Category Archives: Tech Advice

Church Tech

Unplugged - no computer, no internet, possible?
Get Connected

I proposed video teleconferencing so congregations could connect with their coaches. To me, this would be a simple solution to higher gas prices and long distances separating coaches from congregations. But I was quickly reminded: “Some of our congregations do not even have phone service in their buildings.” “Some rural county libraries do not offer internet access.”

After much passionate discussion, the team tasked me with coordinating a series of workshops on equipping churches. Those workshops would:

  • Hosted in three or four locations within the Presbytery of Wabash Valley (northern Indiana);
  • Demonstrate the benefits of technology to congregations by:
    • linking with distant leaders or experts,
    • communicating with participants, and
    • promoting a congregation’s mission to their neighbors;
  • Allow a local internet service provider to present installation solutions and costs,
    • Each site would host one provider based on local coverage;
    • Limited display space could be provided for alternate providers;
  • Provide solutions for obtaining low-cost/free computers and software; and
  • Send attendees home with a new skill. Skills classes could include:
    • Using video teleconferencing tools: e.g. Skype or GoToMeeting;
    • Creating and maintaining a church website using WordPress;
    • Communicating with members via email (MailChimp, ConstantContact, …);
    • Using social media to promote mission (Twitter, Facebook, …).

How can you help us prepare these workshops?
What skill does your congregation’s leaders need to learn?

Please use your real name and include your church affiliation in your comment.

Useful Appications and Services

The following applications and services have facilitated my work and I hope they help yours.

OpenOffice.Org

This freely distributed productivity software suite satisfies general demands for Word processing, Spreadsheet calculations, Presentation development and display, Graphics, and Data Base management. Its file format conforms to international standards and it imports and exports to most other file formats including MicroSoft Office formats. The community of developers continually adds new features and capabilities.

GIMP

This freely distributed Image Manipulation Program is great for occasional photograph editing and other drawing tasks.

Dropbox

Dropbox provides effortless backup of critical files with encryption or unencrypted to shared or to public folders. Any file copied or saved into a Dropbox folder on your computer is uploaded automatically to their servers for data protection or sharing.

For example, I save worship bulletins into a Dropbox folder that I shared with our church secretary, musician, and tech room. Any changes made by any of us are visible to all of us.

This is a free service for up to 2 Gigabytes of data.

Mail Chimp

Do you email newsletters? This service provides a convenient user interface to freely emailĀ  up to 1000 subscribers. Because images are sent separately, each message is small enough to be delivered to users still on dial-up.

Mail Chimp maintains your old newsletters so your readers can lookup back issues.

Doodle

Need to get a diverse group of people together? Doodle provides a convenient poll to find the date and time when everyone can attend. This service can also be used for voting.