Founder & Editor-in-Chief Steve Hewitt email@example.com
Editor Kevin Cross firstname.lastname@example.org
Technology Empowering Ministry Volume 27
Contributing Editors Yvon Prehn Nick Nicholaou Kevin A. Purcell Russ McGuire
4 cover story Elexio Introduces New Web Form Designer
Copy Editor Rachael Mitchell
By Steve Hewitt
Mailing address: 5550 Tech Center Dr. Colorado Springs, CO 80919 Phone: (800)-991-6011
Protected with Purpose
Technology is moving to your car! - Is that a good thing? By Steve Hewitt
Build Disciples Through Engagement
Getting Rid of Pesky Mosquitoes (i.e. Toolbars)
Health Over Growth
Three Numbers with Eternal Significance
By Michael Jordan
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By Steven Sundermeier
Outreach, Inc. Written materials submitted to Ministry Tech® Magazine become the property of Outreach, Inc. upon receipt and may not
By Steve Caton
By Jonathan Smith
Higher Power With Kevin
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Is Windows 10 Really Free?
© Copyright 2015 - Outreach, Inc.
By Russ McGuire
or employees of Ministry Tech® Magazine, or Outreach, Inc.
23 Ministry Communication
Why Technical Expertise isn’t Enough for a Church Website By Yvon Prehn Articles that are highlighed are provided by our partners
25 Nick At Church
Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity
Ministry Tech® Magazine
By Nick Nicholaou
Technology is moving to your car! Is that a good thing? You have heard all of the exciting accomplishments about technology and automobiles. Cars can stop themselves from hitting something in front of you. Cars can warn you if you are about to back into something. Cars can park themselves. Cars can warn you if you are straying out of your lane or starting to become distracted. And cars will one day drive us from our home to our destination without any human intervention. Where will all of this lead? Apple has recently hired former Chrysler SVP Doug Betts, fueling the rumors that Apple will be announcing an iCar in the future. This is not the first auto expert Apple has hired. A123 Systems filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming they were stealing their employees. A123 System makes Lithium-ion batteries for electric cars. It appears that tech companies such as Google and Apple see a future with their technologies in automobiles. However, remember, everything dealing with technology can be hacked! Wired Magazine recently published an article on how it engaged two hackers to see if they could take control of a Jeep Cherokee. They easily succeeded. While the car was being driven by someone involved with the test, they changed the air conditioning controls, radio stations, and were Ministry Tech速 Magazine
able to disable the transmission and brakes, all from miles away. Once we become comfortable with cars that drive us instead of us driving them, will we have to add new forms of malware to our list of concerns as we hear of tales of people being misdirected from their intended path? Do we want our cars to become so technical that auto mechanics will no longer be able to fix them? Will we have to depend on the Geek Squad to take care of everything we own? I like many of the new technology improvements I see coming down the road (no pun intended), but I am not sure I am ready for the hackers that will soon follow! Together We Serve Him,
Steve Hewitt email@example.com
Introduces Web Form Designer
By Steve Hewitt
lexio has brought some exciting additions to church software in 2015, including a free text to give service and their latest edition, a custom web form designer. Chief Operating Officer John Connell explains how this new tool will benefit churches and what’s on the horizon for Elexio.
What is the Elexio web form designer and how does it work? One of the most common threads among any ministry is the need, and desire, for engagement. It’s a core principle to a healthy ministry. Whether you’re talking about a sign-up for a special event happening next month, a request to join a small (community) group, sharing a prayer request, or volunteering to serve on the first impressions team, this is a central piece of functionality. How do most ministries accomplish this? Pen, paper, clipboard, and the gregarious individual who knows no inhibition. It works, so why change it, right? Well, the simple facts are that as a church grows and the face of the church changes, this approach doesn’t always get the desired results. Attendance at events is weak, service opportunities go unmet (or worse, dropped on the super volunteers), prayer requests are Ministry Tech® Magazine
kept private and unshared, and the Community Pastor continues to struggle with involvement in small groups. Elexio recognized that many churches have taken matters into their own hands with employing the use of many known services, like Wufoo®, Formstack®, Google Forms®, JotForms® and other capable services. However, the downfall is that that information received through those services never (or without manual intervention) makes its way into their membership database. Sure, the majority have application program interface (API) services, but there are still separate services to maintain and the integration is never as simple as one would hope. So, what choice did we have, but design a rich, dynamic form designer in conjunction with our Elexio church software. With Elexio’s uniquely capable solutions and the ability to leverage our website CMS and church manAugust 2015
agement (ChMS) tools, we built and have launched a other opportunity to see the impact to your ministry. web-based form designer that integrates the data cap- Church leadership is always at a loss for quality reporttured from the form directly into our database. ing. One of the most welcomed additions to Elexio’s reporting is in the ability to see split payments, group What are the benefits of using the Elexio web form discounts applied, and, most importantly, pending baldesigner over other tools? ances. No mainstream service is equipped to provide Well, as mentioned previously, the most notable you with this rich, dynamic reporting, but these are the aspect of the Elexio web form designer over exist- details that give your senior leadership the visibility ing platforms is integration. No other solution is go- that is so desperately needed. ing to give you the ability to capture the information Enough of the functional stuff, though. As a team that your community and constituents enter directly of former and current ministry professionals, we know into the database so seamlessly. But that’s just the beginning. And we certainly can’t overlook the fact that the majority of these mainstream platforms charge a monthly fee for their services. Elexio is providing this service at no additional cost to all of our existing ChMS clients. The $15 to $70/month savings can be significant for any size ministry using these services. Functional benefits don’t just end with the data integration alone, though. One of the unique properties of our web forms and database integration is the ability to record and report on custom data that corresponds to the fields that you create in your forms. Now, reporting will accurately display details like Research more than 150,000 sermons on the largest and most popular preaching prep website in the world, and access our huge selection of mini-movies, PowerPoint backgrounds, who purchased merchanimages and worship videos to transform your sermons from ordinary to inspirational. dise with their event registration. And you know the adage “There’s power in START YOUR PRO MEMBERSHIP TODAY data”? This is never truer AND GET A FREE TOTAL PREP PACKAGE ($50 VALUE) than with Elexio’s web SermonCentral.com/MinistryTech forms. Not only will they record the data, but it will impact follow-up tasks, constituent statuses, and more. Reporting is yet an-
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Drop your clipboards.
Lose those messy sign-up sheets. 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!
the truth is that a service will only be used if itâ€™s attractive, straightforward, and doesnâ€™t appear like youâ€™ve just bounced to a completely different portal. These are things that make your constituent uneasy. Questions like â€œIs my information safe?â€? come to mind for us, and likely for you, as well. So, weâ€™ve built in customization tools for marrying up your website design and even font choice to provide a homogenous user experience. Itâ€™s those kind of details that will make a difference. And for the volunteer or staff member thatâ€™s creating these forms, itâ€™s all drag-and-drop. Easy form building means your staff is likely to adopt it, day one. Whatâ€™s on the horizon for Elexio and when can we expect the next big thing? Always the $10,000 question! Elexio has never been known as a software provider that is slow to adapt or lacking in features. Therefore, we have some pretty incredible developments in the planning stages. While you will likely see some additional details added to our mobile application, the real announcement will happen around our ChMS. As 2015 comes to a close and we ring in the new year, youâ€™ll start to hear more about the changes that will be happening, but itâ€™s still a little early to disclose some of those details. However, I can absolutely say that 2016 is going to be a gamechanging year for Elexio, and weâ€™re excited about how weâ€™re going to be able to continue to provide relevant, intuitive tools for todayâ€™s discipleship-driven, outreach-oriented church. Stay tuned for sneak peeks at the beginning of 2016!
elexio.com | @elexiobuzz Ministry TechÂŽ Magazine
Build Disciples Through Engagement By Michael Jordan
aking connections within your ministry is what’s important, not necessarily how you do it. And while technology itself isn’t necessarily the answer, churches around the world are leveraging the power of social technologies. They’re doing this to better connect, engage, equip and mobilize their congregations for spreading the Gospel.
But today, just as always, we need to be focused on using the virtual to deliver real life impact. “We’re talking about people moving from isolation into the embrace of Christian community and from the sidelines to the heart of ministry activity,” according to the authors of the ministry guide, Building Disciples Through Engagement. “(We’re talking about) Technology being used to build relationships, equip disciples of Jesus and help them to move together in one direction, living as the light of Christ in a darkened world.” There are numerous things to address when discussing building disciples through engagement, but there are some which are absolutes. Structurally within the church, communication is about partnership, not control. However, some Ministry Tech® Magazine
methods and tools for communication can be very impersonal. Even when one’s heart is in the right place, ineffective communication can make people feel as though they’re unimportant, or even worse, as if they’re just a means to an end. Good Communication is Relational “Outlets such as church websites or Facebook pages can be great information tools for people interested in getting to know a little about your church prior to visiting. But, they have finite effectiveness in connecting people into the real, dynamic life of your community,” continued the authors of the ministry Building Disciples Through Engagement. “As a result, many churches are seeing the necessity of a more private, community-oriented social August 2015
network to enable truly effective, high value communication.” According to the Building Disciples Through Engagement guide, this “relational communication,” as it has been deemed, does four important things: • • • •
Builds real life relationships Enables people to know and be known Provides opportunities to take action Moves people from the margins to the center
Best Practices for Digital Communication “Good communication is good communication, no matter how you slice it. So, don’t be intimidated by that one little word, digital. The things that make you an effective communicator elsewhere are still of value. There are, however, some unique challenges and opportunities in the digital world,” according to the authors of the ministry guide, Building Disciples Through Engagement. So, follow these few best practices to help you avoid common pitfalls and enable you to make the most of your communication efforts.
1. Focus on the mission. Don’t put the focus on methods, because methods are disposable. Get to the heart of the matter. Jesus has given your church an eternally meaningful mission. Be sure to explain why your church needs a private social network and keep the focus on how it will help your church accomplish the mission. 2. Continue with communication. If you’ve been a leader for long, you probably understand this point far too well. You can’t say something once and expect it to stick with everyone. You’ve got to continually remind people of what’s important. Thankfully, digital tools make effective communication very inexpensive and also make it easy to mobilize other people to distribute your communications for you. There’s no need to do all the work yourself. Usually you just need to ask people to help you accomplish the set goals. 3. Invite people to interact. Interaction is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. The digital tools available today give you an amazing opportunity to invite people to join a conversation. While it might initially seem like more work, the return is far greater than the investment. Your interaction and sincere listening will help create an engaged community. You’ll probably discover gifts and abilities you didn’t realize people had, and you might just learn from others along the way too. 4. Cultivate meaningful relationships. The speed and simplicity of digital communication can sometimes lead to overuse and misuse. As a leader, it’s your job to show the way and help people understand the methods being used to reach the destination. By asking good questions, intently listening and steering conversations toward real relationships, you’ll be
Ministry Tech® Magazine
leading by example. Ask other leaders to do the same. Together, you’ll build a community of well-connected and meaningful relationships. 5. Provide opportunities for meaningful action. A church social network makes it easier for you to delegate responsibility, without sacrificing accountability. So, rather than feed the impulse of consumerism, give people opportunities to get involved. It can be as simple as sharing stories of the everyday, informal ministry happening within your church and inviting people to get involved in the opportunities around them. Remember, you’re building a culture and cultures celebrate what they value. If you value the active engagement of your whole church in ministry work, celebrate it! Let Us Help You Better Communicate ACS Technologies can help you engage new members while going deeper with those already in your congregation. Whether they’ve just walked through your front door or they’ve been quietly warming a seat for years without engaging, the key to a healthier, thriving body is getting people connected and properly assimilated. When you do, ultimately you’ll spread the Gospel more effectively. To learn more about building disciples through engagement and putting best practices to use, including stories of how other churches have succeeded, download Building Disciples Through Engagement today.
Ministry Tech® Magazine
protected with purpose
Getting Rid of Pesky Mosquitoes (i.e. Toolbars)
By Steven Sundermeier
or our summer vacation, our family headed back up North to Canada to spend the annual week with grandparents and aunts and uncles in some cabins on Pigeon Lake. And while the week started out extremely rainy and wet, we did get to experience some sunshine and warmer temperatures towards the end of it. I am not sure if the wetter-than-usual-days combined with spikes of sunshine were a direct result or not, but it seemed that our children were the main course for pesky and unwanted mosquitoes during our last few nights as the rain clouds moved off in favor of clear skies and muggier temperatures. While my wife is vigilant about keeping the kids covered (slathered?) in bug spray, it is a curious fact that mosquitoes still seem to feast on my kids, especially my daughter. (Has anyone done studies on the percentages of girls getting bit to boys?) And is it only me or are mosquito bites swelling to terrible new levels (breaks my heart to see these welts on the kids). While I’ve heard that mosquitoes supposedly carry some positive aspects into their role in the environment, it’s personally hard for me to look past their thirst for blood, their major annoyance and their potential to Ministry Tech® Magazine
carry deadly diseases. It seems that mosquitoes are certainly the unwanted result of freely playing outside by a lake under a moonlit sky, roasting marshmallows with family while building delicious s’mores around a fire with camp friends, or watching a spectacular display of fireworks celebrating Canada Day on July 1st. As I returned to the States (Land that I love), and our office, I was sounding off on my dislike of mosquitoes. One of our Team Members made the following comment: “You sound like my mom in her past experience with a browser toolbar”. He was correct. If August 2015
many of us were asked to give a few words to describe toolbars (i.e.: Ask.com Toolbar, Yahoo Toolbar, etc.) , we might use words like “unwanted” or “annoying”, or possibly even “it won’t go away”. I guess mosquitos may have some similarities to the annoyances that toolbars bring. So what exactly is a toolbar? By definition, a toolbar is a graphical control element on which a row of button, icons, or other elements are placed to select various functions in a web browser or software application (office suites, graphics editors, etc.). Some Toolbars are useful and harmless and help provide users a user-friendly web browsing experience. There are also several toolbars out there that serve useful purposes like Bookmark Management, Web Development, Customized Search Engines etc. There are even examples of big box antivirus vendors in our industry adding their own toolbars into a user’s browser upon installation. But far-outweighing the positive toolbars, are negative ones. There are many more harmful toolbars out there that are getting accidentally installed or installed without the users consent. The most commonly blocked toolbars by Thirtyseven4 are the Searchqu Toolbar, Babylon Toolbar, SupTab and Ask Toolbar. Within our Thirtyseven4 Labs, we detect toolbars under the following two categories: PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program) or under an Adware Category identification depending on their activity. It is important to understand that these types of unwanted toolbars are more than just a mere nuisance and can result in adware activity and disrupt a users overall browsing experience. Toolbars can change your home page and search results without your permission or awareness. Many observed toolbars can display annoying ads and manipulate search results. Toolbars can monitor your browsing habits by intercepting the web traffic and monitoring the websites visited by a user. The information collected will likely be organized, sold and then used by 3rd party advertising and tracking purposes.etc. In addition, since toolbars are installed directly into the browser it is also possible for them to inject themselves as a “Man-in-the-Middle” between secure connections from servers and the user. And since most toolbars get installed automatically they can be very challenging to uninstall, especially for novice users. It may also be important to note that even a “good” toolbar, if not kept up-to-date, can be a threat to the system as the toolbar application could get exploited by hackers and steal users information. The mosquitos are beginning to sound more palatable compared to these toolbars aren’t they! Here you thought mosquitoes were bad! Ministry Tech® Magazine
With so many strikes against unwanted toolbars, I guess the question is how/why toolbars are getting installed on millions of systems. One of the main reasons for toolbars getting unknowingly installed is user’s desire for downloading and installing free software. I once heard someone describing free software this way; “If the product is free, the product is you”. You may need to chew on that for a moment. This doesn’t only go for toolbars or similar applications but even applies to software applications in our industry (antivirus/security). “Free” software often times comes bundled with more unwanted add-ons or browser toolbars or are tracking and recording the websites you’re visiting for their own data collection - they need to make their money and support their development team from some place. But bundling unwanted toolbars or other 3rd party software isn’t only limited to unscrupulous companies, just have a look at Oracle’s Java or even Adobe. For years Oracle has bundled the Ask.com Toolbar while installing a critical/mandatory Java update or installing Java freshly on a system. However, more recently, it appears Oracle formed a new partnership with the search engine company Yahoo!.
The problem with this is that users aren’t only installing unwanted software but the software selected to install by default (something I personally disagree with!), will likely conflict, despite the claim, with a users existing security software making the system performance slow and possibly lock-up. I suppose we can’t blame companies like Adobe or Oracle from making money in this fashion, but by making these applications available by default within critical security updates to help patch their own solutions against known exploits and vulnerabilities seems a little low and a terrible practice. My fear is that users will ignore updating for critical security updates in fear of getting unwanted software. So whether you accidently installed a toolbar or a toolbar got installed without your consent, here are some steps you can do to remove it. 1. Go to Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall a program. Within the propagated program listing, look through the installed programs for any recently installed free programs. As mentioned above, most free programs do come with a cost, and besides your time, one of these costs is the bundling of unwanted and potentially harmful software. Removing these free programs is your first step. 2. Delete or disable Toolbar Add-on or Extensions. Locate and check your browser settings for unfamiliar add-ons or extensions. Many of the configured add-ons will carry the same or a very similar name as the toolbar itself. If an extension looks suspicious delete it and restart your browser. If you are unfamiliar how to check, please click on one of the following links depending on your primary browser of choice. Internet Explorer (http://windows.microsoft.com/ en-IN/internet-explorer/manage-add-ons),
I am not sure how much Yahoo! is paying Oracle to be the Ask.com replacement but I’d imagine it’s a lot! In Adobe’s case, they aren’t asking users to install a browser toolbar by default, but rather installing Mcafee Security Scan Plus. Ministry Tech® Magazine
Chrome (https://support.google.com/chrome_ webstore/answer/2664769?hl=en&rd=1), Firefox (https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/ kb/disable-or-remove-add-ons), Safari (http:// www.tomsguide.com/faq/id-2374746/manageextensions-safari.html). 3. Reset your Browser Settings. Resetting your browser settings takes your browser back to the default state. While this may also be frustrating, as you’ll have to re-configure any changes that you made (home page, security settings, etc.), it is recommended because it will also revert any changes made by the unwanted toolbar. If you are unfamiliar how to reset your browser settings, please click on one of the following links depending on your primary browser of choice. Internet Explorer (https:// support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/923737) , Chrome (https://support.google.com/chrome/ answer/3296214?hl=en), Firefox (https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/refresh-firefox-reset-add-ons-and-settings), Safari (http://browsers.about.com/od/safar1/ht/safaridefault.htm).
An itchy mosquito bite is annoying and uncomfortable for a time, but at least they go away. Toolbars don’t go away. Unless you are trained in removing them correctly, a toolbar will continue to reappear and worse—it may be tracking your activity (altering your daily web-searches and results), and sharing your personal information with other pesky 3rd party pests. I have oftentimes thought about how much more enjoyable the great outdoors in summer would be if Noah would of only swatted the mosquito and its mate during the flood days. Can we rid the world of mosquitos and tool bars? Not really, but we can be proactive about avoiding getting bit by them. Don’t “open the door” to let these guys in. Resist the urge to download free things, especially tool bars. Be informed about all appliances that you do install, and stay protected! Wear bug spray at night and have a strong antivirus program applied at all times. Thirtyseven4 promises not to sting your eyes or leave a sticky residue! But we will prevent you from being “bit” by unwanted applications such as malicious toolbars, and you’ll feel safer in the wilderness of the Web. Enjoy these Summer days and nights, and stay protected!
4. Wipe your Browser History and Cookies Clean. Many undesirable toolbars have been observed to reinstall themselves using the help of dropped/stored cookies. If you are unfamiliar how to delete your browser history and cookies, please click on one of the following links depending on your primary browser of choice. Internet Explorer (http:// windows.microsoft.com/ en-IN/internet-explorer/delete-manage-cookies#ie=ie11), Chrome (https://support.google.com/chrome/ answer/95582?hl=en), Firefox (https://support.mozilla.org/ en-US/kb/delete-cookies-remove-info-websites-stored), Safari (http://www.macworld. co.uk/how-to/mac-software/ how-clear-safari-historycookies-3496193/). Ministry Tech® Magazine
health over growth
Three Numbers with Eternal Significance By Steve Caton
very leader has, from time to time, been forced to make difficult decisions. It’s part of the job. For example, if you lead a business you have to decide when to take a risk or make an investment. These decisions can make or break a company. But as church leaders, the tough decisions we have to make come with eternal significance. Since these decisions are so important, why then are we so often contented to leave the decision-making to our gut instincts or personal impressions? There’s a pattern in much of the church world of devaluing numbers and metrics because they feel impersonal. But the truth is, every personal story is contained in the metrics that matter in your ministry, and it’s only by looking at them all as a whole — on a broad level together with individual stories — that you can figure out what you’re doing right and what you could be doing better. With eternity on the line, metrics are too valuable not to track. If you want to take a good look into the health of your ministry as a whole, these three sets of metrics in particular are invaluable for you.
church, attending an event or a service. Of course, this means attendance data is valuable on a micro level; you want to know for sure that the Smiths have missed three weeks in a row, rather than waiting until you ‘get the vibe’ you haven’t seen them in a while six weeks later. But it’s just as valuable to look at on a macro scale. What’s your average weekly attendance over the last month? The last year? How does this July’s average compare to last July’s? This kind of broad, long-term data can give you a sense of whether your church is growing, staying roughly the same, or shrinking. Plus, it can show you when the trends began to change, giving you an idea of what could Attending have contributed to it. Do you track attendance in your Attendance is first base for all involvement at church management software? And more importantly, your church. Before anybody can join a small group can your software show you the trends in these metrics or volunteer or give, they start by just coming to your so you can glean meaningful information from it? Ministry Tech® Magazine
Giving Tithes and offerings are an indicator of commitment in givers’ hearts, both to God and to the church … but they’re also how your church stays in operation, and that’s a fact any church leader has to be comfortable with. Whether you’re planning your budget for the next year, considering launching a new ministry, or just wondering what the dollar impact of certain seasonal trends tends to be, you need to be able to access the broader numbers. Your ChMS should enable you to look into information like total giving, total givers, average gift size, giving in various Chart of Accounts categories, and most importantly, these trends across time. Serving A servant’s heart is a mark of discipleship. As you pour into the people at your church and help them grow in their walk with God, it’s natural for those people to get more and more engaged. In fact, the rate at which members of your church are serving is a very good indicator of how your discipleship ministry is doing … and the rate at which they burn out is a very good indicator of how well you and your fellow leaders are doing plugging people into the right ministries and making sure they’re still growing and being taken care
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of. Can you get solid numbers on how many people are serving, and for how long? Can you compare these numbers to past numbers? If your serving numbers are low, where are people falling off the track in your discipleship process? If your retention numbers are low, how can you reevaluate the process you use to match volunteers to opportunities that will be life-giving to them? And if your numbers are great — what are you doing well, and how can you do it even better? Attending, giving, and serving are all areas that are integral to the life of a church and its members, and while it’s important not to lose sight of the individuals in your church, it’s equally important not to lose sight of the forest for the trees. Broad metrics and easy visibility into trends can tell you where things are going off track before you ever notice — or maybe tell you things are ok when you’re not sure! Church Community Builder software tracks these numbers and provides in-depth, saveable and schedulable reports, as well as an interactive graph display of giving, serving, and attending metrics on the Executive Pastor dashboard, so the data you need is at your fingertips. You need good information to make good decisions. Is your ChMS getting you what you need?
Is Windows 10 Really Free? By Jonathan Smith
icrosoft made headlines when they announced that Windows 10 would be a free upgrade to all users of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. They even said that pirated and unlicensed versions would also be eligible for the free upgrade. Really? While it is an ambitious goal to get the world to upgrade to Windows 10 how is it that it can be free to everyone, even those running the software illegally? Granted many other operating systems are free but this is Microsoft. Is this one of those situations where if it sounds too good to be true it probably is?
In a word, yes. Microsoft has several times had to clarify what they actually meant. In other words, they didn’t mention all the catches to the announcement that Windows 10 would be a free upgrade to all users of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. Knowing the complexity of Microsoft licensing, including educational and charity options, I was surprised that Microsoft would make the upgrade process harder by not clearly communicating how you get the free upgrade. So how do you get your free upgrade if you are running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1? In order to answer that we have to know how you got the copy of Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 you are running now. Let’s start with an easy one. You bought a computer from a big box store or online and it came with a copy of Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 on it and you activated that. Congratulations! You quality for the free upgrade and you should have already received a notice via Windows Update that your computer is ready to upgrade on or after July 29. Microsoft got this one right. Pushing Windows 10 out Ministry Tech® Magazine
via Windows Update and notifying users in advance is brilliant and the way it should be done. It also shows the future as Windows 10 is the final version of Windows and will be further updated via Windows Update. But what if you are running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 and you didn’t get the update notification from Windows Update? This is where things get complicated. There can be several reasons for this. One is that your copy of Windows is non-genuine. That means the activation code you used to activate Windows is no longer valid or was never valid. Microsoft said originally that all nongenuine copies would be upgraded but later clarified that only certain types of non-genuine software would be upgraded. You can avoid this issue completely if you make sure your copy of Windows is genuine and running with a valid, genuine, single-use activation key. Another reason you may not have received the update notification is if you are running Windows under a licensing agreement. Microsoft has numerous licensing August 2015
agreements for school, charities, and enterprises that are essentially software leasing programs. This allows the organization to lease the software as opposed to purchasing each installation individually. For organizations with hundreds of computers, this can save a lot of money over an operating system’s life cycle. Leased software will not automatically upgrade but rather must be upgraded when the organization renews their lease. Since the organization doesn’t actually own the software, it won’t upgrade unless the lease is kept current. As opposed to a computer you purchased at home, you own the software outright and qualify for the free upgrade because you paid full price for Windows with your computer hardware purchase. An organization leasing Windows didn’t do that and as such must pay for another lease term before they can upgrade. For an organization on some sort of agreement, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. It isn’t as if the organization is not going to renew their Windows lease when it comes up. It just means they will have to push out the upgrade to Windows 10, as users using leased software won’t receive an upgrade notification. Organizations using this type of licensing will receive a new activation key to use when upgrading
and activating Windows 10. This gives organizations control over the upgrade process and avoids an IT nightmare of users upgrading their computers on their own and potentially breaking links to applications within the organization. Admittedly Microsoft licensing isn’t all that clear to begin with and Microsoft didn’t do themselves any favors with the way they announced and then continued to re-explain that Windows 10 was free for everyone. If you are an individual user using Windows on a computer you bought and activated then you should have received your upgrade announcement by now. If you didn’t, then check to see what kind of Windows activation key you have. If you are a user on a machine with a copy of Windows that is owned by an organization then check with your organization’s IT department to see if you can upgrade. The sooner you start checking the better. Windows 10 will be worth it. Jonathan Smith is the Director of Technology at Faith Ministries in Lafayette, IN. You can reach Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org and also follow him on Twitter @JonathanESmith.
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higher power with kevin
Accordance Bible Software’s Virtual Bible
By Kevin A. Purcell
ccordance Bible Software continues to innovate in the area of features and resources for both Mac and Windows digital Bible study. They recently released something they call Virtual Bible, which continues this trend with great multimedia content for use in personal study, teaching and preaching God’s word. People who want to see the Virtual Bible in action can take a look at the exclusive first-look that Rick Mansfield (ww.thislamp. com) of Accordance gave to my Theotek Podcast (www. kevinpurcell.org/theotekpodcast) audience on July 3, 2015. Head over to YouTube to watch it or go to my website to see how you can hear the podcast. I recommend the video since you can actually see Virtual Bible in action. Ministry Tech® Magazine
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=wBd_Alz3gPk Audio Podcast: http://wp.me/p2D1s2-7i (see player at bottom of the page) Accordance introduced the new Virtual Bible at a discount, but by the time you read this the sale will have ended. In the future, follow me Twitter because if I learn of great deals I post them there. I’m at @kapurcell. Virtual Bible now costs $39.90 (http://bit. ly/1KXXsdD) and includes a lot of rich multimedia content. It requires Accordance 10.4 or above. At present here’s some of the content included… • • • • • • • •
Topography of Israel Herodian Jerusalem Herodian Temple Complex Capernaum in Jesus’ Day Sea of Galilee Boat Flyovers of Israel Virtual Fly-through of Herod’s Temple Chronology of the Passion Week
Get another look at the Virtual Bible in this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=Oi9NlFssWWU. Users will find the Virtual Bible in the Visual folder under Tools along the left hand side of Accordance Bible Software’s window. Open it and peruse the content. Links with a tiny video camera beside them denote the video’s available in Virtual Bible. For example, see the screen shot here that shows a link to the Fly-Through video of Herod’s Palace.
With each media item there’s a description of what’s included in the images or videos. Read the example from Herod’s Palace below: “Herod the Great built a magnificent palace for himself inside the walled fortress known as the Citadel at the western end of Jerusalem. Famously paranoid, he Ministry Tech® Magazine
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may have been concerned about protecting himself from rebellion within the city as well as attacks from outside it. According to Philo, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate stayed in Herod’s palace whenever he came to Jerusalem. This may therefore be the praetorium where Jesus stood trial before Pilate.” (Matthew 27:27; Mark 15:16). Some of the images keys that show what the user’s looking at. The numbers on the image will correspond with the key telling the user what that specific thing is. Right now, Virtual Bible doesn’t include that much. However, Accordance promises to add content as the resource grows. It’s a great tool and will only get better. The software works the same on both Windows and Mac. If you’re not an Accordance user, this resource alone might offer enough of an enticement to give it a look. As other Windows Bible software either grows in bloat and complexity or flounders with few new features being added, Accordance Bible Software now sits in the top echelon of Bible software for Windows or Mac.
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. Last month I started introducing you to specific 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. Aware3 This month I’d like to introduce you to Aware3 and their Co-Founder and CEO Tony Caudill. According to their website, “Aware3 exists to help your church connect with your people.”. They build mobile apps which “help ministries drive greater generosity, build strong community and enhance connection well beyond Sunday morning.” And that helps explain why Aware3 came to be. Tony and his cofounder, Joe Terry, are busy people. Several years ago they observed that, in most areas of their lives, digital tools helped them stay connected throughout the week with their work, their families, their friends, and their Ministry Tech® Magazine
sports teams, but they’d show up at church Sunday morning, be handed a paper bulletin, and after the service walk out the door and not be connected with the active work of the church until a week later. From their experience with technology, they knew there could be a better solution. So Tony and Joe built an app for the church. Everyone loved it and they saw the opportunity to help many more churches. Of course that initial app was a mere shadow of the branded mobile apps they build today. In lean startup terminology, that first app was a “Minimal Viable Product” used to prove the concept and to get a reaction from potential customers and users. It provided the starting point for continuing to iterate and improve both the front-end that the user sees and the back-end that links everyone together, builds the community, and provides the digital console that their church customers use to provide live content and manage the community. Tony and Joe funded the startup themselves, workAugust 2015
ing on it nights and weekends while continuing with their full-time (paying) jobs. At first, as the business was growing, they took on a variety of clients, especially if the project would help build the capabilities they needed for achieving their vision of helping churches connect with their people. A few months ago, I mentioned that one of the big changes I noticed when I returned to the startup world after about a decade in corporate jobs was how much more community-based entrepreneurship has become. That certainly has been part of Aware3’s success story. The company applied for and was accepted into Digital Sandbox KC, (according to their website, Digital Sandbox KC is a “partnership among private companies, universities, entrepreneurial support organizations and government agencies across the Kansas City region designed to spur the creation of high growth companies.”) Tony was also selected as a Pipeline Fellow. According to their website “Pipeline is an elite organization of the Midwest’s most successful, high-performance entrepreneurs. Our Members work as one to face business challenges, funnel opportunities to their peers, and build market-leading technology and life-sciences business together. Each year 10-12 new entrepreneurs are invited to join Pipeline as Fellows. After an extensive selection process, new Fellows participate in a unique and rigorous year-long business leadership development program that blends workshop modules, advice from national experts, and a deepening of the relationships among new and current Pipeline Members.” Of course, even if the startup community has become a tremendous resource in the past few years, old-fashioned networking has always been a key to business success. One of Aware3’s big non-church customer wins came through the company’s relationship with VML, a global digital marketing agency. VML needed Ministry Tech® Magazine
help building an event-related mobile app for Southwest Airlines. Although not their target market, the project helped Aware3 build credibility and provided capabilities that the company has been able to leverage for church events. Another partnership that is clearly aligned with Aware3’s vision is their work with Church Community Builder. As CCB says on their website “we can’t (and shouldn’t) do everything! We know what we are good at, and we know when we should collaborate with others to help you do ministry even better.” For a startup with limited resources, this mindset is critical. The partnership with CCB has made it easier for Aware3
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to reach churches around the world and makes it even easier to implement powerful solutions for CCB churches. After a couple of years of building Aware3 into a profitable business as a moonlight enterprise, Tony quit his job as an Accenture consultant and went full-time as CEO of Aware3. This month marks the two-year anniversary of that commitment. I asked Tony if he considers himself a Christian entrepreneur. He shared details around some of the difficult decisions he has made quitting the salaried job weeks after his son was born, taking on major non-core projects like Southwest Airlines, and becoming a Pipeline Fellow – he said each of those decisions required lots of prayer, counsel from close mentors, and looking for the Lord’s confirmation. Sounds like a Christian entrepreneur to me! I, for one, am excited for Aware3 as they continue to help many to do as Hebrews 10:24-25 commands us: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” 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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Why Technical Expertise isn’t Enough for a Church Website
By Yvon Prehn
hough technical expertise is important in the creation and administration of a website and though there are many technical experts in churches who also have great hearts for and an understanding of ministry, there are many instances where relying on technical expertise alone can have some negative effects on a church website. From the many interactions my ministry has with church website creation and function, here are some cautions to prayerfully consider. Technology goals don’t always align with ministry goals Why does your church exist? What are the driving values, the key ministry issues and concerns? What are the major ministries at your church? What is available for kids, seniors, singles, or seekers? Do you have a specific audience you minister to and if so, who are they? Can a visitor to your site answer these questions, or know where to find the answers to them from their first few minutes at your site? If not, why not? Your website might function flawlessly in load times and be technically perfect, but if it doesn’t immediately let people know the purpose, goals, and components of the ministries of your church and have places where they can Ministry Tech® Magazine
go on the site to find out more information and connect with the ministry—you have work to do. Technology cautions aren’t always volunteer friendly If a church website is to be useful, or to have the most basic credibility for people to look at it and trust it, it HAS to be up-to-date. If your website isn’t up-to-date (every week, every day, on a continuing basis) it probably isn’t the fault of the system used to create your website. More often than not, in many churches, the problem of a continuously outdated website lies on the shoulders of a techsavvy individual who is the only one allowed to update the system. August 2015
in smaller boxes. This might be eye-catching, but much of it is ultimately cold because there is little behind the pictures. Pastoral values on a website make important content obvious. They explain; they serve; they are more concerned about meeting needs than trying to impress. There is a depth of pastoral content behind the images. No matter what the technology used to build your site or the design of it, this is the important question to ask: “Is your website meeting pastoral and ministry needs of your congregation?” It’s an easy question to answer by simply looking at your website statistics.—do your people come to your website often? Do they spend time on the site? Do they recommend it to their friends? Your website visitor numbers are readily available (if you are a pastor or staff person who doesn’t know where to find them, ask the tech person who created your site). Your website numbers don’t lie. If people aren’t coming to your site or interacting with your social media, it is because they don’t find them useful. Advertising the website more or talking about it more from the pulpit are necessary, but that won’t help if there isn’t content on the sites that people want.
No church website can serve its people if all the content has to be entered by one person. The systems used to create websites are all (or should be) cloud-based and any volunteer or ministry leader at your church should be able to create content, recruit volunteers, explain programs, and keep times and events updated. Volunteers in various ministries should be in charge of keeping all these things upto-date. Once entered, then a person in the office can skim over them to make certain all is ok and publish them on the website. Yes, it will take time and training to do this, but for technology to be the servant of the church, expertise in it has to be shared. Technology and design values aren’t always the same as pastoral values Why did your church design and built your website the way you did? Was it designed to primarily to serve your people or to reflect a cutting-edge, latest and greatest design trend that a tech person told you was the way websites were being designed today? A lot of current web design is created for one purpose— to sell something. Sites like this start with a big scrolling header with splashy, upbeat images and then more images Ministry Tech® Magazine
What technology can’t do Technology can’t create content. Lack of current content that ministers to the needs of your congregation and the audience you are trying to meet is what all the issues above have in common. A ministry-oriented website needs lots of content and that means lots of people creating it. If one person is holding on too tightly, that won’t happen. Sometimes it’s easier to rely on technology than on the hard work of creating content for a website. Many churches are still in awe that they have a website, grateful for anything online, and thrilled that anyone would work on it. We have to change that attitude if we want to use our church websites as the extraordinary tool they can be. Challenge your people (and yourself) to create complete, Biblical, constantly up-to-date content. If you focus on this kind of continuous content creation no matter what technology you use to get it on your website, your website will be successful in what matters most—helping people find and follow Jesus. For more information on creating communications that will help your church fully fulfill the Great Commission, go to: http://www.effectivechurchcom.com
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Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity By Nick Nicholaou
ost in IT recognize the importance of data backups, but there’s more to a good disaster recovery and business continuity strategy than having backups. What are those additional elements, and how do you set an appropriate budget to accomplish them? Disaster Recovery vs Business Continuity According to Wikipedia: • Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). A disaster recovery plan is a documented process or set of procedures to recover and protect a business IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Such a plan… specifies procedures an organization is to follow in the event of a disaster. • Business Continuity Plan (BCP). A business continuity plan is a plan to continue operations if a place of business is affected by different levels of disaster which can be localized short term disasters, to days-long building-wide problems, to a permanent loss of a building. When a fire takes out your server room, that’s a disaster! Having good backups is an essential element Ministry Tech® Magazine
of recovering. In fact, many say that one of IT’s most important responsibilities is ensuring good backups. When a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake eliminates the ability to do business as usual for an extended period of time, that’s when the business continuity plan kicks in. In the wake of 9/11 and Katrina were many organizations that went out of business because they couldn’t continue their operations for a longer period of time than was survivable. What’s Needed for Disaster Recovery? A good DRP starts with a good backup strategy, and that relies on the ability to reach all of an organization’s data. One of the benefits of local area networks is their ability to centralize data, making comprehensive backups possible. With the advent of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) this is becoming August 2015
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more challenging if staff doesn’t do their part to make certain that all organizational data is on one of the organization’s servers that is getting backed up. There are many backup strategies in play today; everything from full hourly to daily incremental backups on backup storage media from tape to removable hard drives to the Internet. I prefer full daily data backups, and agree with most of corporate America that tape is an optimally reliable backup target. Tapes can handle very large backups, and are easily transportable so one can be taken off site regularly (I recommend at least weekly). What about backing up to the Internet? Though it has advantages, it also has disadvantages; primarily when entire servers need to be restored due to a larger catastrophe. When a large restoration is required, you are dependent on the speed of your internet connection or having the vendor send you the backup. It is worth noting that I’ve never seen that methodology meet expectations when a large catastrophe hits. The key to having a good backup, however, is regular testing. This is something most IT teams rarely prioritize. An untested backup is a risk, and there’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a catastrophe and running what amounts to your first backup strategy test and finding out that it wasn’t working. Our firm recommends doing test restorations on a monthly basis to make certain backups are good. What’s Needed for Business Continuity? Business continuity requires a larger set of strategies than August 2015
disaster recovery. In addition to having a DRP component, it needs to include what an acceptable data outage is for different categories of data (email, databases, documents, etc). And it needs to include details on how to respond to different types of disasters including key staff contacts, key vendor contacts, etc. This is one of the most overlooked needs to good church and ministry administration. In major disasters, churches and ministries want to be resources those in their community can turn to. A BCP helps ensure that your organization will be available to be the hands and feet of Jesus when people need you most. The Internet can be a good component of a BCP. If you move some or all of your servers and services to datacenters, the likelihood they will not be available is dramatically diminished if the datacenter is certified at least as a Tier III datacenter by www. ColocationAmerica.com. Setting an Appropriate Budget The first step is to categorize your data and services (email, VoIP, databases, documents, spreadsheets, audio/ video files, etc). Then ask leadership to set acceptable outages for each category in a disaster.
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For those categories with very little tolerance for outages (email and databases, perhaps), they need to be backed up in full often and tested regularly. For those located in areas more prone to natural disasters, a good option is to host those mission critical servers and services in an appropriate datacenter. If you choose that option, require the hosting datacenter to provide certification of having a Tier III or higher rating by www.ColocationAmerica.com. If leadership requires that everything be up and running 24•7, design a plan and budget to accomplish that. If it’s too expensive, help them think through the data categories and establish realistic outage timeframes to reduce the cost. But this is a decision that leadership must make; it cannot be delegated to IT. And it requires that they agree to the final strategy. Nick Nicholaou is president of MBS, an IT consulting firm specializing in church and ministry computer networks, VoIP, and private cloud hosted services. You can reach Nick at email@example.com, and may want to check out his firm’s website (www. mbsinc.com) and his blog at http://ministry-it.blogspot.com.