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.

Twitter offers 12 free background templates which you can use to customize your Twitter page.

It’s a good idea, although the actual options Twitter gives are not the best way to go.

Why is it a good idea? Well, for starters, it legitimizes your Twitter profile. By installing an individualized Twitter background graphic, it signals creativity and leadership. It shows you are familiar with the environment. You are choosing to express your own identity, not letting Twitter define your identity.

When you use a custom Twitter background graphic, you also have the opportunity to show specific facets of your identity. Here is your chance to witness to the world of your faith.

Every Tuesday, we’ve been releasing a free background design for you to download and use with your own Twitter profiles. Some are explicitly Christian, others with subtle themes, and still others with Bible anchor verses integrated into it. Twitteratti Tuesdays at Godvertiser.com wants you to have a Twitter Facelift today.

dave-avatar-600x600-11-22-2009 This week’s design comes from Dave Ingland from the “left coast” who is currently planting a church in Sacramento, CA. He’s a husband, father, activist, agent for change, advocate for the arts, and lead revolutionary of Revolution Church Sacramento.

You’ll find that this Twitter background is different than most — it plays with the ability to use images with transparency. So after you upload this background design, you can set the page’s background color to your liking by clicking on the CHANGE DESIGN COLORS link in the design settings section.

You’ll see that I chose a nice deep red for my background. You can make it yellow or blue or green or anything else you want! Thanks Dave for such a neat little feature.

godvertiserdotcom-freetwitterbackground8-screenshot

FREE CHRISTIAN TWITTER BACKGROUND
DOWNLOAD LINK

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
  6. CHANGE DESIGN COLORS next on this same settings page if you want to adjust the page background colors.

Are you regularly introducing new people into your groups? (If not, you have to question yourself, why not?!) A sign of healthy groups are one that invite new people into the mix regularly. Whether just visiting, as a mixer or formally bringing someone into the fold, having visitors should be happening more regularly that you already do, right?

In any case, ministry leaders and pastors should be always thinking about how to reduce the friction of getting to know one another in your groups.

Otherwise, your groups will probably stay compartmentalized into several sub-groups. It might be by age, ethnic background, etc. But it happens.

ice-breaker-ideas

Whether you agree or not, part of your job is to help people get to know each other. Whenever a new person comes into your group, it is a great time to use some icebreakers.

If you don’t have a bunch of simple icebreaker activities for your youth group already, there are plenty of resources out there to find some good ones. Books like Ice Breakers Ahead compile some of the better interactive ice breaker games.

What ice breakers have you used successfully in your ministry? Please share with us in the comments section below!

You’re either in or out. Excited or confused. Optimistic or a party-pooper.

People always ask me why I use Twitter. Without getting into the usual “no, it’s not about broadcasting the flavor of my toothpaste, or any other mundane details of my daily living” conversation, here’s one concrete example that hopefully helps give a better picture for the power of Twitter.

While I know that we’re not to make idols of men (or pastors of really big and successful books for that matter), but to illustrate the point, I’m sharing with you that I recently received a Tweet from none other than . . .

twitter-rick-warren

Yup, it was Pastor Rick Warren himself tweeting me about one of my latest web projects (more on that in other post soon, I promise!).

Twitter, and social media in general, has collapsed the 6 degrees of separation into 1.

You are now able to connect and collaborate with almost anyone else imaginable that’s relevant. It’s not that I tweeted back and forth with this person in particular. It’s the fact that just a couple of years ago, being able to connect, exchange, collaborate with someone like Rick Warren directly would take a lot of energy. Even if he tried to be as accessible as can be to people outside of his network (i.e. people he’s never met before), getting to him when I’m on the east coast, and he’s on the left coast (or somewhere else in the world) just isn’t that practical or easily done. I’ve emailed his “rick@purposedrivenlife.com” email address listed in his books and website before. I’ve been to Saddleback worship services several times before. I’ve called the PDL team when our church launched our own 40 Days campaign before. I’ve gotten what I’vee needed from his ministry organization each time, but getting a chance to interact with Rick Warren directly himself wasn’t really feasible.

Today, with social media, things have completely changed: The friction of access and connection is infinitely reduced because of social media. If you are proactive, purposeful and pleasant (don’t discount that last one!), the possibilities are plentiful.

It’s not just Rick Warren. Whether it’s Leonard Sweet or David Pogue of the NY Times, or even YOU that I’ve tweeted with . . . the fact of the matter is that 6 degrees of separation has become 1.

That’s why I use twitter. What about you?

When the web started entering into everyone’s vocabulary, churches began to feel the pressure of getting on the web. Today, the web has become part of daily living, and it is a critical touchpoint to reach people before they physically enter your church doors.

It’s just a fact of life now: more people will visit your website first before they first visit your church.

But something new and old is happening. In one sense, it feels so familiar — just like the seismic shift we saw with the mass adoption of the web itself. But now it’s about something different — every church feels like they should be figuring out what to do with. . . Facebook and Twitter.

For those still sitting on the fence, it’s sometimes helpful to hear what others are doing. Some church tech companies are starting to share case studies and tutorials for how to approach the new social media platforms. Here’s one video webinar that you may want to watch: CLICK TO WATCH.

This presentation is aimed at medium-to-large churches, but it’s a good glossary intro for any sized church on why your church should be considering reaching out to those on the social media platforms.

Logos Bible Study Software is supposedly the best selling software on the market. It’s available on multiple platforms and is capable of doing tons of things – it’s not your father’s bible study anymore.

In a way, it’s much like the recently launched Glo Bible which is tauted as the hipped something-2.0 Bible. I guess it better be because Glo Bible is $50, some people pay $1,600 for Logos. If you take a look at the overview video of Logos software, you’ll a lot of the things Glo thinks is its differentiator.

But whether you go for the $164 version or the $1,600+ version of Logos for the desktop computer, there’s one version that you should know about. And the best part about this one is that it’s free.

Logos 4 has been pushed to the iPhone and it’s free to download. There’s a bunch of neat things you can do with Logos 4 for iPhone. Don’t pay a dime to look-up text in one of 30 different bibles. If you do have the desktop version of Logos, you can add your iPhone to the sync list of devices and computers Logos will synchronize with updated notes, etc from others in your account.

But even without a desktop running Logos software, the Logos 4 for iPhone seems like a very hand dandy tool by itself.

And if you don’t have an iPhone or iPod Touch, don’t worry, you can enjoy all the features and more with what you have now – your desktop. The best part about getting a hold of Logos 4 Bible Study Software for your computer?

There’s a Logos Discount Promo Code: PASTOR (get 25% off base packages)

Tuesdays are fundays here at Godvertiser.com. We’re releasing yet another free Christian Twitter background design for you to grab and use.

It’s part of our weekly Twitteratti Tuesday series helping to share a little digital Gospel across the Twitterverse.

We’ve had a request for Christmas themed versions, so they’ll be coming up soon. But in the meantime, check out this neat-o Christian Twitter design. We find the sign of the fish everywhere, magnets, bumper stickers, etc. Now you post the Sign of the Twish on your profile page.

godvertiserdotcom-freetwitterbackground7-screenshot

FREE CHRISTIAN TWITTER BACKGROUND
DOWNLOAD LINK

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

One my favorite affordable webhosting companies to refer friends and business associates to is Dreamhost. (If you want a nice discount, use promo code “godvertiser” at http://www.dreamhost.com )

But if you are a 501c3 org or a church with the designation letter from the IRS, then this the tip of the year for you.

It seems that according to our friendly neighborhood church media super hero, DreamHost offers non-profits a fully free webhosting account [HT: Thanks John!]

jumping-for-joy-deal

While you’re jumping for joy, take a look at the deets from DH’s website in their own words:

DreamHost proudly offers free web hosting to non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organizations registered in the United States.

Non-profit organizations have dedicated themselves to making the world a better place – all without expecting anything (like a profit) in return! DreamHost recognizes their noble sacrifice and is happy to provide cost-free hosting to these groups which do so much with so little for so many!

This discount applies to a single hosting plan per non-profit, hosted within only one account, for US-based 501(c)(3) organizations. Domain registrations (other than any included with the plan) are not eligible for any discounts.

Now you really don’t have an excuse to get your organization on the web with a hip website.

If you’re a non-profit that going to try and take advantage of this offer, leave a comment below with the website URL you’ll use with the free non-profit hosting account at Dreamhost.

If you’re doing something right with your ministry, you are mobilizing volunteers to get involved in every way possible.

But there are two practical problems with leading volunteers across the different ministries of a church:

First, you need to hold many meetings so that everyone is on the same page (including you!), especially if there are many people involved. A coordinated effort requires a lot of dissemination of information, collaboration and a tons of basic communication.

Second, because you are working with volunteers, not staff, they aren’t always available physically to meet in the same place at the same time.


collaborate

In the business world, conference call and video conferences are the norm. But for some reason, suggest that people dial in for a ministry meeting via conference call, and people seem perplexed.

The truth is that conference call services used to be expensive, hence affordable only when the costs could be justified by business. While your team’s time and efforts are no less valuable, the cost of conference call services have plummeted. It’s time to embrace this tool in your daily work as a team leader.

Here’s one way to set-up a free conference call dial-in number you can use today:

One of my favorite collaboration tools online is Drop.IO. A neat feature they offer (free too!) is a personal conference call number with each and every free team page/account you set-up.

ministry-conference-call

Once you set-up a new custom collaboration page at www.drop.io, you’ll see a custom conference call dial-in number on the right column. (We’ll explore some of the other neat-o benefits in another future post)

This conference call number is all yours as long as the drop.io page is live (you can change how long the page exists in the settings to up to 1 year after the last visit). It is a reservation-less conference call dial-in number that you can pass out to use whenever you need.

If you want to set-up unique dial-in numbers for each of your ministry leaders for their own teams, just set-up additional drop.io pages for each group. Voila! Every team can collaborate as often as they wish on their own.

BONUS TIP: If you want to have certain calls recorded so that you can distribute them to other people that missed the meeting or would benefit from the contents of your meeting, you can 3-way conference in the “voicemail” number which is listed on the same page. Voicemails are saved and posted as mp3 files to the drop.io page within minutes. You can download them or even use the direct link to the file that’s made available with the recording.