All my friends who work with bands or in churches with live audio will appreciate this. Check out the GaffGun. It tapes down audio, video, and electrical cords in seconds. Gaffing tape is durable and it doesn’t leave a residue, so it works great to tape down cords.  I can think of a lot of times where this would have worked great. It’s not cheap, but it is worth it if you do this often.  Check out the video below and then head over to their website to find out more.

My 14 year old son plays in a bluegrass band called ShadowGrass. We were in Nashville last week for the SPBGMA bluegrass convention. It was a great experience and Luke’s band was able to do a lot of late night jamming. They also were able to play a showcase for the group Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars.

One of the attenders posted a video of one of their songs, and it has been crazy seeing how it is being shared. So far in two days, it has been viewed over 21,000 times and shared 600 times. It’s amazing how quickly videos can be shared through social media. I’m proud of these kids. They are all great musicians and great kids. Even if you are not a fan of bluegrass, I think you will enjoy these videos.

Help them out by liking their Facebook page and by subscribing to their Youtube Channel.

Here is a playlist of a bunch of their videos

Design

I haven’t had a chance to do much writing lately, so I have decided to share some great articles with you. I use a web service called Pocket to collect interesting articles online to read later. From time to time, I will be sharing interesting links and articles that I have read.

Do you like working in a Coffee Shop, but you can’t find one close by? Check out this page for ambient coffee shop sounds – Coffitivity

Here are some more to check out

Every now and then, you come across an app that really works and fills a need. This is one of those apps. If you ever need to email or send a document, forget the scanner and just use this app. It’s quick, it’s easy to use, and it does a great job capturing multi-page pdf files, receipts, and business cards.

It’s created by Evernote, so it’s integrated tightly with the Evernote platform. However, you can still use this even if you don’t have an evernote account.

This isn’t a new concept. For several years, I have had an app called Scanner Pro by Readdle. But Scannable is quicker and better. Watch the following video and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Unfortunately, the app is only available for iOS now. Hopefully, an android version will be coming soon. It’s free and it works. Trust me, this is an app that will simplify how you communicate.

Why Youth Stay in Church

January 10, 2015

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I had a conversation about youth ministry a few weeks ago with a friend. Jennifer and I started working in youth ministry almost 19 years ago, and we have been blessed to teach and mentor hundreds of youth over that time.

During my conversation, I started sharing success stories of the youth who have gone into ministry and mission work, and those who have succesful careers and are serving in their churches. But I was also quick to point out that we have former youth who have struggled. Some have struggled with drugs and alcohol, some are even in jail, some are already divorced, some have fallen away from church, and some are even now atheists. Here’s my point. In ministry, we do what we can, but ultimately, each person is responsible for living their life. I was reminded of what the Apostle Paul shared to the Corinthian church.

1 Corinthians 3:5-7 NLTAfter all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.

If we take credit for the success, then we are also the ones to blame when bad things happen. In youth ministry, we really only have a small window of opportunity to make an impact on the lives of teens. I have seen God change lives in a dramatic fashion, and I have also seen youth repeatadly reject the Gospel. Again, our responsibility is to be faithful and obedient, and to not give up. I love what John Wesley once said.

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.

– John Wesley

At our January First Sunday at Cornerstone, Jennifer shared from this article three traits of youth who stay in church once they reach adulthood. Read this and really think about the importance of living out the Gospel in the context of family.

  1. They are converted.
  2. They have been equipped, not entertained.
  3. Their parents preached the Gospel to them.

I love how the article wraps up and sums up my thoughts.

Youth pastors, pray with all your might for true conversion; that is God’s work. Equip the saints for the work of the ministry; that is your work. Parents, preach the gospel and live the gospel for your children; our work depends on you.

I once heard the saying that truth taught in the context of relationships changes lives, and I couldn’t agree more. Our teens don’t need more pizza parties and concerts, they need relationships where the Gospel can be demonstrated and taught. They need opportunities to put their faith in action, and they need to realize that church is not something you attend, it’s belonging to the Body of Christ. If we pass that on, we are doing more than entertaining them, we are actually discipling them to live as followers of Christ.

For Christmas this year, I decided to consolidate all our photos and videos in one place. I considered buying a new computer just for managing all my media, but in the end I decided on using an online service called Picturelife.

It’s an online photo management storage system that really works. You start by uploading all your old photos and videos. Picturelife can also automatically load photos from your social media accounts. They also have apps for your computer and mobile devices to automatically pull in new photos.

The mobile apps are really where Picturelife shines. It’s easy to scroll through all your old photos and find what you are looking for. I have uploaded almost 200 Gigs of old memories, and the service is still extremely fast.

It’s not free, but having all my files together has been worth it. They do have a free 8gig introductory account, but you will really need to upgrade to a paid account to use. For me, this was also much cheaper than buying a new computer. I like having everything automatically uploaded, and looking at the memories feature each day has reminded us of so many great times we have together as a family. Here’s a video with more info.

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Each year, WorshipHouseMedia has a special giveaway leading up to Christmas. I forgot to remind everyone to check out their website this year. They have videos and mini-movies for churches, and this Christmas giveaway is a great way to stock up on some great videos for your church. You have one week left, so be sure to visit their website each day.

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kiosk

At a recent Ministry Leaders’ meeting at church, we mentioned the need for a better system for people to signup for events and classes at church. We have two touchscreen all-in-one computers that were not being fully utilized, so we decided to turn them into signup kiosks.  After just a little bit of work, we came up with a great solution for a touchscreen kiosk system using a website run by WordPress.

If you are thinking about a project like this, here is information to help get you started. First, the web browser Google Chrome can run in a full screen kiosk mode that is not easily closed.  If you create a shortcut on your desktop for Chrome, you can edit the shortcut and add the -kiosk command and then add the website link. When you click the shortcut, the website will be opened full screen with no address bar and no menu. (see here for more detailed instructions)

I created a new website as a subdomain of our church website. The website is a single page, and is built using the Divi theme by Elegant Themes. It consists of several “call to action” modules in the Divi theme.  For each module, you enter the link, the button text, and the title for the block. I also added the Easy Fancybox plugin. By adding a CSS class to the Call to Action module, I forced each button to open up in a pop-up window instead of a separate page. This keeps everything on the same page and allows the kiosk to reset after each use. The links are to events in our church database so that we can track signups. The style is very similar to our main website so the branding is consistent.

It’s a very simple setup, and it has worked great the last few weeks. Our hope is that it will eliminate clipboards and signup sheets from our resource table.  You can view our current kiosk at kiosk.mycornerstone.org

Let me know if you have any questions.

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