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Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

I’ve blogged numerous times and for various websites about getting started in social media. However, if you are still new to this and curious, I thought I would repost this very informative blog by Ed Stetzer. This is his how-to guide to getting started and I think it can really help you. See his thoughts below:

Recently, Leadership Journal interviewed me about social media, publishing it under the headline: “Not Tweeting? Repent!” So, in light of the fact that I basically called pastors sinners for not being on Twitter, I thought I should share some tips for getting started in social media.

Choose An Outlet

First, you’ll need to consider which social media outlet to use. My recommendation would be to engage in both Twitter and Facebook. The simple reason—you’re more likely to engage men over Twitter and women on Facebook.

Twitter is more of a broadcast medium. Users send out content (“tweet”) and people can reply to you if your tweet provoked a thought they wanted to share with you. Because of the way Twitter is set up, users don’t necessarily see one another’s replies to your original tweet.

On the other hand, Facebook is a bit more of a community-oriented conversation in that people can see each other’s comments in what is called a thread, short for a comment thread, underneath the original post.

There are other social media platforms as well (e.g., Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+), but the two biggest are Twitter and Facebook, so I think that’s probably the best place to start.

Getting Started on Twitter

Set up separate Twitter accounts for you and your church. These accounts will be able to complement each other. Here is a step-by-step guide for how to set up a personal Twitter account.

  1. From an Internet connected device go to http://twitter.com.
  2. Choose the New to Twitter? Sign Up box on the screen.
  3. Enter a name and email address. (You will need to access this email address during signup.)
  4. Twitter will help you find a valid Full Name and Username. The Username is the one associated with the “@” symbol. Mine is @edstetzer. Sometimes you’ll need to add a number or underscore “_” to your username for it to be unique.
  5. Follow the step-by-step instructions provided by Twitter. Don’t forget to upload a clear photo of yourself.

To set up an account for your church follow the same directions as above. If you have a long church name you will need to abbreviate or modify it to find a workable username. Usernames are limited to only 15 characters. If your church is First Charismatic African Methodist Episcopal Church of Waxahatchie, you might need to be really creative! For example, I pastor Grace Church, but our Twitter handle is @GoGraceChurch.

The next obvious questions are, how often should I tweet and what should I tweet about? Well, first look what other people who are successful on Twitter are doing. For example, here are some examples of pastors who do a good job. See what they’re saying, notice how they’re interacting, and learn from them.

  • Jared Wilson, pastor of in Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont: @jaredcwilson
  • Zach Nielsen, pastor of The Vine Church in Madison, WI: @znielsen
  • Mark Marshall, pastor of Clearview Church in Franklin, TN: @mxmarsh

Your church account can be more about what’s going on in the church, retweeting things people in the church say, news of specific interest to the religious community and reminders of upcoming events. In most cases your church account will be less followed and connected than your personal account.

Here are some things you need to know about Twitter that are applicable to either type of account:

A “retweet” is when you tweet what another person has already tweeted. It is one of the most active features on Twitter. A tweet being retweeted exponentially compares to something “going viral” in the world of YouTube videos. Most people understand that retweeting a tweet does not imply that you endorse the content of that tweet. It does mean the content (typically a link to a news story) is worth reading.

A “favorite” is similar to a “like” on Facebook or +1 on Google+. It doesn’t actually mean it’s one of your favorite tweets of all time. It is a means of acknowledgement without giving a “reply” or retweet.

“Following” is like subscribing to a Twitter feed. You can follow people, news organizations, sports teams and more. Anyone on Twitter can “follow” you and mutual following is not necessarily expected.

I talked about replying earlier. While they aren’t visible to everyone who follows you, they are public though. So, if you want to speak to someone privately on Twitter, you can send them a “direct message” or “DM.” Those are only seen by you and the other person.

Getting Started on Facebook

To be effective on Facebook you need both a personal Facebook account and a different account for your church. Depending on how well known you are, you may end up needing to move from a personal Facebook account to what is called a “Page.” However, if you’re to that point you probably have a social media helper and there is no reason for me to go into all of that. So, let me focus on creating your personal account and your church’s page.

If you do not already have a personal Facebook profile, you need to create one before you can start a church page. Go to https://www.facebook.com and fill out the information to sign up for Facebook.

Once you have established your personal profile, you can visit https://www.facebook.com/pages and create your page. The setup wizard will walk you through the rest of the steps. Church pages fall under the Company, Organization or Institution category.

There are also Facebook Groups. These groups could be used for subsets of the congregation if you so choose. You could create groups for different ministries or sets of volunteers to share details with a select few.

Groups can be open to the public or password protected. It’s best to decide on the privacy of each group based on the content that will be shared with the group. A youth ministry group might not need to be private. However, a group for Celebrate Recovery or Divorce Care just might.

Blogging

In the Leadership Journal interview, I also suggested that you probably don’t want to jump into a full-fledged blog, where you are promoting daily content and things of that sort, unless you are in a specific ministry niche as I am.

However, if you are on Facebook and Twitter and you create a blog where you share weekly updates—some pastors call that “Between Sundays”—you can tweet links to the post or share them on Facebook. So, even though people aren’t generally going to your blog every day, and you don’t have a large blog readership, because you post it on Facebook and Twitter you can share updates during the week and people can share it with others.

So now that you know how to get started, repent and move forward into the social media world!

Feel free to ask questions or for clarifications as needed, and I will update this article to help all those who are interested.

netflix

A couple of months ago, we cancelled our DISH Network subscription and are now just paying $8 a month now to watch movies and TV shows on Netflix. I know of several friends that have done the same thing and are just using services like Netflix and HuluPlus and canceling subscriptions to cable and satellite. I want to share some lessons I’ve learned from the company of Netflix and two shows that I watch on Netflix (Fringe and The Walking Dead).

Lesson 1: Adapt or die. I have a whole chapter about this in my upcoming book. Companies like Blockbuster didn’t adapt and they got passed by new a new up-and-comer like Netflix that did things differently and more efficiently. Blockbusters process and policies were old, out-dated and frustrating their customers. Netflix tried the Blue Ocean Strategy and decided to do video rental in a whole different way.

Lesson 2: Just because you used to be successful does not guarantee future success. Blockbuster used to be a giant in their field. They were booming and successful. Now they’ve filed for bankruptcy. What happened? Maybe they got cocky. Maybe they got lazy. Maybe they lost their focus and stopped casting vision. Maybe they didn’t adapt and change to the digital world around them. Maybe all of the above? I can’t tell you how many churches I know that boast of their glory days in the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s. Days when they used to have to bring extra chairs in. Now those old pews sit empty on Sunday and the congregation is small and declining. What happened? Maybe… you know the drill. See above.

Lesson 3: Content is king. Why was it so easy for me to give up the hundreds of channels on my DISH Network? I would venture to say that I knew I could still get good content from Netflix and HuluPlus and that my entertainment time wouldn’t suffer. I knew Netflix was packed full of great content and I could still scratch my action, comedy and Sci-fi itches through their service. Why is this important to us? You can hype and market your church all you want, but at the end of the day, you got to show the goods. You must create compelling experiences for people to encounter the Living God. As a blogger, I know that content is king. If I have nothing to say, I lose my voice. If your pastor or teaching pastor doesn’t effectively communicate God’s Word to both the Christian and the non-Christian, you’ll have people leave and go somewhere where they can experience the life-changing truth of the gospel in fresh and creative ways. To quote my friend, Mark Batterson: “If people love a book (or church or service or company) they will tell their friends about it. There is no substitute or shortcut that can compensate for life-changing content.”

Lesson 4: There is an unseen world. This is a lesson that is reinforced in the TV show Fringe that I watch on Netflix. We are to be constantly reminded that what we see is not all there is. We live in a natural world, but there is a supernatural world and all around us are angels and demons and things that we can not see. We serve a God that rose from the dead and this makes Christianity a supernatural faith. When you can’t see His hand, trust His heart. God is always at work, behind the scenes – working things together for our good.

Lesson 5: Somethings can not be explained. I’m also reminded of this in the show Fringe. So many times in life, in medicine, in ministry, things happen that can not be explained. Lives are changed from the inside out, someone gets healed, someone doesn’t get healed (despite much prayer), miracles take place. Often times God moves in mysterious ways and we don’t understand Him, His ways, His plans or His timing.

Lesson 6: You must have faith. This is a spiritual them that runs through most shows on TV, including Fringe. When you don’t understand, when your mind is blown, in good and times and bad – you must have faith. Faith is something that endures through trials and valleys. It is battle-tested. It’s not enough to have faith when everything is going your way, you must have faith when you’re hurting, confused and scared. Always hope. Always trust. Always believe.

Lesson 7: The war rages on. In my ebook Church Leadership 101, I have a chapter that reminds us: “You have an enemy.” We must never forget that in this unseen world (all around us), there is a war that rages on between good and evil. You have an enemy that wants to take you down, take you out and if he could – kill you. You must put on your spiritual armor and fight the good fight of faith. Never let your guard down. The enemy is waiting to prowl on you.

Lesson 8: I see dead people. One of my new favorite shows is The Walking Dead. I love the title because all around us our people that are spiritually dead walking around. One of the powerful truths that I must constantly be reminded of is that we don’t save anyone. Only God saves. Only God redeems. Only God restores. Regeneration is a beautiful thing. God has the power to open blind eyes and awaken a dead heart, changing someone from the inside out. Place your hope and trust in the saving work of God, the finished work of the cross, and the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.

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Recently I came across a resource website called CREATIONSWAP. I forwarded it on to my worship pastor and didn’t think much more about it. I went into his office one day as he was working on our pre and post-service slides (they’re really sharp) and he was using the free graphics and artwork on this website. He said it was a tremendous resource and he highly recommended it. So, I thought I share it with you if you haven’t heard of it. Check them out!

If you read my blog via email or RSS, you may not have noticed several things – such as the new blog design and some of the new sponsors recently added to my blog homepage. Sponsors such as HymnCharts and their Easter resources and my newest sponsor: Interactive Worship Live.

I’ve known Phillip Edwards for several years and remember when he called me and several Church leaders together in Dallas to show us his new resource and give us all an up-close-and-personal demo.

At my current home church in Georgia (where I play keys with the praise band when I’m in town), we use IWL each week and love it. I asked our worship pastor, Michael Wells, to share his thoughts on this resource for our church. Here are Michael’s thoughts:

I have been an Interactive Worship Live user for some time and would highly recommend it. There are three areas that IWL has made us more effective in.

First, because you can isolate studio quality musicians, our musicians can clearly hear things like strumming patterns or vocal inflections which has improved their skill level and learning speed.

Second, you don’t have to worry when a musician has to cancel last minute. If our bass player calls in late Saturday night sick I can unmute the bass player channel and sleep well.

Last, IWL fills out the sound by adding instruments not on our team. I may have an electric guitar but I do not have five and many artist tracks today will have multiple layers of instruments.

All three of these areas have made use a more skillful team.

*** I agree with Michael and have personally witnessed this great worship resource in action. We’ve had weeks where the drummer was out and we just plugged in the drummer track on IWL. We had a week when the bass player was out and we did the same thing. I also resonate with the third point Michael made of filling out our sound. We have a basic band, but love having the added percussion sounds added in and it’s always good to add a couple more electric guitars to fill out our sound.

Have you heard of IWL? Why don’t you check them out HERE at their website? If you use IWL at your church, please comment and share with us why you like it/use it and if it’s ever saved the day.

Yesterday, with the announcement of ProPresenter 4 (for Mac) – my friends at Renewed Vision threw in one other big announcement: they’re making a Windows version. I knew this, but couldn’t blog about it before. Here’s the announcement that came in their email:

For 10 years, we’ve developed ProPresenter for Mac only, and have been asked repeatedly if there was going to be a version for Windows. Our answers were always the same:

• The tools that enable us to do what we do on the Mac aren’t as robust on the Windows platform.
• We have nothing against Windows, but felt we could make a more powerful and reliable product on the Mac.
• We’d rather focus on making the best software for any platform, rather than divide our efforts by supporting two platforms.

All of these answers were valid, and as the marketshare of the Mac has increased over the last several years, the question has become a lot less frequent. At the same time, however, we’ve been troubled by some things:

• There are a lot of churches that don’t have Macs, particularly overseas
• There is a great variety of Windows-based machines on the market that are seemingly very capable.
• A new computer purchase is often difficult in today’s economy.
• Many PC users get excited about our product only to be let down when learning it’s Mac only.
• Some organizations will not purchase a Mac just to run ProPresenter.
• If we can improve the worship experience on the Mac, why not use our expertise to do the same for Windows?

Through the years, a lot has changed. Computers have become far more powerful and technologies have evolved. We’ve kept our eye on Windows technologies that would enable us to create a quality ProPresenter experience for Windows users, and we now believe we have found the right tool set, and assembled the right team of people to make ProPresenter for Windows a reality!

So, the cat’s out of the bag. We’ll be keeping you updated via our website as this story unfolds. Until then, here are answers to some questions we thought you might have:

WHAT WILL PROPRESENTER 4 WINDOWS LOOK LIKE?
We have put a great deal of thought into the user interface of ProPresenter 4 on the Mac, so why ruin a good thing? We are building the Windows version to look and function identically. If you know how to run ProPresenter 4 Mac, you will know instantly how to run ProPresenter 4 Windows.

WILL IT HAVE ALL THE FEATURES OF THE MAC VERSION?
We are working hard to make sure that every feature of the Mac version is implemented in Windows. In some cases, a feature may be less robust on the Windows platform while others may work even better. Some technical realities beyond the scope of ProPresenter may have an impact (video codecs, shared storage, etc.), but we’re going to make sure these are minimal.

WILL I BE ABLE TO USE BOTH IN MY ORGANIZATION?
From the ground up, we have worked to ensure interoperability between ProPresenter 4 Mac and ProPresenter 4 Windows. This means you will be able to move files back and forth, and they will run largely the same way on either platform.

WHAT ABOUT THE ADVANCED AND ALPHA KEYER MODULES, OR THE PROPRESENTER REMOTE FOR IPHONE?
We’re not planning our initial release of ProPresenter 4 Windows to include any modules or iPhone remote functionality. Depending on market acceptance and customer demand, however, we may consider developing them in the future. Be sure to let us know your interest in these additional features.

WHAT IS THE PRICING OF PROPRESENTER FOR WINDOWS?
ProPresenter for Windows has the same pricing structure as its Mac counterpart. Single user licenses will be platform specific and sold for $399. However, a Site License for ProPresenter 4 will work on either platform, allowing unlimited use on any platform for a single campus, making our site license an even better value add. This means for a $799 site license purchase, you can run ProPresenter 4 on either a Mac or a Windows machine. Existing ProPresenter 4 site license owners will be able to download and unlock the Windows version immediately after it becomes available.

WHY ARE WE ANNOUNCING IT NOW?
Because site licenses of ProPresenter 4 will work on both the Mac and Windows versions, we want people to know these benefits before placing their upgrade orders.

WHEN WILL PROPRESENTER 4 WINDOWS BE RELEASED?
We don’t have a specific date for release quite yet, but are working towards Summer 2010. We will certainly have a public beta test for registered ProPresenter users prior to the wide release. Stay tuned for such an announcement in the coming months.

Yesterday I met with my new friend, Boyd, from ChurchTeams.com (a great resource for your church – I encourage you to check them out).  We were talking about the future of the Church, technology and ministry and we talked about the reality that in the not too distant future, churches may not need internal servers. 

I was sharing my thoughts on the Church IT world and how quickly it’s changing. How most IT departments are not keeping up with the rapidly changing world around them and how I believe that we’re just on the edge of all the change coming to our Church tech and IT worlds. 

I talked about how North Point doesn’t use Microsoft Exchange – they’re all Google. Many churches are following in their footsteps. Think about it: North Point is a huge church with a large staff – if they can do it, you can, too.

I talked about how churches are using resources like Unifyer, 360Hubs, Arena, Fellowship One, Planning Center Online, ChurchTeams.com, etc., etc. – all web-based resources. 

Today I had lunch with the Emerging Media professor at the University of Texas Dallas. He started talking about this very reality without knowing I had already written most of this post. He talked about the new reality of sharing information via the cloud. I already collaborate with many people and writing partners via Google docs. 

Some of you may think I’m crazy and disagree with me strongly, but I’ve always been an early adopter and I believe you’ll look back on this post 3 years from now and think differently. In your own church world, how many programs that you use are web-based? How big of a stretch would it be to think of doing away with servers in your situation?

  1. Communicate
  2. Connect
  3. Contribute
  4. Collaborate
All this can be done through the Church 2.0 Unifyer. There is a quick one-time registration (takes seconds) and then you’re in. You can sign up for the news feeds that interest you. Join and/or create groups that interest you and begin to share the joy of the 4 C’s.

It’s been LONG overdue. I have been meaning to blog about LifeChurch.tv’s Digerati team for quite a while. I’ve blogged about LifeChurch.tv many times, but in this blog I’d like to spotlight the Digerati team and their projects. 

You might be wondering: “What in the world does “digerati” mean?” To get to the bottom of something, I go to Wikipedia. Wikipedia reads:”The digerati are the elite of the computer industry and online communities.” From what I know of my friends Terry Storch and Tony Steward (and the rest of the Digerati Team) this fits them very well. 

Maybe you don’t recognize the team, but you may recognize their work. Here is what the Digerati team has been up to and is responsible for:

EXTRA:
There’s a great article with Terry Storch in the Sept/Oct issue of COLLIDE Magazine. I encourage you to read it.
*** I’ll be doing occasional “SPOTLIGHTS” from time to time. If you know of a ministry/organization or individual that I should consider shining a spotlight on, just email me (greg@gregatkinson.com) and let me know.

The Don Moen Company Purchases MediaComplete (below is a press release from them):

We are excited to announce that the Don Moen Company has recently purchased MediaComplete Corp. The acquisition caps weeks of discussions and planning for how to best resource the church for a new generation of visual media. The new entity will be known as MediaComplete LLC. Don Moen recently founded the Don Moen Company. He is best known as a songwriter and worship leader having written some of the most recognizable songs in the church today.

Don commented on the acquisition, “We believe that making MediaComplete part of our organization will help us to better equip the Church to communicate more effectively and to lead life-changing worship which rests at the heart of God’s Kingdom. Additionally, we are committed to increasing financial and organizational support to the MediaComplete team as they strive to better serve the Church with cutting-edge technologies and expanded content offerings.”

All current staff will remain in place and the MediaComplete founders will continue with significant roles in the company including Todd Temple as Vice President and Chief Product Developer, and Paul Jackson as Vice President for Sales and Marketing. Additionally, MediaComplete will continue to be located at its present location in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.

We are very excited to join forces with The Don Moen Company to better serve the church, and we believe this relationship will allow us to significantly expedite our product development process. We are looking forward to increasing our customer service capabilities, as well as introducing several important new software releases in the months ahead.

Additionally, Kevin Weimer, son of Christian industry icon Jerry Weimer, will join the team as President and CEO of MediaComplete, LLC. Weimer worked with Moen and The Don Moen Company, Chief Operating Officer, Chris Long, during his tenure as VP of the Integrity Label Group.

Weimer stated, “It is a great honor to lead the MediaComplete Team for Don and Chris. As more high quality media is being developed for worship, youth and children’s ministries, we are committed to developing cutting-edge products and services that will enable the church to utilize these media tools in the most effective way for their local ministries.”

MediaComplete is the first major acquisition by the Don Moen Company, which was started in 2008 by Platinum selling recording artist, songwriter and worship leader, Don Moen. Over the next twelve months Moen will be demonstrating the software both domestically and internationally as he appears in markets including South Africa, Nigeria, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.

The Don Moen Company Acquires MediaComplete:
Seated (left to right) Paul Jackson, Royce Gray, Don Moen, Todd Temple
Standing (left to right: Chris Long, Kevin Weimer

Besides my family, my job and writing a book, I’m also speaking twice this month. Once, this week at ECHO and next week at the Church 2.0 Local Forum – Atlanta.

I’m excited about both. For ECHO, I’m excited about the many friends and Church leaders from around the country that are coming and I get to hang out with, grab coffee and/or lunch with and take on a tour of Bent Tree.

There’s a great line-up of speakers at ECHO and I’m honored to be a part of this new conference. I’ll be doing 2 classes: “Which Worship Presentation Software is Best for Your Church?” and “Church 2.0”.

In the worship presentation software class, just like NAB, I’ll facilitate a discussion and demo between the Top 3 presentation software companies: EasyWorship, MediaShout and ProPresenter. This class is always fun to do and a great opportunity for you to see the best up-close and personal.

In the Church 2.0 class I give an overview of Web 2.0 technology, how you can use it for ministry and then share my heart behind “Church 2.0“, which goes way beyond technology. For the first time, I will be joined by some special guests (contributors to the book) that will be in Dallas from out of town. I’ll make a big announcement and share some new news with those in attendance!

For Atlanta next week, I’m pumped to meet Church leaders from around the ATL. I’ve been looking forward to this city for quite some time and can’t wait to see what God has in store. If you’re near Atlanta, I want to see you there.

SPECIAL THANKS:
As always, I want to thank my sponsors, which make all this possible and are partners with me in my ministry. My sponsor for ECHO is EasyWorship. Sponsors for the Church 2.0 Local Forum – Atlanta are EasyWorship, ProPresenter, Unifyer, Livekite and Phonevite.

Please hear my heart. I partner with companies that I think have something valid to offer the Church. Someone last week was surprised to learn that I turn down sponsorships. I don’t link my name and my ministry with just anyone. I really believe these companies (and the sponsors for previous conferences and Local Forums) have something unique and innovative to offer the Church as a resource and tool for ministry. Please check them out!