ChurchMag Released its 2014 Top Church Tech Blogs on July 1. The top 10 sites included:
- churchm.ag (82)
- churchmarketingsucks.com (78)
- justinwise.net (72)
- churchstagedesignideas.com (70)
- churchtechtoday.com (59)
- 78p.tv (57)
- behindthemixer.com (56)
- churchtecharts.org (53)
- communicatejesus.com (53)
- youthministrymedia.ca (50)
Are there sites you frequent that help you with your church tech needs that are not listed by ChurchMag? If so, leave your suggestions in the comments.
No matter your church’s size or type, all churches have one thing in common: people. Whether you are a church of 200 or 20,000, engaging volunteers is a key to success. Ephesians 4 calls churches to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. Effectively engaging volunteers can reduce the need for staff to manage your church’s activities. Here are four ways that you can use technology to improve volunteer engagement:
- Help people serve according to their gifts.
- Ensure that volunteers don’t slip through the cracks.
- Keep track of your serving opportunities.
- Train your volunteers to invite others.
Volunteer recruitment is in many ways the lifeblood of a church. At First Family, where I serve, we employ a variety of methods to help bring new volunteers onto our ministry teams.
If we look at Steve Caton’s four ways to use technology to improve volunteer engagement, here, specifically, is how we do this at First Family:
- Help people serve according to their gifts. Like many churches, we teach a class we call Wired that helps church members learn about spiritual gifts, how they differ from talents and natural abilities, and highlight a wide variety of areas of service within our church and our community. To take it a step further, we make Wired available 24/7 online. Click here for the Wired landing page.
- Ensure that volunteers don’t slip through the cracks. No surprise here, but at First Family, we use Church Community Builder to help us schedule and manage volunteers. CCB provides a seamless, end-to-end process that creates a volunteer pipeline. A free piece of advice: in order for your volunteer pipeline to work effectively, someone must own it and make sure follow up is taking place. Software apart from people is meaningless.
- Keep track of your serving opportunities. With multiple ministries spread over multiple campuses, this is where software becomes invaluable. As a church grows, there are too many moving parts to keep track of manually. An application like Church Community Builder helps manage these many opportunities. Moreover, it provides our volunteers with the tools and information they need to effectively serve in our church. If a volunteer is out-of-town the weekend they are scheduled to work, CCB makes it easy to make an adjustment to the volunteer calendar and notify the leader over that ministry team.
- Train your volunteers. I’m going to shorten this to simply train your volunteers. If your volunteers are fully engaged in ministry, and enthusiastic about their area of service, they will prove to be effective at promoting their area of service.
As anyone in ministry can tell you, systems often look good on paper, but getting them implemented is the art of the job. I would love to tell you that we are perfect at implementing the systems we have in place, but too often urgency pushes systems out of the way. The trick is getting your systems to function second nature so when an urgent crisis hits, the system responds naturally. We are not there yet.
One final piece of advice–nothing can replace a face-to-face ask. We live in a digital age, and text messages, email, and Facebook are a part of our communications toolbox, but asking someone in person to help in a specific ministry area is the best method of recruiting new volunteers.
See on churchtechtoday.com
Technology can help make disciples around the globe, but it’s up to us to use it wisely.
From John Greco, InTouch Ministries –
Streaming video, podcasts, and eBooks allow anyone to sit at the feet of some of the world’s greatest Bible teachers. Some, however, will be tempted to forego their local church community when the busyness of life creeps in. They may even rationalize their choice, knowing that their pastor’s sermons can’t live up to those of their favorite online teachers. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram connect us to the encouragement of friends and family, but social media also makes it possible for “friends” to never speak or see one another.
Community is as much a need for Jesus’ followers as ever, but technology can fool us into thinking it’s now less than necessary or can lead us in the wrong direction, tricking us with a counterfeit type of community. Today we can be completely in sync with the surrounding culture while living completely alone. But Jesus makes no provision for His followers to do life on their own.
Though I don’t believe it’s necessary to go off-grid, I also don’t believe we need to be blown about by every technological wind. In fact, technology isn’t the problem; how we interact with it is what matters. It’s tempting to see the issues involved as all or nothing, but there’s a middle road to take, and it passes straight through the New Testament.
See on www.intouch.org
From John MacArthur:
Clarity and accuracy in communicating divine truth is more important for Christian communicators than anyone else. The availability of mass communications further enhances the preacher’s job in this day and time because of the vast audiences he can reach, which were not nearly as large in earlier days.
If anything, the obligation to communicate the truth of the gospel clearly and accurately weighs more heavily on our generation than on those who have gone before us, because our opportunities are so much greater. Luke 12:48 says, “From everyone who has been given much shall much be required.”
No previous generation has been blessed with the means of mass communication like ours. A hundred years ago, “Christian communication” consisted almost totally of preaching sermons and writing books. The only form of mass communication was the press. It never occurred to men like Charles Spurgeon that the means would exist to transmit live sounds and images via satellite to every nation in the world. Spurgeon was the most listened-to preacher in history by the end of the nineteenth century. He preached to huge crowds in his church. By some estimates, four million people actually heard him preach over a remarkable lifetime of ministry.
But today, via radio, Chuck Swindoll preaches to more people than that in a typical week. J. Vernon McGee (“he being dead yet speaketh”) has been broadcasting every weekday worldwide for decades. If you count the sermons that are translated and preached in other languages, McGee has undoubtedly preached to more people than any other person in history—and he continues to do so from the grave.
My challenge to pastors and to writers is the same. The task of every Christian communicator is the same. It is not only to entertain. It is not merely to amuse. It is not just to sell a product. It is certainly not to increase audience approval ratings. The task is to communicate God’s truth as clearly, as effectively, and as accurately as possible.
See on www.gty.org
Watching All the President’s Men staring Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford is a journey back into a technology time capsule. It is truly amazing to think how far we have come technology-wise in one generation.
Made in 1976, All the President’s Men is the gripping story of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bertstein and the Watergate Scandal that forced the resignation of President Richard Nixon. I think we fail to fully appreciate how instantaneous information has become until we watch a movie like this.
In one seen, Woodward (played by Robert Redford) is searching for any clues to a man named Kenneth H. Dahlberg. This name was found on a check deposited into the bank account of one of the Watergate burglers. Woodward is seen surrounded by piles of telephone directories for various cities. He is manually looking through each directory to see if Dahlberg’s name happens to be listed.
At one point, a research assistant walks in and informs Woodward that there is no record of Dahlberg in any news clippings, but she did find one photograph caption with him. She hands Woodward the news photograph. In the caption, it states Dahlberg is receiving an award from Hubert Humphrey. Knowing Humphrey is from Minnesota, Woodward quickly finds the telephone directory for the city of Minneapolis, flips the pages to the H’s and locates an address and phone number for Kenneth H. Dahlberg.
Think about this for a minute: this scene in the movie lasts a couple of minutes, yet obviously represents a considerable amount of time Woodward had to search for Dahlberg’s name in the haystack. Yet, in the time the scene plays in the movie, I could reach for my phone, enter in a search phrase in Google, and have instant access to the information. In fact, it took me less than 15 seconds to find the same photograph.
Yes, the story is gripping. From a historical perspective, it is fascinating to watch a government self-destruct over such a foolish thing. Yet, what is even more amazing to me is the reality of how far we have come with information technology in the 40 years since this movie was made.
For example, here are just some of the differences I observed:
- No cell phones
- Public phone booths
- Analog dial phones
- No computers, only typewriters
- No mini-recording devices
- All notes handwritten
- Limited television news
- All research is library-based
- Copy machines the size of refrigerators
- No fax machines
As we reflect on our use of technology, it is easy to see how convenient our life has become because of technology. If there is one lingering doubt, however, it is how much more complex our life has become because of technology.