Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NilsSmith.com is up!!!

I've launched a new blog/site at www.NilsSmith.com. Feel free to read through the archives on this blog and then head over to NilsSmith.com and read the new posts/pages and comment please!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Break from Blogging

Hello friends, I apologize for the gap in blogs. There has been a lot going on in my life both personally and professionally. There are lots of things that I'm excited to blog about but have been unable. I am actually working to launch a new blog as I'm selling out on Blogspot and transitioning to Wordpress. I'm hoping to have that launched in the next couple of weeks before the end of April. Please read through the archives and comment on some of the older posts.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Music Suggestion: Robbie Seay Band



If you're not already familiar with the music of Robbie Seay Band, you need to get their new album, Miracle, and get familiar now! Robbie Seay was probably the first Christian artist I began following when I first became a Christian. Robbie used to lead worship at Metro Bible Study in Houston and I would listen to their CD over and over and over again. Robbie's music has come a long way, and I've become more of a fan every step of the way. Robbie's last album was a huge success with Song of Hope becoming a huge hit across the country.

Robbie Seay Band came to Segue about 6 months ago and my appreciation of for their ministry went to another level. The guys were incredible to work with and were so cool to be around. Robbie's passion for Compassion International and using the platform that God has given him to meet the desperate needs of so many around the world is incredibly inspiring. We are excited to be welcoming Robbie Seay Band back to Segue along with John Mark McMillan and Jillian Edwards this coming Monday. We would love to have you join us in person for this FREE concert at 8pm at Tripoint or if you can't be there in person you can watch live on our webcast at 8pm CST.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book Suggestion: Gary V's Crush It



I highly suggest that you read Gary V's book Crush It. This is the first non-Christian book, music, or podcast that I have suggested on this blog. I believe though that the things that Gary suggests in this book are not just game changing for the marketplace, but for the church as well. We live in a different age that is changing so fast due to social media and technolgoy that we have to be in tune to the possibilities.

In this book, Gary lays out a practical Social Media plan that any entrepreneur can adopt and take their passion, product, or organization to the next level. I believe that the ideas that Gary suggests can be easily adaptable when it comes to the church and opens up windows to possibilities that we have never dreamed of before. It is mind blowing to think that a small home church in Indiana can now have a global impact using Facebook, Twitter, and a Flip Cam.

I really can't encourage you enough to pick up this book with an open mind. It's a quick read that took me about a day and a half or so. I have to give fair warning that some of the language is PG-13 but pretty clean in comparison to some of Gary's keynotes. When you've read it email me at nilssmith1204@gmail.com and let me know what you think. I would love to buy you a cup of coffee or iChat and get your thoughts and discuss how we might Crush It together. You can get more info about the book on the Crush It website or at Amazon.

Learning from Kaplan University and Uncle Phil



I just saw this commercial and love it for so many reasons! First, it has Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air which makes it legit from the start. Most of all, I love the message. He makes the statement that education must change and use technology to rewrite the rules of education. Technology is changing everything including education, entertainment, the marketplace, and the church. There are great traditions in the church, but we cannot cling to our traditions and miss our opportunities that we have when it comes to technology. We have great opportunities as a church to rewrite the rules and begin reaching people, connecting with people, and impacting the world like never before. In the words of Uncle Phil: "It's your time." Let's take advantage of this new age and see how powerfully God might use our efforts in these new opportunities that are before us!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How He Loves Us



If you haven't heard the story behind the song, How He Loves Us, I hope you will take a few minutes and watch this video. John Mark McMillan's story is powerful and brings a whole new understanding to the song! This song was recently made very popular by David Crowder Band and has had a powerful impact on our Youth and College students here at Trinity. At Segue we will be hosting John Mark McMillan along with Robbie Seay Band and Jillian Edwards on March 29th. The concert will begin at 8pm at Tripoint (281 & St. Mary's). You can get more information at www.SegueSA.com and if you can't make it in person you can watch live online at www.SegueSA.com/live.

The State of the Internet



I saw this video on Church Crunch (which is my 2nd favorite blog to read second to The Kisers) and thought I would share it with you as well. One of the YouTube videos that first captured my attention about a year ago was Social Media Revolution. You can read that blog post here. This video takes things to a new level and continues to blow me away at how fast the internet is progressing and how it is changing everything! It's changing the way we meet people, interact with people, reconnect with people, and on and on. I read today that Facebook has now become the #1 website in the US passing up Google. The world is changing fast around us!

As I watch these videos, I continue to get excited about what this means for the church. How our lives can now impact and be connected to anyone, anywhere through the internet. How can we as the church better Love God and Love People using these resources that are now at our fingertips?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Baptist Standard Article



A couple weeks ago Pastor Les Hollon and I were interviewed by the Baptist Standard about my new role as Community Online Pastor at Trinity Baptist. The article is on the cover of the paper which you can read here on their website. The article was also posted by the Associate Baptist Press and you can also find the article on their website here. It was a privilege to meet George Henson and he did a great job in writing this article for the paper. I hope that our experiences and efforts can be helpful to churches and ministries everywhere in expanding the gospel through online resources. The YouTube video was a clip from out interview with Mr. Henson. If you have any questions about what I'm doing at Trinity or about technology and ministry in general I would love to talk. Feel free to email me at nilssmith1204@gmail.com.

Music Suggestion: Zac Cleveland


I apologize for the delay in posts but life has been crazy. Many new posts coming soon, but wanted to give you some new music to download while you wait patiently.

Zac Cleveland has been one of the key leaders in the Student Ministry at Trinity Baptist for the past 3 years and is an incredible musician. Zac just released his first album, The Start of Something New. You can check out his music on his MySpace or go ahead and download his album on iTunes by searching Zac Cleveland in iTunes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Suggested Music: Mark Wagner


On March 15th we're having a FREE concert at Segue during Spring Break with Mark Wagner, Ryan Long, and Jake Ousley. Honestly, I've never heard Ryan Long or Jake Ousley live but their recordings sound great. Mark Wagner alone is worth driving from hours away though to come and see. About a year ago he joined us at Segue in concert with Trey Duck. Mark has an incredible sound and could entertain you for hours with his incredible music and stories. If you're near the San Antonio area, come out to Tripoint and join us on March 15th for this FREE concert but otherwise get familiar with Mark's music and go hear him live when he comes to a city near you.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ask Hardy



As many of you know, I have met weekly for the past 3 years with Dr. Hardy Clemons for mentoring. We have talked about anything and everything and I can't tell you how incredibly valuable it has been to me as a pastor, husband, father, and follower of Christ. In this short clip I asked Hardy that if he could share 1 piece of advice with a young pastor what would it be.

In the coming weeks I want to share some of my time with this great leader in the church with you. Feel free to email me at nilssmith1204@gmail.com or comment on this post with any questions that you might like for me to ask him.

I have to warn you that the video quality is horrible and the audio even worse (I used my $1.99 video app for the original iPhone without 3G or video). Hardy and his wife, Ardelle, will also be a part of our discussion panel at Segue this week if you want to join us on Monday night at Tripoint at 8pm or live on the web at www.SegueSA.com/live. We will be discussing dating, sex, and marriage.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Nelson Searcy reads a book a day?


I heard a rumor from a friend that Nelson Searcy of Journey Metro Church in New York City read a book a day. I thought that with all that he did with Journey Church and Church Leader Insights that it couldn't be done. When I heard that he was doing a webinar through CLI about How to Read More, I had to jump in. It turns out it's true, he does read a book a week. If he offers this webinar again, I encourage you to jump in and hear his plan for reading. I won't give away everything that I learned, but I will share a couple of things that stood out to me. The first is that I don't have a plan. I always have a few books on the shelf that I'm wanting to read, but I don't lay out a time line or think about what book I will read next. I pick up a book until I finish it or get bored with it and then when I feel like picking up another book, I do. I can read so much more and be more effective in my learning if I set goals and lay out a plan. This really was the key take away. The other interesting perspective that I took away was how he sized up a book. He said that he will pick up a book, read the back, read the inside cover, and then the Table of Contents. At that point he decides whether he will read the whole book word for word or pick a couple of chapters to focus on. He also sets a time restrictions like this book is worth an hour of my time or I want to really focus on this and read it very closely throughout the week. I'm looking forward to applying Nelson's system to my reading plan and hopefully increase my reading this year! What is your plan for reading? How do you decide what you will read? How much time a day to you spend reading?

Music Suggestion: Justin Graves Band


If you live in San Antonio, I'm sure you know or have heard about The Justin Graves Band. You see a picture above taken by Eric Gay with Justin getting to jam with Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. I have had the privilege of partnering with Justin in ministry many times in many places over the past 10 years or so. Justin has a unique ability to lead people of all ages and backgrounds in worship. I've watched him lead both 8 year olds and 80 year olds in meaningful worship experiences. If you are not familiar with his music make sure to check out his music at www.JustinGravesMusic.com. If you are familiar with his music, I want to encourage you to check out his ministry page at www.JustinGravesMinistries.com and consider giving to support his ministry through music. Justin, Michelle, and Gabi have been great friends to Katie, Emery, and me; and we look forward to both continuing to do ministry together as well as deepening our friendship in the years to come.

Book Suggestion: Comeback Churches


About 2 years ago my friend Jaime Puente suggested this book to me. I quickly bought it on Amazon and read it in a few days. It fascinated me primarily because I've only worked in established and traditional churches. As I look at some of the fastest growing churches they are primarily new church plants and rarely established churches experiencing resurgence. While there are hundreds, probably thousands of dying churches in America, there are also many who are experiencing resurgence. In this book Ed Stetzer and Mike Dobson study some of these churches and what makes them unique in their resurgence. The reality was very common: a willingness to change. We have all heard the saying that if you keep doing the same thing you are going to keep getting the same results. I don't know where you see that more than in the church. We must be willing to change! This is a great book if you are a part of an established congregation or considering serving in one.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lights and Fog


So I have an addiction to lights and fog. I'm like a kid on Christmas morning every time I get to order a new light, fog machine, or controller. When I'm having a bad day, there's nothing like fogging up the Student Center, pumping some good music, and going crazy with the lights. I think it might be a sickness, but either way it's an addiction.

The reality in ministry is that stage lighting is expensive and often excessive. I'm a visual person, so I love lights and video. Video seems to be a necessity where lights are a bonus. I want to suggest a couple connections though that might be able to help you enhance your stage lighting in your ministry area.

First, I buy everything through Go Direct Music. Give them a call and ask for Shawn Miller. He will give you an incredible ministry discount on any Sound, Lighting, or Video equipment that you need that will beat any price you will get anywhere. He also has sold me on Eliminator lighting. I have to warn you that Elimator is CHEAP and probably won't last very long. The truth is I like that because I'm ready to get something new every couple of years. I've found that it's the best bang for the buck though. I've filled our Student Center with their small LED lights which can give you any color and give off no heat! I also love their intelligent scanners which are incredible for effect and very cost effective (I bought 8 scanners for the same price that I bought 1 Elation scanner for and the Elation scanner broke 1st). Eliminator seems to be on the same quality level of American DJ and Chauvet but at a much lower price.

As far as a console goes, I've fallen in love with the Elation Computer Software. All you have to do is download the software on to your computer and connect the box through USB. You can control as many lights as you want and gives you great color control with the LED lights as well as patterns and GOBO options on the intells.

If you have any questions or want to talk lights, please leave or send me a message. I'd love to help you pick out some affordable lighting options for your venue.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

100 Fastest Growing Churches


I'm always interested to see the list of who the fastest growing churches are every year in Outreach Magazine. As I read about these churches I love to see what makes them unique and what I can learn from their tremendous growth. I also love reading all things Ed Stetzer who helps to lead this research. I remember reading an article about Austin Stone Community Church after making the list and their pastor, Matt Carter, saying that they should have been listed as one of the "crappiest church in assimilating growth." While it's interesting to check these churches out, it's also important to maintain perspective and know that while they grew a lot this past year that doesn't necessarily mean that they have it all figured out and that we should just copy them. While I don't think numbers are everything, they are very important. I heard Rick Warren share his response to a pastor who told him he doesn't count attendance... he asked him if he counted the offering. Numbers are important and I desire to be a part of a church and ministries that take growth seriously. I will be eager to hear your thoughts when it comes to church growth.

Finding the 1


This past Monday I had the privilege of co-teaching with my sister at Segue. She taught the ladies while I taught the guys. We shared the same basic outline, here it is:

Goin’ All The Way: Finding the One


New Theory: Find The One, then the two

We must first be right in our relationship with God before we can think about being in a right relationship with someone else. When we begin to understand that God is our number 1 and our future or current spouse is our number 2, our relationships will be revolutionized.

How to find The One?

Galations 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

It doesn’t sound very nice but it is. When we want to live for Christ, we must die to ourselves.


How to fall in love with The One?

When we begin a dating relationship it always seems to consume our lives. We make the time to get to know that person. Our relationship with God should consume our lives in an even greater way. Great ways to do that:

1. Read the Word
2. Pray
3. Be adventurous and creative
4. Learn everything there is to learn about Him
5. Talk with others about Him (Community)


Becoming the Two as you Prepare for your Two

1. Let the past go!

Romans 8:1-2-
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

1Corinthians 5:17-
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is anew creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

You are NOT who you were. Let it go!

2. Be ready to lead you wife and family as a man of God should (be ready now… don’t wait.)

Ephesians 5:22-27

Be ready to lead with love!

3. Start Praying for Him/Her Now

1:46 Challenge --> Read 1 Cor 13:4-6 (love chapter) and pray for him/her every day.


4. Surround yourself in Accountability and Community

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”



Going after The One

The best way you can do that is to focus in on the One that really matters. Fix your eyes on Him... He will work it out.

We all quote Jeremiah 29:11, but we leave out the best part v12-14:

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. --> Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you and I will restore...”

Prayer Activity: Take some time, spread out and surrender. Ask Him to be Your One. Pray that He would make you fall in love with Him.

CLI Podcast with Perry Noble


I just listened to the Church Leader Insights podcast with Nelson Searcy. This month's podcast was a great conversation between Nelson and a ministry hero of mine in Perry Noble. The interview is about 15 minutes. Take the time to click here and listen to the podcast today.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Suggested Blog: The Kisers


This past Monday, I had the incredible opportunity to teach together with my sister at Segue. She spoke to the ladies while I spoke to the guys about "Finding the 1" (Notes will be posted soon). It's been so fun to watch her ministry grow and develop and I cannot wait to see how God continues to use her through her writing and teaching in the coming years. I can't encourage you enough to take the time to check out here blog: www.thekisers.blogspot.com. Also, if you're a pastor or youth pastor and you're looking for someone to come and speak to your ladies or girls groups, you need to send Becky a message.

You can also read her husband (my brother-in-law) Chris' blog at www.christopherjkiser.blogspot.com. Chris doesn't blog as regularly, but his posts are solid and thought provoking. The majority of his blogs are spiritual but he also knows more about politics than anyone I know. I would love to see him blog a little about where Faith and Politics collide.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's Time for the Church to be the Church


This morning when I logged into the Rockbridge Seminary website this video was posted and was a great reminder not only of the great need currently in Haiti, but around the world. I will let the video speak for itself, but the vision that God has given Rick Warren in the P.E.A.C.E. plan can, will, and is changing the world. Where is God calling you to go? Who is God calling you to lead?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What can you not do online?


I'm continually amazed by everything that I can do online! Tonight I ordered dinner from Outback Steakhouse online and there was a guy that immediately walked out to my car with the food in a bag the moment I arrived. I'm constantly amazed by how so many organizations are maximizing the internet to further their goals. As I consider the possibilities when it comes to the church, I'm overwhelmed by the potential. When it comes to Evangelism, Discipleship, Fellowship, Worship, Missions (my Rick Warren Purposes plug), etc. the possibilities are endless!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Using Livestream in Ministry... It's FREE by the way!


Have you ever thought about broadcasting one of your services or events but thought it was too complicated or expensive? I thought the same thing until about 18 months ago when I discovered Mogulus.com which is now Livestream. I found out that it's really not that complicated and that I can even use my built in computer camera to broadcast live. I have even heard recently that you can broadcast live video from your iPhone using UStream, but I haven't tried it yet. I'll let you know soon though! Anyways, using Livestream has been incredibly effective for our college ministry as we've had up to 75 viewers at one time and on any given Monday have viewers form 5-6 different countries around the world. We've also used it in our Youth Ministry during the summer when we created Pulse TV. If you're looking to laugh there are some great On-Demand videos. Don't expect much or any spiritual content on that page though. It's been incredible to see how God has used this FREE resource that is really incredibly easy to use. I hope you'll give it a try!I also hope you'll tune into Segue on Monday nights at 8pm CST by clicking here.

TBC iPhone App makes the paper!


If you haven't already seen the article, here is the link to the article in the San Antonio Express News about the Trinity Baptist Church iPhone App. It was fun getting to connect with Abe Levy from the Express News on this article.

Want to host your own podcast?


Ever thought about sharing a podcast for your church or just doing one yourself? If you're like me you've wanted to but thought it was too complicated. Recently I heard about a FREE website, Buzzsprout, where you can host podcasts very easily and simply upload them to iTunes. My Dad has actually begun uploading his podcasts here from Splendora Countryside UMC. About a year ago we tried doing a Podcast for our Student Ministry. You can check out the archives here. We used iWeb to as our platform, but it's not near as easy to use as Buzzsprout. What can it hurt to try it out, it's FREE!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Need a Website for your Ministry? Try Clover Sites!


Do you need a website for your ministry or thinking about getting a new one? Consider Clover sites! I've never seen such quality websites like the ones the Clover provides anywhere near the price that they offer. For a $1,000 setup fee and $20/month you can have a fully functional professional website for your ministry. You can easily display your calendar and media (videos, pictures, and podcast files) on your site as well as clearly communicating the mission and activities within your ministry. Even if you have a great website, I encourage you to take 5 minutes and get to know Clover and share this info with a friend who might need a new and affordable website for their ministry. Click here to find out more about Clover Sites.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Astonishing Faith by Dr. Rick Rigsby


Friends, I wanted to share with you this sermon that just rocked me today. I was actually listening to Gregg Matte's Easter sermon and just kept listening to the following Sunday's sermon and God got my attention. Dr. Rick Rigsby was one of my sister's professors at Texas A&M and an incredible preacher! I can't encourage you enough to take 30 minutes to sit and listen to this sermon. I'm reminded listening to this sermon of the faith that I had in college. I had dreams that were bigger than I was and prayed prayers that were way bigger than I was. I've stopped doing that. I remember praying a prayer that Louie Giglio prayed on one of the Passion worship CDs begging God to give us dreams that were bigger than we are and to live lives that were bigger than we are. I experienced God do things that I can't even explain how powerfully He moved following those prayers. May we stop and beg God to speak to us daily and may we have an astonishing faith expecting God to do things in and through our lives that are way bigger than we are. To listen to this sermon by Dr. Rigsby go here and scroll down to the sermon on April 26,2009. To watch the sermon you can go here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iPad Tablet... It's official!


I've been hearing rumors for the past couple of years and it's finally official... the iPad tablet is here! While it looks very cool, I'm not sure how exactly it will be an effective median between my iPhone and my MacBook but I'm eager to play with it. I had lunch today with a Software Engineer who works predominantly with PCs and has developed many Windows Mobile applications. He just sold out and bought an iPhone and he's blown away by the capabilities. We were talking about everything you can do on the iPhone now. Every day I use my iPhone to wake me up (clock), read my Bible (YouVersion), record my calories (Lose It), check the weather/news, use the calendar, to do list, check my bank account, update my Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In, and best of all play games! There's really not much I don't do on my iPhone in any given day. It sounds like with the portability of the iPad it expands these possibilities and looks to much easier to read similar to a Kindle. I will be excited to get my hands on one of these very soon! Do you plan to get one?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

iPhone App Suggestion: Words with Friends


Looking for a good, free app to download? If you haven't downloaded Words with Friends you need to try it out! I have to admit though before you jump in, it can be VERY addicting! It's FREE, but you do have to deal with a lot of ads... well worth it though. It's basically an online scrabble game with other friends with iPhones that can go on for days and you can have multiple games going with multiple players. It's been fun to play with old friends from college and Houston, reconnecting with them at the same time. If you're already playing Words with Friends or you download it today start a game with me, my user name is nilssmith.

What's your plan for Discipleship?


I have been a Purpose Driven fanatic since I first entered full time ministry in 2002. I read Doug Field's book Purpose Driven Youth Ministry and began following all things Purpose Driven since. Rick Warren pushes in his message at The Nines conference that you MUST have a plan for discipleship. I agree that it is helpful and beneficial to have a plan, but sometimes I think we create too much structure in the church and submit to structure over spirit. I do strongly agree with having a plan to follow, I just think that we have to be careful to how firmly we cling to our plan and make sure that we leave flexibility for the movement of God.

I'm curious, what is your plan? I've always led ministries with the idea that our large group experience was evangelism and our small group experiences were discipleship. In the past few years though I think we are seeing small groups becoming more of an evangelism/front door experience and more discipleship based teaching in our large group settings. At Segue, our College gathering, we started with about 5 or 6 students in a house with a discipleship based Bible study. We have since grown in the past year and a half or so to around 200 students in an auditorium but the depth of our Bible studies is still just as deep.

I think what I'm finding is that discipleship happens in so many different forms. It often occurs when we are intentional with our planning, but it also occurs at times and in programs where we aren't so intentional and God moves despite our efforts!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

To Plant New or Rebuild the Old


I'm currently serving in a church that is 60 years old. It's actually the youngest church I've served as my last was over 100 years old and the one before that, was around 75 (I'm actually not sure on the last one, but I know it's old). I'm taking Church Planting right now at Rockbridge Seminary and the course has me thinking a lot about why we plant churches. Just tonight I attended the 1st worship gathering of a new church that a friend of mine is planting here in San Antonio. The Sunday before that I attended a different worship service of a new church plant in our city. On my way to both of those worship services I probably passed more than a dozen church buildings that likely sit half empty on a regular basis.

So why do we need these new churches? Shouldn't we invest our efforts into continuing these other churches that have plenty of room to grow or some dying congregations that need a jolt of life breathed into them?

I'm a big fan of Andy Stanley and heard a podcast where he made a statement that the last thing that the church in America needs is more Real Estate. The problem seems to be that there is a great division in the church in America. We have booming young churches that have space issues and limited resources while we have beautiful empty buildings with dying congregations that are unwilling to change. Can't the two of these be combined? Why don't they? Don't the young churches need the resources and wisdom found in the older congregations? Don't the older congregations desire to invest in the future? My opinion to the problem: PRIDE. My suggested solution: Humble Courage. This is actually something that I just read about in Erwin McManus' book: Uprising. He talks about the need for ministries to be bold and step out of their comfort zone while doing it with humility. So often when we step out into doing the extraordinary we want all eyes on us.

I believe there is great need for more churches even here where we see church buildings everywhere. I also believe that there are churches that will never change and aren't worth the effort. My hope though is to see more movements with congregations seeking diversity with young passion and zeal combined with mature wisdom and experience. Our best days as the church are not behind us but ahead of us!

What are your thoughts? Do you want to invest your efforts in building or rebuilding existing congregations or planting new ones?

I'm Gonna be an Uncle!!!


If you haven't already heard, I'm gonna be an uncle!!! My sister, Becky, recently announced to the family that she's pregnant and we couldn't be more excited! Becoming a parent is indescribable and I can't wait for her to be a Mom and for Chris to be a Dad! With the combination of Becky's passion and zeal for life combined with Chris' wisdom and discipline being poured into this child, this kid will probably take over the world. I can't wait to be an uncle and it's so fun to celebrate this exciting season with them. I'm trying not to over use the exclamation points in this post, but it's too exciting!!! You can follow Becky's pregnancy and their lives on their blog at http://thekisers.blogspot.com. Take time and read their past posts as Becky is one of the most gifted writers you will ever read.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What can you do to help efforts in Haiti?


Over the past few days I've struggled with knowing how I can help somehow in Haiti. I know I can give to some organizations that are going over there, but it seems like there must be more. I've been inspired when I hear stories like this one from Austin where these musicians and artists are using their gifts creatively to raise funds for relief in Haiti. I've heard about HELP designing t-shirts for Haiti and Rob Bell offering to donate all proceeds from one of his NOOMA videos on the iPhone will go to efforts in Haiti. I will also give Lady GaGa props after hearing her discuss Haiti on Oprah (don't ask me why I was watching this) and how she is donating all proceeds from a concert to relief efforts. I haven't had a creative moment where I have said this can be my unique role, but I want to do everything that I can and encourage you to do the same. I would love to hear of other ways that you have heard about in opportunities to help relief efforts or what you are doing to do your part.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Creating an iPhone App


So my first iPhone App is now available for download! It's been fun to hear others responses. It's a very simple app that needs lots of work, but so much fun to create! I hope this is the first of many! I actually created the App through SwebApps who make it so simple and affordable for anyone to create an iPhone App for just about anything. You can easily use their very basic templates or build a very custom app depending on your budget and need (I went with the most basic and affordable option). If you have an iPhone please take a moment and download the app and let me know what you think. You can find the app in the App Store by searching for "Trinity Baptist". Also, please please please rate and comment on the app!

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Facebook Technique: Sniping


Last night when I was on Facebook I was sniped by my friend Jaime Puente. He taught me a new technique that he coined "sniping". You see Jaime has a goal to get people to go and vote for his commercial, "Casket". If you read my previous post about Vote for Casket you can find out more about his project. So he needs people to go daily to the website www.CrashtheSuperbowl.com to vote for his commercial "Casket" so that it will be aired during the Superbowl. Instead of just sending out a mass message he's chosen rather to snipe. His technique is to watch the Chat board and see who is online. As new people pop in he immediately sends them a quick message (a snipe) that says: "Have you voted for my video yet today? Go to www.voteforcasket.com. While this could obviously get obnoxious if overly used, when you need action asap this technique is genius! I'm definitely going to try this during a live feed of one of our services soon! I apologize if I snipe you and it's unwanted, but I hope if I do that it leads you to respond to my request. It definitely has more effectiveness than hoping that your status shows up on someone's news feed.

How about you try it? I believe getting people to vote for casket is a great cause. See how many people you can snipe and vote everyday for this commercial! You can used bit.ly to create your link and see how many people actually go to the site. Leave me a comment and let me know how well this technique works for you.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Teachings of Ray VanderLaan


I have followed the teachings of Ray VanderLaan for about 6 or 7 years on his website: www.followtherabbi.com. While I regularly stop in when studying scripture, I have recently been recaptured by his teachings. I've begun watching his Faith Lessons video series and am continually blown away. Watching him show physically at the location of the events and describe the culture of the time along with the geography of biblical passages brings them to life in a new and fresh way. It seems that many times I read a passage and my understanding is only based on today's culture and as I understand the culture of the time it occurred, new life and meaning begins comes about. If you aren't familiar with the teachings of Ray VanderLaan take some time to check out his website. I'm also accepting donations if anyone wants to send me on a trip with Ray (not really, but it would be cool if you wanted to).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Experimenting with the Internet: Facebook


As I begin my new role as the Internet Pastor at Trinity Baptist one of my top priorities has to be Facebook. Almost everyone I know and probably you know is on Facebook. You are likely reading this blog because of a link from Facebook. Some friends were joking with me the other day that I must be on Twitter and Facebook all day by the amount of posts that I make and my response was: "Well, it's my job." It's almost strange to think that being on Facebook is my job, but how huge of an opportunity do we have to interact and deepen relationships through this incredible social networking resource!

About a year ago or so I began realizing how powerful this tool was especially in reaching college students. Our college ministry has grown from 2 to over 200 in less than 2 years and a lot of that growth is due to outreach on Facebook. We invested minimally in Facebook ads and began creating Facebook event invites making it easy for Segue attenders to invite their friends. When you ask around at Segue about 90% of the attenders are involved whether they heard about it from Facebook or came with someone who heard about our Monday night gatherings on Facebook.

Facebook is constantly expanding though and the demographics are changing. Currently the highest % growth of any demographic within Facebook are women over the age of 50. Facebook seems to be sticking as well with 70% of those who try it continue to use it where Twitter only has about 40% who stick with it.

As I begin to figure out how to use this resource for Trinity Baptist Church I have begun by creating a fan page. On the fan page I went ahead and inserted some pictures, I linked the Twitter page and YouTube page thanks to Involver, and will continue to seek to develop this resource in the coming weeks. My challenge is now to get our congregation involved and hopefully use it as a connector for both our congregation and the city that we are seeking to reach.

As I continue to experiment, I would love your suggestions, thoughts, ideas, concerns, etc. I am constantly looking for tools similar to those that Involver has created. Please go and check out our Facebook page and share your comments!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Vote for Casket




If you haven't already heard about this, Doritos is running a competition for film makers offering an opportunity to air a commercial in the Superbowl. Many of you are already familiar with Erwin McManus and the ministries of Mosaic in LA, but might be surprised to hear that they decided to enter this competition. I'm not sure that you would consider this ministry, but I guarantee that it will help to further their ministries if given the opportunity of this platform in the Superbowl. Their commercial was chosen out of 30,000 to be in the final 6. Now, they need your vote to win this competition! Honestly, when you watch all of the commercials you will see that their commercial is by far the best of the 6. Not only do they need your vote today though, but they need your vote every day until the competition ends. Take a minute and find out more about the commercial at www.voteforcasket.com and then go to www.crashthesuperbowl.com and vote. After voting help get the word out to others!

Music Suggestion: Stephen Miller


At Segue we are blessed to have the best worship leader in the country in David Gregory, leading each week, so when we invited guests to come lead we are very picky. For the past year I had heard a lot about Stephen Miller and somehow became friends on Twitter. He is actually the only person that I've ever met in person that I've met off of Twitter. One day a couple months ago, Stephen saw that I was going to be in Austin for the day and asked if I wanted to meet up at a local coffee shop. I had an opportunity to hear his story and his heart and immediately we set a date for him to come lead worship at Segue. If you haven't previously heard Stephen lead, you have to take a few minutes to listen to his music. I am particularly drawn to the song Awaken My Heart which you can hear on his MySpace. I encourage you if you have an opportunity to go and experience Stephen Miller live somewhere in your area to do that or if you're looking for a worship leader, he's an incredible one travelling out of Austin, TX.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Emery Laughing and Becky Barking

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On the last day of 2009 Emery gave us a great gift in letting us hear her laugh for the first time. Earlier that day she started cracking up whenever Logan (our dog) barked. We couldn't get Logan to bark that night, so Becky filled in and Emery seemed to find it just as funny. I don't know if you'll enjoy Emery laughing more or Becky's barking. Either way, enjoy this video!