looks better and supports formatting better. It’s more readable. Open the app and you’ll notice how much prettier the text looks. There’s a crispness that wasn’t present before.
Install the app from the Google Play Store here: http://bit.ly/1QtjJzy. Also watch my interview with LaRosa Johnson of Olive Tree. He was a guest on the Theotek Podcast on Friday, June 5. https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=TeTfBNVJ1Js Conclusion Part of me wants to say, “About time!” I used to use the Bible+ app on my Android phone and iPad all the time. It was my go-to app for public use as I listened to preaching, took part in group Bible studies and even when I preached or taught using my Android phone as my Bible. As the app fell further behind other Android apps, I retired it. Even though the app continued to improve on iOS, I didn’t use it because I wanted a consistent user-interface on both platforms. Other apps from Logos and YouVersion did a better job of keeping both platforms up to date and fairly consistent. Now that Olive Tree finally updated the Android app I’ve used it more. I’m still leery of their continued commitment to Android. After this update will they Christian Computing® Magazine
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.
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again start to ignore the app in favor of other projects? They put Apple Watch support in the iOS app almost right away, but Android Wear watches have been around for a year, yet we still don’t see Android Wear support. That’s a signal to Android fans that they might not yet be serious about Android. Let’s hope they are, and the next six months will tell the story. There’s room to improve the app since it does crash on occasion. While writing this article, it crashed three times in about two hours. That’s got to get fixed and I’m confident Olive Tree will get it done. Should you give Olive Tree another shot on Android? Definitely! Former users should grab the update and poke around in it. If you use another app and are happy with it, download a free version (http:// bit.ly/1QtjJzy - Play Store Link) and give it a look. I doubt that many will make the switch based on this build alone, but you might. Olive Tree offers a large library of books which makes it an attractive option. The improved Android app deserves a close look from old users who moved on out of frustration, like I did.
How to be a Christian Entrepreneur By Russ McGuire
ver the past few months, I’ve introduced the concept of a “startup” and we’ve discussed why the church should really care about startups. 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. We learned that the Lean Startup methodology introduces the scientific method into the new venture process, with multiple hypothesis-test-observe-refine iterations, and we discussed how we can implement this in our ministries (and our businesses.) This month, I want to talk about the person doing this - what does it mean to be a Christian Entrepreneur? What is an Entrepreneur? In my previous articles, I’ve used the phrase “startup” quite a bit and we even developed a good working definition that can be used whether starting a new venture in business or in ministry, but we haven’t used the word “entrepreneur.” What does that big word mean, and how does it apply to what we’ve been talking about? Christian Computing® Magazine
According to Merriam-Webster.com, an entrepreneur is “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money.” In other words, an entrepreneur is a person who starts a startup. Of course, the definition that Merriam-Webster uses works great if you’re starting a for-profit business, but just as we had to modify our definition of “startup” to encompass ministry startups as well as busiJune 2015
ness ones, I think it’s worthwhile to do the same for “entrepreneur.” I propose that we broaden the definition to say “an entrepreneur is a person who starts a new venture and is willing to risk a loss in order to achieve the objective.” What is a “Christian” entrepreneur? Hopefully you can get a sense from that definition of an entrepreneur of how we might be “all in” when we’re pursuing the cause of Christ, but I think it’s helpful for us to explicitly think about what might be different about a Christian entrepreneur in contrast to an unbelieving entrepreneur, whether we’re involved in ministry or business. Some would argue that the word Christian works much better as a noun than as an adjective, and I agree there’s some wisdom in that claim. If you’re in that camp, then I think it helps if we start by thinking about the term “Christian entrepreneur” as if there were a comma between the two words, so for example I might say: “I want to be a Christian, entrepreneur” - I want to be successful in my calling as a Christian and in my calling as an entrepreneur. I’m going to look very briefly at what it means to be a Christian, and when I’m done, I’m hoping that you’ll see and believe that the comma we’ve temporarily inserted there can’t act like a brick wall separating how we act as a Christian from how we act as an entrepreneur. No, in reality, what the comma should be is more like a lens, applying what it means for us to be a Christian on what it means to be an entrepreneur. I say that now, even though you may not yet agree with me, Christian Computing® Magazine
so that as you read what follows, you’ll have in mind both what it means to be a Christian independent of anything else in our lives and how being a Christian might impact the way in which we act as an entrepreneur. So, what does it mean to be a Christian? God has given us the Bible to answer that question. The entire book speaks to that topic, but especially the New Testament Epistles teach us how to live as redeemed believers in Christ living in a fallen world. As a very simple example, I’d like to briefly look at three verses from Colossians: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:1517). I think a very simple summary of these three verses is that we are commanded to do three things. First, we are commanded to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts” - in other words, the peace of God, which comes through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, to those who believe in His name, is to rule in us. When the unruly passions (described earlier in Colossians 3) rise up in our lives, we are to put them off and put on the love of Christ, living our lives in a way that demonstrates the peace that we have through repentance and reconciliation with God. In other Christian Computing® Magazine
words, the way we live our lives should be different from how the lost around us live their lives, and I believe the way we operate our businesses will also be different. Second, we are commanded to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” - in other words the Word of God is to live in us, as a master over our lives. We must spend time in the Bible and seek the wisdom of God from Biblical teaching, Godly counsel, and even being encouraged in the Biblical truths reflected in hymns and spiritual songs. Although this commandment comes second in the list, it is a prerequisite for the first commandment, as God’s Word informs us in how the peace of God should rule in our lives. As Christians, all of our decisions in life (and in our business) must be approached prayerfully and seeking the wisdom and will of God as revealed in His Word. Third, we are to let the name of the Lord Jesus be glorified in all that we do. We must be thankful for God’s grace and blessings in our lives (and our businesses), acknowledging that He is the source of all good things, and desiring to please Him, to glorify Him, and to proclaim Him to the lost world around us. As a Christian, our driving motivation is different
from the world’s. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to operate a profitable business, but we can’t let our desire for profits rule how we run our business. Instead, we must seek to glorify God in all that we do, including in operating our businesses with excellence. With that as a foundation, I propose this definition: A Christian Entrepreneur is a person, driven to glorify God in all he does, and ruled by the Word of God, who starts a new venture and is willing to risk a loss in order to achieve the success of the venture. 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 June 2015
“Nobody reads what we write” What’s really going on and how to fix it
By Yvon Prehn
o matter what technology we use to communicate: print bulletins, multimedia announcements, websites, social media, a complaint I’ve heard for years and still hear from church communicators is: “nobody reads what we write.” The statement is often spoken in frustration and often more than a bit of anger. Let’s look at what this really means and how to fix it. What’s really going on When I hear that, my first response is always, “How do you know that’s true? Do people come up to you, throw the bulletin in your face, stomp on their smart phone, or send a nasty email in response to your website and announce ‘I don’t read any of this!’?” After a few deep breaths, a laugh, and a little more discussion, the true reason for that statement comes out. When church staffs say that “nobody reads what we write” what it actually means is that people are not showing up for events or paying attention to the requests for action or to volunteer. They may or may not have read the Christian Computing® Magazine
schedule or pleas--but regardless, they didn’t show up. If that is the real situation, what is the solution? It’s not what is often assumed Today an easy answer is that people didn’t read it because there was too much text. That isn’t always true. It’s true that people have shorter attention spans today, but shorter attention spans does not mean people don’t read what is important to them or respond to what appears to be of benefit to them, their families, and spiritual lives. People still have an empty place inside only God can fill. Once they become a Christian, they want to grow to June 2015
discipleship maturity. Another easy answer is that people are very busy today and don’t have time to read more than a few words. Again, it is true that people are busy, but ask any cook who was motivated to learn a new cooking technique, a reader whose favorite recent series just came out with a new book, or a fan who can’t wait to grab the sports section when the newspaper arrives if they have time to read these things and you’ll realize it isn’t the amount of text that is the problem. If the amount of text isn’t the problem cutting back on it won’t solve it Because they don’t properly diagnose the problem, the solution for many church communicators is to drastically cut the amount of material in the church bulletin and website. In practical terms this often means: • No detailed explanations of activities, just general categories are listed, such as: “Adult Bible Classes 9 am.” • Complete information is not included, just overall statements about ministries are listed, such as: “Small groups are important and we urge you to be part of one, call Pastor Joe for more information.” • Special events are simply announced: “Our church is putting on an incredible Easter Concert on Good Friday--be sure to invite your friends.” • Using an impressive graphic and few words or replacing announcements with graphics alone. That great image may have meant something to the person who picked it, but whatever thousand words it meant to the creator is often lost on the person viewing it. All of these solutions fail to solve the problem of getting people to read and to respond. They don’t give enough information to communicate anything. They don’t grab the attention of a visitor, explain what the church jargon title for an event means, or challenge a church member who sees the same thing week after week. The church may think it communicated something, but they simply filled an empty place on the web or on paper. If these common solutions don’t work to get people to respond, what does? Before you do anything else, be sure your event is worth attending. It may become painful here, but somehow, you’ve Christian Computing® Magazine
got to face reality that some people (dear, wonderful, members forever people) are really boring teachers; some small groups are a trial to attend, some leaders of events who think they are standing up for the truth are narrowminded and mean. Some favorite church traditions may mean little or nothing to newcomers. Some ministries expect too much and don’t train or thank volunteers. Some ministries who ask for volunteers make it impossible to become meaningfully involved. (Not everyone wants to help set up chairs or make coffee for the next 5 years.) The list of what is, in reality, a turn-off for many people (no matter who conducts it or how long the church has “always done it that way”) varies from church to church, but if you aren’t honest with yourself about whether your event is worth attending or your ministry a positive one to volunteer for, there is little you can do in print or the web to get people to attend the event or to become committed to a ministry. Why limited information doesn’t work and what will get a response Just one example for now, but let’s take the Adult Class announcement above. Instead of “Adult Bible Classes 9 am.” You need specific topics listed each week and reasons why people should attend. June 2015
Yes, an announcement that does these things takes a lot more time and work to put together and it takes more paper and ink to print it (plus time to put it on the church website as you update it.) A longer announcement in reality doesn’t waste time because it tells people what is going on so they can make an informed decision. The shorter announcement actually wastes more time because it doesn’t really give readers any useful content or a reason to respond. But it also respects the time and mind of your church members and visitors because it doesn’t assume everyone knows what is going on and briefly explains it. At the same time, be sure to give all the informa-
tion on the website as well for people who for some reason didn’t get the bulletin. The website is a great place to expand information about the class, look at a bio of the teacher, and have links to content for more information. Depth of information on your website will give credibility to short announcements. A quick Facebook or Twitter announcement is a great reminder of what is going on, but it is only a reminder and should link to your website for more information. Remember though that visitors and newcomers probably will not be aware of your social media and often will not link to it or follow you consistently until they have been involved for some time. Remember also that social media is an ever-flowing stream and not useful when you forget a date and time and want to look up information--that is what websites are good for.
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More is more Yes, people’s time is valuable, but even more important is the destiny of their eternal souls. If you give people complete and useful information about worthwhile activities in your church, they will pay attention, they will read them, they will show up and lives will be changed. Don’t cop-out by saying people don’t read what you write, when you don’t write anything that is useful, significant, or worthy of their time to read. Don’t work hard to advertise a class given by someone who you would be embarrassed to bring a friend to hear or a ministry that you wouldn’t become involved in for any number of reasons. Be sure you have worthy offering and then pour your heart into making every ministry announcement worthy of your audience time. They will read them and they will respond.
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nick at church
OS Version Update
Windows, OSX, Android, & iOS
By Nick Nicholaou
he Operating Systems (OS) on our computers and devices impact our computing experience and productivity. Whether it’s about Windows, OSX, Android, or iOS, the question I often get is, “What’s current and, even more important, what’s dependable?”
The Purpose of the OS People get very excited about new operating systems! People are excited about what’s coming! They want to know what we think, and whether it’s okay for them to upgrade! All of that excitement is good, and we’ll talk about the latest OSes in this article, as promised. But before we do, I’d like to inject a little reality into the discussion. You see, OSes should have very little impact on what we do and how we do it. An OS is really the foundation that allows the apps we do our work (or play) in to function. And it’s the apps— like Microsoft Office— that really impact what we do and how we do it. Every OS comes with some small applications we like to call applets. Windows comes with Notepad and Christian Computing® Magazine
WordPad, and OSX comes with TextEdit, for example, that can do very light word processing. Does anyone use those applets? Not typically! No, we use Microsoft Word or Apple Pages because we want the full-featured word processing experience. So, it’s not the OS that helps us be productive, but the apps we install on top of the OS that really affect us. But the OS can have an impact too. If it’s buggy, our apps won’t work as well as we need them to. OS quality can, thus, impact our productivity. I mention this because running the latest and greatest OS isn’t always as important as the marketing and hype would have us believe. I’m not opposed to new OSes; I like how they add a freshness to our lives. But the bigger issue is productivity, and productivity happens mostly in our apps. June 2015
Windows The new version, Windows 10, is about to hit the streets! It is a vast improvement over Windows 8 (and 8.1), and in our testing has proven itself to be solid! That’s great news, because Windows 8 wasn’t so great; it had a very steep learning curve and was not fun to use on systems without touch screens. Windows 10 includes a Start button (one of the biggest complaints from users when Windows 8 debuted was the absence of the Start button) and even re-introduces the Start menu! And Windows 10 is a solid network citizen. Windows 10 is also free! Well, free to most users of Windows 7 and Windows 8 systems anyway. Microsoft wants everyone to move up to this OS, so they’re giving it away to most Windows users! My firm (MBS, Inc.) will be encouraging folks to move to it. Here is Microsoft’s minimum specs for Windows 10: • 1ghz or faster processor • 1gb RAM (for the 32-bit version) or 2gb RAM (for the 64-bit version), though I would recommend doubling those RAM minimums • 16gb storage (hard drive or flash)
Christian Computing® Magazine
Some changes you’ll notice in Windows 10: • Internet Explorer has been replaced! The new browser is called Edge. It’s a lot less bloated than Internet Explorer, and looks good! • The lock screen is more functional than it was in Windows 8, allowing you to see notifications, etc while the computer is locked if you want to. (This is a configurable feature so folks won’t see notifications while you’re at lunch.) • You can now talk to your computer - or yell at it - and it will talk back! The feature is called Cortana; think Siri with a Seattle accent. Microsoft has said this will be the last version of Windows— ever. Perhaps this will be like OSX where everything is a version of OSX 10 (10.1, 10.6, 10.10, etc). More interesting, perhaps, is why they skipped the numeral nine in naming this version. There are lots of theories out there, the most likely of which is that various apps call out Windows 9* in their code because of Windows 95, 98, etc. But my favorite theory continues to be that “seven ate nine.”
Mac OSX Watch for our more detailed Windows 10 review When Apple released OSX 10.9 (Mavericks), in the next edition of CCMag! they broke the system that reads and writes files over Nick Nicholaou is president of MBS, an IT connetworks. I worked with some Apple engineers, hopsulting firm specializing in church and ministry ing they’d fix that. They didn’t though; they made it computer networks, VoIP, and private cloud hosted worse by spreading the ‘joy’ to also affect reading and writing local files, treating most users to spinning services. You can reach Nick at email@example.com, and may want to check out his firm’s website (www. color wheels throughout their day. Proving the saying, “Free isn’t always worth what you pay for it”, my mbsinc.com) and his blog at http://ministry-it.blogfirm never encouraged anyone to move to Mavericks. spot.com. When Yosemite (OSX 10.10) came out, there was marginal improvement, and then a couple of updates improved it a little further. The result was our conclusion that it Introducing our: would not get back to what it was before Mavericks, and that we should probably approve Yosemite so folks could move forward. The latest version is 10.10.3, and we recommend it.
Android Android OS updates are a challenge because many device providers (for smartphones, for example) are slow to update the OS. Going outside of the providers’ recommended OS sometimes means not being able to use the device on their system, so upgrading can be risky. The latest version is Lollipop (5.1.1), and it’s predecessor is KitKat (4.4w2). We recommend checking with your device provider before upgrading. iOS The latest version is 8.3, and it seems solid. Apple controls the OS closely, and this one is good! My favorite part of iOS 8 is the ability to pay for things with Apple Pay. Apple Pay is the most secure payment method available because it doesn’t actually transfer credit card or debit card information, but instead transfers a token, and the token will expire. Apple Pay requires an iPhone 6 or 6+, a newer iPad, or an Apple Watch connected to an iPhone 5 or 6. Christian Computing® Magazine
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