Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday- Churches that inspire me.

Every Tuesday I post a list of my top 10 favorite things. This Tuesday is my top 10 churches that inspire me. I though about naming this blog the top 10 churches I steal ideas from but I thought that was taking it too far. If a graphic artist makes graphics for a sermon series at their church those graphics belong to that church. Unless that church freely distributes those graphics I won't touch them or will I copy them. To me that's stealing. On the other hand if church has a great idea for a sermon series I will take the idea and make it our own. Not copy it but add our graphics and our media to it. We are a rather small church who's staff is all bi-vocational (we all work other jobs outside of the church) so we have to find ideas where we can. Meaning I take what is put out there to take and I get inspired by the rest.

1. North Point Community Church- Alpharetta Ga

2. Granger Community Church- Granger Indiana

3. Buckhead Church- Buckhead Ga

4. Elevation Church Charlotte NC

5. Life Church.TV Oklahoma City

6. Oak Leaf Church Cartersville Ga

7. Mountain Lake Cumming Ga

8. New Spring- Anderson SC

9. Journey Church- New York

10. Avalon Church- McDonough Ga
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Look back 6-28-09

1. David is amazing consistent as a worship leader with his lyrics. He I can over how he plans to sing the songs and sticks to it every week. It makes the computer techs job so easy and the worship experience so much better.

2. James Greene, who is our new talent on the key board. He has done a great job adding to the music each week he has played.

3. The band always impresses me. Even on a week where they came in cold they still did a good job.

4. Perry Noble is a trip and he know s how to connect with people on their level. If you ever make it to Anderson SC, Make sure to stop by New Spring and hear him speak live.

5. This was the last week of our video series next week Philip will speak on "God is Grace" I am sure he has a lot of pimped up preaching energy he is ready to let loose on you guys.

6. "How great is our God is still one of my favorite worship songs after all of these years.

7. We had a few minor production hiccups that we recovered from but that just means we still have work to do. The production team did a great jobs for me this week.

8. Lots of visitors. Great job to everyone out in the lobby being friendly and comforting. We are doing a great job on Sunday mornings. Keep it up!

9. Never be satisfied Never
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Flock to the Rescue

I think I am weird in the fact that I use 4 different browsers depending on what project I working on. When I am social networking I use
FireFox and Flock. Never heard of Flock? I suggest you you go to there web site and check them out. Flock is basically Firefox built for social networking. It brings everything together and makes it easy for you to share pictures, videos, blogs on all of your networks. I really like the picture sharing feature! It has a great side bar that links everything together. If you are serious about social networking and want to save time the Flock browser maybe the solution for you!

Features I like about Flock

1. The web Clipboard: Easily Drag and drop text into the clip to save and post somewhere else latter

2. Drag and Drop Pictures: Easy upload photos to services like Flickr and Photobucket from the side bar and then drag and drop them to share with Friends or post to a blog.

3. Side bar that puts it all together: View all of your feeds from one place within your browser while browsing other sites.

There are several other features that you will find useful and time Saving in Flock. Again if Social networking is taking too much effort to keep up with try Flock.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thusdays Tip- Share Google reader Articles with Facebook friends

I love to read blogs! I read them all of the time and when I find a cool one I share it with my friends on Facebook simply using google reader and Facebook's share tool.

1. Set up a
Google reader account and add some feeds to you account

2. Under an article that you like click the share button.

3. On the left hand side of Google reader there is a shared items link click it

4. In the shared item view there is a link to "see your shared items in another window" click it

5. In the new window copy the URL of the new page you created

6. Go to Facebook and sign in. Then go to your profile

7. Under the text box that says "whats on your mind" there is a button that says settings. Click it

8. Then click the option for Blog/RSS

9. Past the link you just copied and click import.

It is that easy! Now you can Share your favorite blogs with your Facebook friends
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Production Blog- Communication and Presentation

This is continued from last week's Production blog you can read it here

Sometimes I think we think that everyone knows what we know. That everyone thinks how we think. This could not be further from the truth.

Some people don't know the songs we sing. Some people don't know who we are singing to. Its is important that we spend the time during the worship service trying to connect people to God. If they don't know how, who is going to teach them. This can't be done over 1 week or 1 month or even a year. It is done by consistently communicating the "why" and the "who" of worship. Now I am not a worship leader (and I never will be) but over the past 2 months I have spend a lot of time studying worship leaders from all over via the internet. I have seen many styles but 1 thing that all of the good ones do is communicate. They have a planned clear message on stage. They don't ramble, they don't make it up as they go, they have a message and they know exactly what they want to say. They know exactly what they are trying to communicate. Communication in worship is vital to connecting people in worship. I also think it is important how worship leaders communicate. You get up on stage and start using "church words" that only people who have been in church for over 10 years can understand to communicate with people, then you have still not successfully communicated.

The last thing I want to write about here is Presentation. The other week we had a guest band (which was made up of members of our band) Standby (check them out at standbyband.com)and they did a version of old rugged cross that rocked! That is just as much worship to me as singing the hymn out of a hymnal. The plus side of the song was it rocked and it was so well done that it connected with not only Christ followers but with people who had never been to church before. Another thing about presentation to me is it has to be distraction free. If your production team and your worship leader are not in sync with each other it can turn people off. If your lighting guy goes nuts and decides to strobe multicolor light during a slow moment it can be disastrous. If your computer tech does not know the song well enough to follow along or if your worship leader ad libs too much it can be distracting.

Please understand me, I want to see people come to Christ. I think the way we present worship has a huge part in whether or not they feel connected at a church. Some people will not connect at your church and that's okay. The point is in all we do in our services we have to find a way to connect to people who have yet to develop a relationship with Jesus and yet not get away from worshiping our God. Please let me know what you think.
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Top Ten Tuesday- Search Sites

Every Tuesday I try to list my top 10 favorite things. I am going to try and be more useful with this portion of my blog. I am going to try and list things that I use that are helpful. So no more top ten favorite movies or TV shows just useful stuff from now on (I hope). Today is my top 10 favorite search sites. Some are specialized some are not.

10. Google Blog Search- Finds me new blogs to read or useful content on obscure blogs

9. Foodieview- Recipe Search engine that I love. Looking for a good recipe try them out.

8. Yahoo- My 3rd back up search engine.

7. Compfight- Flickr search tool that searches not only by content but by tags and other things. It helps me find the photos I need fast.

6. Digg.com- Packed full of interesting links to cool stuff. I can view what my Friends find interesting too, which is always fun!

5. Reddit- See Digg.com

4. Deliscious- See Reddit

3. Twitter- Really great search engine that hasn't got a lot of Press until now. There is a lot of current info on topics out on twitter and it is easy to find.

2. Bing- New kid on the block and despite it being a Microsoft project I really like it!

1. Google- Old Faithful. I know they want to take over the world blah blah blah, let them so far all they have done is made my web experience better.

Well there you have it. Please let me know if this was useful and what Top 10 list you would like to see!
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday Look Back 6-20-09

1. Another year of being a father. It only gets better!

2. On the Production side: I got some of the robotic lights back and trained Rusty how to use them. They are so much fun and add a lot to the service. I wish I had more but I am thankful for what I have to work with.

3. "Freedom is Here" by Hillsong went off great!

4. Added 2 new band members this week James Greene on the keyboard and our summer intern Daniel McCullers on the electric. I was impressed!

5. I think this is the first time I have ever heard David Collinsworth play the Bass guitar. For our size we are very blessed to have the level of talent in our musicians that we have

6. "God is Father" was amazing and refreshing!

7. Spoke with a guy trying to get his church more savvy in the media presentation world. I love to help people but I am a terrible teacher.

8. Added 2 new volunteers to the Production Team!

9. Next week should be another great week at DP!!!
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Social Networking and the Church- How to link Your Blog, Twitter and Facebook

I am going to get off topic today for a minute to explain how to link My Blog,
Facebook and Twitter. My friend David Collinsworth ask me how to do this yesterday and I thought it would make an interesting blog post. There are several ways to do this my way may or may not be the best way for you.

You will need

1. A blog with an
RSS feed

2. A facebook account

3. A twitter Account

Steps are as follows

1. Find the
RSS feed of your blog. I use blogger and run it thought feedburner (to keep up with my stats) but where to find your feed will very from site to site.

2. Go to Twitterfeed.com set up an account and then set up your feeds to be updated to twitter.

3. Twitter feed is cool tool that allows you to post all of your Blog post (or any other
RSS feed) to twitter. The tweet will include a link back to your Blog.

4. Go to
facebook and set up the Twiter app. Allow the twitter app to update your facebook page. Every time you tweet it will show up on your facebook stream.

5. You can also post from the twitter app within
Facebook to Twitter.

You can do only do a facebook to twitter conection or just a Blog to twitter connection it is totally up to you. There is also a blog app in facebook where you can link your blog directly to Facebook.

So please let me know if this was helpful at all. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a
comment I will answer as soon as possible I am considering doing a Q&A Post on Thursdays so if you have any questions leave a comment and I will consider them for a future post.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Production Blog- Worship vs Concert

There has been a huge stink about this lately in the bloggosphere. Is it a concert or worship service. Are we there to Entertain people or connect with God? Apparently Sunday morning is either a worship service or a concert. From everything that I read there is no room for middle ground in some people minds. Look my pastor's heart is for us to be a church that is comfortable enough so that people who have never been to church or people who have been burned by church can come in and feel welcome and connected from the second they step into the door. I also know that he wants to see people who are seasoned followers able to worship their Lord in our services. I know that our Creative Arts Pastor wants to teach new Christ followers how to worship. We are not big enough yet to have more than one service a week, so how do you do all three of those things in one worship service? I think it all has to do with balance, presentation and communication. I pray with my production team before every service and every time I pray that we focus less on what we are doing and more on worshiping God (and hopefully we are good enough to not screw it up). There is nothing wrong (in my opinion) with playing a tasteful main stream song in a service (if it has a point). Even if that point is just to connect with someone. You just have to be sure that it is in the right place in your service. The way I see it you play a secular song or an up beat song first. Get people clapping, having a good time, feeling connected and then you ease them into the slower, more thought provoking songs. That is what I mean by balance. You start with a song that connects with a wide range of people and ease it down form there. So it is not a shock to the system or a complete turn off to those new to your crowd. Let me stop here and say that if everything leading up to that first song is not set up to make the person feel welcome and comfortable then you have already lost the battle, no matter what music you play.

Next week I will discuss what I think about communication and presentation.

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Top 10 Tuesday- A day Late

Below is my every Tuesday (sometimes Wed) list of my top 10 favorite things in a particular subject. Today my list consist of my top 10 favorite MAC only apps. I think Most of these are MAC only.

Smultron My Text editor of Choice

9. Rootkit Hunter- Find all of your Rootkits easily

8. Camio Browser- Great back-up browser for a MAC

7. App Cleaner- Easy way to remove an application from your MAC completely

6. Font Explorer X- Helps me find, view and test fonts.

App Fresh- I never download the updates when I open up a program. App Fresh checks for updates on all of my apps at once and allows me to down them on my time.

4. Name Mangler- Allows me to re-name all the files in a folder at once

3. Under Cover- Basically top notch security for your MAC. Mac.appstorm.com did a great article on it yesterday check it out here.

Hand Break- DVD/Video converter. Really great video converter for FREE!

POD to MAC- Easily move anyone's Ipod items to your Itunes.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday look back 6-14-2009

1. What an awesome day! What an awesome God

2. Production went well, Band as always did a great job.

3. Had a first time sound guy watching the board. He did a great job.

4. Daniel our intern ran the computer and again did a great job. Thanks guys for filling in!

5. Found out I was losing the 2 volunteers who have been with me the longest. God is moving them out to Arizona. No matter what it is always hard to lose loyal volunteers.

6. One prayer video sermon went well. How could you not like a sermon that included Contra, Frogger and Mike Tyson's Punch Out?

7. Had you forgotten how great your God is?

8. Daddy is bigger than the bug!

9. Next week Brien Duke is leading and he has an awesome set list ready for you! I am really excited about the first song! Don't be late

10. Perry Noble speaks next week. If you have never heard Perry speak please you don't know what you are missing

11. Baptism Celebration Yesterday and close to 20 baptized (I lost count after awhile). Just another reminder of how GREAT our God is!
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Social Networking and the Church- How to Detemine Effectiveness

Last week I talked about how to track your Social Networking effectiveness. A few people I know ask me about Facebook Analytics and whole there is no great way to do this Mashable had a great article today on Socialtoo's new Facebook Analytics package. I have yet to test this yet but I will soon and let you know the result's. That said Effectiveness of your Social Campaign depends on a lot of things.

1. Who you trying to communicate with (People in your church, People outside your church, Both)

2. What you actual plan is. For example if you are trying to get people to an event that begins and ends on a
specific date then you will want to put as much information out on the web as possible so you can be seen by as many people as possible. If you are trying to build relationships with people then you will take your time.

3. Who are the people you are trying to communicate with. This sounds like #1 but once you decide what group you are trying to communicate with you have to decide who they are. Are they college age students, Middle aged families or hip 80 year olds. The demographic you are trying to reach will help you determine the effectiveness of you communication.

4. How often are you communicating?

These are all things you need to consider when desiding how effective your social networking is. Really these are things you should consider before you start a social networking strategy for your church. Considering all of these things (plus the many other variables that are unique to you) then use the tools
I laid out last week and then descided whether or not your social networking strategy is working. Next week I will talk about my personal strategy for when social networking is not working.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Production Blog- The Last Minute Musical Chair Phenomenon

So you have worked all week to put together a great lineup for your Sunday morning service. You have worked out song order with the worship leader, videos and everything else. You have everything on a nice little sheet of paper with notes for all of the production staff. You have practised the order with the band and its only the night before the service. You go to bed knowing that in the morning the chances are 50/50 that everything you have scheduled will actually take place. We have all been there. Some one will have last minute changes that require you to pull off some serious musical chairs. Now I must first say at my church we are really good at pulling things off at the last minute, we have had a lot of practice. I most say also that my guys are good about not trying to do too much at the last minute (mostly because of my griping) but that was not always the case.

I think people who try to change things at the last minute have 2 mind sets.

1. They think that moving things around 1 hour before the service starts is easy

or 2. They think you are so good at you job that you can pull it off.

Please do not misunderstand me I want the service to be the best it can be. If some one comes along with a last minute idea that would make the service rock and it can be done well in a short amount of time. I will do flips to get it done.

So some simple things I have done to change the mindsets of my pastor and worship leaders (who are both close friends).

1. The biggest thing is to say no! Make whoever it is understand that putting some thing together at the last minute can ruin a service. It could be distracting. It could be responsible for someone not hearing what they need to hear from God. Say no but do it with respect and tact.

2. Teach people to plan. Let them know your planning schedule. Some people are not planers. If they can;t plan on there own help them plan. I know I drive my pastor crazy with emails sometimes trying to get answers but most of the time, in the end, I know he is thankful for it.

3.Teach them how all of the graphic art, videos, stage design and whatever else you handle are done so they know how much time you and your staff put into the work. There is nothing worse to me then having to tell a volunteer that we can't use his work because someone decided to show another video and your got bumped. That can be real discouraging

4. Make service change deadlines and stick to them unless you just can't. Sometimes you have to do things at the last minute. It just should not be a habit

So these are a few of my ideas. Any thoughts?

Next week I am writing about Worship music vs the Rock Concert

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday

My Top 10 Movies of All time! These are my movies that I could watch over and over again and not get tired of them. Kind of like my wife and Twilight.

10. Office Space: Funniest Movie Ever

9. Pulp Fiction: Coolest Movie ever

8. Silence of the Lambs: Scariest Movie Ever

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

6. The Dark Knight

5. Star Wars: Classic

4. Raiders of the Lost Ark

3. Shawshank Redemption: Who doesn't like this movie?

2. Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi

1. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: My personal favorite

Did I leave anything out?

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Sunday Look Back 6-7-09

1. Brien did an awesome job leading worship this week!

2. Really missed the Robotic lights this week. But they will be back next week!

3. Joe, my computer tech this week, did a fine job for his first full week on the computer.

4. I learn something new every time I touch the lighting board.

5. One Prayer is going to change many communities. Will we be open to God and let it change ours?

6. Was Andy Stanley not awesome?

7. Loved the story of the Rev. from central Georgia.

8. Steven Furtick is next week. He is my personal favorite.

9. Fill in the blank. In your life God is _______________
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Friday, June 5, 2009

Social Media and the Church: The importance of Numbers

We have all heard the line "ministerially speaking" when referring to the number of people who attended a service at our church. I means we exaggerate the number to make it sound more impressive. Unfortunately when it comes to social media I need facts or something close to it. We want to know what is working and what is not. So today I am going to list the ways we keep up with my social networking stats and next week I will talk about what we do when things aren't working. 1. The biggest most popular and best way (in my opinion) to track stats is Google Analytics. You can't track everything with G.A but your blogs, your website and any other tool you use where you can control the code of the page. Analytics provides you with a huge range of tools that can not only tell you how many people visited your page but where they visited from, what browser they were using and there mother's maiden name (last one was made up). They have an awesome reporting system as well . I could go on and on about G.A but that is another post.

Twitter Analyzer: A twitter tool that will let you know everything you need to know about your account to make sure it is effective.

3. Card Comments: We pass out little connection cards every week and one question it is"where did you hear about us". I keep track of everyone who came from the web.

4. General feedback: I ask people what they think of the social media we use. I ask people what they get the most out of. I ask people how they like to communicate. Because I want to know what tools people are using so I can communicate better.

5. Sign ups online- I judge how well an online camping is communicating to the people within my church by how many of them sign up online rather than sign up physically at the church.

What ways do you you use to see how well your social media is working?
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Inspiration of the week

I have a different kind of inspiration this week. There are things on our lives that seem to challenge us and inspire us to do great things or to keep us on track. God uses many thing s to do this Friends, family, books and of course the Bible. For me it's my wife. She does not play my games, she does not buy my bull and she challenges me even when I don't think I need it. Thanks honey for being my inspiration!
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Tutorial of The Week

I love tutorials on the web! After Effects, Photoshop, web design anything I can get my hands on I try to learn. Here is my favorite tutorial this week. Grey Machine Reverse Shatter Effect in After Effects
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Production Notes

I really want to blog more content but I want it to be meaningful content. I want it to interesting and useful all at the same time. So instead of just posting a blog about social networking on Fridays I have decided to also do a Production blog on Wednesdays. Production is one of my many hats at DP and possibly my favorite right up there with the social networking. Production is such a cool thing but with the cool comes the frustrating. Production in a church is one of those things where if you do your job right no one will notice, you but if you screw up you are every one's goat. So I want to discuss with you the good, the bad and the cool side of production in a church. Next week I plan on writing about " The last minute musical chairs phenomenon".
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Top Ten Tuesday

Yet another Top Ten Tuesday (except it's Wednesday)! Today I am going to list my top 10 favorite Firefox add-ons.

Evernote Web Clip - Allows you to highlight text, pics, videos and add then to your evernote account. Brilliant.

Firebug- Lets you view and edit HTML (As well as other stuff) strait from your browser. There are tons of firebug add-ons to customize it to do what you need it to do.

XMarks Book Marks- Keeps all of your bookmarks synchronized across any computer you have it it set up on.

Grease Monkey- If you don't know what it is look it up it will make your browsing experience so much better. There are several cool GreaseMonkey Scripts including: Better Gcal, Better Gmail 2, Better youtube, better flickr, better greader ect.

Google Preview- Inserts preview images (thumbnails) and popularity ranks of web sites into the Google and Yahoo search results pages.

Fire FTP- Full on FTP client in your browser.

Facepad- A face book Photo album Downloader.

Foxtab- Really cool tabs add-on

Twitterfox- Small twitter app in the bottom left corner of your browser. Keeps you updated while you browse. I hate big side bars so this works perfectly for me!

Lastpass password manager- My favorite password manager.
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Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday look back 6-1-09

1. I love the music when Standby plays at our services. They are a great local band that is made up of members of the DP band. Its funny how 2 bands made up of basically the same members can sound so different. I love it!

2. Got to play with the new intelligent lights that we hung from the ceiling last week. The programming button on the new board was broken so I had to manually run them this week. Me and Anthony had a lot of fun!

3. Laurah and Dave were my Sound and Computer operators this week and they both did a fine job.

4. Jeff did great filling in for Philip, the pie illustration was good and I found my self laughing a little.

5. Speaking of Philip, His wife Angela gave birth to a healthy little girl over the weekend, thus why Philip did not preach this Sunday.

6. Isn't it funny how the mornings you fill most prepared are the days where the have the most issues to deal with and the mornings where you feel totally unprepared are the mornings that run the smoothest.

7. My computer operator made fun of me because I told her that I get nervous before every Service. I think nerves are a good thing. It keeps you sharp and it lets you know that you really care about what is about to happen.

8. If you missed the Standby Concert last night in Conyers (like me) I heard you missed a heck of a concert.

9. One Prayer begins next week! Our first video speaker will be Steven Furtick from Elevation Church in Charlotte. This is going to be a powerful 4 weeks. Don't miss it!

10. Can't wait for Play Groups to Start I am posting a schedule for all of the different groups later this week!
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Social Media and Church: What are you trying to do?

The single most important thing to me when deciding how your church should use social media is to ask your self "What am I trying to do?". Are you trying to be cool? Are you trying to change the way people think in your church? Are you trying to communicate better? Are you trying to save money? Are you trying to reach new people? There are so many ways to communicate things to the people of your church. There are paper bulletins, announcement slides, verbal service announcements, blogs, twitter, Facebook, email, YouTube and probably several others that I have forgotten. It has been said many times that for businesses that social networking is a strategy. It takes planning and research to know if you should use social media to communicate. It takes knowing the people who come to your church as well as knowing your community. For that matter it takes knowing who you trying to communicate with. It takes trail and error. The most important thing it takes is knowing what your are trying to accomplish. So what is your stategy? What are you trying to do through social media?
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