Discussion Topic
 

 The One Year Bible journey in 2011! 

Should CRC start an Internet Bible study journey similar to The One Year Bible Journey http://www.oneyearbibleblog.com/2011/01/january-21st-one-year-bible-readings.html 

This blog has currently  over 12,300 people in 73 countries around the...

January 21, 2011 0 1 comments
Blog

Imagine having an additional source of funds to help your church. On top of that, imagine you don't even have to do anything once it's setup in order to receive a check each month. You could do this by adding text or banner ads to your church's website which could bring in money that could be used to help pay bills, fund programs and more

January 10, 2011 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

I would like to give a very much appreciated Thanks to whom ever is responsable for the change in the Captha thingy. That was very difficult at times to read when my vision varies daily.

Thanks Guys

Ken

January 7, 2011 0 2 comments
Blog

My previous blog post focused on using Google Voice at your church to minimize costs, and provide important features, especially in small churches. Now we'll talk about ways to save money and provide functionality usually only found in large telephone switches (PBXs).

January 3, 2011 0 0 comments
Q&A

Looking for an affordable Christian Web Host and content management software, etc.  Who does your Church use?    Have reveiewed several but seem to be fairly expensive.  We are currently using MS Frontpage but would like something more user friendly for staff.  Any suggestions?

Thanks,...

December 28, 2010 0 9 comments
Blog

If you are part of a small church or even run one, there's many ways that you can leverage technology to save money, be more efficient and provide consistent service at the church. This is part one of a two part blog post focusing on telephones and telephone service to help your church. This first part provides tips to using Google Voice at your church.

December 21, 2010 0 0 comments
Blog

There is a feature that almost every church has on their website, is difficult to navigate and doesn’t integrate into other services easily. This feature is a calendar or listing of events. Services like Google Calendar allow you to embed a calendar easily into your website. ..

December 8, 2010 0 3 comments
Blog

I'm sure at some point various titles of blog posts or articles on different networks have piqued your curiosity and caused you to click to read the full post; it has for me. Even though this Network focuses on your church's website and online presence there are some posts on different networks that involve areas relevant here. I'd like to point out several different posts that would be valuable for you to read, or would be great areas for you to provide your insight and experience.

November 22, 2010 0 0 comments
Blog

Do you expect your website visitors to know how to do Boolean searches? What about expecting them to search your site using the built-in search tool of your CMS? To help visitors search your site, you can use the power of the big search engines (Google and Bing) to provide custom search boxes for your site.

November 15, 2010 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

I. Using projectors during worship services
A.  Background and color contrast

It is easiest to read projected text when the contrast is a solid, medium-blue background with plain, yellow letters. A darker background, (black, brown, or darker blue) with white or yellow letters creates...
November 4, 2010 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

Hi fellow brothers and sisters in Christ,

   I hope this doesn't sound narcisstic, but the captcha is a frustrating impedment to those of us with issue's of vision and brain dysfuction. Just writing that last statement requied about seven correction on my part.

   Maybe we could...

November 3, 2010 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

I just became aware of the site www.TakeThemAMeal.com which is a "free online tool for coordinating the delivery of meals to someone in need".

Has anyone used this site? It seems like it could be a real time-saver compared to doing it all by phone.

October 26, 2010 0 1 comments
Blog

One of the most common reasons to visit a church's website is to find the church's address, worship times, or phone number. In fact, it is probably on the home page of your website so that it is easy and quick to find. It should not only be listed on your website but on Bing Local Listings, Google Places and Yahoo! Local as well.

October 25, 2010 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

I'm interested in following a few active (at least 2-3 posts/week) church Facebook pages. Is your church on Facebook? Please post a link so I can check out the page. Thanks!

October 7, 2010 0 17 comments
Blog

Even if your church doesn't have a website or will never start using Twitter or Facebook, I'm sure your church records sermons. With tape players obsolete and CD players common, it would be good to make the switch to recording your service digitally if you haven't yet. Not only will this be more compatible with your church listeners, but will allow you to easily podcast your sermon.

October 6, 2010 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

I'm wondering what other churches post on a "members only" section of their church website.  Online directory? Prayer updates? Bulletin? Newsletter? Any other suggestions?

September 30, 2010 0 8 comments
Blog

A while ago I wrote an article detailing several items that every church website should include no matter the size of their church or website. Mick Mel's recent post "Don’t be like a “University Website"" details many of the items I mentioned along with several items that are unnecessary on your church's homepage. Most of the items are aimed at presenting a good impression for your church, but also help with not frustrating return visitors.  

September 23, 2010 0 2 comments
Blog

More and more software programs are becoming available online or 'in the cloud'. Currently, there are several popular services like Google Docs or now Microsoft Office Web Apps that make working in the cloud advantageous. Recently, Intuit unveiled Quickbooks Online which allows an organization to manage their books, run reports and more online. Now those who keep track of the church's finances and books can do so in the cloud. 

September 13, 2010 0 1 comments
Blog

Another simple and quick way to add value to your church is to have email addresses at the church’s domain. Many times church staff or leaders create email accounts with the provider of their internet service, or through free providers like Yahoo (Yahoo email), Google (Gmail), or Microsoft (Live Mail, Hotmail).

September 6, 2010 0 0 comments
Blog

Over two decades ago Nike coined the phrase "Just do it". While this has taken on numerous meanings, the original meaning still rings true: even if it's not going to be perfect or close to perfect, just do it anyways. If you are waiting for the perfect moment and for everything to come together perfectly, it's probably not going to. Instead, take the first small steps, and go from there.

August 30, 2010 0 1 comments
Blog

Have you ever visited a video church? Do you wonder how a church works with video feed of the sermon? 

August 24, 2010 0 4 comments
Resource, Article

Salesforce, like Google Apps, is available to non-profits for free, so I truly am not selling anything. I am writing this article to tell you about how I've set up Salesforce for our church to track membership and our offerings. 

August 19, 2010 0 12 comments
Discussion Topic

I just heard about Wiggio (http://wiggio.com/), a program that allows you to connect with groups in a number of ways. It sounds helpful for ministry teams. Youth Leaders or Sunday School coordinators could use it to send text messages to teachers/leaders, poll them about possible dates for...

August 19, 2010 0 1 comments
Blog

Look up; at the top of the window. Up in the address bar is the URL of this website. Have you looked at the addresses that your website is using? Your church is probably using a system (CMS) that automatically creates the URL for a page based on a template. Usually the default is for ugly unusable URLs. However, with most of the popular CMSs there are options to change the way URLs are structured.

August 17, 2010 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

Salesforce, like Google Apps, is available to non-profits for free. I am writing this article to tell you about how I've set up Salesforce for our church to track membership and our offerings.

August 10, 2010 0 6 comments

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Thanks so much. Great church website, too.

The more the merrier! I'll be posting up a storm there later today :)

Thanks for the link. I'm the random Californian who just "liked" your page!

We have a relatively active Facebook page at http://facebook.com/NewHopePowell. It's been quiet this week because I've been too busy to post (!), but normally I post at least once a day.

Although I post frequently, there's not a lot of two-way conversation on our page; I've tried a number of things to get people to participate more, but apparently haven't hit on the right strategy.

This sounds intriguing. From my experience everyone has a way to collaborate but is on a different platform which makes it difficult for everyone to participate without learning something new. I'm curious if Wiggio solves this. It seems that when deciding how to collaborate you need to choose between a platform that is feature-rich and one that is familiar or used by a high percentage of the group. I would usually go with the option that more people are familiar with, otherwise participation can be low. So, Facebook or email groups are becoming / staying a easy way to connect and have good involvement / participation even they they lack important features. 

I use JW Player for Flash on the church website to play the mp3 files

We at the Duncan Christian Reformed Church also use Audacity. We upload the audio files to our website: two sermons morning and evening. No archiving of sermons. Works great!

our website is located at http://www.duncancrc.org

Sharon makes an excellent point here.  For a denomination with some shrinking churches in some remote areas who struggle to find pastors who will view them as more than a stepping stone and who face budget concerns, this is a fantastic solution.  The Church of God (Anderson, IN) denomination is experimenting with this across the rural areas of northern Michigan right now - Mio, Rose City and others have the messages piped in.

Sharon also points out another astute obervation - we've often assumed through our history that the majority of pastors have the spiritual gift of public speaking.  While many do, this could really be a blessing by giving smaller or planted churches top-notch preaching as well as top-notch giftedness in other areas if they were to, say, use video messages from a gifted preacher and hire a gifted campus pastor.

posted in: Video Church

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll add something in the article about recommended ways of recording or link to some posts describing it and with tips. I see you found the forum too and discusses this. Maybe some people will be inclined to share their setup there.

There are some good devices out there for recording straight from the board, but I believe the cost increases dramatically when it records in more formats than just mp3. I'll see if I can remember them.

Some great thoughts. Thanks, Sherick! A simple line out from the sound board to any kind of digital recorder would save us the time-consuming task of having to join the disconnected chapters our audio folk create to assist listeners who like to skip forward or back within a sermon.

I am suprised there was no suggestions in the article as what hardware or software might be used to record the podcast with. Perhaps that is due to the many possible choices.  However I will mention some free things that work for our Church.  We use a linux PC running ubuntu (free OS) with Audacity as the software to record from the soundboard directly.  Audacity is free for both linux and windows PCs.  We record the whole service (our sound person does the recording as well so starting recording before service makes sure they don't forget)  save project then edit down to sermon only.  Now you can remove humming with audacity as well and export to mp3 for upload.   However I have found exporting to a wav file and then using a program called Foobar2000 (also free) produces the best sound quality small file and I tried ALOT of programs of all kinds.  Recently for personal work I was doing I had to get the Adobe sofware suite for video and sound editing.  I find that Soundbooth from Adobe does a great job of tweaking the audio for podcasting, but it is not free and quite expensive.  So I take the wav on USB jump drive from Church and run it through soundbooth at home and then use foobar2000 to make the mp3.  I have been thinking of using a good quality dedicated MP3 recorder instead of the computer, but I wonder how reliable they are as well as possibly needing to edit it and losing quality.  Editing a mp3 and resaving as a mp3 tends to degrade its quality.  If anyone has ideas on it I would like to hear them.  Here is a direct link to a recent sermon which is 41min long and about 13MB in size if you would like to hear.  feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossroadsCrcSermons/~3/LgzOGkxSQ1E/9122010am.mp3

I'm very intrigued by this idea.  We recently visited a church that had several locations linked by video feed.  We were at the main (live) service, so I don't know what it felt like in the other venues.  I understand that each venue in this church has its own identity -- some use more traditional worship music, some more contemporary, some are smaller, some larger.  The things I like (in theory) about the idea: it allows for a variety of worship styles while still having the message and discussion in common; it allows for smaller communities within a very large community; it allows for greater flexibility of space.

An extension of the idea -- video (recorded) messages -- might also be used for churches that are between pastors or that struggle with quality pulpit supply during a pastor's vacation.  Could that idea also be useful in churches where a pastor's gifts are geared more toward community care than to preaching, or perhaps where they are overwhelmed with other duties?  It seems we expect an awful lot of pastors; this may be a way to play to their strengths while still offering good, solid preaching.

 

posted in: Video Church

 Personally, I do not like Intuit products. They are designed to expire in a few years causing you to reinvest the same amount to get the networking features again.  Organizations using their products better have an exit plan or have deep products!

 In a large church, exactly who is supposed to do the jumping in? and under what authority?

Usually those that are supposed to approve the project like to see a plan:  What are you going to do, how much will it cost, what will you say about us?  Are privacy concern been met?  May we see some of the proposed pages?

A Smaller church can go faster... once a volunteer has come forward to do it!

I find it rather interesting that the Acuff blog actually had more to do with judgementalism and theological bickering than "avatarism".  I fully expected it to be about Christians disregarding their beliefs altogether and becoming a online terrors.  Which happens regularly, in gaming or in communities.  Christians shurk off any "religious censorship" they would normally heed to and run amok because no one is the wiser.

The problem, in either situation, comes down to not being personal relationship.  It is easy to treat someone poorly when there is no personal give and take or, more importantly, love.  And this carries over into offline communication as well.  I'm sure many of us have known non-Christians who have been completely turned off by the faith because a Christian that they barely knew treated them with finger-wagging and condemnation rather than the love of Christ.  Which then puts up a wall for future interactions.

I've been involved in a number of internet communities in the last decade and I've always tried to approach it with authenticity of character and of faith.  Most of these communities have not been faith-based, but I've walked away from some great relationships and very positive experiences.  And, of course, I've had to put up with a number of jerks.

Our church - Heritage in Byron Center has done this in our ark/ gym ( we call it Worship in the ARK) It first was an experiment, but now has become part of our culture. Alreaqdy several community families have joined the church due to this alternative worship. It really is primarily a simulcast of the sanctuary Worship. However, we do it around tables, with coffee and an extended time of mutual greeting while the offering and other portions of worship take place in the sanctuary. We have a lay person facilitate or lead the group. We have only recently added live music. We have been pleased by how many appreciate this more relaxed atmosphere. We have a volunteer tech team and a number of roaming greeters to welcome people and make contact. It has really unleased a participation spirit in worship.

One elderly woman joined us for the last months of her life. She was so appreciative of the effort, as she felt she otherwise could not have worshipped with the congregation due to her physical condition. Many do not realize that a formal worship setting is so intimidaitng to many. We have many drop in visitors from the congregation who are impressed by the worshipful tone. Obviously the message is the same.

This is a great cost effective way to Advance our Redeemer's Kingdom - ARK

posted in: Video Church

A church I attended for a while had live video going to different 'venues' in the building and now has different video campuses around town.

A couple of things that they did that were:

  • They had the people that were going to attend the new campus meet first at the current location for several months but in a different room with live video. This prepared this congregation so it was ready and accustomed to this type of service so that when the time came to move they were just get used to the new space not the people around them and the format.
  • They had a live band and a pastor in each room. Only the sermon was on video
  • The rooms were intentionally not marketed as overflow rooms. In fact, participation (singing, litany) was the same. Over churches use the video rooms as overflow the people in these room don't participate and leave very early.

The costs for the equipment for doing a service like this are dramatically less than the past. Also the difficulty of setting it up has followed the same trend.

posted in: Video Church

I'm not an online gamer at all, but I do once in a rare while check out "comments" that appear with an article or blog.    I'm often "yucked out" by what I read....    OK, I'm on this side of 60 (yrs, not mph) but still.....   some things are just over the top no matter what age you are.    SO - I found this post by Angela to be a really helpful perspective.   There IS a way to engage on the web and not be stampeded by other peoples' behavior - I mean stampeded into being like them, or stampeded off the web.   Thanks so much for this! 

 

Duane, great questions. Most of these questions will be answered in part ii that's coming out soon!

Interesting article.  I've used Salesforce at our company a few years ago, but not that extensively.  How would I sign up for the free version you're describing?  Is it the "Force.com Free" described on their web site or is there another version?

What about reports like directories, or membership reports such as what the denomination asks for every year, have you been able to extract that type of information?

My husband and I have been playing games and communicating on the internet before it was even cool (over 17 years). We are actually customers of Blizzard as we play one of their games and run a guild (a group of like-minded people working together in the game). We too have noticed that people seem to think that because no one knows who you really are its ok to do and say whatever they want. Our guild is a family guild that is Rated G, where kids are welcome and safe from the vulgarity in other parts of the game. When new members join quite a few of them (sadly a lot of the young teens) are shocked that we enforce a no swearing, flaming, or taking the Lord's name in vain policy. There is a certain 3 letter acronym om* that we do not allow and it blows their mind, even the Christian kids are confused why we don't allow it. The seem to think that acronyms aren't "really swearing" and so they are ok. As aguilla1 stated earlier, we teach our members to think before they type.
I was actually hoping Blizzard would follow thru with that threat as it might really clean up or at least inhibit some of the nastier things about the gaming world. As someone who plays an MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) I have witnessed a lot of that behavior. I admit that even I do act differently online than in real life. I hold true to my values as a Christian, but I am much more outgoing online. In real life I'm fairly shy and prefer not to lead things if I can avoid it. Online I am the Co-Founder of our guild and end up training people, leading events, and policing our chat and when necessary punishing people who rule break. I have had to counsel teenagers in our guild when they were having problems at home, a young girl who was considering killing herself, adult friends who's teens are out of control or who were considering divorce and we have even befriended a few veterans who try to escape their PTSD online. I joke around a lot more online and have an easy time making friends, not something I do easily in real life.
In the last couple years my leadership skills and online character has started seeping into my real life. My husband and I are going to be leading a new SMall Group this fall, I have many many more "real" friends now then I did before, and we are both involved in or leading committee's at church now. So while I do agree that there are some HUGE dangers to be had in the online world and the anonymity it provides, I think I can also hold myself and my husband up as examples of some of the benefits. Being anonymous allowed me to grow into a better leader and to gain self-confidence I never could have in the real world alone and luckily we have been able to translate these new found skills into our lives.
I think that if more Christians were to live their faith in their online interactions that we could use the web as yet another tool to bring people to Jesus and even someone who lives in a tiny town of 500 people (me) can reach out to people all over the globe!

Thanks for the great post, Dave. So far, the Network has had over 1,100 comments and, of those, only 2 have been pulled (both because the person disclosed too much personal information, not because they were mean).

Maybe the "My Church" feature helps as it encourages people to identify their congregational affiliation. Or that people know CRC bingo can get them identified in a jiffy.

Whatever the reason, it hasn't been much of an issue for The Network as for some other sites. I guess grace is not only preached, but practiced in the CRC. It's been nice to see.

Think before you write Should I write this or not? is still a valid thought on-line as it was before when there was time to do it before you could answer. Now we have to be more deliberate.

Motivated by the poor level of discourse on the Internet, I wrote up a 'Bill of Rights' for people who write on religious topics online. http://www.giffmex.org/blog/?p=80.

To be fair, though, a big part of the problem is that in my experience, churches are not safe places for people to be vulnerable, share freely their doubts and frustrations, and work through their differences. There are so many taboo topics and taboo ways of expressing oneself, and so people feel stifled. We seem to be more concerned with appearances and status and politeness than we are with 'speaking the truth in love'. For this reason, feelings get bottled up in church, and come to expression on the Internet under the cover of anonymity. And many of the people speaking their mind are the people who felt repressed in our churches. So I think we owe it to people to be patient with the excesses of both Christian and non-Christian 'jerks' online, while still pushing everyone toward excellence and charity.

Sorry, I mis-spoke when I said "tab." It's actually a link on the Main Page of the Church and Web section, under "Topics." Hope it helps!

Mavis

Mavis,
Where is this "Social Media" tab of which you speak?

I appreciated it. But you're right, some folks were a bit inappropriate at times.

Thought I'd post a quick update...

We did open up live chat for the Synod webcast this year and, by and large, I think it went well. I winced a couple of times when I saw comments that were more about the person speaking than what they were saying. But those were by far the exception and nobody had to be booted.

For the rest, I think real-time chat helped make watching Synod a more social experience. People connected, discussed real issues, debated some, and also had a bit of fun. The viewership numbers were up, overall, although there's no way to tell how much of that is because of the real-time chat vs. the subject matter of each Synod.

Any other reactions to this year's Synod webcast? Things you liked, didn't like? Suggestions for next year?

No worries, I just didn't want you both to miss the good stuff out there!

Yes our congregation is moving to more e-communication, upgrading our website, networking on FB, et al. I feel better connected the other six days of the week and can get and receive encouragement and send out same.
I use this logic: God created everything and just like evangelists used the telegraph to bring people to tent revivals, and like churches used the telephone to improve communications, now we can use the internet to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the whole earth.

Thanks for pointing that out - I certainly didn't mean to repeat topics. I obviously didn't look hard enough before posting. :-)

There are several articles and discussions about social media on the network. If you click on the "Social Media" tab you'll see a list.

I think this is a great idea and I would love to hear more about it. I think by sharing ideas and plans in our own communities, we could encourage others to use our ideas and share their own in our celebration of Christ and our church

Dave, I get these Twitter adds all the time from crazy fly-by-night companies that search for a word that's in my tweet and from people locally that want me to buy something from them. (ie, North Dakota tourism started following me when I ripped the North Dakota tourism commercial....I mean, come on, North Dakota?) I get similar adds on MySpace Music, etc. from bands I don't like.

Any how, I find them more annoying than helpful....like the Twitter version of spam or junkmail. Don't we run the risk of becoming a simple nuisance or looking like the desperate kid in high school who asked out all the girls hoping to get one date?

Totally, what Nick said.
And Tim should tweet about this on behalf of the CRC especially Nick's comments about how excellent a tweeter he is. :-)

I agree with everything Nick said. In fact, it's such a good comment I think I'll tweet about it
:-)

I agree! That combination of discipline, good writing, and the right choice of subject matter would be so important. Another reason we haven't started tweeting yet!

Having the church send tweets does indeed have a lot of potential, especially when it comes to making connections and keeping the church a presence in people's lives throughout the week. But institutional tweeting also requires a lot of care. I would venture to say that the most important task in institutional tweeting is choosing the right "tweeter."

The job requires ruthless consistency. My personal tweeting is very inconsistent: sometimes multiple times a day, sometimes once every few weeks, sometimes about important things, sometimes about trivial matters, sometimes specifically personal, sometimes very impersonal and general.

It seems that if someone is going to tweet on behalf of the church, such irregularity should be avoided. We want the church to be consistent in the integrity of preaching, and so we require trained preachers. We want the church to be consistent in the administration of pastoral care, and so we often divide the congregation into households under the care of specific elders. We want the church to be consistent in the presentation of the church's life in the bulletin announcements, and so we usually appoint one qualified person to be the final editor and printer of the bulletins. Similarly, we should aim for consistency by appointing someone who is careful and "professional" about their tweeting on behalf of the church.

In this regard, the CRC has found an excellent institutional tweeter (is it Tim Postuma?). Very consistent, professional, and impersonal/formal, but still warm and friendly. The inconsistent and overly personal tweeting by some tweeters for other organizations (I'll refrain from naming names) in my eyes damages the credibility of the institution. (I've seen institutional tweets directed at specific individuals who are friends of the tweeter and tweets that seem to be based on the tweeter's individual interests and opinions, rather than the institution's interests and official positions.)

All that is to say, if you do have your church start tweeting, appoint the tweeter carefully!

Good thoughts, Dave. I like the idea of twittering for my church, but I already have a kind of hard time figuring out what to put on the church's Facebook status, let alone what to tweet. Do you tweet on behalf of your church, or just personally, and it includes churches?

Hey, Dave, you beat Mashable to the punch! Some good points made in their article and comment stream:
http://mashable.com/2010/06/09/microsoft-office-web-apps/

This is cool. I'm not involved enough in our church's IT to be able to fill it out but the data is interesting. And it's a great example of 'open' data collection/sharing.

Hmmm....maybe we can use this approach to collect and share other info across the CRC. There's already a lot of sharing going on in these Network forums (e.g. curriculum used, membership software) but open surveys/polls like this lend to more structured responses so users can tabulate, etc

Thanks for letting us know about this.

posted in: Church IT Survey

Fellowship CRC rents space from king's university College.
All Administrative work is done in member's homes. Almost each home has internet access.
All church work is done on member's own computers.

I keep e-mail addresses of each member.

Minutes are sent to each member's homes and the secretary of each committee is responsible to keep them somewhere.

Fellowship uses a gmail e-mail address. All policies, mandates of committees are posted on our web site.

Secure web site houses schedules, directory information and e-mail lists.

We do own a computer to use powerpoint for our services.

Our IT budget is $0.00

posted in: Church IT Survey

Another competitor to Microsoft Office is Open Office which is free and compatible. Third world countries love such software!

I have found that any company which sells you something designs it so that everyone 'needs' to purchase similar items every three years.

I do not trust Microsoft, nor Google web based or not. It is likely that in three years most of what you have now will be incompatible with what comes next.

Who has a strategy that avoids such costs?

Nick, Good point about Google having some serious competition. Competition will speed up Google and Microsoft's development of their products and will only benefit us, the users.

Tim, I'm eager to see the integration with Office and the Web app. I hope they make it easy, but I'm leery because this is Microsoft.

This is very good news. It will be great to have some serious competition to Google docs.

From my perspective in a rural church, it seems like moving the assemblies and committees of the church fully into the cloud is still several years away. It isn't worth moving agendas and minutes into the cloud if there will be a noticeable portion of the committee that won't use the new medium. I've noticed this even with email. At this point, I'm not even sure it is worth me emailing all of the council members the agenda because a noticeable number of them don't rely on email and don't check it daily. They would much prefer a paper agenda.

I'm eager to use the cloud for agendas and minutes because it would make the work of committees so much easier. But it would only do so if everybody is on board. For that reason, I'm glad Microsoft is going to be pushing Office users in that direction. The sooner the better!

We've used Skype a couple times during a service to communicate with Gil & Joyce Suh from Cambodia. We support their family's work. Here's a photo (not the best photo but the image looks all right in the church): http://sjcrc.smugmug.com/People/our-missionaries/IMG0780/883201663_2zh3g....

We connected our Pastor's Apple to our system in the sound booth, and used the built-in camera. We have DSL at the church and used the wireless in the sanctuary. It worked just fine.

I hardly ever use Microsoft Office anymore. Even though I've got it installed, I find Google Docs so much more convenient.

But I've also discovered that it's not easy to transition people to Docs. After using Office products for so many years, the whole concept of Google Docs and online collaboration in general is so strange. So there's the tendency to go back to the tried-and-true method of creating a Word document, attaching it to an email, track changes, and all the other stuff that now drives me nuts.

So I think Microsoft has a real opportunity to bridge that gap and help people move to web-based documents and collaboration...while keeping them in the Office family they know and love.

Any churches fully 'in the cloud' when it comes to meeting agendas, minutes, etc?

I agree that the privacy of individuals with regards to posting bulletin content is important. Currently we post the entire contents of the bulletin without any password protection. I have found through feedback that former members, and friends of members read the bulletin weekly to keep up to date with the activities of the congregation. They have even commented that we need to include notes about when issues are resolved otherwise the distant readers don't know the outcome.
Thinking about this, I would lean more towards leaving certain material out of the bulletin rather than restrict who can read it. Again the life of a congregation as relayed via the bulletin announcements helps web site visitors learn more about what kind of people that make up our congregation, including sharing our joys and sorrows. Figuring out what to leave in and what to leave out leads to me to think we'll have to kick this one around a bit.
Thanks for the topic!

I'd like to see a link where you can go and watch the proceedings while a chat window is on the side. I've been able to attend online conferences like that. On one I logged in via my Twitter account and another I had a special registration sign in. Nonetheless, we had some great discussion happening while the speakers were on ... something you can't do when you're at the event listening, but would sure like to.

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