This is one of the coolest things I have seen in the technology world (no pun intended) How do you make a thermostat sexy? You let a former iPod designer work his magic on something that controls a huge amount of our energy usage. As an engineer, this thing really is genius. It’s a billion dollar idea that is going to jump-start an industry. Nest is the new company that is introducing a programmable thermostat that is super smart. It learns from you as you turn the thermostat up and down, and it is smart enough to adjust the temperature when the house is not occupied. You can even control it from the web or your smartphone.
I really want one of these for my house. With our cold winters, I think this would pay for itself in under one year. The cost is not cheap at $249, but when you watch the video, I think you agree that this is light years beyond your current thermostat. Super Cool or super hot – literally
If you are at a church with a full staff of graphic designers and videographers, this post probably won’t apply to you. But for the majority of churches, when you want to have great looking graphics for your bulletins, video screens, and website, you turn to the internet for help.
I like preaching in sermon series. It builds continuity from week to week and allows me to teach the Bible as a story. But it also saves time because I don’t have to create new graphics each week. When I’m planning sermon series, I first pick a book of the Bible or a topic and start my preparation. After study and research, I start listing possible series names. I then start looking for graphics that will reinforce what I’m teaching. At times, I can’t find anything and I decide to create the graphics myself, but many times, I find great graphics that are readily available for download and use. My only caution for you is that you should start with what God is teaching you, then find a graphic that works. If you reverse the order you will struggle with connecting the sermon to the topic.
It can be hard to find what you’re looking for, so I wanted to share a few great places to look. Check these links out for sermon graphics. Some even have photoshop files, powerpoint backgrounds, video openers, countdowns, and video loops included.
I’m starting a new series here on the blog to help people find resources. If you’re in a small or medium size church with a small budget, then this series is especially for you. I want to share the sources and companies that have been helpful to us in starting our church. I will focus this series on computer and technology resources, although I will share about facility needs and equipment in later posts.
Look for posts on sermon series resources, video clips, stock photos, a/v equipment, and more. If you have an idea for another post in this series, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.
One of the hardest things to find are good quality backgrounds. These are typically used as looping backgrounds behind song lyrics using worship presentation software like ProPresenter, EasyWorship, or Mediashout. But they can also be used as the basis for creating your own countdowns or sermon series graphics. Think outside the box!
Free Video Background Loops
NLC Creative – incredible site of backgrounds created and used at New Life Church in Arkansas
I had the great opportunity to spend a few days at a church conference called The Sticks with a few of our leaders from Cornerstone. This conference is different in that it is geared towards churches in small towns. I’ve been to a lot of different conferences and seminars over the years, but this one had to be one of the best for us.
So much of what is taught at the big conferences are geared toward larger urban and suburban areas. Small towns and rural areas are forgotten and written off. But over the last few days, I was able to learn from and meet many other pastors who are facing similar challenges.Ministry in rural areas can be tough at times, and we face unique problems that only small town pastors understand. I want to give a big thanks to Cornerstone Community Church of Orangeburg, South Carolina for hosting this event. I’m definitely planning on attending again. I’ll try to share some of my thoughts about what I learned over the next few weeks.
We like to think our churches are places where everyone is welcome. But if we are truly honest with ourselves, the choices we make in structuring our churches will tend to make some people feel more welcome than others. If you give extra attention to people who are well dressed and follow up with the “important” people, but you neglect those who are down and out, who do you think you will attract? If you blast the music so loud that everyone needs earplugs, what effect will that have on how older people feel welcomed and accepted? The truth is that every choice we make will either make people feel welcomed, or it will let them know that your church may not be the best fit.
Recently I was talking with someone at a church that is very focused on reaching their community. They serve their community in numerous ways, and they attract people from all walks of life. In talking with them, they made a statement that has really made me think. In their words, “most church people don’t last long here, because we expect too much.” They went on to say that many of their visitors are people from other churches who are dissatisfied and looking for another church. They come to this church because they hear of all the great things that are happening. But they easily get offended and leave when they realize they aren’t the center of attention. This church is successful because their people have learned to be servants. They know the purpose of church is not to cater to their every desire. Instead, they ask how we can share God’s love to the community in which we live.
Too many churches have structured themselves to make people happy. But once you go down that road, you will start attracting people who can never be pleased. I’m afraid that in our desire to be welcoming to everyone, we have created a culture of church consumerism. People need Jesus, and when we teach them how to love God and love others, we are taking the focus away from self-centeredness and placing it on the Christ we serve.
My challenge for you: Think and pray about the choices that you make as a leader of your church. What things lead to self-centeredness, and what things lead to a selfless devotion to Christ?
I needed to do a quick webinar last week for website training. I stumbled on join.me from the logmein team. It’s incredibly easy to setup a webinar and share your screen with others. If you ever need to share what you are working on with someone else, then check out this service. Here’s a video that shows how it works.
I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 19 years, and we have three awesome kids, Emma, Luke, and Drew.