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Technology Empowering Ministry Volume 27
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Windows 10 for churches and
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Christian Computing becomes Ministry Tech Magazine!
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Christian Computing becomes Ministry Tech Magazine! In 1988, when I began work to create Christian Computing Magazine, for many of those in the church the word “computing” was a new term. At the time, it was the primary definition of technology. Over time, “computing” changed! Now technology has gone mobile, into the cloud, and has become threaded into the “Internet of Things.” Common items use computers and technology to connect, communicate, and work for us completely without our input, and in some cases, our knowledge. Technology constantly changes. Wired is now wireless. Our data is no longer our own. Even what we do on our devices is monitored and in many cases sold (such as what you search for and where you browse on the Internet). Around the turn of this century, we held some conferences in 2000 and 2001, and we called them the Ministry and Technology Conference. At that time, I was tempted to change the name of Christian Computing since technology was moving far beyond our computers. With the sale of CCMag to Outreach Media Group, there is Ministry Tech® Magazine
no better time to make the change, and the new name “Ministry Tech Magazine” (ministrytech. com) is perfect for our goal and mission. Help us spread the word! Of course, for those that still link to ccmag.com, we will redirect you to the new site, but hopefully, you will join me in our excitement of publishing this first issue of our decades old magazine with our new name, “Ministry Tech Magazine!”
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Windows 10 for Churches and Ministries By Steve Hewitt
icrosoft has announced to the world that Windows 10 will be ready on July 29, 2015. For many this is great news as the previous version of Windows leaves a lot to be desired. In addition, Microsoft is looking to finally put XP to bed and entice Windows 7 users who skipped Windows 8 to upgrade. Many ministries and non-profits are probably wondering if it is worth the effort to upgrade. Will the work and effort be worth the benefits? What about productivity loss due to staff and volunteers learning the new operating system? I think the benefits will be worth the effort and that it will be less painful than you may think. Windows 10 is a huge paradigm shift for Microsoft and for the Windows user base. The first big shift is that this will be the final version of Windows. There won’t be a Windows 11, 12, or 29. Why Windows 10? No one really knows for sure. Perhaps it is because like Star Trek movies only every other one can be good. Star Trek: The Motion Picture < Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn. Some say it is because 10 is a nice round number and skipping Ministry Tech® Magazine
9 implies it will be the final version. Others say that the Windows code base refers to Window 9* too much, therefore skipping Windows 9 makes coding easier. Another idea, and my favorite, is that seven eight nine. That’s seven ate nine. Despite all the speculation as to why Windows 10 is called Windows 10 the message is clear: no more versions after this. Perhaps Microsoft will gradually drop the “10” and we will just be left with July 2015
Windows. The reason this is the final version is that there will be no more waiting for features to be released at each Windows version. Instead, new features and changes will be released regularly alongside the current mechanism for security updates and patches. Releasing features on an ongoing basis will allow Windows 10 to update faster and stay current with the needs of its users. Users will be able to decide when new features are applied to Windows and organizations will have control over features rolling out to their end users. The second big shift for Microsoft are the interface changes coming to Windows 10. Windows 8 had a lot of common functionality removed. Many keyboard and mouse users felt forgotten. Microsoft said no one used the Start Menu so it was removed. Fortunately, they have changed course and the Start Menu along with a host of other new features are coming in Windows 10. For some they can’t come soon enough. Here are some highlights of the changes coming. Not only is the Start Menu coming back but also the Start Screen isn’t being totally abandoned. The Start Screen is what comes up when pressing the Windows button in Windows 8 and 8.1. The Start Screen contains Start Screen apps and Live Tiles. I find Live Tiles to be very useful for gathering a lot of information at a glance. In Windows 10, the Live Tiles from the Start Screen will be merged with the Start Menu providing the functionality of both in a single location. Start Screen apps will now run as native Windows apps as opposed to running in a separate, often confusing window. The Start Menu coming back will make the upgrade process much less painful for users currently running Windows7 and will make users running Windows 8/8.1 rejoice. Windows 10 also includes a flatter graphical design. Many of the drop shadows that were removed in Windows 8 are back making it much easier to tell which window is the active or selected window. Of course, many commonly used icons have also been updated. Sometimes Ministry Tech® Magazine
these graphical changes can cause user trepidation. I find it helpful to remind users that Recycle Bin is still the Recycle Bin even if the icon looks different. It’s like driving a car, if you can drive one, you can probably drive most of them even if some of the controls are in different places. In addition to the graphics being flatter, the sounds have also been updated to be softer and more soothing. Another new feature to Windows 10 is virtual desktops. Virtual desktops have been around a long time in other operating systems but are new to the Windows world. Virtual desktops allow you to have multiple versions of your desktop running. In Windows now, you may have 40 different windows open but they are all filling up the task bar making it crowded and difficult to find things. With virtual desktops, you can divide them up. One desktop might have a picture of your family along with your email open, a Word document and an Excel spreadsheet. Another desktop might have a picture of your favorite movie and have 3 of your favorite games running. Not only can this be used to separate work from pleasure but also to better organize your applications based on the task you have at hand.
Windows 10 also comes with a brand new internet browser. Internet Explorer is dead. While it can still be installed and used, especially for legacy applications, the new browser is called Microsoft Edge and it comes installed by default. Edge does what the name implies; it is there to be an unobtrusive edge around the internet content. It is clear that Microsoft is playing catch up here, but Edge does run very fast and could easily become my new default browser of choice. Cortana is also coming to Windows 10. If you play Halo then you know who Cortana is. If you don’t play Halo, Cortana is a built in virtual assistant for Windows 10. She is similar to Apple’s Siri or Google’s Now, except that Cortana is more contextually aware. The more access to your personal information you give her the more she can help you plan. The question is how much access will you give her so she can help you out. It is great that she can remind you to get your wife a birthday present and help you leave early to avoid traffic but that means she has to have access to your calendar. Some may not be comfortable with that. Cortana can also help you use your computer hands-free. She can take dictation, and even help
you change computer settings. Of course, if you want, she can be turned off. Microsoft has told us that Windows 10 will be free to “most users”. This is rather complicated as while “most users” include those who purchased hardware and activated the version of Windows that came with the hardware, it does not necessarily include business or enterprise users. If you have questions ask your Microsoft licensing representative, but don’t wait too long, as come July 29 lots of business and enterprises will be flooding Microsoft with questions. If you’d like to start experimenting with Windows 10, you can download a copy now at http:// preview.windows.com. By running the preview, you can provide Microsoft with feedback as to what you like and don’t like about the operating system. This feedback will help with the continual development of Windows 10. Remember, Windows 10 isn’t going to be released and then forgotten. Once released Windows 10 will continue to evolve. I’m excited about Windows 10. Microsoft seems to have gotten this one right and as end users, we stand to gain a lot.
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Solving Ministry Problems By Michael Jordan
our church is struggling with manually entering weekly tithing and donations. There are problems with streamlining the scheduling of your lead pastor and associate pastors. Sometimes the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. What if there was a way to take care of all of these problems and more? According to the authors of the “All-In-One Cloud Solution” guide, there are ways in which you can handle all of your church functions within the realm of a seamless data flow. “We cannot stress enough how useful and streamlining the implementation of a solution such as this can be for your church. If you’re continually asking yourself how you can do things better, faster or with less manpower, an All-In-One Cloud Solution is the answer,” said the authors. “Within our guide, we break down the actual ways a solution like this can help you evaluate what you’re doing and how transitioning can help your ministry.” The diagram included represents the optimal way for churches to utilize a solution like this to do ministry better. Throughout the “All-In-One Cloud Ministry Tech® Magazine
Solution” guide, you’ll find how each component can fit and work together to make ministry better. In addition, it includes examples how the components of an All-In-One Cloud Solution can solve issues and help achieve ministry goals.
In reality, getting the most out of what you in a busy environment.” need to do ministry better, can be broken down Some ways this happens include: into the following categories: • Use of a customizable church app • Event Registration • Mobile giving ability • Mobile Giving • Access to congregant bio information for • Congregational Community staff • Online Giving • Online interaction with members and • Small Group Management guests • Access to church calendars for staff and Event Registration congregants Productivity is an important point for all • Staff and leader tasks and assignments can churches, no matter the size. The key for churches be sent and noted as complete is to realize the value of adopting practices and procedures that increase how much staff can do, Congregational Community show the value of its member’s and guest’s time/ It is a given that people take the necessary steps talents and set the stage for being able to quickly to protect their homes and also ensure schools adopt new ministry opportunities. have safety programs in place. “Churches who utilize an All-In-One Cloud However, do you invest the time to make sure Solutions value consistent, relevant, correct data your church is safe and secure, especially when it to help assist in making fundamentally sound comes to children? All one needs to do is turn on decisions. A church must be open to operational the news to see that churches are subject to bad changes and look for ways to create more min- things happening too. So how should you deal istry opportunities,” said the authors of “An All- with it? In-One Cloud Solution.” “A real-world example “Child security should be a top priority for of this is the ability for church staff to work re- churches. A secure child check-in system, as motely.” part of an All-In-One Cloud Solution, conveys to This is helpful on many fronts because in the church members, and guests, that the church conworld of church work, it is a given that staff need to siders the safety of their child paramount,” said be able to access information anytime, anywhere the authors of “An All-In-One Cloud Solution.” in order to make ministry decisions. Church is An All-In-One Cloud Solution with a compoabout ministry, not technology. But, the use of nent for child check-in allows for: technology can serve ministry effectively when the right tools are readily available. • Families to easily check in via self-serve kiosks and receive security badges Mobile Giving • Staff and leaders the ability to know not to Just because your church has the fanciest bell release children to adults unless they have and whistle tech tools doesn’t mean they’re being the proper security badge used effectively. With the use of an All-In-One • Staff-assisted stations available to serve Cloud Solution churches can leverage technology guests and get important guest info in a way that benefits and best serves the ministry. • Check in system easily allows post-event It’s easy to get that reversed and the ministry ends communication for following up with up serving technology. guests “Most people today access information via • Integrated background check programs for mobile phones or tablets. That’s a radical change regularly screening volunteers from using desktops a decade ago and a laptop just three years ago. Going mobile has made ev- Online Giving erything up-to-the-minute, including ministry,” Often, churches find a way of doing somesaid the authors of “An All-In-One Cloud Solu- thing and they stick to it. For spiritual issues, this tion.” “In order to be able to keep pace, churches is absolutely a good thing. But when it comes to need to realize new delivery methods are a must operational issues, it can be dangerous. With an Ministry Tech® Magazine
All-In-One Cloud Solution, you can now have new ways of completing tasks you’ve been toiling away at forever. Giving is a prime example of fusing both new and old methods into your back office routine. While churches still pass the collection plate around, it’s likely in today’s virtual world that attendees don’t have cash on hand or forgot their checkbooks at home. This means they don’t end up tithing or providing their donation for the week. By utilizing online giving, churches give members and guests additional options, and methods, of giving. “There’s no doubt that online giving is having a major impact on ministries globally. Members are completely comfortable with doing business online, and they expect the church they attend to provide the same tools,” said the authors of “An All-In-One Cloud Solution.” “A church using an All-In-One Cloud Solution recognizes this seismic shift happening in the culture of giving today and moves to take advantage of it. By providing online giving, many churches have recognized significant giving increases and actually been able to fund additional ministry efforts.” Small Group Management Administrative duties are not the only key to an All-In-One Cloud Solution. Churches which utilize solutions such as these are also well-equipped to handle growth well before it even begins. As you know from your ministry history, Issues with growth can be a range of things, including the inability for people to connect to (and within) groups, ineffective communication between members, the requirement of Ministry Tech® Magazine
One Platform For Your Whole Church
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more volunteers for serving, and shifting community outreach needs. However, there are components built in to All-In-One Cloud Solutions that can help growth issues become non-issues in the life of ministry. “Using the Web, social media platforms, and mobile apps to build and strengthen relationships with dynamic two-way communication tools is essential to reaching out in the community and beyond,” said the authors of “An All-In-One Cloud Solution.” “Churches don’t have to be reliant on
relaying information through email and mobile notifications. Groups can share discussion topics, events, needs and prayer requests in a secure environment. Most importantly though, through these avenues spiritual life is lived outside of the Sunday morning experience.” In essence, with the help of the tools provided within an All-In-One Cloud Solution, church guest can get connected from their first time visit, find a group or a place of service in the church and go forward from there. Relationships are built and strengthened, helping people assimilate and become Disciples of Christ.
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Let Us Help You Do Ministry Better Did some of the things discussed here sound all too familiar? Do you see issues where an All-In-One Cloud Solution could help you within your ministry? If your church doesn’t have a solution in place that can handle event registration, mobile giving, congregational community, online giving and small group management, you’re in need of an All-In-One Cloud Solution to help get moving in the right direction. Going further into the 21st century, it’s imperative that changes be made to bring the word of Jesus to the masses. Head that way today by downloading our “All-In-One Cloud Solution” guide today.
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More than Meets the Eye
By Steven Sundermeier
ure we are all professionals now, but looking back into your childhood, I’d imagine you can recall a time when you, a sibling or one of your friends wanted to play detective or even pretended to be uncover spy agents. You may even have been blessed to own a super cool invisible ink marker so that only those in your trusted circle would be able to decode your secret “invisible” messages.
Or better yet, maybe you had the coolest parents ever that played along and helped you make your own seemingly unlimited supply of invisible ink by combining a little water and lemon juice. (For those who aren’t aware of this little trick, the lemon juice and water solution appears clear on paper, however, due to oxidation the liquid quickly turns brown if heated, thus revealing the secret message.) Try it! While playing spy-agent as children (for all practical purposes) was a harmless and fun activity to pass time, there is a new, much more serious form of steganography (an ancient practice, dating back to 1499, of transmitting a message in a hidden form) that can Ministry Tech® Magazine
be exploited in today’s modern Internet world. The topic has resurfaced thanks to a technique coined “Stegosploit” developed by Saumil Shah, a security researcher from India and who recently presented the new technique at the Hack in the Box Conference in Amsterdam earlier last month. What is Stegosploit? Stegosploit is the latest trick to be turned and exploited by cybercriminals to hide undesirable or malicious code inside a picture’s pixels (single points of illumination on a display screen, one of many from which an image or graphic is created). In other words, Shah has discovered a new way of using steganography to get malicious code injected inJuly 2015
side a graphic’s pixels, thus providing the ability to get malware downloaded to your system simply by you viewing (and nothing else!) a picture online. And just like the child’s play of blank white paper with no signs of lemon juice until placed under heat, the viewed online image looks no different than a normal image so there would be no way to tell the difference from plain sight. This new discovery should surely have all of us thinking twice before clicking on a link from a friend sharing a gorgeous Spring flower, a record breaking fish or a jaw dropping rainbow. This poses a serious risk to all computer users. Those at greatest risk to fall victim to the Stegosploit are users who are running older and unpatched Internet browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer). Luckily, there aren’t any confirmed reports of this technique being used in-the-wild. However, with the possibility of the Stegosploit now being made known, it may just be a matter of time. I suggest three simple steps to avoid falling victim to Stegosploit or similar techniques in the future: 1. Visit well known websites when shopping, surfing or researching a topic. Furthermore, go to the reputable website by typing the web address directly in to the browser instead of searching for it on Google. 2. Maintain regular operating system updates and updates for 3rd party software, especially Internet browsers. 3. Make sure that you have strong antivirus software installed and that its virus database files are up-to-date. Playing detective as a child was fun, but it sounds cumbersome to think we have to be on our guard every time we click an image online. However, informed users will be the safest ones online, and you heard it here first. Stegosploit is not child’s play, and as with any vulnerability, there will be a cost to you: whether it’s time, functionality or even monetary. As cybercriminals get more (notoriously) creative with their hacking, we must train ourselves to be on guard for their mature shenanigans. Think of it as a “grown-up” spy game, but good news-you are not alone—Thirtyseven4 is playing on your team!
Ministry Tech® Magazine
health over growth
3 Ways to Equip People Using Technology By Steve Caton
s I travel around and speak with church leaders, I hear a common theme of growth. I hear from struggling churches that worry about how they can attract new people because they fear stalling and dying. I hear from thriving churches about how they have grown, and there are countless blogs, books, and resources focused on growing your church. I understand it. Nobody goes into ministry hoping to make a small impact. We want to impact as many lives, as much of our communities, and as much of our world as we can, so the focus on growth makes sense. But I believe that we are better served by shifting our focus from growth to health.
This shift may be subtle, but I think is it key to your long-term success. By investing in and empowering the believers who are already at your church, you are focusing on health. There are always new ideas for how to be a successful church, but Paul’s words in Ephesians shouldn’t be passed up for just the newest popular strategy. Ephesians 4 tells us to equip the saints for the Ministry Tech® Magazine
work of the ministry — invest in your people and put them to work doing the same. Almost seems too simple, right? But just because it is simple does not mean it is easy. Paul’s approach raises up leaders who in turn invest in the next generation of leaders, resulting in a multiplying effect that reaches much further than your staff alone ever could. The focus is health, but the result is growth. July 2015
“You’re called to equip the saints. If you invest in and empower people, the kingdom grows.”
Having the focus on investing in and equipping people is a great start, but how do you actually do it? Your first instinct may not have been to answer ‘with technology’, but I believe there are many ways that your church management system (ChMS) can do just that. Here are three.
How Your ChMS Should Help You Equip Your People: 1. Serving. One of the easiest ways to engage people in ministry is to give them a job. It can be a simple and intuitive way to develop people. But too often the focus is just on filling a need instead of investing in your volunteers. Simply doing a pulpit call on Sunday isn’t an ineffective way of engaging
Ministry Tech® Magazine
people, and half the people who volunteer aren’t actually suited for the position, leading to quick burnout. If you want your volunteer leaders to thrive, you need to help them get connected to a ministry that really fits them, a position that takes into account their unique gifts, passions, and abilities. It’s easy for those thinking of serving to find the right place with a software tool that makes it simple for them to enter those gifts and passions of theirs and be shown positions that best fit them in return. And once they’ve begun serving, a ChMS is a great place to keep schedules, requests, opportunities, and more in one central location. Why create a data silo if you don’t need to? 2. Giving. Giving is a huge step in both someone’s faith walk and their commitment to the church. It’s important that you make it easy and intuitive for people, and it’s important that you be able to track it so you can engage with people wherever they are. In this digital age, you don’t want to just pass an offering bucket — you want to make
online and mobile giving options available. By having a simple and powerful online giving interface connected with your church management system, you can not only lower the barriers to giving, but keep the records of that giving in the place they can serve to inform your leaders and your decisionmaking: with your records on the people who give them. 3. Connecting. When you connect serving and giving within your ChMS, you gain access to powerful information about people’s engagement. Do you feel like one of your faithful givers hasn’t been around lately? How long? Since when? Do you know? Do you feel like your volunteers burn out quickly and quit? Do you know? Keeping all your information on your people and your ministries in one central database enables you to make connections across data and see trends in your church as well as in individuals. A look at your serving rates could tell you that your discipleship program isn’t doing well, or that people aren’t getting plugged into the
Ministry Tech® Magazine
right roles. A dive into your giving records could warn you that someone’s giving has dropped off abruptly. How many people are falling through the cracks or drifting away from your church? What is your plan to connect with them and find out what’s going on? Without a holistic view of engagement, the best you can do is use your gut instincts to help keep people engaged. You’re called to equip the saints. If you invest in and empower people, the kingdom grows. Church Community Builder has always been designed specifically to give church leaders — whether or not they’re on the payroll — the tools they need to do ministry better. With the recent 4.1 release’s focus on serving, giving, reporting, and the powerful new dashboard and metrics for executive pastors, it’s a powerful tool for ministry leaders. Does your ChMS help you equip your church members and watch the trends in your ministry so you can grow?
higher power with kevin
5 Ways Apple Updates Will Advance Bible Study on iPad and Mac By Kevin A. Purcell
very June, Apple invites developers to their home in California and shows off what’s new in iOS and OS X, their mobile and computer operating systems. I watched the keynote address so you didn’t have to and found five updates coming to the iPad with iOS 9 and the Mac with OS X 10.11 El Capitan. These might make studying the Bible and writing sermons or Bible studies easier and more efficient.
iOS 9 Goodies to Improve iPad Bible Study The tech news sites all claim that Apple will launch a larger iPad with a 12-inch screen this fall. To make use of the extra space, they added an exciting new feature that makes it easier to show more than one thing on the screen at the same time. Their split-screen multitasking will show two apps at the same time on the iPad’s screen. Ministry Tech® Magazine
The split-screen feature works in full on the iPad Air 2, whatever Apple calls a new iPad this fall, and their larger screen 12-inch tablet, if it ships this year. It won’t work on the original iPad Air and older. Instead, older iPads will get a form of multitasking with certain supporting apps that will show up when the user slides in from the right side of the screen. A column of app icons will show up that the user can scroll through to July 2015
find. At present this includes many of the built-in Apple iPad apps, like the Notes app, Safari web browser, Mail and others. What does this multitasking do for Bible study? Open your favorite Bible app and then slide in the from the right side and open the new Apple Notes app or Safari to do some study or write your sermon. On the iPad Air 2 and newer devices getting two full apps on screen at once will really help users study and compose at the same time. The user can also resize the two apps by grabbing the divider and sliding it left or right.
Drop your clipboards.
Lose those messy sign-up sheets.
I already mentioned the new Notes app. Apple vastly improved one of itâ€™s previously useless apps by throwing in features like handwriting and drawing, importing images and a few other goodies. Take the note taking and drawing features and do some mind-mapping. Illustrate slides to brainstorm ideas for what you want Ministry TechÂŽ Magazine
7KHQHZLQWHJUDWHGZHEIRUPGHVLJQHUVLPSOLÂ´HVVPDOO group and ministry sign-ups, prayer requests, event registrations, and more! The drag-and-drop interface allows your church to easily create an unlimited number of custom forms and accept payments, including timed and volume discounts. Learn more about this new feature of ELEXIO DATABASE on Elexio.com today!
elexio.com | @elexiobuzz July 2015
to show on the screen. Apple promised one feature that won’t necessarily improve Bible study, but will help all iPad owners. iOS 9 will run on all hardware. In the past, updates often didn’t come to older iPads. If it did, sometimes the results annoyed users with slow, stuttering performance. Apple developers streamlined iOS 9 so that it runs on older hardware and takes up less space, a big help for people with 16GB iPads. Learn more about iOS 9 at GottaBeMobile, the secular mobile tech blog I also write for. (http:// www.gottabemobile.com/tag/ios-9/) Also see iOS 9 demonstrated by my friend Josh Smith on YouTube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m73-OjxCm5g) OS X 10.11 El Capitan for Mac Goodies to Improve Laptop and Desktop Bible Study Apple named this year’s Mac operating system upgrade for a geographical subset of Yosemite, the name of last year’s version. By doing this they signaled that 10.11 won’t bring huge new updated features, but more under-the-hood changes to improve the performance and usefulness of the features already present. Like El Capitan is part of Yosemite, 10.11 is a minor update over 10.10. The multitasking features in iOS 9 described above have always been possible on a Mac, but it took some work by the user to arrange their Windows or it took a third-party app like Window Magnet, which snapped windows on the left or right side of the screen. El Capitan improves window management. Arranging a Bible study app and word processor helps create an efficient environment. This minor feature should make users more productive.
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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Finding our documents can get hard after a long time of sermon and Bible study writing. The new OS X Spotlight search will find those documents faster. It’s also great for searching the web for topics. The big improvement comes with the time filters. Search for a document created in the last week or last month to find that Bible study you were writing earlier this week.
Want to read more about the new version of OS X? Head over to my article at Notebooks.com where I highlighted ten cool new features. (http://notebooks. com/2015/06/09/os-xel-capitan/)
Ministry Tech® Magazine
World Help Solutions
By Russ McGuire
ver the past several months, we’ve discussed what it means to be a startup (in business or ministry) and defined a startup this way: a new venture working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed. We’ve also discussed what it means to be an entrepreneur, and specifically a Christian entrepreneur, which we defined as: a person, driven to glorify God in all he does, and ruled by the Word of God, who starts a new venture and is willing to risk a loss in order to achieve the success of the venture. Over the coming months, I hope to introduce you to a number of Christian startups and entrepreneurs. Some of these ventures and people may be ones that can help your church, ministry, or business, but my main intent is to encourage, inspire, and educate you as I hope you too will be growing as a Christian entrepreneur.
Young. Landon is an expert in clean water solutions. He has a Masters in Ecological Science and Engineering and is pursuing a PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering, Resiliency. He has been involved in a variety of academic research projects including serving as a Global Research Fellow on clean water, clean energy, and sustainable agriculture for the National Science Foundation, and he currently serves World Help Solutions as Director of Creativity and Innovation at William The first startup I want to introduce is World Help Jewell College. He has also been involved in global Solutions, founded by Christian entrepreneur Landon outreach and building bridges between cultures. Ministry Tech® Magazine
His entrepreneurial journey began in earnest in 2009 while on a short term mission trip to Uganda, when he saw a young girl using a moldy oil can to collect water for her family. God used that moment to make painfully tangible the horrible reality facing the hundreds of millions of people around the world who lack access to clean water, and to develop deep compassion in Landon and a desire to help. Landon first formed World Help Solutions as a non-profit providing consulting on clean water systems. This phase of WHS took Landon and his team around the world and helped them see life and death challenges and implement solutions that saved lives. But it also revealed the challenges in their approach. Each project was all consuming, limiting their ability to scale to address broader challenges, and they often found that the situation when they landed in-country was actually quite different from what theyâ€™d planned for. At the end of 2012, Landon was one of thirteen young entrepreneurs from four countries selected for the Kauffman Foundationâ€™s Global Scholars program, an immersive sixmonth experience that gave the participants unprecedented exposure to leading scholars, policy makers, and business founders to shape them into world changing entrepreneurs. At a Kauffman event, Landon met Micah Canfield who had aligned passions, but who was more focused on the needs of short term missions teams. Together they decided to reshape WHS into a for-profit business focused on building Ministry TechÂŽ Magazine
scalable solutions to take as many people as possible from dying to surviving, including addressing clean water, medical, and agribusiness solutions in the hardest hit areas around the world. In Lean Startup mode, they developed their hypotheses around the problems teams face when traveling to different parts of the world to work alongside locals in addressing life threatening situations. They believed that a scalable technology platform was essential, and that the technology wasn’t just for the perceived “white saviors” arriving from the developed world, but that the locals needed to be equally empowered with technology to ensure lasting impact. Still in Lean Startup mode, they began interacting with potential partners, reshaping their hypotheses and eventually building a Minimal Viable Product mobile app that they were able to take to Malawi with missions teams from Church of the Resurrection of Leawood, Kansas. They were able to learn, adjust, implement a new iteration, and send it with another missions team. Along the way they learned some painful lessons (e.g. a well-meaning American teenager, armed with an iPad, can reach wrong conclusions with significant social implications in a rural community in Africa), but they were
able to learn, adapt, and iterate again. Over time, as they interacted with more churches, they realized that, while many churches had similar challenges, each situation was unique and required more (and unique) iterations. To scale, they would need to lock down their product to a single flexible and scalable solution and focus all their resources on operating efficiently. In other words, they would need to shift from being a lean startup to being a growing business. They also learned that working with churches could be a challenge. Churches have learned how to get things done on a minimal budget. They get many things for free, or perhaps by trading things that have been donated but they don’t need (e.g. tablet computers), for the things that they really could benefit from (such as WHS’ mobile app solutions). Many churches also make major decisions during an annual budget cycle. Miss the timing of that cycle, and you may have to wait nearly a year to close a sale. Eventually, Landon, Micah, and the World Help Solutions team realized that they had the technology solution, but they were lacking other key resources required to scale to achieve their vision and objectives. One of their customers, Mercy Alliance, ap-
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I N T E G R AT E D July 2015
proached them with the desire to acquire the technology. The WHS team prayed about it and sought God’s will. They realized that this was the best way to have the impact they desired, which was ultimately to glorify God, but to tangibly do so by helping save as many lives as possible. The transaction was not your typical corporate takeover. Instead, for-profit WHS donated its assets to not-for-profit Mercy Alliance. Based on an independent valuation, the WHS principals were able to enjoy tax benefits, while the WHS team has an opportunity to continue to participate in seeing the magnified long-term impact of their venture. 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. 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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Ministry Tech® Magazine
How to Make Your Church Website Responsive
By Yvon Prehn
wo months ago when Google came out with its changes on how it ranked search results, I encouraged churches to check their sites to see if they were mobile-friendly and then to learn about what that means. Following is my advice on the next step—How to make your church website mobile-friendly. Though there are many ways to do this, I’m going to share what has worked for me and the numerous sites I’ve built. Learn WordPress and use a device-friendly template There are many great church website companies out there and they can be useful if you know absolutely nothing about websites. They may be a place to start, but longterm if you use these companies that tie you to their products, graphics, templates and hosting, instead of learning WordPress and building your own site, here are some challenges:
• If the company fails, goes out of business or crashes, you may lose everything • If your church grows significantly, they may have trouble handling the increased traffic for your site. • Most of them are built on the WordPress system and the interface you see is a WordPress-based one.
• You may not be able to take your content and So why not learn WordPress from the start? Learning how to work on your own website (DON’T move it to another host. • If that happens, you are captive to any raises in panic—it is much easier than you can imagine and I’ll give you resources below) is a skill every church comfees and any changes they make. Ministry Tech® Magazine
Ways to learn WordPress or more about it: WP101, https://www.wp101.com/ This is one of the best ways to get up and running quickly with WordPress. It has easy-to-follow and understand tutorials. Sure, you can view a million of them on YouTube, but you never know what version they are demonstrating. I have had some training on WordPress on the Effective Church Communication site, but I can keep up with changes. This site constantly updates their training. In addition to basics, more advanced topics are easily explained. WP Beginner, http://www.wpbeginner.com/ Not only beginners, but everyone who uses WordPress can benefit from the blogs and resource links on this site. Not terribly advanced, but 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/ Though I’ve known about this group for some time, I recently did an extensive search to find new templates for several sites (including the Effective Church Communications site) that I am redesigning. After spending way too much money trying templates that had great marketing examples, but were impossible to replicate in my office, I was very frustrated. One group actually said something like this “we know you can’t build a site like our example and for several hundred dollars more we’ll help you do that.” I felt this was wrong and even if I did have the money to do that, it wasn’t anything I could later recommend to other churches. I didn’t have personal experience with this Church Themes products, but I knew churches who spoke highly of them. I’d corresponded with them and felt they were genuinely people of integrity. So I decided to try a template—I was at the end of my rope and thought, what’s one more frustrating trial? But things were radically different here. WordPress is also free Finally here was a beautifully designed template that You have to pay for hosting, but that can be minimal and instead of being locked into a proprietary system did all I wanted it to do! But best of all were their tutoriand cost, once you learn (and again, it is easy to learn) als for how to use their themes. The theme creator walks WordPress, it is one of the most cost-effective ways for a you through each step; they made sense and worked! I am still working on many things behind the scenes church to have a complete and flexible site. municator (and most staff members and pastors) should have. The web is a central and essential church communication tool today and it is vitally important that church leaders learn to use it. There are far too many churches who have given away control of the website to one tech-savvy individual at their church. This person may be a good and godly person, but often they are more technology-minded than ministry-minded. When that is the case the church may have a tremendously secure and safe website (and that is important, I’m not downplaying it), but chances are only that one person can update the site and content decisions are made on the basis of that person’s schedule, not what is best for the ministries of the church. The only way to change that is for more people on staff or in your church to learn WordPress and to become comfortable with it.
Ministry Tech® Magazine
on a sandbox site (essentially a duplicate of my site that I can rebuild offline) that I am building with their template, but I’ve been so impressed with it so far I wanted to share. Their templates can really work for any church and for staff with very little tech experience. You don’t have to be a tech genius to create a fantastic, contemporary looking site with these templates. Plus all the tools you need for church sites: great looking slider header, sermon text, podcasts, video, events, blog, photos, videos, staff, locations, calendar, and donations are all built-in and best of all—demonstrated and explained! You can either build your church website from nothing using them or switch your church website to one of their templates. It will take you more than a couple of days to do it, but the results will be worth it, device-friendly and something you can update at your church. There are blogs and resource links on this site. They are not terribly advanced, but very useful materials.
In conclusion We don’t make changes on our website because we’re bored and have nothing else to do, nor do we do them just because Google makes a big change. For this change, making our sites more device and mobile friendly, may be one of the most important changes we can make to help unchurched people find us and ultimately find Jesus. For more information on how to communicate both online and on paper, go to: http://www.effectivechurchcom.com
You want the freedom to … reach out … minister to people … create fellowship
Effective Church Communications The resources above are better than my website for learning how to use WordPress, but these articles will help you in your web writing and ministry outreach. How to write for the web http://www.effectivechurchcom.com/2012/04/ free-six-part-webinar-how-towrite-for-the-web-plus-free-ebooks-to-celebrate-internationalevangelism-day/ Blogging for Boomers http://www.effectivechurchcom.com/2011/05/blogging-forboomers-free-during-internetevangelism-month/ Is your website an open door or barrier to your church? http://www.effectivechurchcom.com/2014/03/is-your-website-an-open-door-or-barrier-toyour-church/ Ministry Tech® Magazine
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nick at church
By Nick Nicholaou
any who serve in church IT are frustrated because they don’t feel the support of their church leadership. This is more common than one might believe, and there are reasons for it! Let’s talk about it, and find the path to freedom and, hopefully, to joy in serving. The Dilemma I talk with many who serve their church in an IT role, and some talk of their frustration in that role. “The staff doesn’t follow the policies I’ve put in place, and that even includes the pastors!” I have heard that statement— or one a lot like it— many times. And quite often the IT person feels hurt to the point of looking for another job so they can get out of working in the church environment. But serving in the church should be a great source of joy, peace, and spiritual satisfaction! Where’s the disconnect? Cause and Effect There are some common causes of this type of corporate dysfunction. The most common one I see has to do with recognizing IT’s proper role in the church. 1. Church leadership, specifically those at the pastoral or board level, are rarely IT experts. Accordingly, they lean heavily on IT to help them. 2. IT is responsible to consult and inform church leadership and encourage them to make good IT policy decisions regarding budgets, security, system use, etc. 3. IT is then responsible to enforce the decisions Ministry Tech® Magazine
leadership makes, whether those decisions are wise or unwise. And this is where IT often crosses a line that causes a domino effect of frustration on both sides of those relationships. Quite often IT sets policies it believes are necessary rather than relying on leadership to set policy. Sometimes it is because leadership won’t do their job in this area; sometimes it is because IT wants to protect the church and leadership from the effects of the poor policies leadership made. Sometimes IT wants to protect leadership from poor decisions they might make that will not sustain a stable and reliable IT system. Most often, though, leadership won’t make the policy decisions that need to be made, and instead delegate those decisions to be made at a lower level. That is when IT’s policies begin to break down; staff— even at the pastoral level— won’t adhere to IT’s policies. Thus the statement by an IT Director that staff won’t adhere to “the policies I’ve put in place.” But it is not IT’s place to set policies; it is leadership’s responsibility. Wise leadership asks IT’s opinion and recommendation as it sets policies, but the policies must originate from them. July 2015
Transitioning The transition from IT setting policy to leadership setting policy can be challenging. The first step is to help leadership and IT recognize the problem and agree to do things differently. That is humbling for both sides, but good leaders recognize their shortcomings and rely on their team relationships to accomplish more than either can alone. The second step rests in the hands of leadership. They may choose to set no policies, set policies that aren’t good, or set policies that are good. It is not up to IT to shield leadership from potential failures in this area! IT needs to carry out the policies leadership sets. • No policies. No policies will result in a breakdown of the system in a year or two. This failure will increase team frustration and system costs, and lower productivity. Eventually leadership will realize that some policies must be set. • Poor policies. Policies set without IT’s input will likely be not much better than no policies. I’ve seen churches where the non-IT staff drove the policies leadership set, and those policies usually have the same result as having no policies because they were established based on
Ministry Tech® Magazine
the recommendation of those who are not IT experts and lack appropriate perspective. • Good policies. When leadership asks for IT’s recommendations and sets policies accordingly, better policy decisions are made. What happens though when leadership sets policies and some staff— and maybe even some pastors— don’t adhere to them? Those are technically violations of leadership’s policies, and should be enforced by leadership with the assistance of IT rather than by IT alone. In the beginning leadership will be tempted to make policy exceptions, until they realize that many exceptions is, in effect, no policy. During this time IT needs to be humbly supportive and consultative, and never play the I told you so card. Freedom! There is great freedom in a ministry environment where leadership fulfills its role of setting IT policy! IT no longer feels that everyone ignores their policies, because they are not IT’s policies! And leadership no longer feels like IT is fighting against them because IT is acting on their behalf! And when someone complains about a given policy, they are directed toward leadership rather than IT feeling frustrated.