Tag Archives: Internet

5 Reason Church Promotional Videos Are So Valuable

For years, I have wanted to make a promotional video for my youth ministry. I envisions action shots from youth group along with interviews and cool music in the background. Here’s the problem, I don’t know how to do any of that? Or at least not enough to make it not look like the public access channel.

Lo and behold, my brother-in-law starts a cinematography (I can’t even spell that, thank you Microsoft Word) company called 740 films. He graciously agreed to help me with this project. As we talked, I began to expand the vision to the entire church. How cool would it be to have a video for not only the youth ministry, but also a message from our senior pastor, a children’s ministry overview, and another video highlighting the young adult ministry. Why would I go through all this trouble (well, I actually did very little in the production process) to make these videos?

Here are 5 reasons why church promotional videos can be valuable:

  1. Front Door. As you may have heard already, the church website is the new front door for visitors. In 2012, as many as 1/3 of visitors went to the church website before they came to the church. I’m sure that number has gone up since then. So, having a professional video of the ministries of the church will only enhance that first impression.
  2. Awareness.  When we unveiled all 4 of these church promos late last month, it had an interesting reaction from our people. There were several people who came up to me and thanked me for all I did in the youth ministry. Why would they do that now? Well, maybe because they have never visited the youth group.   Maybe they thought all we did was play ultimate Frisbee, put rubber bands around a watermelon until it bursts (which is super cool by the way), and talk about MTV (anyone watch that channel anymore?). But now, seeing the vision and heart of the ministry, it raised the awareness and importance of the children, youth and young adult ministries to the whole church. It raised a whole new level of support.
  3. Advertising.  This basically goes without saying. But in the first day of showing our church vision video, it had over 1,000 views. Being a small church, we rarely see 1,000 anything. This was great to see the word of our great church spreading among our people’s friends and families.
  4. Social Media. This past year, I have had the task of upping our social media network. With the help of some willing teammates, the scope of our Facebook and Twitter has grown from non-existent to somewhat viable. To put it into perspective, the likes on Facebook have grown 5 times what it was a year ago. So with these videos posted on various Facebook pages connected to the church, it will only add to that growth.
  5. Experience.  For some visitors, the unknown makes visiting a church most terrifying. Providing a video of many of ministries along with interviews of the ministry leaders, it provides a number of things. It provides a familiar face when they walk in, even if it just was a face on the computer screen. Also, an explanation and vision behind the ministries here at the church provide reassurance. Our church is not after you money or will do anything that will make you feel uncomfortable when you walk through our doors. This reassurance is vital to anyone that desires to visit the church.

So without further ado…here are the 4 videos (credit:  740 FILMS)

Memorial Baptist Church

Memorial Student Ministries (MSM)

Kaleidoscope Children’s Ministries

Turning Point Young Adult Ministries

 

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10 Things Teens Won’t Tell You

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, youth worker, youth pastor, or just a curious observer of the cultural shifts in America, this article provides incredible insight into the mind of the teenager, or more importantly the next generation in America. It is interesting the article comes from a financial mindset (www.marketwatch.com), thus it uses the numbers to explain behavior. Tough to argue with that logic. Take a look at the article, and feel free to comment about it below.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-things-teens-wont-tell-you-2014-08-08?page=1

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What Technology is Doing to Children & Teenagers’ Bodies – A Must Read

Ever heard of “i-Posture” or “Facebook Depression”…Did you know too much time gaming or on internet during childhood is linked to cardiovascular disease?  Technology may be more than just a distraction, it could affect a child’s health.

This fascinating article called “Here’s What A Constantly Plugged-In Life Is Doing To Kids’ Bodies” posted in the Huffington Post (see below) describes the effects technology is having on children now, and later in life.


Infographic by Alissa Scheller for The Huffington Post.

If it seems like your kids are constantly plugged in, tapping away on their iPhones, obsessively gaming and SnapChatting way more than they’re actually … chat-chatting — well, that’s because they are. It’s estimated that children ages 8 to 18 spend an average of seven hours a day behind screens; teens send an average of 3,417 text messages each month; and 97 percent of adolescents have at least one electronic device in their bedrooms.

What’s just as scary as how much time kids spend on screens is the effect it can have on their health. Their backs and wrists are sore, their sleep is disrupted and their attention spans are diminished.

While it would be impossible to rid your kids’ lives of technology completely — and you wouldn’t want to, because of its many joys and benefits — parents can take a few measures to help prevent its negative mental and physical side effects.

Here are some ways screens may be harming your kids’ bodies and what you can do about it:

They’re Hunched Over, And Their Necks And Upper Backs Are Sore

The human body’s natural position is an erect posture with a little bit of lordosis (inward curve) in the neck and a bit of kyphosis (round curve) in the upper back. A person sitting at in front of a computer is likely to have rounded shoulders and forward head posture, which puts a strain on the muscles and joints, causing soreness and fatigue.

What To Do: Dr. Sherilyn Driscoll, a doctor of pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, recommends that parents be conscious of ergonomics when kids are at their computers: It should be on a desk with the keyboard at hand level, there should be a supportive backrest, and kids should try to maintain an upright position.

They’re Less Active

Research has linked childhood obesity to too much screen time. In a recent study, 61 percent of obese boys and 63 percent of obese girls reported watching television for two or more hours each day. Studies have also suggested that TV viewing habits in childhood can predict obesity risk in adulthood.

What To Do: According to government guidelines, kids and teens should get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day at least three times a week to increase strength and develop strong muscles.

Their Fingers And Wrists Are Suffering

Wrist and finger pain is common in kids who play video games. A study (done by a kid!) found that children were 50 percent more likely to experience pain for every hour they spent gaming. Dr. Eric Ruderman, an associate professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said video game playing may be harmful for children’s developing muscles and tendons.

Too much texting can also lead to soreness and cramping in the fingers, known as “text claw.” According to a 2012 Nielsen report, the average teen sends 3,417 texts a month, which is about seven an hour. Ouch.

What To Do: Ruderman says parents need to limit game time: Two hours per day is too much for a 7- or 8-year-old. Additionally, HuffPost Healthy Living has put together a comprehensive guide to alleviate pain from smartphone use that you can share with your teen.

Their Sight Could Be Affected

Teens’ constant use of electronics at home and at school is taking a toll on their eyes, according to David Epley, a pediatric ophthalmologist in Kirkland, Wash., and a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Whenever someone spends time in front of a screen their “blink rate” goes down, which can lead to dry, itchy eyes and eye strain. While teens’ eyes can get used to screens, Epley said, damage can develop over time and even cause myopia, or nearsightedness.

What To Do: The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that a computer user shift focus away from a screen every 20 minutes and take 20 seconds to look at something that is at least 20 feet away. “This gets you blinking again,” Epley said. “And restores moisture to the surface of the eye.”

Their Sleep Is Disrupted

According to a 2010 Pew Study, 4 out of 5 teenagers sleep with their cell phones on and near their beds. And they’re not just using phones as alarms; another study found that teens send an average of 34 texts a night after getting into bed.

Teens’ sleep can be disrupted by screens because the bright lights that glow from the devices “wakes up the brain,” Michael Decker, a sleep specialist and associate professor at Case Western School of Nursing, told The Huffington Post. The light can confuse the brain since our circadian pacemaker does not differentiate between the sun and a computer screen. “Teens are getting this bright light and it’s making them go to bed later and want to sleep later,” said Decker, “but they can’t deal with the sleep loss.” Not getting enough sleep has a psychological effect on teens, and can lead to irritability and poor social skills. Memory is also negatively affected, which in turn can diminish academic performance.

What To Do: The National Sleep Foundation recommends that teenagers get 9.25 hours of sleep each night (although for some kids, 8.5 hours is enough). Dr. Suzanne Phillips suggests discussing a nighttime plan with your kids -– either phones off after 11 p.m., or requiring them to charge it in another room overnight.

They’re Losing A Little Bit Of Hearing

One in 5 teens has experienced hearing loss — a number that’s increased in recent years. Though it hasn’t been proven, experts suggest loud music coming from digital music players could be to blame. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Personal music players, such as MP3 players, can cause lasting hearing loss if you turn the volume up high enough to mask the sound of other loud noises, such as those from a lawn mower.”

What To Do: The Associated Press points out that parents can set the maximum volume on their kids’ iPods and lock it with a code.

Their Brains Are … Different

Breathe out. There is no hard evidence to suggest that technology is rotting your kids’ brains. Sure, screens can be harmful: Today’s teens are more distracted; social media can contribute to psychological problems; and most obviously, they can’t read maps.

But there are also benefits to growing up with technology. Dr. Larry Rosen, author of Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and The Way They Learn, says that social media can help teens find their identity in the world. A recent study found that interactive tools did help kids learn. Toddlers who interacted with the screen picked up concepts and words faster.

While experts on both sides of the issue have strong opinions, most agree that moderation is key. And as parents, one must look at one’s own screen habits and remember that the kids are watching. “Kids do not need our undivided attention all day long, but they do in those real-life moments of talking and reading and doing the hard work of parenting — dealing with meltdowns, teaching them how to pick up their clothes,” Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, told The Huffington Post.

So, moms and dads, it’s time to walk away from the computer, put the phone down and enjoy your kids face to face.
(After you share this article with your friends.)

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Double Book Review: I’m a Church Member & Closing the Window

churchmemberBook Review:  I Am a Church Member by Thom Rainer

The Good:  First off, bravo for the impact of this book, yet it taking only 30-45 minutes to read.  Don’t let the brevity full you, like a featherweight boxer it still packs a punch.  This book contains 6 chapters and 6 ways to become a better church member, each with Biblical backing and strong conviction and practicality.  Rainer does a great job combating what he calls the “country club” philosophy of church membership and promotes a giving, serving, and putting others first membership philosophy.  The opening illustration in each chapter keep the reading fresh and applicable to real life.  If anything, you have to read the “child facing two scenarios” illustration in chapter 6.  Priceless.

The Bad:  The pledge in the back of each chapter may be a little corny.  I get the concept, but could be condensed in the final chapter holding all the truths.

The Grade:  A.  There a great misunderstanding of both the importance of being a member of a church and also the responsibilities associated with church membership.  This books helps solve that mystery.  It is a much needed kick in the pants for those that would rather their backsides not be bothered and heavily cushioned during a church service.  It puts people in motion to properly serve and function in the church body, like Christ, the head of the church, intended.

Book Review:  Closing the Window by Tim Chester

closing-the-windowThe Good:  My fingers may get tired from typing if I listed how important this book is in today’s society, especially for young people.  Here’s a stat for you…93% of teenagers have access to the internet.  Do you know the percentage of teenage boys who have been exposed to internet pornography…93%!  Girls aren’t far behind, with exposure at 62%.  I realize this is under the GOOD column.  Here is the good news, this book provides a solution to the problem.  It offers a five-tier process that breaks through the myths and straw-like answers that often fail, and presents a Biblical, life-transforming model that withstands for the long haul.

What’s great about this book is its approach.  While there are underlying reasons for the use of porn, it goes even deeper than the emotional or personality struggles.  The solution starts and ends with God.  Think about it, you really think someone can defeat porn using filters, accountability, or DVD pass codes.  Come on, those should be used, but the user will find a way around those man-made barricades if he or she so desires.  Removing porn from your life is not about what you are losing or blocking, but what you gain.  Many try to take porn away, but don’t replace it, and then find themselves returning to fill the void.  Let me use a quote from the book to explain:  “What happens if you weigh a life with porn against a life without porn?  Put like that, porn will always win, for it offers excitement, pleasure, thrills…by definition…a lesser life…weighing a life with porn against a life lived for God’s glory.  Porn versus glory, porn versus God, fleeting pleasure versus lasting pleasure, shame versus glory, destruction versus eternal life:  which looks the lesser now?”

The Bad:  The only bad…how this book is not better known (this picture above was only available on google images) & how this book is not required for every man to read.  Let me ask you a question:  Do you or anyone you know ever struggled with porn?  Virtually everyone will answer yes to that question.  Whether you need help, or you are in a position to offer help, you need to consider reading this book.

The Grade:  A+.  Please listen to me when I say this, this is not just a book for someone that is addicted to pornography.  This book will help you in your marriage, it will provide you with a proper view of women, and along the way provide Biblical and life-lasting ways to defeat lust in your life.  I’ve read in multiple articles that this book is the best book on counseling someone who is addicted to pornography.  It did not disappoint.  Read it to get out of your addiction.  Read it to help others with their addiction.  Read it to prevent addiction.  Read it to bring you closer to your spouse (or to your future spouse) and read it to become closer in your relationship with God.

 

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Can Instagram affect #selfimage #selfworth and #identity?

Here is a great article about what Instagram (and Facebook for that matter) provide a quantifiable scale of popularity and self-worth.  Is it time to panic?  No.  But these are some good points and reason for us to continue to emphasize identity in Christ and see ourselves like God sees us.  (Click the camera, get it?)instagram-followers

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Parenting the internet & Angry dad shoots his teens’ laptop…How’s that for a title?

20 million views and counting!  That’s how many people watched a dad shoot his daughter’s laptop after she complained about them on Facebook.  Most parents of teenagers would probably admit to wanting to shoot or throw their teens laptop out the window, but is it the right way to handle things?  I’m gonna go with…probably not.  But with studies showing internet addictions being  similar to drug or alcohol addictions, we can see how parents or youth workers may get frustrated…or worried over this.

Just remember some key principles with parenting the internet:

  1. TALK to your child about the internet dangers –  including stranger danger, pornography,
  2. Set limits – The average teens uses 13 hours of technology a day, you hear me (mostly because they text while watching tv, study on the internet, and listen to Bieber, Gaga, or DC Talk…oh wait, that last one was me when I was a teenager).  It’s time to SET SOME LIMITS!
  3. Educate your child about internet behavior – not a place to complain/gossip/bully.
  4. Keep the computer in a public area of the house...you let your teen have their computer in their bedroom, you are asking for trouble.
  5. Install software – protect, monitor…you are the parent, you most likely own the computer, and yes you DO have the right to see what your kids are doing on the computer.
  6. Know all your kids passwords, be a friend on facebook – don’t let them share their password with others and tell them to be careful who can view their info on Facebook

You may know most of these, but it always a good reminder.  Save yourself from having to shoot your teen’s laptop, and save yourself from seeing your teen suffer because of their internet activity.

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