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Our church posts our services on the web.  I have included a link to our church's website.  You can contact our church secretary who can put you in touch with those in charge of the web streaming.


Have fun.

Mavis, Thanks!  These are some great ideas--both for personal worship and for building community by seeing and hearing other worshipers from other parts of the world. 

In our congregation I see people starting to use their Ipads for taking notes on the sermon. A while ago, someone ahead of me was googling pictures or articles related to the sermon topic.   Not sure how I feel about that . . . nice to have access to so much information, but Google isn't connecting God's word to their lives. 

Like so much else in this world--technology is a great gift, but we can choose to use it for good or bad purposes.   I'd love to hear how others are using technology in helpful ways in worship.

I blof for CHrist/God continuously...and have attracted some 230,000 spiritual seekers in the last few months, not nec. Christian but non-the-less seeking a spiritual awakening

Here is a link to the early Christian mystics known as the desert fathers spiritual principles that of all people, a hreat spiritual Jewish fellow made for us! This video is most impressive.

Our website has these principles for all people of all faiths.

I might be Christian, with Pentacostal and Assemblies of God and Catholic roots, but I and our team are trying to save lives of drunks and addicts by making the spiritaul side of recovery  FUN!

So, our webpages bounce ecclecly from PRAYERS to Spiritual Tattoos! I know, that sounds funny, but people are flodding in!

God Bless, Bill Booth, author and project manager.

Here are some of our 12 Step MEDITATION videos too! Anf they are totall pro, and inspirational, geel free to use and re-post them at will.

1) From the edge of the universe (SIN) back to earth, form the Hubble

2) Meditation on the path to spiritual awakening, per the12 steps, set in Yosimite Valley and Big Sur

all from

posted in: Blogging for God?

That sounds like an interesting problem. Maybe a simple solution would be to to have a batch script to move the files on startup? I am curiuos what OS and capture card you are using? Currently I am using Ubuntu with ffmpeg which is an opensource program. There is a windows version as well


posted in: Video Record 101

Andrew, thanks for the post.  The church that I work as campus ministry director at just recently did a remodel and added video recording capabilities.  We are still working through some of the bugs and figuring out the best way to get things done.  Since we don't really have a programmer, I think some of  your ideas, which sound awesome are probably beyond us.  Anyways, that's not what my comment is about.  Like you, we also  use a Hauppauge card to record, although it is different from yours.  What I am wondering is what software you are using to do the actual recording.  Right now we are using the softward that came with the Hauppauge card.  However, the issue we have been having is that after we record three or four services it seems to "max out" or something and when we are done recording a service there is only like 4 seconds that get saved.  But if we move the recordings out of the default folder so that it is empty again, then the problem is solved.  I haven't had a chance to investigate this well, but I would be interested in knowing of a better piece of software out there that we could use.  Preferably open-source.  Thanks for your help!



posted in: Video Record 101

Thanks for your comment, Keith. You make a good point that we in the church can benefit by stepping back -- "unplugging" -- and thinking about where, when and why we will or will not use technology.

Thank you, Allen and Martin, for your comments. It's great to hear actual experiences from those of you active in Twitter. What a powerful story, Martin, of your use of prayer during the manhunt in your community. Isn't it amazing God can be present in the virtual world, too?

posted in: Why Give a Tweet?

Thanks for all the input, everyone, and keep it coming! There's also some information and links to resources in the Church & Web blog, "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered By Backups."

Andrew, thank you so much for sharing such detailed information. This will be very helpful for others as they research and begin video recording at their church. I have referenced your entry in my blog, "What Do You Know About Video?" in the Church & Web section of The Network.

posted in: Video Record 101

Thanks for this excellent resource. One of the better things I've read recently about the value of Twitter in ministry comes from Pastor Keith Anderson, Praying the Manhunt on Twitter. Far from simply a tool for pushing out information or recruiting members, Anderson uses the incident of a manhunt in his community to explain how he was able to practice the craft of ministry during a highly stressful time for all using Twitter.

Martin Davis

posted in: Why Give a Tweet?

As a network Admin, the more you backup the better. Windows 7 has a great backup solution built in. I would suggest purchasing a 2 bay NAS (Network Attached Storage) which supports hot swap mirroring. Then I would use 3 hard drives, leave one drive in the system and swap the second and third disk weekly taking it off site. When it comes to recovery, (and it will) the restore will be fast. Other than that I use google docs as another form of backup and moving files around.

I believe bulletins should be password protected, we post out bulletin on a password protected page. The username and password are posted in the bulletin for members. The main issue I see is not some stranger reading the bulletin but web crawlers (ie google) archiving sensitive information about people. It is interesting googling peoples names and finding out they are on coffee for church.

I like it Mavis.  I've been a social media geek for some time now and have not only deepend my relationships with some of my parishioners -- especially the youth, but we've connected into our community with our church Facebook page.  There aren't many on Twitter here where I live, but I follow many of the movers and shakers in the area of small groups and ministry.  I've taken the time to repost them on Facebook for others to see.  It is a very valuable tool for connecting people too.

posted in: Why Give a Tweet?

Is there anything about today's technology that is NOT helpful .. for the church or the body of Christ or our faith formation?

I led a seminar about a decade ago for Christiann communicators, called Technology Unplugged, which allowed communication types to step back from the latest technology and to critically analyse their impact upon our lives. The Church rarely does that. In fact, the Church has historically embraced technology, though pointing out now and then that there are television programs and internet websites that are not conducive to Christian living.

I wrote a decade ago about the Virtual Church, wondering out loud if, "where two or three are gathered online", that can be called a church. Is it the 'body of Christ' when three 'minds' come together for a theological discussion in a chat room or, for that matter, in the CRC Network?

Is an email or text message a suitable substitute for a pastoral visit? I know of churches that actually consider 'an email connection' as a pastoral visit.

The Church, and more specifically the CRC, has not yet developed a theology of technology. I know of at least one church council that has developed its own set of guidelines about when emails may or may not be used when discussing church business. This came about after a lot of misinterpretation of email messages. The church is a relational body and there are times when technology is best left turned off so that individuals can meet face to face.

Conversely, solar-powered radios with prepackaged gospel messages are being dropped by the thousands into remote areas across South America and Africa ... so there are profoundly efficient ways to spread the gospel.

It is, however, high time that North America's Christian community became unplugged long enough to determine just what is helpful and what is hurtful, technologically-speaking, in order to live the Christian life.

Thanks, John and Mark. Good thoughts. And Mark, thanks for the link to the guidelines for accesiblility. Good reminder.

Whether or not people can read the slides also contributes to, or detracts from, effectiveness. Obviously, if slides are projected when the congregation is invited to stand, then a printed alternative needs to be provided for people who cannot stand. Also, text on the slide needs to be accessible for people with visual impairments. Dr. John Frank wrote some excellent guidelines for using technology in an accessible way.

At a recent meeting, not church related, I witnessed the interesting non-use of technology (powerpoint) by two speakers, who although they had a prepared presentation, decided not to use it, and simply spoke from some notes instead, and left off the projector and slides.  I believe they felt the engagement of the audience increased, and that the audience could live in the moment, in the sponteneity.   So I agree, that thought should be given to this, and that sometimes simply changing the pace is one of the most effective methods of relating the message.

On a side note, not technology related, but somewhat similar, is the use of "liturgy".  I am beginning to find distasteful the common practice of "readings" done by everyone in unison.   To me, it is like bad singing and bad music.   While good readings, ocassionally done, and done for effect, may be uplifting, their common overuse leads to a kind of disharmonious drone that hides rather than helps the message.   Often they are too long, and lack the sponteneity and heart-felt familiarity and sense of renewal that a unison reading should contain.   How often will congregants remember these readings or even be affected by them? 

Rather than so many of these unison readings, perhaps heartfelt "Amen!" s   or repetition of key phrases would be more useful. 

Lets also think to the future, in our area the youth are already migrating to smart phone social networks. To many apps to mention but it adds new realm of possiblities. It much more real time which is the direction these networks are heading.

Hmm, I might just have to use that Teamviewer info for a blog and resource. Thanks, Sherick! I didn't know it was free for non-profits.

Routers are not very expensive.  So you can have 2 set up, one not publicly broadcasting with security for office network and the other open.  Each should have different IP range for added seperation.

 Slightly off topic, I have found Teamviewer to be very useful around the Church as it is free for non-profits.  Handy for those volunteers who want to help but can't always make it to the office during the week.

Thanks, Kyle. Good points and excellent information! (And I love the word "shennanigans". :) )

I have mixed feelings about wifi security. Up until about a year ago, my personal wifi was open and I was in good company: security expert Bruce Schneier wrote a short piece on why he also kept his wifi open.

The good news since then is that consumer router technology has progressed to the point where it's possible to run both open and secured networks from the same router. This option, frequently called a "guest" network or a VLAN, lets visitors to your church (e.g., a guest band) hop on easily without having to track down and share passwords. At the same time, the church's computers can remain on the secured, encrypted network, safe from any shennanigans on the public network.

Some consumer routers (e.g, Netgear's excellent WNR3500L) support guest networks out of the box. On others you can install the open source DD-WRT firmware to add guest network capability (though networking expertise is recommended). DD-WRT also has the option of requiring visitors to agree to terms of service before getting online, similar to how many public wifi spots currnently work.

Security and accessibility are frequently at odds, so give some consideration to how you want your wireless network to be used before securing it.

Sometimes when I need a little break at work and other times at home I visit Sacred Space, a website run by the Jesuits of Ireland, which walks you through a brief devotion and provides internal links to help stimulate your thougts.

When you search, you will want to keep the words together. Youversion will get you there.

The NIV is free on YouVersion, as long as you are connected to the internet. You can only view it online. There are some translations you can download and use offline, but NIV is only available online.

Great, I just found it!

It's a bit hard to find a search for "You Version" doesn't work.  If you just search for Bible and then look for the one that says by it you found it.  The NIV was free when I got it but I don't know if it was a limited time offer...

That's helpful, Kris, thanks. I hadn't been able to find an app that includes the NIV--I'll check it out.

I just started using the YouVersion Bible App for my daily Bible Reading on my IPod.  I'm doing a Chronological read through the Bible.  I can set it up to send me e-mail reminders and encouragement but I haven't used that feature.  The app and the NIV, NLT Message were all free.  I really like the way it keeps track of my progress and keeps me faithful.

This is great, love the ways technology is being used for spiritual growth!

I'll second that!

I get the Today devotional in my inbox every day. It has absolutely made a difference in the consistency of my daily devotions. A book can be neglected on a busy morning, but with that quick devotional and a link to the bible passage right there on my i-phone, I actually do it every day!

It might not be the same for others who don't check their email every day (several times a day) but it certainly works for me.

Our church, Ivanrest CRC in Grandville, MI, did a "Wise Up" series on Proverbs in January.  Pastor Tony Meyer sent out a daily devotional each day via e-mail to those who signed up.  We were challenged as a church to read through Proverbs together and our weekly messages were based on a section of Proverbs.  Our family looked forward to the daily messages and used them for our dinner-time each day.  I also subscribe to The Today via e-mail and pass my Blackberry around to whichever family member volunteers to read devotions at dinner-time.

I didn't know there was an app for the "Today" devotional. ("Today" is a daily devotional published by ReFrame, previously The Back to God Hour. Check out their home page for links to the app - and more information.) How cool is that?! There truly is an app for everything.

Good idea on linking to the Bible Gateway site. I use that site all the time. I'll try to remember to post again and let you know how things go with our Bible study groupo.

Thanks for sharing, Jolanda!

My husband's Iphone is really handy for morning devotions. We use the Today App, which also includes a link to the Bible, so we're never hunting for the little book or the Bible--it's all right there on the phone! 

If you do start sending out emails, you can easily look up the Bible passage in and then send the link to your group. I hope you'll post again to let us know how it works.

I run two personal websites, both on WordPress, and I LOVE the functionality it provides without too much techie knowledge required. Especially with a premiuim theme (I'm partial to StudioPress).

I like the idea of Google Apps, especially because you can put together a pretty decent site FOR FREE on Google Sites. You're a bit limited on what you can do, but not too terribly much. And you get to integrate easily with so many cool Google goodies.

We currently use WordPress hosted on Comparable in price to But it does require a bit more tech knowledge than Google sites.

We purchased our domain through GoDaddy, a choice I regret now that I see their commercials.

In god we trust. AMIN!

Great input, Robert. It sounds like you've got a lot of expertise and insight on this topic - thank you!

What a good point that there is a different "problem" than just clear words. I love the idea that we can use our visuals, as we try to use all our gifts, to help us -- and others -- experience God more fully.

Thanks a million for those $.02.  :)

A great resource for principles and suggestions on "slide" design is: A Guidebook for Visual Worship by Stephen Proctor. You can purchase it here.

Also, as a comment, I'd like to see us think more in terms of communicating visually as opposed to simply putting text on a screen in a way that is readable. Certainly text communicates, and it would be hard to sing a song without the words, but it seems the "problem" we are trying to overcome is more profound than "we needed the words and we didn't want to get a book out." I would contend that the "problem" to solve is our disconnection from our God, and that good visuals, whether on the screen or in the stained glass or projected on the walls help us experience God in a way that words alone cannot.

Just my $.02


There is an article in the network called "How to Use Facebook at Your Church" that will give you some good basic information. Also, if you do a search for "Facebook" on the site you'll find quite a lot of resources.

If you need something just for your church members, you would probably want to use something else. If you'd like to share what specifically you are trying to do in regard to information for your members only, we very likely have resources on the Network for those purposes as well. Let us know.

When you use Facebook for your church, you typically would not be protecting it from others or keeping it secure. The whole idea of Facebook is to share information, not keep it protected. It's a great way to connect with people where they're at, and to publicize events and share photos and news. You might think of it more similar to your church's public website than a private, for-your-church-members-only tool.

For example, our church, along with two others, is planning a city-wide 9-11 memorial service. One way we are spreading the word is through Facebook. I posted information and a link about the event on our church Facebook page and invited everyone to share it with their Facebook friends. In this way, the word gets out and multiplies -- besides those who are fans of our page, as those fans post it, the word gets to their friends. And if their friends post it, it gets to their friends, and so on and so on.

Hope this helps!


I have been a administrator for 4 years and I am seriously considering trying to implement for our church.  I think I could get it to manage just about every process we have.  Have you actually implemented it or are you just speculating?  I would like to see some real-world examples of what other churches have done.

BTW-  The Chatter feature would be HUGE for communication between ministry leaders (think Sunday School) and volunteers to communicate schedules, whether a sub is needed, etc.  Just give all volunteers a Chatter account (perhaps even a very limited account) and then everyone can communicate.

We are debating the pros & cons about going on Facebook. Can you provide more information? How can it be used to bring information to our members? How secure is it? How can it be protected so that those outside of our church do not have access to it? Would like feedback for churches who already are using facebook and if they are happy with it.

Thanks for your help, Eva

Wow, @Tim, you declined your chance at 15 minutes of fame! ;-) Probably a smart move. But, yes, wouldn't it be great if Google would change their minds? Seems to me it'd fit right in with their motto of "Do no evil." (That's them, right?)

Interesting. I can completely understand why companies want to differentiate between various types of non-profits. I just hope that Google considers adopting Microsoft's approach of setting up a separate program for religious organizations.

Update: I just got a call from FOX & Friends. They saw Matt Branaugh's Christianity Today article and asked if I'd be interviewed for a segment on their show.

I declined, but it's interesting how this little discussion thread can turn into something bigger. And, even in declining, maybe Google will see

rel="nofollow">my tweet about it and reconsider their stance

. Not super-likely, but one can always hope!

Tim, very cool you were quoted because of the network. Very UN-cool that Google has made this change. Maybe they'll change their mind? I guess that's a slim chance, but we can hope.

Christianity Today just posted a story about this - Google Cuts Churches Out of Non-Profit Program

Matt Branaugh's reporting answered some of the questions I had (especially the part about existing churches getting grandfathered in). BTW, the reason I was quoted was because he saw this discussion on The Network. Cool, eh?

Michael -

I checked with our CRCNA IT department, and here's what I found...

First of all, some of the big-name vendors that most churches are interested in (e.g. Adobe, Microsoft) can't be purchased at a non-profit discount through TechSoup's purchasing program (see their list for religious organizations). So it may be better to use TechSoup for information, but then check on the vendor's website or through a local reseller to see if you qualify. Or, just check some of the big-box stores to see what the pricing is like there.

If you do want to purchase through TechSoup AND you have your own 501c3, go for it. But, as you point out, many churches don't have their own 501c3 because they can all fall under the CRCNA's umbrella (as I understand it at least). While it would be technically possible to associate the CRCNA's TechSoup account with that of individual churches, the benefits are mediocre at best. Not only because of the issue above, but because many of the vendors further restrict purchasing to organizations below a certain $ threshold (e.g. Sage is under $500,000 so the CRCNA account doesn't qualify). And other vendors restrict the number of licenses an organization can get (one license among all the CRCs won't go far!). And we'd need to think about how the payments would be handled (does payment/invoice info get saved with the organization profile?). Our IT department is on the lookout for deals they can extend to churches, but they've judged that this one has too many limitations to make the benefits worthwhile.

Having said all that, if there's a specific software that, after doing your research, you find fully qualifies for purchasing under the CRCNA TechSoup account and is not limited to a single license and can save your church big bucks...send me a direct message through The Network and we can see if we can make it happen for you.

Even without using their purchasing program, the TechSoup website is a valuable source of information for churches. So check it out even if you don't use the purchasing side of it.

Hope this helps!

Good suggestion but Techsoup requires that you be a 501C3 registered organization which many if not most churches are only an implied 501c3. There is a way around it but to date I have not been able to make it work. Since the local congregation is a "branch" of the parent denomination "CRC", they can use their 501c3. The CRC has a subscription to Techsoup (according to Techsoup) but the CRC office does not know the account number or how to access so those CRC congregations that could be using the great resources of Techsoup can not because they can't get access without going through the long and usually costly process of obtaining their own 501c3. If you know how to get the info from the CRC offices in regard to Techsoup and can share it with our congregation, please do.

Tim, I had heard about Google's change and tried to find something official about it. I saw, as you did, the wording on their guidelines. I couldn't find anywhere where they'd made a statement about the change, but I guess that it would make sense they wouldn't do that. It's a shame. I felt kind of betrayed when I heard about it, after thinking how wonderful it was that Google offered the free licenses to churches.

Kyle, I like your idea. I wish Google would come out and say something.

I've seen this more and more in a post-9/11 world. Businesses are shying away from supporting non-profit organizations that prosthelytize. No business want to risk having their product linked to a radical extremist. Some organizations, like Microsoft, have a separate (but still very good) license for religious organizations. Hopefully Google will consider having something like this, as well as grandfathering in existing religious customers.