Currently Browsing: Technology

There’s an App for Church Hunters

FaithStreet is an app that will help people find a good church fit.  At least that’s the hope of it’s founder Sean Coughlin.

Churches fill out an online profile with key info on their church.  App users can then find churches that interest them.

The app is funded by online giving (with FaithStreet taking a cut of any giving that comes as a result of people using the app).

It’s kind of like a Yelp app, only for church hunters.

But there’s one difference:  There are no customer reviews. Coughlin says: ”We reject the idea of reviewing churches…A church is much more like a family than it is a restaurant or a mechanic. That means you’ll never be crowned mayor of your church based on how many times you check in. But you’ll also never read a scathing review of the community you love.”

Thoughts?  Great idea?


USA Today recognizes ‘Church in a box’

USA Today recently did an article about churches that have no buildings.

We’ve known about this trend for a long time… but this is totally new to many people.

A church without a building?  uh-huh.

Pretty good video, until the end with the screaming woman and mostly unfilled room.

Regardless, it is a very interesting article…


Are Twitter and Facebook narcissistic?


Researchers found that young adult college students who posted more often on Twitter scored higher in a measure of certain types of narcissism, whose traits include exhibitionism, exploitativeness, and superiority. “Young people may over-evaluate the importance of their own opinions,” communication studies doctorate and researcher Panek said in the statement. “Through Twitter, they’re trying to broaden their social circles and broadcast their views about a wide range of topics and issues.”

As far as middle-aged adult narcissists; the study determined this group posted frequent Facebook status updates as a way to garner approval.

“It’s about curating your own image, how you are seen, and also checking on how others respond to this image,” Panek said.”Middle-aged adults usually have already formed their social selves, and they use social media to gain approval from those who are already in their social circles.”


Read more here.


A look behind the scenes at Joel Osteen’s Social Media Strategy

This is a really cool behind the scenes look at how Joel Osteen Ministries is using social media.  It’s a major piece written over at the Huffington Post.

See if you can find a quote from yours truly somewhere in the article.  :)

Read the article here…

Please do leave your comments below.  What did you think of the article?


Lesson: Images are just that important!

Whether you’re designing a website, brochure, or writing a sermon… people love images.

Here’s what Justin Dean, the Communications Manager for Mars Hill in Seattle says they have learned about images in their social media and web outreach:

Last year I attended a talk at the Seattle Interactive Conference by Ben Huh, the Cheezburger guy. He was explaining why sharing photos and images do so well. His theory was that if you post a link, your followers have to make a decision before clicking it. Even if its just a split second decision, they still have to decide: is this going to take me to something I actually want to see? Will I get a virus if I click on this? Will the image I see be safe for work? Will I be embarrassed that this shows up in my Internet history? It creates enough doubt that most of the time people just pass it by, especially when scrolling briskly through a news feed.

But by posting an image you are breaking down that barrier to entry. As they scroll through their feed, there’s the image. They didn’t have to click anything. They see it, and if they like it they can share it. This is why Twitter previews most links, especially photos in the stream. This is why Instagram does so well. When we realized this we took a look at the types of things we were posting and asked ourselves what could be turned into an image and what had to be text?

We decided to perform a test and converted the following types of posts into images:

  • Scripture
  • Quotes from sermons
  • Quotes from interviews
  • Quotes from books

When we posted a sermon quote as just text in a status update on Facebook, we got very little engagement. Sometimes 20 or so shares and 100 or so likes per post. At the time we thought that was actually pretty good.

When we created an image of the quote, just words on a colorful background or overlayed on a photo, the likes and shares skyrocketed. About 700 shares on average per photo. People love them and because they’re being shared with more people, our followers started going up as well. It was the same content, just delivered in a different way.

Once we knew it was a better way to share this kind of content we then streamlined the way we produced it. For example, each sermon series gets a unique template to the design of the images. So each week our designer can just easily paste in the quote to create a new image and he doesn’t have to come up with some new design every post. It also helps create a fluid brand identity with each sermon series.

He gives some examples here…

Does this make you think differently about how you’re doing things at your church?  Should you be using MORE images?



What is your biggest kingdom challenge?

As part of the Beyond Digital Initiative launching this year, Leadership Network is hosting the Code for the Kingdom hackathon series at some of the most prolific tech development centers of our country to discover new tools and strategies to address the challenges confronting our society, our churches, and our spiritual lives.  Our goal is to bring together some of the top coders and developers in the country to collaborate on designing tech solutions to real life Kingdom challenges.  The first event, hosted in partnership with Carpenter’s Lab and Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, is scheduled for June 28-30 in Silicon Valley.  For this event, we have secured over 100 top technologists from companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Apple, LinkedIn, and eBay to dream about and drive toward new tools to accelerate the mission of the church in our digital culture.

As a valued leader in the church, we want your input as we develop compelling challenges for our first event.  Think about it: If you had unlimited access to over 100 of the most talented coders and developers in the country, what Kingdom challenge would you ask them to address?  To participate, fill out the brief form here.  In the next few weeks, we’ll let you know which challenges will be chosen for the June hackathon.

The first pastor who uses Google Glass to preach could look like this…

Are you like me… anxiously awaiting the release of Google Glass?

I am a self-confessed technology geek and early adopter.  I’m not sure what I’ll do when Google Glass comes out… but I’m sure I’ll be tempted.

And just like when the iPad came out… preachers all across America will be tempted as well… to use Google Glass when they preach.

I just hope that they don’t look like this…

QUESTION:  Do you think Google Glass will take off?  And will we in two years be seeing Google Glass in the pulpit without thinking about it (just like we see iPads now?)

What are your thoughts?

Leave your comment below!


A New Way to Pray? Introducing ORA…

Interesting press release.  Have you considered using technology to help your church’s prayer ministry?

Introducing “ORA” a disruptive technology to promote the oldest form of
recognized religious expression in the Christian and Jewish faiths–prayer. The
ORA system creates a personal mobile experience for the individual and an
enterprise-quality community management platform for any organization to
invite, connect, share, respond and interact with one another in intercessory

“That’s a lot of words to describe it, but ORA’s technology gives us the
ability to do so much more to leverage existing social networks and mobile
devices to connect individuals in the most meaningful relationship they can
have with others and with God,” said Jeff Bone, Chief Marketing Officer for

“ORA collects, organizes, tracks, reminds, connects and securely shares prayer
requests and answers with anyone you choose. ORA does this at a personal and
intimate level with your friends and family through the mobile platform or
‘app’ on your smartphone. ” Stated Dusty Gulleson, ORA Chief Executive Officer.
“We’re looking forward to integrating Ora into the life of both our physical
and online church congregations. What an incredible tool to engage communities
of believers around the power of prayer!” stated Nils Smith, Web Pastor at
Community Bible Church of San Antonio.

Social networks are typically inappropriate “high noise” areas that are not
private enough for many sensitive postings like prayer requests. ORA offers an
environment where prayer is the most important thing. ORA not only makes prayer
available on your smartphone, but it makes comments, reminders and prayer
partners always available too. ORA offers immediate feedback to requests,
questions and comments from prayer partners and helps to track and remind the
user of how prayers are answered immediately or over time. ORA helps you get a
glimpse of the eternal that can be missed when we’re caught up in the stress of
everyday life.

ORA is a free download for iPhone (and is coming soon for Android). The ORA
smartphone app integrates into the ORA Community system. The ORA Community
system is a software as a service (SaaS) solution designed with many more
management features that allows an organization to administer community-wide
prayer communication and easily integrate with existing email, church
management or relationship management software from leading providers. For a
limited time, ORA is offering a no-cost trial of the ORA Community system for
an organization. Visit the ORA website for more information:

Download ORA for the iPhone in the App Store!

Enter ORA’s Apple iPad Mini Giveaway this week!

Would you consider using something like this at your church?


If You Could Ask John Piper One Thing… Oh Wait… You Can!

Recently retired pastor John Piper has found a new way to keep himself busy during his retirement: a mobile app entitled “Ask Pastor John.”

Each day Piper takes five minutes and answers questions submitted by listeners, sharing his responses through the app, which is available through iTunes. This got Todd and Matt thinking about a couple of things:

1. This format sounds eerily similar to Ministry Briefing.
2. This is a great way to leverage available technology.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this effort, let us know:

How can (or have) YOU leveraged podcasts and apps in YOUR ministry?

Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube


Article link

IBM’s 5 in 5: Top innovations that will change the way you work in the next 5 years

Each year for the last seven years, the scientists at IBM have released their list of five innovations that they feel have the greatest potential to change the way we work and live during the next five years.

Here’s what they came up with this year:

1) Touch: You will be able to touch through your phone.  Imagine using your smartphone to shop for your wedding dress and being able to feel the satin or silk of the gown, or the lace on the veil, from the surface on the screen. Or to feel the beading and weave of a blanket made by a local artisan half way around the world. In five years, industries like retail will be transformed by the ability to “touch” a product through your mobile device.

2) Sight: A pixel will be worth a thousand words. We take some 500 billion photos a year, and 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. But computers today only understand pictures by the text we use to tag or title them; the majority of the information — the actual content of the image — is a mystery. In the next five years, systems will not only be able to look at and recognize the contents of images and visual data, they will turn the pixels into meaning, making sense out of it similar to the way a human views and interprets a photograph.

3) Hearing: Computers will hear what matters.  Ever wish you could make sense of all the sounds around you and be able to understand what’s not being said? Within five years, distributed systems of clever sensors will detect elements of sound such as sound pressure, vibrations and sound waves at different frequencies.

4) Taste: Digital taste buds will help you to eat smarter. What if we could make healthy foods taste delicious using a different kind of computing system built for creativity? IBM researchers are developing a computing system that actually experiences flavor, to be used with chefs to create the most tasty and novel recipes. It will break down ingredients to their molecular level and blend the chemistry of food compounds with the psychology behind what flavors and smells humans prefer.

5) Smell: Computers will have a sense of smell. During the next five years, tiny sensors embedded in your computer or cell phone will detect if you’re coming down with a cold or other illness. By analyzing odors, biomarkers and thousands of molecules in someone’s breath, doctors will have help diagnosing and monitoring the onset of ailments such as liver and kidney disorders, asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy by detecting which odors are normal and which are not.

via Ooh Ooh That Smell — IBM’s 2012 “5 in 5″: Innovations Of The Senses « Turbotodd.


Todd Subscribe to me on YouTube



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