Give Your Website a Fresh Look!

11 Mar

Church websites get a bad rap most of the time. There aren’t many leaders that like to spend the expensive hourly rate for a web designer to spruce up their website. So, the church website suffers.

Don’t be fooled, though. Your church website is extremely important. It’s one of the first impressions people come in contact with along with your parking lot attendants, nursery workers, and bulletin. I also can’t stress how important online giving is for your church. (We’ll deal with that in the next post.)  Oh, and get a Facebook page.

WordPress has made the maintenance of websites easy for church administrators. (If you don’t have a web guy.) Today, it’s easy to find themes that incorporate WordPress. The one our church ended up using was MintThemes.com. The cost is definitely not free. Their templates are going for $79, but many competitors are more expensive. They also have themes designed with churches specifically in mind.

Bottom Line:

The Good:

  • $79 will beat any invoice from a website designer. 
  • You get to see what your site looks like before you buy it.

The Bad:

  • $79 isn’t free. If you’d like free, WordPress has some free templates.
  • You do need someone with a little web/FTP knowledge to get your template setup. (MintThemes has a walk-through guide as well.)

Font Squirrel: Best Free Fonts

9 Dec

Site: Fontsquirrel.com
Price: Free

Free fonts aren’t hard to come by. (I’m sure you’ve tried 1001freefonts.com and dafont.com.) But great free fonts are hard to come by. Recently, I came across Fontsquirrel.com, which gives free quality fonts that are also free for commercial use. The website is clean and easy to get around.

Screen Shot 2013-11-25 at 11.26.57 PM

If you know of any more sites that produce quality free fonts, please comment below.

 

A Culture of Appreciation

2 Dec

A Culture of Appreciation

Thanksgiving is over, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop thanking people. This is especially true if you are a leader in a church or non-profit. In for-profit businesses, people will keep coming to work even if they aren’t noticed. Not always true for those that are volunteering their time week after week. That doesn’t mean that the cause isn’t great. It just means we have to reiterate time and time again how much we appreciate people that volunteer their time.

So, how do we intentionally do that?

1. Create a culture of appreciation

One mass email of appreciation to your team won’t do it. Try to think of ways you can implement appreciation into your system on a regular basis. There’s a pastor that has a party for his volunteers at the end of every year. There’s another church leader who created a team name for those who served to make them feel a part of something special. At our church, we’ve started implementing monthly and annual awards of excellence for those that volunteer their time. It does 2 things: 1) Allows people to feel like their work is appreciated. 2) Allows people to strive for excellence.

2. Go analog over digital

A hand written card or a sincere “Thank you!” will always beat a text, email, or tweet. You know which one you’d rather have. Then, why do we keep sending out mass emails and tweets? When giving appreciation, always go public and personal. We usually get the public part down; A post on Facebook or an announcement from the podium. Personal appreciation is more important than public, though. If people don’t feel that we appreciate them when we’re not in a microphone or on Facebook, they might wonder if we are actually thankful for them or if we just say that about everyone. Yes, have appreciation parties, but don’t forget the power of the personal “thank you”.

3. Keep it fresh

Pizza parties are cool every once in a while, but even free food gets old. Try to shake it up. When I was a kid, my mom had a red plate for special occasions. If I got a good grade on a test or it was my birthday, I got to eat with the red plate. It’s something so small, but it meant the world to me, because I knew that plate was saved for special occasions. What could be a “red plate” for your team? If there is a reserved parking spot at your church, could you let someone who is excelling have it for a month? Try to keep thinking of ways to keep the special from becoming the mundane.

We will never regret saying “thank you”.  It allows people to feel valued. That’s what we all want isn’t it?

Tick: A New To-Do App

26 Nov

Price: $1.99
Available at the App Store

It seems like there’s a new to-do app coming out every week. Every once in a while, though, something stands out. Tick is one of the most fun, and as it proclaims, one of the most customizable to-do apps out there.

TICK-Screen

 

There are a couple of things that really stand out about Tick. This app looks slick. You can choose an icon for your to-do list and make it any color you want it. I’m a visual person, and love the use of icons in this app.

Obviously, this can easily be used for shopping lists, but this is great for church leaders, who are wearing multiple hats most of the time. Use a music note icon for your music ministry to-dos. Use a phone icon for absentees. There are a few things missing for truly organized people, but overall this is a great app to tackle your to-do lists. I still prefer Producteev for more detailed organization.

The Pros

  • Customizable
  • Slick design
  • Share lists

The Cons

  • Priced at $1.99
  • Can’t prioritize items on list
  • Can’t add dates to items

If you have your Bible Apps

26 Sep

If you have your Bible Apps

More and more people are using their phones as their Bible.

According to newly released report from the American Bible Society:

Four in ten Bible readers (41%) used the Internet on a computer to read Bible content during the past year, while 29% searched for Bible verses or Bible content on a smart phone or cell phone, 26% listened to an audio version of the Bible, 26% listened to a teaching about the Bible via podcast, and 17% read an electronic version of the Bible on an e-reader such as a Kindle or iPad.

One of the most used Bible apps is blatantly called Bible by Lifechurch.tvHere are a few things in the Bible app you may have missed:

  • Bible Plans – You can do the One Year Plan or sign up for devotional plans.
  • Bookmarks – Bookmarks might seem pretty general, but Bible makes Bookmarks effective.
    • Title – You can add a title for your bookmark. Try putting the same title for the passages you’re using in a study. (Ex. Faith I, Faith II)
    • Labels – Labels has to be the greatest thing in Bible! You can add as many labels as you want to a selected text. For instance, 1 Corinthians 6:12 says “I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but I will not be mastered by anything. For this text you might label “gluttony” and “self-control”. Then, you can go back and filter by your labels. So, obviously, if you’re doing a Bible study on “faith” you can select the label “faith” and all of your scriptures with “faith” tagged will show up.

In conclusion, whether we like it or not, it’s becoming so much easier to study on our mobile devices. The Bible app makes it very easy to do a Bible study right from your phone.

Lift app creates a community for personal growth

27 Aug

Lift app creates a community for personal growth

Price: Free
Site: Lift.do/app

Reading your Bible and praying are two of the most important hobbies in our Christian walk. Being consistent, though, is like tackling a monster. Yes, there are reminder apps, like Reminder and Producteev, but for the most part they don’t keep you accountable. Accountable; That’s the key word.

Enter stage right: Lift. Lift has collided social networking with good habits/productivity. Isn’t it so much easier to exercise if you know you’re doing it with someone else? It’s the same with being consistent with our devotional time.

Lift helps attain goals through 3 steps:

  • Set a goal
  • See your progress
  • Get support from others.

Now, Lift is not created specifically for devotion time, but it is great at one thing: creating a positive community for personal growth. You can sign up for habits from Exercising to Reading to Stop Drinking Soda to Bible Reading.

How does it work?

  • Sign up for a new habit. (e.g., Read the bible, Exercise, etc)
  • Set a reminder.
  • Sign in and log whenever you complete your habit.
  • If you sign in for two days in a row you start a streak.
  • Other members of the community also sign in and log their habits.
  • People give “props” (Just like Facebook’s Like or Google’s +1) and can leave encouraging words on each others log ins.

How can this help my church or ministry?

One of the greatest features about Lift is that you can create your own groups and habits. Here’s how this would work for your church:

  • Create a group for your church or ministry. (e.g., “Good Habits with 1st Church”)
  • Create habits like “Read your Bible”, or “Read 7 Steps to being a Great Dad” .
  • Everyone in the group can comment and give “props” to each other’s progress.

3 reasons MisterNifty likes Lift:

1. Community - Lift creates a positive community for accomplishing Christian goals.
2. Progress  - Lift helps you go beyond a bookmark in your Bible and allows you to see real progress with your friends.
3. Good Habits - There are other apps out there like Lift, but they promote productivity. Lift promotes good habits. (I’m guessing Miley Cyrus isn’t on Lift.)