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Posted on Jul 26, 2010 in Tech

Tech you should be using in your worship arts ministry

As a follow up to this last podcast I wanted to give you a little more info on some tech you should definitely be making use of in your worship arts Ministry. I know that Kevin & I may not agree on this list, but to me, these are essentials. They may not be the right fit for you, but I think they’re worthy of trying & checking out.

1.) Planning Center Online

Okay, this is what sparked the debate in our last podcast. It’s an extremely useful to, especially if you’re more the artist personality and less of the organized type. If you always feel like you’re behind in scheduling or in keeping in touch with the volunteers you work with, you’ll love it. If you like to plan ahead, it’s great because you can just go to the plan you’re thinking of, ad in an idea or two for that weekend and then when you’re ready to finish the plan – you have it – right there!

There are some other great features to PCO as well. Song & Chart organization, printing songbooks for the weekend, the community where you can see what other churches who use PCO are doing and others. With all that great functionality, it’s extremely simple & easy to use.

2.) Facebook

If you’re still using email & not using facebook, I’ll be praying for you. I pray for Kevin all the time about this. Facebook is such a great tool for ministry. It provides and easy way for you to keep tabs on your worship personnel & what’s going on in their lives without (and I know this sounds bad) having to have a conversation with each one of them every week. I don’t mean that it’s bad to talk to people in person, but who among us has time to talk to every single volunteer every single week? I know I don’t and because of facebook I don’t have to. We have a group for our Worship Arts Members. If nothing else, I can use this group as a list to go & mingle with all our people, but you can also use the group for discussions, announcements & prayer requests.

3.) A Blog

Obviously I think a blog is an important piece of the puzzle. It’s another way to build community among your team members online. You can use it as a teaching platform, you can use it to get feedback on new songs, and other things.

If adding a blog seems like too much, use facebook. You can have a blog within facebook & you can use your group for this kind of stuff too!

4.) An iPod

I’ve done posts about this in the past, and you can go check that out for more info. But there are many great ways to use your ipod as a worship tool. You can use it in rehearsals to listen to new music, you can put a slew of new worship songs on there and then go through them and decide which songs best fit your congregation. You can put your set on there and use it to practice with or learn new songs. There are a lot of great ways to use this as a tool.

It should also be said that the iPhone, iPod touch and Droid add another layer of functionality & usefulness for you as a worship leader. I haven’t been able to afford one yet, but one day I will. With apps like guitar tuners, metronomes, real time analyzers, etc. there are a lot of useful things in there!

5.) You Tube

Warning! Caution! I just want you to beware that not everything on You tube is, shall we say, wholesome. That aside, there are a lot of useful video tutorials on You Tube that members of your worship Team will find useful. Paul Baloche teaching his new songs, or Lincoln Brewster teaching the guitar lick to his new song, and many others doing the same kind of thing. It can save you & your instrumentalists a ton of time.

Well, that’s my list. What’s yours? Comment on this post with your tech tools that you can’t live without!

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Posted on Jan 25, 2010 in Tech

Dangerous Decibels

So it’s happened to me yet again. Well, it happens more often than not. Someone came up to me after our service on Sunday morning and complained about the sound being too loud. The week before I had about 15 people come up to me and express that the sound was too quiet and that they didn’t want to sing out because they didn’t want the people around them to hear them singing. Believe it or not, people are just as emotional on the quiet side as they are on the loud side of the fence.

It’s a very tight rail we walk in terms of volume. Some churches have a harder time than others. Some churches have problems caused by the building they are in, others have problems because of the large age range they serve on a weekly basis. Still others have problems because musicians like it loud, and the guitarist’s amp just doesn’t sound as warm unless it’s turned up. It’s a battle I’ve been a part of pretty much my whole life.

I’ve learned a lot over the course of my time in worship ministry about sound pressure levels, decibels and what not (to be quite honest, far more than I ever wanted to know). Today I thought I’d share a resource with you that I came across as this battle was thrust into the forefront of my mind once again. It’s called “Dangerous Decibels.” Here’s the link: http://www.dangerousdecibels.org/hearingloss.cfm

This link is particularly helpful as it has a chart on this page about hearing damage. Not that we need to be able to win our side of the argument, but this is an issue we need to have thought through clearly. As churches, we cannot be responsible for people losing their hearing. At the same time, contemporary worship music is loud. So, I’d recommend you take a minute or two and familiarize yourself with the info on Dangerous Decibels so that you can be leading your people in this way.

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Posted on Mar 5, 2009 in Tech

The neverending Debate (and I’m not talking Hymns and choruses)

So, this week, I once again came up against a couple of problems on my mac that I’ve never had on any PC.

We use Adobe’s InDesign to do our bulletin in, and my Mac is the only computer with the software on it. Therefore, our office manager logs on to my computer via logmein.com when she needs to work on and print the bulletin.

Well, I’ve been trying to create her a fully functining account that she can log into without having to use my account at all. At first, I couldn’t get her access to the folder that was in my account, (even though I had shared it) so I had to move all the files. Then I couldn’t get log me in to work logging into her account and not mine.

Now I have two new problems that I don’t know how to solve. For some reason, when you install a font on a Mac, it only installs it on the account you are working with, not on the entire machine. So, if I’m working with a graphic that is using a unique font on my account, I have to install the font on her account as well if she’s going to be able to work with it.

Secondly, when I open up InDesign, it will only open for about one minute, then a box pops up saying something about a licensing error (Yes, it’s a completely legit copy, I have the boxes and serial numbers in my office) and the program shuts down.

I’ve never had either of those problems on my PC. I also don’t understand the “Paying more for Quality” argument. There are plenty of PC computers that rival the quality of a mac, some that surpass it in my opinion, and they’re all cheaper.

Anyway, even though the world seems to think Mac is winning the PC vs. Mac battle, with me PC is winning.

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Posted on Feb 13, 2009 in Tech

The iPod as a worship tool

Today I wanted to write about a tech tool that I use quite often, the iPod. Of course, not everybody has an ipod, some have other brands of mp3 players, some use CD’s etc.

Here’s why I use an ipod (or any mp3 player) instead of CD’s.

First, it’s easier to go through a lot of songs. What I used to do was buy a bunch of CD’s, rip them to mp3’s and then load them on my computer. Lately I’ve been buying albums on iTunes. I don’t have to keep a whole stack of CD’s in my car. I don’t have to keep messing with swapping the CD’s and keep them all in their correct cases.

Second, it’s easier to cut out the songs that I don’t think are going to work. Once I’ve listened to all the songs and I’ve started to eliminate some of the songs that aren’t going to work, all I have to do is remove them from the playlist. I don’t have to keep skipping past the songs that we aren’t going to use, I can focus completely on the songs we might use.

Thirdly, once I have the gotten the songs down to the list that I’m actually going to use, I have a playlist that I can use to learn the songs, use in rehearsals, etc.

For me, and iPod really simplifies the whole process of choosing new worship songs for our church, if you haven’t used yours in this way, I’d really encourage you to think about starting.

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Posted on Apr 11, 2008 in Tech, Worship Ministry Catalyst

Church Tech Talk

If you haven’t checked out the guys over at church tech talk you really need to. It’s a group of guys who do tech stuff in churches, and they talk about it in a podcast, as well as give you really cool free stuff. They’re very funny, and very informative. They have a very similar missions to ours, which is one reason why I love what they do.

I’d strongly recommend you listen to Episode # 77, and then every other one.

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