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Cornerstone is Awesome

November 15, 2011 — 1 Comment

Our church really surprised me a couple of weeks ago for Pastor Appreciation month. They had secretly collected money and bought me a brand new iPad 2, keyboard, and case. Not only that, they compiled a notebook full of letters that people had sent in. Ministry can be discouraging at times, but all it takes is one look through that notebook full of letters to realize that I am a blessed man.

I feel like a new kid in a candy store. I’m already finding more and more uses for the iPad in my ministry. My wife has had one for a while now, and she uses it all the time as her main internet device. She had let me use it to preach from, but that was about the only time I got to play around with it. I can finally set mine up like I want to and use it even more.  Here’s what they surprised me with

  • A 32Gig wifi iPad 2
  • The Griffin Survivor Case – this thing is crazy tough. It’s got a kick stand to use to prop the iPad up that I’m using a lot. It’s also an extreme duty case that is shock resistant and water resistant.
  • A bluetooth keyboard when I need to type in a lot of notes
  • An incredible notebook full of personal letters to me and my family. Notes of thanks, notes of appreciation, and notes of encouragement. Let’s just say there were many tears shed as I read through the letters.

So far, my most used apps seem to be YouVersion, Evernote, Logos 4, Kindle, iBooks, Air Display, Wunderlist, Dropbox, Pages, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s also really helped in my studying and note taking for my seminary classes. What other apps help in ministry? Any recommendations?

Thanks to all my Cornerstone family! You guys are awesome. I am so excited to see how God is working in and through the people of Cornerstone, and I know we are just seeing the beginning of an incredible move of God.  You have been a blessing to my family, and I am honored to serve as your pastor! Greater things are yet to come!

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Where to Find It

If you are needing images for your bulletin, website, or video screens, there are a number of places you find them on the internet. Please don’t use cheesy clipart!!! Clipart was really never in style, so please refrain from using what you will find in Microsoft Office or Publisher. Here are some of the sites I frequently use. Sometimes you can find great images for free, but occasionally you will need to purchase the graphics you need.

Free Stock Photos

Paid Services

(there are a lot of stock photography sites out there, these are just the ones that I have used)

Google Images and Flickr

One word of caution: Just because you can find a great image using Google Image search or Flickr photo search, doesn’t mean that you can use it for your church. If in doubt, be sure and request permission from the content creator or find an image that uses creative commons licensing. 



If you’re looking for some great resources in church media, then check out They have almost $1200 of church videos, images, and graphics available at a cost of less than $100. The only catch, it’s only good for 144 hours. Here’s what they have to say


You will receive a 5-disc data DVD set with all the files, over 15 gigabytes! Each disc is neatly organized according to producer and includes worship videos, loops, countdowns, graphics, announcement slides, PowerPoint games, sermon videos, sermon series plans, and so much more.


The stars have literally lined up! Thirteen of the best worship media producers in the country have pitched in to bless the socks off of churches with this deal. Worship media can be expensive, and this is a great opportunity to get enough media to last your church many years to come. Maybe your church needs some good worship loops, or countdowns, or some great sermon illustration videos. Whatever you need to spruce things up…BAM! It’s in this collection. There hasn’t been a deal offered like this ever before, so don’t miss it. It only lasts 144 hours.

Cool Technology

October 28, 2011 — Leave a comment

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 :-)

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Where to Find It

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.

Free Sermon Graphics

For Purchase

Sermon Series based on Books or Ideas

What else would you add to the list?

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Where to Find It

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


Where to Purchase 

If you are looking for more and are willing to pay, then check out these sources.

Do you have more suggestions, post a link in the comments below. Since these type of links tend to change quickly, let me know if you find a broken link. Thanks!

The Sticks

October 19, 2011 — Leave a comment

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.

Who are you reaching?

October 14, 2011 — Leave a comment

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?

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