I use Google+ to automatically backup my photos from my Android phone and it works very well.  It also backs up my videos as well, which is fine for small family clips, but why doesn’t it back them up to Youtube or give me a choice to back them up as (initially hidden) Youtube videos?

That way, if I then want to upload the video to Youtube to monetise it, I need to re-upload it, which seems like a waste of everyone’s resources.

I have a work email address, that is hosted on Google Apps for Business and I have a personal email address that is also hosted on Google Apps.

I have a Google+ account that is linked to my personal address, but I don’t want to set up another Google+ account for my work address, I just want one Google+ account.

Suggestion to Google: let me link the two email addresses together under one Google+ profile, so that anything shared with my work address or anyone who has my work address in their address book can find my proper Google+ account easily.

Kinetic Church is a church in Atlanta Georgia (USA) and meets in a movie theatre.  Each week they set up everything for church and then take it down again and put it into a trailer.  One week they had their stuff stolen.  They made a really nice response that showed grace and a true Christ-like response.  Here’s the link if you want to see it.  Really cool.  They even invited the person that stole their stuff to come to their church.

The church received a donation from a local company to put up billboards around the town.  The billboards read the following:

kinetic church billboard

Kinetic Church Billboard

The term ‘ballsy’ got a lot of attention but so did their methodology.  They received a lot of accolades as well as a lot of criticism mostly from the local Christian community.

This has been discussed a lot on the blogs when it happened a few months ago.  But now I come to you with the question: what would your church do?  And it’s a good exercise to think about.

I think a lot of churches would view themselves as a victim and soak up the attention and the tragedy.  I think it’s similar to the way that a lot of Christians would respond: poor me.  But how are we supposed to respond?

I have just finished reading a new book by Jason Gardner, Youth Project Researcher of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (and a member of my extended family), I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to any Christian as the issues it covers relate to the whole of the church body and the relationships within it, but particularly to those wishing to change and shape church leadership. Below are a few comments;

Jason Gardner begins by carefully examines society and in particular the nature of young people and their relationship to adults over the last 100 years and looks at the changes that have occurred in a measured rather than in a sensational or rose-spectacled way.

He then looks at how the church has mirrored society in its treatment of the young, the contradiction of expectations and the polarisation of church communities. Not just in terms of youth congregations and ageing churches, but in terms of how churches create niche groups by age and how leadership delegates youth management responsibilities (appoint an underpaid, under respected youth pastor to reach and deal with ‘youth’, so the leadership does not have to).

I won’t spell out all the recommendations, but to say that the proposals that Jason Gardner outlines are challenging to the church but necessary to avoid a greater distancing of the generations and ultimately the breakdown of the church. With the external challenges faced by young people in particular, and different role that the church fills in society it is so important that churches can be the one place that generations can be side by side working together for Christ and the Kingdom. Through analysis, practical examples and suggestions, this book makes a positive contribution to achieving this aim.

On a side note, of particular interest to me were his points on parenting, one of which suggested that as parents feel guilty about spending inadequate time with their offspring, the time that they do spend becomes child-focused which does ring true. This can lead to the parent-child relationship being about fulfilling a child’s needs rather that the parent preparing the child for adult life. Maybe I should feel like it isn’t such poor parenting by getting my son to help with the DIY rather than doing something he would choose to do. This isn’t a parenting book, it is just one point that I found interesting.

Mend the Gap by Jason Gardner is available through IVP.

How do I explain this advert to my 7 year old? It is barely 100 yards from our front door.

Totally Calum Best MTV poster advert

Totally Calum Best MTV poster advert

If there is stuff on the news about celebrities and their relationships on the news, I can explain it as a boyfriend/girlfriend type thing without the need to discuss what they may or may get up to, but this is a bit different as there is purely about sex.

You can see more info on the MTV site. Pretty poor TV by all accounts, but why the advertising stuck in our faces?

So I’m going to the Echo Conference in Dallas, TX (USA) next week. It’s for leaders that use media, the internet, and other forms of technology as a tool for the church. I get paid to go to conferences like this for my work and I’ve participated in these kinds of conferences or trade shows (yes they have trade shows for churches too).

There are a lot of conferences and training events out there that compete for the attention of the church staff.  There are denominational events, those put on by the church’s affiliation or events surrounding a subject like worship or leadership in church.  And the staff person must decide which events are most valuable while remaining a good steward of the church’s budget.

We are called to come together and meet as Christians and we also understand that iron sharpens iron. And when thousands of people commit to coming to these events year after year, it also becomes a place of commerce for many vendors.  Is that ok?  I happen to work for a vendor like this but I also know my own heart and I pray often about my motivations.  At what point are these vendors and event organizers trying to create revenue rather than equipping leaders? My answer is: the vendors wouldn’t come if there wasn’t money to be made.  My bosses wouldn’t let me attend or buy booth space if the end goal was to spread love.

It’s obvious that the makers of technology like projectors, video cameras, and computers are interested in sales.  It wouldn’t make sense for them to give their products away, would it?  And before technology was heavily involved in the church did we have the same scrutiny of stain glass makers and the people who make wooden pews?  We are called to be IN the world not OF the world.  So even though we participate in events that are consumer related and we’re treated like businesses by vendors we are still the church.

What are your experiences and what is your feedback?

I have just come across a discussion started by Michael Boyink suggesting that web designers should not work for free when it comes to creating sites for churches because that inherently means that the organisations that the work is done for do not value it.

Because when a church gets a website for free, it evidently has no value. Things with no value get replaced or reimplemented on a moment’s notice, on staff whim, or as soon as the person leading the effort is called away.

The comments on this piece numbered 85 when he closed commenting, and on Church Marketing Sucks comments are still coming in, so it is obviously a topic that people have strong opinions on.

The criticism around this says that the website creation should be a gift without reservation to the church and what they do with it is their business, but this misses the point of the article. Churches that invest nothing in the original design and building of a website are not likely to invest the relevant resources ongoing to develop compelling and relevant content for the site.

And when someone else offers to take over the site, the old design is too easily abandoned (as it costs nothing) and replaced, when in fact the time spent on the redesign could have been better used on content. Michael Boyink suggests that churches that pay for the site in the first place are more likely to commit the relevant resources to get the most out of their investment.

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