Reftagger

Reftagger is a simple utility that allows webmasters or blog writers easily and automatically to link Bible references to the entire verse or verses. The way the utility works is the site visitor will see any Bible reference appear as a link, and when they hover their mouse over the link a small box will pop up over the link with the Bible verse displayed in the desired translation. The pop up box also allows the user to visit Biblia.com to see the verse or other version, in addition to click on icons that give them a chance to share the verse on social media networks like Twitter, Facebook or Google.

Adding the Reftagger functionality is as easy as copying and pasting a script tag, or installing a plugin to WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. It takes very little technical expertise. See the screencast below for a quick run through of how to set it up.

There will be times that you will want to physically include the entire Bible verse(s) in your web page or blog post, but if you are looking for an automated way to allow site visitors to easily see any reference you happen to include, this would be well worth the effort to include it.

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485 – Lenten Resources and Feedback

It’s time once again for WELSTech’s Community Feedback episode. Martin and Sallie share everything from church newsletter tips to pinned infographics, Chromebook news to ideas for creating church directories. Sallie is raking in the ministry resource comments and Martin is printing (imagine that!). All this, plus Pastor James Hein shares his insightful thoughts on ministering to millennials.

Play

The discussion:

Share and share alike – The WELSTech community is not known to disappoint, and this month’s Community Feedback is proof!

The interview:

Ministering to Millennials – Pastor James Hein from St. Marcus in Milwaukee joined the WELSTech conversation to share his insight on reaching out and nurturing the millennial age group (born from 1980-2000). He also shared his interesting view of the how the church of the future may look a lot different and why quality and efficient technology may play a role in the change.

WELS now:

Martin Luther College 2017 College Choir Tour Schedule

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Featured video:

The newest addition on the WELSTech Music YouTube playlist is What a Friend We Have in Jesus from Koine.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 486 – Rachel Feld, techy teacher extraordinaire, co-hosts as we look at the future of online learning in K-12.  Release date: Wednesday, March 1.

Get involved:

Footsteps To The Cross Illuminated – Koine

Most of us have walked the 40 days of Lent many times over the years. The symbols, songs and traditions of this seasonal observance remind us of the grace and sacrifice of Jesus, our savior. The repetition is a welcome reminder, but like all repetition and traditions, we might, at times, run the risk of becoming numb to the message because it is so familiar.

One way to renew our love for Lent and it’s timeless message is through the unique presentations of the message. I was lucky enough to experience one of those “presentations” a few years ago by Koine, a Lutheran worship band formed in 2003. Their “Footsteps To The Cross Illuminated” concert is not your typical set-based performance. Rather it is a mixture of song, video, animation, and the word sewn together to bring an emotive, if not inspiring look at Jesus’ journey made on our behalf.

Koine is offering this “musical journey from the Mount of Transfiguration to Mount Calvary” this Lenten season. If you live in the southeastern Wisconsin area there are many opportunities to experience the “illumination.” If you can’t attend in person, they have their 2014 presentation available on YouTube.

So if you think a Lenten reboot might be in order, check out Koine’s Footsteps To the Cross Illuminated!

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Christian Worship Lectionary for Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a popular platform for personal, family, group, and organization use. The Christian Worship Lectionary for Google Calendar has lectionary notes for Christian Worship as well as Christian Worship Supplement. For each Sunday and Major Festival of the church year the calendar entry includes

  • Lessons and Psalm, including the Supplemental Readings
  • Prayer of the Day
  • Verse of the Day
  • Hymn of the Day
  • Church year color

Application/audience

Worship planning is a big task centered around the prescribed readings for the day. Certainly pastors benefit from having the readings and hymn of the day easily accessible. In addition, the church musicians and choral directors will appreciate the ability to make music selections which are complementary to the readings for the day. Even the altar guild will appreciate knowing he seasonal colors so paraments can correspond correctly. Google Calendar is widely used and conveniently accessible from computers as well as mobile devices, making the Christian Worship Lectionary for Google Calendar a very useful tool.

Besides personal use, Google Calendars can be embedded on websites. Having the lectionary available for members on the church website gives members the opportunity to prepare for service by studying the readings they will hear.

Related resources

In addition to the Christian Worship Lectionary for Google Calendar, WELS also provides a weekly devotional series titled Worship Helps. New devotions are released each Monday and include the lectionary readings for the upcoming weekend as well as some questions and answers regarding each reading for consideration and discussion. You may subscribe to receive Worship Helps via e-mail.

Additional church year resources:

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484 – Social Media in Ministry: Facebook

It’s Valentine’s Day on WELSTech, and we’re talking about chocolate’s important place in technology along with a little discussion on the use of Facebook for church and school as part of a social media strategy. Martin pulls back the curtain on Google’s logs of his travels, and Sallie shares a ministry resource walkthrough of the Free Bible Images web site.

Play

The discussion:

Facebook for ministry – Martin and Sallie answer the Why, What, Who and How questions regarding using Facebook to share the Good News of Jesus with the 1.2 billion daily users of the site. View the Facebook for Ministry infographic.

WELS now:

Registration is underway for the 54th LWMS Convention, happening June 22-25 in Orlando, FL

Picks of the week:

Ministry resource:

Free Bible Images

Featured video:

Learn more about Sallie’s pick of the week in this new addition to the Product Demo playlist titled Word Swag Tutorial – Turn your iPhone or iPad into a Marketing Machine.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 485 – Martin and Sallie share the latest and greatest news from the WELSTech community. Release date: Wednesday, February 22.

Get involved:

Free Bible Images

Teachers of all flavors recognize the importance of having just the right image to support the lesson they are preparing. And the fact that cameras are a rather recent invention in relation to the full historic timeline limits the ability to do a quick Internet search and find the perfect photo for every lesson. This is especially true when it comes to images from Bible times, and it makes FreeBibleImages.org a highly recommended ministry resource.

Application/audience

The site name is self-explanatory. It exists to share all types of images of the Bible for my favorite price … FREE!! The image sets have a variety of copyrights associated with them, from public domain to creative commons by attribution and non-commercial to copyright retained and only accessible for education purposes, so read carefully and take steps to comply. It’s well worth the effort as most are provided in two aspect ratios – 4:3 and 16:9 – and in Powerpoint, Keynote, PDF and JPG formats. Something to fit all those flavors of teachers mentioned earlier!

I prepared a quick overview video to orient you to the site offerings. I’d welcome comments on how you use Free Bible Images in your ministry setting!

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483 – Holy Hen House

This week on WELSTech, Amanda Rose, founding member of Holy Hen House, talks to us about women’s ministry and how God has blessed their humble efforts. We continue our focus on ministry resources by exploring just how easy it is to create and publish a vlog (Video Blog).

Play

The interview and discussion:

Chatter that matters – WELSTech welcomes Amanda Rose, the head “Hen” over at Holy Hen House. Listen as Amanda shares the background on their blogging effort which God has blessed and turned into so much more. The group connects with others via technology, but the focus is relationship and mentoring so face-to-face meetups and events have become an important part of their efforts.

WELS now:

Registration is underway for the 54th LWMS Convention, happening June 22-25 in Orlando, FL

News in tech:

A guide to Friday’s comet eclipse full moon triple feature

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Ten Tips for Vlogging

Featured video:

The newest addition on the WELSTech Music YouTube playlist is Immanuel (From The Squalor of a Borrowed Stable) sung by David Wesley, a recommendation from Bread for Beggars.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 484 – Tune in for the next installment in the WELSTech Social Media for Ministry series focusing on the use of Facebook. Release date: Wednesday, February 15.

Get involved:

Ten Tips for Vlogging

We live in a “YouTube” generation. YouTube, or more correctly, Google, describes this “group” as “Gen C”. Their analytics group writes:

Gen C is a powerful new force in consumer culture. It’s a term we use to describe people who care deeply about creation, curation, connection, and community. It’s not an age group; it’s an attitude and mindset – and here are 8 of its defining characteristics.

  • Gen C is a state of mind
  • Gen C strives for expression
  • Gen C is a taste-maker
  • Gen C defines the social network
  • YouTube is Gen C’s habitat for entertainment
  • Gen C is constantly connected
  • Gen C connects on YouTube on all screens
  • Gen C values relevance and originality

The full article is here: https://ssl.gstatic.com/think/docs/introducing-gen-c-the-youtube-generation_research-studies.pdf.

Regardless if Google is right, we have to admit that we live in a new electronic culture and it’s citizens are engaged in different ways. The question then is how do we as Gospel-sharers connect with this generation? My sense is that it is less and less through the written word (like this blog :-)) and more and more through the mediums they prefer. At the top of that list is YouTube. And that means that we all need to get a little more comfortable with video creation. A way to start is through the increasingly popular concept of vlogging. That’s a variant of blogging, except via video. I’ll explore this in more detail in my own blog, or perhaps I’ll create a vlog! But for now, here is the wikipedia definition of vlogging:

A video blog or video log, usually shortened to vlog/ˈvlɒɡ/, is a form of blog for which the medium is video, and is a form of web television. Vlog entries often combine embedded video (or a video link) with supporting text, images, and other metadata. Entries can be recorded in one take or cut into multiple parts. The vlog category is popular on YouTube. (Wikipedia article)

Application/audience

I’m convinced that vlogs, or video in general, is a tool that those in ministry need to get comfortable with. And it’s actually not as hard as you think. While traveling on business I took a few minutes in my hotel room to create a quick vlog using just my iPhone and a Shure microphone to prove to myself the fairly obstacle-free process of creating a vlog. All toll, this vlog took me about 1 hour to create and post. I used iMovie on the iPhone to put the clips together, and then, of course, YouTube to publish it. You can see the video below where I offer my version of a top ten list of vlogging tips. It’s not overly professional, but that is somewhat the characteristic of vlogs. They are meant to be fairly spontaneous, more casual, and hopefully engaging.

The top ten list includes: 1) Good audio, 2) Good lighting, 3) Distraction free background, 4) Friction-free workflow, 5) Turn distractions off, 6) Don’t over script, 7) Look “through” the lens, 8) Use lists, 9) Keep it short, 10) Log ideas. I go into more detail on each in the video.

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