Archives For December 2009

This past year, Rick Warren dipped his toe into the depths of the magazine publishing.

It’s definitely a hard business to survive and thrive in for sure. Only a few survive — like Oprah, Martha and Rachel Ray, all who have figured out their own niche on paper it seems.

But Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Connection magazine has completed their 2009 year in print. . . and basically figured out that their publishing ministry needs to incorporate more social media driven purpose itself — to the point where the magazine is going all-digital in 2010.

Purpose Driven Connection magazine has issued refunds to all current subscribers and told them that they’ll get free access to the PDC website that is going to be re-purposed in 2010. Rick Warren’s letter to subscribers lists several reasons why becoming social media driven makes sense.

purpose-driven-connection-magazine-folds

Before you poo-pooh this as spinning the folding of a traditional magazine, take a look at the numbers — such as the 300,000+ subscribers to the daily devotional emails available through the beta website for Purpose Driven Connection

In order to make it work online, I think there are a couple of key things that the Purpose Driven team should consider:

  • More of Pator Rick talking to you and me – Videos, videos, videos. People didn’t *read* the magazine for a reason. Hopefully the PDC folks won’t think about the website just as a cheaper way to push more *print* content out to the community. We want to hear Rick Warren himself, and often.
  • Real Connections For PDL Churches – Thousands of churches have taken on the 40 Days of Purpose campaigns and beyond. There’s so much to learn and share about how the Purpose Driven platform is being used to grow churches, deepen faith walks and plain old bring the church together. The internet is the perfect medium to allow churches to connect and share experiences. What about hooking up churches in mentoring relationships so that the wisdom can be transferred in meaningful ways?
  • Watch-worthy Interviews and webcasts – Stream live worship, interviews, and ministry webcasts teaching the audience how Saddleback approaches the tactical, practical nitty gritty of ministry. We want real life case studies from Rock Warren’s own ministry — and beyond.
  • Community rally / cause projects – Figure out a way to mobilize the thousands of people online just waiting to get involved in ministry online. What about a massive blogging collbaoration project? Or a testimonial filmhouse? Or crowdsource the community to help write a book.
  • Local PD Meet-ups. Let’s connect churches and Christians together (both seekers and believers) in offline events. Do something like www.saltexchange.com on a national scale with like-mided, purpose-driven ministries and individuals.
  • What else can you think of that would make the new 2010 Purpose Driven Connection website meaningful instead of just another pretty magazine website with glossy photos, and static content? Leave a comment below and share your vision and hopes.

Is the sonic speed of social media forcing you to realize that you really need to collaborate with your ministry teams better?

Google Wave is the latest iteration of social collaboration platforms that have hit the streets recently. You’ve probably heard Google Wave’s awesome features.

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The big picture is that Google Wave hopes to replace email as the main form of communication between people and groups. But in the short term, until everyone adopts the real-time collaboration communication platform, it’s still useful for teams of people working together. For example, you can edit documents together with a group in real-time. No more waiting for others to edit and forward so that you can make your own edits. Everyone can see your changes live just as you type them into the computer. There’s other neat features too of course.

In fact, there’s so much you can do with Google Wave, that the team at Google Wave originally created a 1-hour+ video overview of the new social communications tool!

Re-thinking their first approach, they decided to create an ‘abridged’ 10-minute version overview video about Google Wave:

So far, the Google Buzz is working since official invites for new accounts are still selling like hotcakes on eBay. When Google Wave first came out, invites were going for as much as $70+ each. Nowadays, you can grab one for about $5-$8:
google-wave-invite-on-ebay

Of course that’s not the only way to get a new Google Wave account. If you know someone with a Google Wave account, you can get one of the invites that are periodically released to current account holders. I’ve got a couple of free invites to give out, so if you’re interested in trying out Google Wave with your ministry team, let me know — with your email address and I’ll send an invite to you as long as I have them available (right now, I have about 2 dozen free Google Wave invites). You may want to use the contact tab to send me a direct message vs. leaving a comment below with your email address in plain view for spammers to harvest, etc.

The only requirement I ask for in addition to getting me your email address via the CONTACT tab (on the left side of the site), that you do leave a comment letting me know the name of your church/ministry and website address. It’s always good to hear from the readers of Godvertiser.com and see the links to your own site.

Already have a Google Wave account? Send me a wave, and I’ll wave right back!

Hope everyone had a joyous celebration during Christmas this past week. Our Saviour’s birth!

Here’s a Twitter backdrop you can download for free this week that is a nod to all the names we can call our Savior.

We’ve had fun releasing free Christian Twitter graphic backgrounds in our Twitteratti Tuesday Series.

Would you like to see more in the new year?

Let me know by posting a comment below!

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How to upload a custom background to your Twitter account:

  1. Log in
  2. In top navigation bar, click Settings (or go to http://twitter.com/account/settings)
  3. Click the last settings tab, Design change-twitter-background
  4. Select a template, change your text and background colors, or upload your background image
  5. Save your changes

This Christian Twitter backgrounds series was our little effort to help “fill the Twitterverse with the Bible and teaching of Christ!”

If you are handy with graphics and want to contribute a free Christian-themed backdrop for Twitter users, just use the contact form and we’ll share your work with others here and on Twitter!

Do You Kiva?

godvertiser —  2009/12/28 — Leave a comment

This year for Christmas, we introduced Kiva.org to our kids. They are old enough now where we want to try and instill some meaning to the “spirit of giving.” Kiva is the perfect Christmas gift to enjoy together while doing just that.

Kiva enables micro loans of $25 at a time from “lenders” like you and me to entrepreneurs in developing countries. It handles all the administrative issues, tracks the loans, provides narrative updates, lets you see and connect with other lenders to the same Kiva loan if you wish, etc. The repayment rates are unbelievable, topping 95% in most cases. Which means that you’ll most probably get your $25 back in several months (each loan has a set repayment schedule too, so you’ll see the progress of the loan as well) where you can take it back or . . . invest in another Kiva loan!

Here’s the Kiva story our kids picked out to invest our $25 from Christmas. By May, before their school is out, they’ll see the success of their loan. And hopefully we can choose another loan to reinvest for the summer and beyond.

You can see details of our our Kiva loan group right now: My Kiva Loan

There are tons of other sample loans available to invest in:

Kiva loans are addictive, makes a visible connection with someone else across the globe and better than writing a check to a faceless charitable organization.

Do you Kiva? Tell us about your Kiva story and leave a comment below.

This Christmas break, I’m sitting down again with Tim Keller and his Counterfeit Gods. It is always refreshing to take in a story or message that’s well told. And that’s what Dr. Keller, lead pastor of Redeemer Pres in NYC does – tell great stories, share some great messages.

As Dr. Keller starts to put out a book a year (I’m eager to find out more about his next book which is apparently on suffering/evil), his unassuming style is being noticed by more and more people. You’ll notice that the buzz about #tk is constant in the Twitterverse. And yet some people can’t get enough of the messages he offers from the pulpit.

If you haven’t been tipped off yet, here’s some good news. Redeemer has released 150 doses of classic Tim Keller. You’ll notice that much of the content that Redeemer has chosen to give away completely free are great to share with friends — especially those that have questions about faith, the Church, and God.

redeemer-presbyterian-tim-keller-sermons

The only issue anyone can have with this huge archive of free sermons from Dr. Tim Keller is that there’s no 1-click to download all 150 mp3 sermons at once.

But if you listen to just one sermon a day during your daily commute, workout, or daily devotion time, you’ll get to spend enough time with Dr. Keller over the next 5 months to the point where you will probably find yourself starting to tell some great stories…share some great messages. Doesn’t that sound like Good News to you?

The Brady Bunch was a classic TV show. Whether your favorite was Greg, Marcia or even Alice there’s something that all ministry leaders can learn from the Brady Bunch show. And all you have to do is watch the first couple of minutes of the show literally. The opening sequence with the 9 talking heads on one screen is the key.

These days, there’s a new generation that’s reaching out across the web to meet online in multi-user video chat to collaborate in real time: meet the Tokbox Bunch.

www.Tokbox.com allows anyone to jump into a video conference chat with NO software downloads or installations. It works across all platforms so all those Mac and PC people can actually make friends.

What you get is a screen of webcam headshots – and you can control each one. Enlarge any one if you’d like to see them better. Mute or hide any participant. You can even shuffle around the order/placement of the boxes on your screen. Text chat is right there in the same window as well.

ministry-video-chat

The best part is that it’s free and it works.

Dave Ingland, a church planter from the left coast recently tweeted a meet-up in a Tokbox room and instantly half a dozen of us joined the conversation. We ended up discussing some of the recent developments with online worship communities such as Andy Stanley’s church and how they are embracing online small group Bible studies. We heard some other online church’s experiences for using video conferencing in their own ministries as well. You always learn something when talking with other peers and leaders in your own field. That’s the point.

The conversations are real. The video allows you to have full expression. It’s live and real-time. One real big upside is that you can easily tweet, call, text, or grab someone and tell them to get in the room by simply visiting the tokbox link. DONE.

www.Tinychat.com is another multi-user video chat service that has taken off as well. Both harness technology for what it’s good for – removing friction of offline problems (physical distance) in an elegant way.

BONUS TIP: And note that the service is perfect for group meetings, but works just as well if you have only 2 people involved. So think of it as Skype without the software or account hassles. You can suddenly make long distance video calls internationally for free.

Have you tried Tinychat.com or Tokbox.com video conferences? What’s your experience?

It’s the Christmas edition of Twitteratti Tuesday at Godvertiser.com!

Check out this week’s installment of free Chrsitian Twitter Graphic Backgrounds series.

You’ll notice that all three of them are Christmas themed! With just 2 weeks to go before the big birthday party, we listened to your requests for Xmas Twitter backgrounds — so that you have your chance to help spread the Good News Twitteratti-style.

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How to upload a custom background to your Twitter account:

  1. Log in
  2. In top navigation bar, click Settings (or go to http://twitter.com/account/settings)
  3. Click the last settings tab, Design change-twitter-background
  4. Select a template, change your text and background colors, or upload your background image
  5. Save your changes

We welcome your participation in helping to “fill the Twitterverse with the Bible and teaching of Christ!” If you are a designer and want to contribute a Christian-themed background for Twitter users, use the contact form and we’ll arrange to display + share your work with our brothers and sisters on the digital highway!

If you look at the most successful salespeople in any industry, they are all diligent, focused and on point. They manage relationships well, they articulate benefits with clarity, and they always are moving to close the deal.

But if you take a closer look at the top of the food chain in any sales organization, there are basically two buckets in which you can put the pros into:

The best of the best either love it, or they shove it.
Which one are you?

The love it crew love the product or service they are pitching. In this method, their credibility lies in the fact they fully understand what they are talking about. This crew can explain things in ways that are personally relevant to the person sitting across the table. Why? Because they use it, they live it, and in the end, they succeed because they simply share it. That’s how they gain more customers.

The shove it crew doesn’t have any personal investment in the product themselves. All they are interested in is pushing the customer to sign on the dotted line whether it makes sense or not. They claim the product is exactly the medicine needed. “Our product will solve your problem,” whether you knew you had a problem or not to begin with! This approach is all about speed, agility, and understanding where any vulnerabilities may be located. The shove it sales pro’s mission is certainly to help. . . themselves! They see their own job solely as shoving the product down the prospect’s throats.

2-ways-evangelism

Both can be quite effective. The question is which is your choice in doing the job? Especially when your job is to demo something that is all Good News.

Church “Marketing” gets a bad rap sometimes.

Why? Because when you hear the term, people might immediately think of the over commercialization, almost crass marketing tactics that some churches are using to get attention. Yes it is a fight to grab attention in this media-frenzied world today.

But the answer is not to reduce it all down to “productizing Jesus.” Nor is it running your ministry with the ultimate objective and measure of success to be church services that mimic a Superbowl half-time show.

In my own humble opinion, using marketing tactics to support the Gospel is entirely different than using the Gospel to support your marketing tactics.

Those that know me personally understand that this is NOT what I mean of being a Godvertiser:

Godvertising and church marketing should serve a clearly different purpose — not the marketing or event itself. But rather to put God and His work on display.

Want the best litmus test to know where you stand? As soon as you think “look at me!” vs. “look at Him!”, you’ve crossed the line.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been working on a little web-app to help me look up Bible references quickly.

I used to have to figure out which site had the translation I’d like to look-up; then go to that site; then input the Scripture reference; then use the drop downs to find the translations, and finally submit.

If I wanted to send the link to a friend via email, facebook, twitter, or even in live worship chat during church online, I’d have to take some additional steps – open up TinyURL.com, bit.ly or some other favorite URL shortcut services out there. Copy the long URL from the Bible site, paste it into the shortcut generator. Submit. Copy the short-cut url, and viola. FINALLY, I had something I could pass on.

This just didn’t seem efficient. I simply thought that there must be a better way.

I couldn’t find anything much better, so I decided to just create it.

So here I am introducing the “BETA” version of www.wordof.gd/_____ No more searching, waiting, submitting, copy/pasting, etc. whenever you are looking up Bible verses online.

This new web app is a 1-Step Bible Look-Up Web App. Basically, find the Scripture reference you want in the translation you want IN ONE LINE — straight from the URL.

Here’s how it works:

wordofgd-how-to

Just add ANY Scripture after the main url:

  • http://WordOf.GD/+BibleVerseHere and you’re done.

Just TRY IT to understand how this works. Try clicking on some of these:

If you want a specific Bible translation see how all you have to do is add the abbreviation after the verse? Over 30 different popular translations are supported right now and more to come.

Speaking of abbreviations, it will accomodate most common abbreviations for books of the Bible too. ie. Matt, Mk, Lk, Jn, Gen, Rev, 1cor, 2cor, etc.

One you get the Bible verse, you’ll notice in the header bar, an EMAIL LINK, TWITTER LINK, (and FACEBOOK LINK to come). In addition, a short-cut URL is automatically generated for the specific verse ranges and translations you just looked-up if you want to copy/paste for any other use.

This has been pretty useful for mobile web browsing since connections are not as zippy as on a desktop usually and you want to minimize as many steps as possible.

NOTE: This *IS* a beta version – we’re continuing to update it as we go along and there might be some glitches while we polish it up. If you come across any issue, please leave a comment here or send me a tweet (http://www.twitter.com/kkcoolj) with the details.

Let me know what you think! Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.