Man vs. Wife

November 4, 2010 — 1 Comment

At Cornerstone we have just started a marriage series called ONE, and we are looking at Ephesians 5:30-33 NLT.

And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.  So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

You can find our messages from Cornerstone on our website or in iTunes. For all our our Cornerstone attenders, please keep inviting your friends. I can’t wait to share more about what it takes to have a marriage where two truly become one.

But I also want to share about other great marriage sermon series. Pastor Perry Noble at Newspring Church is also currently doing a marriage series called Man vs. Wife. He does a great job of explaining why this is an important topic in this video.

I am loving the series and you can watch or listen to the sermons at their website. It is definitely one of the most real sermon series about marriage that I have listened to.

Monday Morning Update

November 1, 2010 — Leave a comment
It’s time for a Monday Morning Update.
  • Our church participated in our community downtown Halloween Bash. It was an awesome opportunity to interact with literally thousands of children and their families. We handed out the best candy and even gave out information about our church. We were all decked out in our 70′s tie-dyed outfits and we even borrowed a VW party bus for our booth.  See some of the pics on facebook.
  • We started a new marriage series called ONE based on the concept of two becoming one.  This is one of those series that I have been looking forward to for several months. I can’t wait to see what happens as a result of our church focusing on the importance of strengthening our marriages. It is so easy to forget that our marriages are a picture to the world of the relationship between Christ and the Church.
  • I got the graphics from here.  I love it when people share their artwork for other churches to use. I created a sermon intro video using Keynote that used the text from this graphic. You can see it at the beginning of the sermon video from yesterday.
  • September & October have been tough months financially and in attendance for the church, so it was awesome to see both services packed out yesterday. People really want to make their marriages stronger, and I’m excited that they are looking to the church and more importantly to Christ for their answers. It was great seeing so many new faces at church yesterday. I would even guess that it was our highest attendance ever for a non Holiday service.
  • Newspring Church is doing an awesome series on marriage right now called Man vs. Wife. I’m really enjoying watching the messages each week at their website. I love the graphics and the theme they chose for this.
  • I shared a song video by JJ Heller before the service. I’m really liking her music and songwriting. She has one of those voices that just cuts through the music straight to your heart. I simply can’t get this song out of my head. Such a great message and story about the true love and acceptance we find in Christ.

  • And finally, I talked about my desire to grow old together with my wife. I still want to be the couple who is grabbing each other’s butt, even in our nineties. Like this couple :-)

One of the things that I have enjoyed the most during my fifteen years of marriage is reading and studying books together with my wife. In preparation for our marriage sermon series that will be starting this week at Cornerstone, I wanted to share some of my favorite marriage books. I don’t care how long you have been married, or how good you think your marriage is, you can still learn and you can still strengthen your marriage.

if you are reading from a feed reader or over email, you may not see the above list of books. Please visit the original post to see the full list

Are there any books you would add to the list?

click here to see my disclosure policy about buying books from this website

I’ve recently jumped into the world of Android so I wanted to share some of the apps that are working great for me. It’s amazing how much computing power you can carry in your pocket.  I’ve even found myself leaving my laptop at home more because I can do so much from my phone. Here’s a quick rundown of some apps that you may find helpful. These apps are all free, although some of them require you to subscribe to a service.

1- The Bible by YouVersion

This is by far my favorite app on my phone. I use the Bible reading plans they offer, and I am constantly looking up verses. It integrates with facebook and twitter so you can share passages, and you can even contribute your thoughts on Bible passages. They also offer churches the ability to share notes and Bible verses during your services.

2- Evernote

Evernote is a great tool for taking notes. It allows you to access your notes from the web, from your phone, from your ipod, or from your windows or mac computer. I use it to collect sermon ideas, illustrations, and any other type of information that I might need later. I also use it to take pictures of whiteboards after meetings. Evernote will recognize the text within the photo and allow you to search through it.

3- Dropbox

Dropbox allows you to Sync your files between your computers and your phone. It is a quick and easy way to get photos and other files transferred to your computer from your phone, and it also allows you to quickly transfer files from your computer to your phone. I use dropbox to store files I am working on.

4- Thinking Space

I like outlining my sermons and teaching topics using mindmaps, and this is a great app for mindmapping on your phone. I have stored my sermon mindmaps in my dropbox folder so I can access them from my computer or from my phone. It works great when you want to add an idea.

5- WordPress

This doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you host a blog through WordPress, then you definitely need this app. It allows you to post new blog entries, as well as moderate comments directly from your phone.

6- Planning Center Online

Again, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but if your church uses Planning Center Online, then this is a must-have app. The app is free, but it requires that your church has a subscription to their service. We use it to schedule our band and our children’s workers, and we use it to map out our services each week.

7- Tweetdeck

The official twitter android client is nice, but for now I am sticking with tweetdeck. They still have some work to do to bring it up to the same functionality in their iPhone app, but they are definitely heading in the right direction. I love having the ability to update Facebook, twitter, and Buzz from the same app.

8- Remember the Milk

I almost forget to include Remember the Milk, that’s why I need this app on my phone. I use it to track my to-do list. I’ve created different categories ranging from who I need to call to what I plan on blogging about. The app is free, but it requires a Pro account on Remember the Milk’s website, which currently is $25 per year. I’ve been using it for several years now, so I don’t mind paying the yearly fee.

9- Kindle

Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you should get this app. Not only can you find great free books, you can also find great deals on Bible resources as well. I bought the ESV Study Bible for only $7.99 and I access it all the time from my phone. You can also highlight passages and even take notes with the app.

10- gStrings

And finally, a list for ministry wouldn’t be complete without an app to tune your guitar.

What apps have you found helpful in your ministry? What would you add to the list?

It seems like most churches are either dissatisfied with their current software or are looking to make their first purchase of major church management software. I want to spend several blog posts talking about the different options that are out there and giving you a few questions to think about. To start off, we need to define what church management software is. Here’s a starting definition from Wikipedia

it is a specialized software that assists churches and other religious organizations in organization and automation of daily operations. These packages typically assist in the management of membership and mailings, fundraising, events, and report generation.

In order to better understand how software can help the day to day operation of your church, I think it is good to think about your current processes. How do you follow up with visitors? How do you do reports? How do you handle communication? Software solutions can help you automate and improve these and they also help improve the communication of your staff and leadership team. If you are currently evaluating software, I want to give you a few questions to think about. There is not one solution that is right for every church. You will need to spend time analyzing your biggest needs and developing your goals for the software.

Questions to Think Through

  • Do we want a system just for leadership or for everyone in the church? Do you want everyone in the church to have access so that they can lookup addresses and find and share information, or do you just want leadership to use the software.
  • Do we want a server based solution or a web-based solution? Many older software solutions are based on maintaining a server with the software at the church. All information is stored in-house, and you need access to the church network if you want to access the system. Newer software solutions are based on storing information on servers hosted by the software company, so that you can access the data from any computer at any time. You have to decide if you trust the privacy controls that they have in place for your data.
  • Do we want to create a new online community for people in our church, or do we want to utilize existing online communities? Neither is wrong or right, they are just different. Some software solutions enable you to create a protected online community, while others integrate with services that people are already using like Facebook and Twitter.
  • How do our current processes fit into the software? If you have good systems in place, you don’t want to change the way you do things because the software isn’t flexible. Visitor followup and assimilation is a good process to think through. Will the software make your life easier or harder?
  • Do we want to utilize the software for tracking attendance for youth, children, small groups, worship services? Many solutions offer check-in or barcode attendance tracking. If you have this information, how will you use it?
  • Do we need to track giving and contributions? What about all bookkeeping? Several software solutions offer this built-in, while others integrate with your current accounting software.
  • Do we need to integrate this into our current website? Online giving, small group directories, and event registration are all possible with the right software.
  • Do we need mobile access? How connected is your church? Is smartphone access important? Specialized apps and mobile websites can help people access the information from anywhere.
  • What is our budget? This will automatically eliminate some of the solutions
  • Do we need a better way to communicate with leaders and church attenders? Some solutions excel in communication, while others neglect it.

As you work through these questions, you can start narrowing down your possible solutions. In the next blog post, I’ll share my thoughts about the future of church management software. But for now, I want to list some of the solutions that you can research.

Church Management Software Solutions

Web-Based Small Group and Communication Solutions:

  • SoChurch – A new communications control center with great pricing
  • MemberHub – A group communication tool with membership management built in
  • ChurchTeams - Allows you to manage and lead your small group ministry more effectively
  • Groups Interactive – Specializes in integrating with your current website to improve your small group management

Community Based Solutions:

  • Church Community Builder – Church Management Software that specializes in building community within your church
  • The City – The City is a web-based communication and administration platform for your church that builds community

Do Everything Church Management Solutions:

  • Arena – One of the best solutions for larger churches
  • FellowshipOne - A powerful solution geared to churches of all sizes
  • BVCMS – A free open-source solution for church management
  • ACS Technologies – A server based system that does everything
  • ConnectionPower – It specializes in visitor assimilation but has additional modules for everything else

What questions or solutions would you add to the list?

Winning Isn’t Everything

October 18, 2010 — 1 Comment

Photo from Dreamland Images

I survived! After only running a few times this summer, I finished the Race for the Cure 5K in Charleston. My time was slow, but I finished and ran the entire way. I am super proud of my daughter Emma, my wife Jennifer, my mother-in-law Mary Anne, and my sister-in-law Sara who all ran the race as well. The website listed almost 9000 participants in the race! As you can see from the picture it was a huge race.

For the first several minutes it was almost impossible to really run since I was back in the pack, but the experience was awesome. Almost $400,000 was raised for Breast Cancer research. The goal of this race was to raise money and raise awareness, so it didn’t bother me too bad that I finished in 1538th place. It was a little strange when the guy in combat boots and a pink tutu passed me :-)

You can see the map and stats of my run on the runkeeper website. I especially want to thank everyone at Cornerstone for allowing me and the family a weekend to get away and have fun.

I have been looking for a camcorder mount for our sound booth area for a long time and I finally found one that works well for us. In many churches, a camcorder is permanently fixed in one location. Tripods take up valuable floor space, so I was looking for a mount that could be attached to our sound desk.  This mount from Davis & Sanford is cheap and I could see it working for many smaller churches needing to record their services. I found a good deal on it at B&H Photo. Since it took me a while to find it, I wanted to share it in case you need something similar.

Here’s a picture of it in action at our church.

Race For The Cure

October 12, 2010 — Leave a comment

I don’t ask for much here on the blog, but some things are too important not to mention. I’m getting ready to run a 5k this Saturday for a great cause. For the second year in a row, I’m joining with several members of my family to run in the Race for a Cure in Charleston, South Carolina. My mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor and we’re running in her honor.  If you want to support breast cancer research, then please consider a donation. You can find my personal race page at the LowCountry Race for a Cure website.

I’ll be running with Team Bambu, so if you are ever in the Charleston or Mt. Pleasant area you’ll want to check out their great Asian restaurant. My brother-in-law is the executive chef there and it is definitely my favorite place to eat in Charleston. Here’s a picture of me struggling through last year’s race. :-)

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