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technology

Technology April 21, 2015

A New Women’s Ministry Resource: Missional Women App

missional women app photo I am super excited to share a new Women’s Ministry resource with you all!

Missional Women has just launched a free app!

The Missional Women (MW) App is loaded with all sorts of resources and information that you will find helpful as a women’s ministry leader.

Not only will you want to use this app yourself, you’re going to want to share it with the women in your church and community.

You’ll find:

  • Articles
  • Audio Bible
  • Bible reading plan
  • Bible studies
  • Discipleship materials
  • Free Printables
  • Free Wallpaper and Lock Screens
  • Pray 31 (31 Days of Prayer)
  • Share 31 (31 Days of Evangelism)
  • Resource materials
  • Videos
  • And more!

I’ve just started digging into the wealth of information inside the MW App.

I want to highlight two of my favorite parts for you!

audio bible screen shot mw app

1. The Bible Reading Plan

How many of us have tried and failed, or desperately want, to read through the Bible in a year? My hand is raised!

You all are going to want to share this app with your ladies if for no other reason than the Bible Reading Plan.

Open it up and you can click on the reading for the day. Missed a day? No problem! You can access it and catch right back up. Crazy day with no time to read? No problem! You can listen to that day’s reading. The reading for April 20th was John 6. I have no doubt you can find 8 minutes and 13 seconds to listen as you get ready in the morning or get ready for bed at night.

pray31 screenshot

2. Pray 31 Challenge

Who among us doesn’t want to improve their prayer life?!

“The Pray31 Challenge is to help us T.A.P. (Throne check, Adore, Petition) into God’s heart. Each day there will be a prompt of an attribute of God with a corresponding verse to praise Him for and something specific to pray related to that attribute.”

I’ll admit, I had never heard of the phrase “throne check”. It’s explained in detail in the app and it’s something worth adopting!

Whether you use the MW App for your personal use, as a resources for women’s ministry, or share it with others you know, this is one app you’ll want to make sure you download!

I’d love to hear what your favorite part of the MW app is once you’ve had a chance to download it and check it out!

You may also want to read:
The Ultimate List of Women’s Ministry Resources

Publicity, Technology August 22, 2014

Does your ministry need a Facebook Group?

As I mentioned in Why Facebook is No Longer Your Friend, having a Facebook Page for your Women’s Ministry is no longer a reliable form of Publicity.

Another option to Facebook Pages are Facebook Groups.

Does your Women's Ministry need a Facebook Group? Why it might work better than a page for you.

Facebook Groups can be:

  1. Secret – Only members see the group, who’s in it, and what members post.
  2. Closed – Anyone can see the group and who’s in it. Only members see posts.
  3. Open (public) – Anyone can see the group, who’s in it, and what members post.

There’s a really great graph here that explains who can see and do what in a Group.

Groups can have 1 or multiple admins (people with behind the scenes who have control).

In addition to everything that group members can do, a group admin can:

  1. Edit the group description, tags and settings
  2. Add more admins to a group
  3. Remove abusive posts and remove or block members

Facebook Groups are appealing because:

  • You can share files in Groups.
  • You can create event invites for Groups.
  • All the posts will show up in each member’s newsfeed (which can be good, or bad).

You may find that creating a Group for your ministry is more useful than a Page.

I would caution you to set up some group rules for your Facebook Group.

Some things to consider:

  • What is the goal of your Group? Put it in writing for all Group members to see. Publicity? Connecting? Sharing? Recipe swapping? Selling items? All of the above?
  • What is/isn’t acceptable to post? Jokes? Events at other churches? Home parities? Baby shower invites? You can set up your guidelines both in a document and pin them to the top of your Group newsfeed.
  • How will you deal with over-zealous Group members who post frequently?
  • What type of Group will it be – secret, closed, or public? Take into account your purpose and the privacy of your women.
  • Who will serve as Admins for your Group?
  • Who will be responsible for stepping in if there is a problem?
  • How will problems be handled?

On a personal note: Please, please handle issues that come up off-line if at all possible. Call the person and let them know your concerns. Please do not email them – they can’t read your concerned tone. Reprimanding anyone publicly could do a great deal of damage. I have been through this and girls, it can be downright ugly. Extend grace, love, and forgiveness whenever possible.

Your turn to share: Does your ministry have a Facebook Group? How is it working for you?

Publicity, Technology August 19, 2014

Why Facebook Is No Longer Your Friend

In September 2012 we set up a Facebook ministry page for the women in our church and community to get the latest Women’s Ministry information.

It worked really well for about a year.

Women were engaged. They were commenting and sharing our posts.

Without warning our stats plummeted. Posts were rarely viewed.

We had to face the fact that we could no longer rely on our Facebook ministry page posts to reach our women.

Why Facebook is no longer your Friend #womensministry

You may have noticed Facebook is doing strange things with page feeds (yes, even my Women’s Ministry Toolbox page). Unless you visit the particular page, you are missing many posts in your newsfeed.

Which means if you are relying on Facebook as a primary source of publicity you may want to re-think that strategy. Sorry!

Before you rush off and delete your ministry’s Facebook page, try these tips below.

Here are five things you can do to boost the visibility of your posts:

  1. Tag your team members in the post. Add their names after the information. Just make sure your team members are okay with this.
  2. Ask your women to “share” the post on their Facebook pages.
  3. Post photos of your events (weed out the bad photos – it will be appreciated!) and tag your women in the photos.
  4. Use your Facebook page. Post good, important information regularly. Keep in mind they may choose to “unlike” your page if they don’t find the information useful.
  5. Encourage your members to click the “get notifications” button for your page, recommends Jenny Boulden from Aristotle Tech Marketing.

Be sure to sign up to receive my next posts (box, top right) – I’ll be sharing a couple of Facebook Page alternatives with you!

Your turn to share: Do you all find Facebook a helpful way to share information?

Planning, Technology July 18, 2014

5 Ways the Internet Undermines Your Ministry

I am amazed by all the resources and ideas that have popped up on the internet over the last 10 years.

Need an icebreaker idea? Google it.

Want to know what the Bible stays about a topic? Search for it.

While there is a wealth of information at our fingertips, we must take care not to put Google before God.

5 Ways the Internet Undermines Your Ministry #womensministry

Here are 5 Ways the internet can undermine your ministry:

1. We listen to bloggers instead of God.

2. We get our direction from Pinterest instead of seeking God’s direction for our events, themes, and Bible studies.

3. We are discouraged when we compare our numbers, our décor, and our budget with others.

4. Satan plants seeds of doubt and seeds of discontent.

5. We succumb to the pressure to do things bigger, bolder, and with more flair than we had intended.

When we spend time “googling” and “pinning” and not on our faces and in His Word, we lose focus of God’s message for our women.

We must take care not to put Google before God.

Ladies, please don’t be tempted to use a theme or event idea just because it popped up on your Pinterest feed.

Sure, God can still bless your efforts and your event, but you’ll miss out on what God had intended and planned for your ministry.

There is a reason you won’t (unless God redirects me) find lists of themes for your year and your event on this blog. I want God to give it to you! I don’t want to sway or influence you otherwise.

Yes, God can use this site and others out there to further your ministry, but as Matthew 6:33 (ESV) says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Father, God, I ask you to give each one of us discernment as we sift through Women’s Ministry ideas on the internet. May the ideas we choose to use never undermine your plans for the women in our church and community. Help us to seek you first, above all else. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

So go ahead, close that browser down, and seek Him.

Publicity, Technology April 8, 2014

Reno Project #5: Technology

We’re entering the homestretch of our Women’s Ministry Renovation Series!

Today’s focus is: Technology.

Is it something you use often? Not enough? Not sure where to start? Need resources and ideas?

I’ve got you covered when it comes to Women’s Ministry technology.

Even if you’re in a small church, I’ve got some ideas that will help you out!

Expand the reach of your women's ministry through technology.

Just over 7 years ago my father passed away after a brief battle with a brain tumor. My sweet husband helped me to put together a slide show for the memorial service at my parent’s small church.

Only one problem. They didn’t have the technology for us to show it…

My resourceful hubby borrowed the necessary items and we were able to share an overview of my dad’s life with those in attendance.

Church members thought it was such a neat idea and realized they could use a screen and projector in the sanctuary for many things. Shortly thereafter they went out and purchased the supplies we had to borrow.

Moral of the story: Where there is a will there is a way!

Why you need to utilize technology?

  1. Not everyone is an audio learner. Video and slides benefit everyone, but especially those visual learners in your audience.
  2. Younger women feel connected to technology. You might even approach “hip”. *wink
  3. You are able to communicate things you could not otherwise – movie clips, music videos, photos, etc.
  4. Many of your speakers rely on technology to communicate their message (it won’t be a deal breaker, but it sure is a nice-to-have).
  5. You’ll expand your publicity reach. Think Evites, Facebook event notifications, online registration.

Utilizing technology will expand the reach of your women's ministry.

When can or should you utilize technology?

  1. As often as you can, without leaving your unplugged and/or older members completely behind. There is still great value in mailers, flyers, and phone calls.
  2. Consider using a Power Point slide or downloaded video for your times of worship during retreats, conferences, etc.
  3. If your church allows, utilize online registration (always collect the money online when it’s an option).
  4. Create an email list for your women. Many churches already have systems in place; you’ll just need to submit email addresses (put a box on the door prize registration slips) that you’ve gotten permission to send information to.
  5. Video advertisements for upcoming events can be impactful. I’ve done both Power Point type videos as well as scripted videos with “local talent”. Some pastors will allow them to be shown on Sunday mornings (ask early). You can also post videos on your Facebook page and send a link inside an email.
  6. Publicize your events in as many ways electronically as you can: church’s e-newsletter, church website, email list, Facebook page (the one for your Women’s Ministry and the one for the church if allowed), distribute information to the SS teacher list, create an Evite, and submit your event to online community calendars. Publicize at least 3 weeks prior and remind often. Make sure you include all the necessary information. Newbies won’t come if they don’t know details.
  7. Send encouraging scripture verses to your women via Facebook or Twitter on a weekly/regular basis.
  8. Develop an online Bible study. This is particularly great for women with busy, overloaded schedules. Think about the young moms, caregivers, and women working 2nd or 3rd shift. I suggest you set it up using a closed Facebook page to protect the privacy of your women and to create a sense of community. Find one to do yourself first – Proverbs 31 has begun hosting ongoing online Bible studies.

Sounds like a lot of work, I know.

Because Publicity and Technology often go hand-in-hand, your Publicity Team Leader needs to have some experience using technology.

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite technology resources for you. In no particular order:

  1. Picmonkey – Easy to use – make professional graphics, posters, etc. Disclosure: This is an affiliate link.
  2. Skit Guys – Love their videos and skits – both serious and funny.
  3. SermonSpice – Countdowns, video clips, backgrounds, etc. See my previous post on SermonSpice.
  4. Facebook – You’ll miss some of your younger women, but you’ll reach a lot of them age 30 and up.
  5. Twitter – If you have a large group of younger women, this is a great place to connect with them. Tweet event reminders with a link to your registration page.
  6. YouVersion Live  – Our new church uses this on Sunday mornings. Description from their website: YouVersion Live gives you a way to interact with church services and other live events using your mobile device. You can follow along with message outlines and take notes, read related Bible verses and click through to the expanded passage, vote on a poll and see the results live, ask questions anonymously, give, request prayer, and take it all home with you on your phone. It works with any web-enabled phone, as well as any computer with an internet connection.
  7. Power Point slides (worship and teachings) – check and see if your church owns this software if you do not.
  8. Pinterest – Believe it or not, you can use Pinterest to connect with your women. Check out my previous post: Using Pinterest to Reach Women In Your Church and Community.
  9. Blog – I hesitate to add this to the list. Blogging takes a large time commitment and must be done consistently. It requires a level of dedication your team may not want to tackle.  Blogger is easy for the beginner, but WordPress.org gives you the great amount of flexibility. It’s what I use.
  10. Website – If at all possible, create and keep updated a page on your church’s website. Send women there for additional information. Regular updating is crucial. If you have a separate women’s ministry website, make sure it is linked from your church website.
  11. Evite – You may find this online registration tool to be effective, especially for events where money does not need to be collected. If your church is not equipped to handle online registrations, this is a great option. It’s free!
  12. Online registrations – If your church does not already have the capability, you may need to request this (repeatedly). If you have it, use it.
  13. Online payment collections (through your church)

Please don’t get overwhelmed! Very few, if any, churches will use all of the ideas and technology tools.

Pray and ask God to show you what He wants you to renovate in your women’s ministry.

It may not even be technology.

Check out these other renovation posts:

What area of ministry is God asking you to renovate?
Reno Project #1: Excessive Decorations
Reno Project #2: Your Mission Statement
Reno Project #3: Offerings
Reno Project #4: Updating Your Publicity
Reno Project #6: Providing Better Training

Encouragement Idea: Blessings Bags

Publicity, Technology September 13, 2013

Publicity Idea: Create a Page on Facebook

Publicity Idea: Create a Page on Facebook for your women's ministry.

Setting up a Facebook Page for your Women’s Ministry adds another layer to your publicity efforts.

Before setting up your page consider:

  1. What is the purpose of your page? Will you use it to set up event invitations? Will you link to newsletters and/or registration pages? Will you create photo albums for events? Are you going to post inspiration photos/Bible verses?
  2. How often will you post? Relevance is more important than frequency. Post too often and folks will start to ignore you and/or hide you on their feed.
  3. Who is going to post? With the option of having multiple administrators you’ll need to be clear about who will post what when.

Keep in mind:

  1. Younger women are shying away from Facebook and consider it “uncool” now that so many “older” women are using it.
  2. Not everyone has internet access or a Facebook account. All publicity has to occur in multiple formats.
  3. Once you have over 30 “likes” you’ll be able to view some helpful analytical information.
  4. Get staff approval before setting up your page.
  5. Give it an easy to remember page name.  You can change it after you set it up if needed. Don’t publicize your page until you’ve settled on a name.
  6. Public pages can be viewed by anyone. Visitors are likely to check out your FB page to see what you’ve been up to.
  7. Closed pages should be used for team communications, prayer requests, etc. Keep private things private and protected.
  8. If you’re also utilizing Twitter (survey your women to see if that is really a need) you can use HootSuite (and other apps/programs) to publish on both sites at the same time saving precious time and energy.
  9. It takes time to build a following, even among your faithful few. Encourage everyone to “share” the page with other women in your church and community.
  10. Keep posts positive, supportive of the staff, and helpful. Be prepared to delete inappropriate posts by spammers, etc.