Goodbye But Not Farewell
For 10 years I have focused my career on working with churches to help them communicate creatively and use technology effectively. I have had the great pleasure of working with dozens of churches, ministries and non-profits. I met many creative and passionate individuals along the way whom I am honored to have worked alongside.
Last week I worked my last day at Henderson Hills Baptist Church, bringing an end to my career in paid ministry. I will be forever grateful for Henderson Hills. My time there means more to me than many know. My friends there shared and supported me through many important moments in my life including the adoption of two of our children and the birth of our youngest daughter.
I will miss my friends at HHBC. I will especially miss “Soup Group” and the color orange.
I am looking forward to my new career in eCommerce and branded products. I will bring the same creativity, savvy and resourcefulness to my new responsibilities and will passionately work to help businesses, small and large, realize their dreams.
I believe that Henderson Hills will continue to positively impact the Oklahoma City metro just as your work, wherever you may be, will impact your own communites. God is moving in His Church.
Thanks again to everyone I had the pleasure of meeting along the way. It’s been a good run.
“…we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation.” - Oswald Chambers
Evernote for Pastors – A Better Way To Do Ministry
Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Ben Stroup. Ben and Ron Edmondson have put together an eBook called, A Guide to Evernote for Pastors. Friends, I love Evernote. For the uninitiated, Evernote is awesome. Evernote is also a web-based note taking tool that works on almost any computer and mobile device. Read more about how to use this great tool for ministry below.
- Staff conversations.
- Special Events.
- Random Thoughts and Ideas.
How do you keep track of it all without losing your mind (and maybe even your religion)?
If you’re like most pastors, you’ve forgotten more ideas than you’ll ever remember. As it often happens, inspiration comes at the most inopportune times like when you’re driving.
What if there was a better way to…
- Collect Information?
- Prepare for sermons?
- Plan Meeting Agendas?
- Take notes on impromptu meetings and phone calls?
- Share your ideas and collaborate with key staff and lay leaders?
Ministry is complex. Being a pastor is daunting. And between hospital visits, meetings, and family, being in the office is sometimes impossible. The good news (no, not that Good News) is that Evernote allows pastors to excel at those things that can make the difference between getting by and excelling at relationships, teaching/preaching, staff management, and program planning.
Technology provides tools that most pastors aren’t aware of and don’t have the time to figure out. The paradox is that pastors can’t afford NOT to know about and leverage the tools to advance their ministry efforts. If they don’t adapt, they leave ministry capacity on the table. That would be unfortunate and unnecessary.
Ron Edmondson and I have talked a lot about this. Since we both love Evernote, we decided to provide a guide that connected the tool with the pastor. This is not a user guide. There are those available. We believe pastors don’t need more information. Rather, they need context to help them understand how others are using the tool in ways that might help them understand how it can benefit them.
Ron is a pastor, blogger, and consultant. He “gets” Evernote and can’t imagine his life without it now. This project will bridge the gap, save you the learning curve, and get you jump-started using a tool that will change your ministry habits.
There is a better way to do ministry. And Evernote can help.
Just a quick note to let you know that Signboard (the affordable DIY digital signage solution for churches) has been updated with support for time zones and DST. This was done to help insure that the time offset for events coming from Google Calendar stay correct throughout the year.
The updated files are available for download now. The specific file that was updated is left.php (which parses the events for the left ticker on the default configuration.
For the uninitiated, Signboard is a cheap, DIY digital signage solution for churches. Built in Flash and managed in the cloud. More info at http://www.getsignboard.com
If you’re using Signboard, don’t forget to email me a photo.
The Opportunities Boomers Provide
For Christmas my in-laws got me a subscription to Entrepreneur Magazine. In addition to the issues I have to look forward to, they mailed me a collection of back issues and while thumbing through these I read an article about the aging Baby Boomer generation and the opportunities for business that they provide. Consider these stats:
- 77 million people were born between 1946 and 1964, which is defined as the baby boomer era (U.S. Census).
- By 2015, those aged 50 and older will represent 45% of the U.S. population (AARP).
- By 2030, the 65-plus population will double to about 71.5 million, and by 2050 will grow to 86.7 million people (U.S. Census).
Holy smokes, that’s a lot of people! Now you might be thinking that this would be a great time to start that consulting business where you send an army of patient techies into the suburbs to walk the Boomers through Facebook, connect their printers and program their universal remotes. But before you bounce to Craig’s List, consider the following:
- One-third of the 195.3 million Internet users in the U.S., adults aged 50+ represent the Web’s largest constituency (Jupiter Research).
- Two-thirds of Americans age 50-64 use the Internet (SeniorNet).
- Email is the most popular online activity among 50+ users, followed by web browsing, research, and shopping (ThirdAge and JWT Boom).
- 72% of baby boomers have broadband Internet in their homes (ThirdAge and JWT Boom).
- By the end of 2007, the number of mature social networkers is expected to top 20 million (Deloitte).
What’s it mean? Unlike my grandparents (I’m 29) my kids’ grandparents are online, sending email to their friends and family, surfing the webs, and using social networks like Facebook. A large majority of them are doing it at home with broadband connections. So while your market for your consulting business may have diminished, this still presents many opportunities for your church.
What’s This Mean for the Church?
If your congregation is of the more mature variety, there are some ways you can be using technology to connect with and minister to them.
- Email Newsletter
Email is the most popular feature of the internet used by those who are 50+ years old. Not web browsing or RSS. Why not offer an email newsletter to keep those who prefer email engaged. Take your message to where they are! I like ConstantContact.com but many other options are available. Not ready to face the cost of another web service? Give RSS to Email subscription services like Feedburner.com a try.
- Video on Demand
Friends, 2010 was a big year for internet video. Hulu went plus, Netflix got mobile and Apple’s AppleTV sold a million units (not bad for a hobby). I’m predicting the next year to be bigger for video. More content, more devices, more viewers. As Boomers enter into retirement, you may find them stuck at home due to health issues or (hopefully) enjoying their new freedom and traveling. By making sure your video content is being podcast or accessible via a Roku set-top box, you’ll continue ministering to those who are unable to make it to weekend services. Speaking of Roku, those things are cheap (starting at $69). Wouldn’t it be cool if a group of people from the church raised enough money to buy several Roku boxes and then visited members of the congregation who were home-bound, installed the boxes and showed them how to get teaching and worship services on demand? I think so!
Is your mom on Facebook? She may be soon. Boomers are flocking to the social network. If you don’t already have a Facebook page for your ministry, now is the time, there are lots of reasons to have a presence on Facebook.
What ideas do you have for reaching Baby Boomers with technology? Are you doing the above? Are you trying something new? Please, let us know in the comments!