#UKChurchChat Blog

Discussing faith on the internet - Social Media and Website advice for Churches. Faith stories, discussion and advice. Watch out for #ukchurchchat hour on Twitter - coming soon.

Five QR code ideas for your church

Five QR code ideas for your church

I was recently asked what those square code things are and whether they could be used by churches to encourage people to raise funds, for example. This blog contains a short introduction to QR codes along with some practical ideas that you could use in your church. Ask one of your Digital Superstars to help.

What is a QR code?

The term QR code means Quick Response code. Think of it as a 2D barcode that opens a link to a website. The concept it simple. If you have a web page that you want people to visit, then you can create a QR code that encodes a link to that page.

Here is an example. Try it out and see what happens. Not sure how? Keep reading.

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How do I set up text giving for my church?

How do I set up text giving for my church?

I was recently asked how to set up text message giving for a church. Encouraging people to give small amounts of money for specific fundraising projects can be a great way of gaining extra funds. Text message donations is usually a paid for service, however the Just Text Giving service (sponsored by vodaphone) is free. You can easily sign up for the service by following this link. You can even create different text services for different donation amounts.

Here is a short video tutorial which explains how the service works.

Being part of the Just Giving and National Churches Trust partnership scheme saves you the £15 per month Just Giving fee and also allows you to set up text giving as well as having an online donations page. There is an application form here.

The National Fundraising Scheme also offers a free service, and some great advice.

 

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6 free places for Church Website graphics

6 free places for Church Website graphics
All of these image sites can be used for non commercial purposes such as in your church printed materials and on our church website.
 
This is a personal favourite. 660,000 images that can literally be used for any purpose.
Search terms such as Christianity or praise and worship.
When you find a contributor you like, click to see their other photos. You will see some photos from Pixabay on our demo site.
 
 
You must use the ‘Free Images’ tab at the top to search for free images, otherwise everything will cost money.
There are not so many religious and church related images in the free library, but there are plenty if you are prepared to pay. There are plenty of free images on a wide range of themes such as family, growth, light etc
Commercial images will also appear in your search results.
 
 
This site is nicely organised into categories and the search function is very easy to use. The categories are handy for you to use if you want to find other images that are similar. You will find over 100,000 free images.
Watch out because you will find image results and also search boxes that take you to paid sites. You do need to register on this site to download your free images.
Here is one I liked (just search for Blue Cross to find it as well as some other nice crosses):
Blue Cross
 
 
This site is another one worth visiting if you have a general theme in mind rather than church specific images.
Shutter stock results are also shown in adverts, and there are search boxes and adverts that lead you away from the site. To stay on this site make sure yu go back to the home page when you want to carry out a new search.
 
5) Flickr
Use the advanced search to find 
Again look for other photos by the same photographer - these can be a real goldmine.
Check whether attribution is required or not before you start sharing or adapting this photos
 
This is a ministry resource website specifically set up to help churches communicate. If you are planning a sermon series or want to communicate a specific Christian message, this could be the site for you.
 
 Get started
 
Use your Digital Superstars. Have you got some tech-savy teenagers in your church? Why not give them some themes to use for image searching and set them going.
 
Churches Alive Online are offer FREE interactive workshops to help you get started with your church website. Our next event is detailed here. You could always sign up to our newsletter and hook up with us on Facebook or Twitter to find out what's coming up.
 
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Website Review: Church Media Design - Freebies Section

I just thought any techy types out there might find this website really useful! 

The Church Media Design website has a great section called Freebies where you can choose from free Audio, Backgrounds, Games, Mini Movies, Series Art and Textures. There are various other parts of the site including 'Episodes' 'Inspirations' and 'Articles' but this review is going to focus on the Freebies section. Here is an example of the quality you can expect for FREE! Notice the lack of large credit messages splurged across the image.

 

I'd suggest using the menu to filter the search and find the type of resource you are looking for (eg backgrounds.) It's probably also a good idea to download a much of resources together and organise them in to your own folders ready for when you need them. That way you know they are there when you need them. You could be kicking yourself for reinventing the wheel. An even better idea might be to give an administrator in your church some themes you have coming up and ask them to have a look for you!

Quite a few of the freebies link to other websites but they all seem to be links that work as far as I can tell after rummaging around and helping myself to quite a few nice resources for my church.

There is the usual SHARE button as well so that you can pass the goodies you find on to your friends using social media.

Good Stuff

If you use a digital projector in your church then you are going to absolutely LOVE this website.

Some of the resources even come with video tutorials telling you how to make your own versions using software like photoshop - if you are 'in' to that kind of thing.

It's all free!

Downsides?

Some of the materials will always be a little culturally specific to part of the church. For example the LoveMercy video is great but it has lots of footage of New York City. That's all fine - but it might not be right in some churches.

What you don't get is an indexed list of resources by topic - that would be one way to improve the site. It is all free though!

There isn't much audio (but there are LOADS of backgrounds.)

Any thoughts? Would you use these resources in your church? Do you have any other favourite sites?

 Here is an example of a video that you can download for free.

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App review - Prayers on the Move

I love the concept of this simple app. It's prayer for busy people!

Overall

It has a library of 31 apps and the idea is that you work through them all. The app includes an audio recording which encourages you to focus on your breathing, reads the prayer and allows some silence - all in 1 minute.

The prayers are certainly easy to understand, in relevant modern language and surrounded by nice loooking modern graphics. Once you've had your minute of prayer you can write a note on the prayer, send feedback or share the prayer using any of the usual social media options.

I've used it on the tube in central London sat right under the advert for the app (?!) I've also used it in the car stuck in traffic and whilst taking a break from work. It's nice to have prayers in your pocket and there aren't that many similar apps out there. Here's a screenshot.

 

potm

 

If you'd like a sneak preview of the app you can also listen to the prayer of the day on the apps website here. From the same site you can also download books, wallet cards and various other goodies. 

Good points

If you would like a free app to encourage you to pray each day, are a busy person who likes technology and is sometimes stuck for what to say to God then this app might just be worth trying! It's great to see a wide ranging campaign aimed at deepening people's faith through regular prayer. If you aren't 'in to' apps then you can download a free prayer ebook or even order your free copy (suggested donation £1.) All in all this is definitely one of those campaigns that will 'click' with some people so it's worth giving it a go.

 

The 'Add a personal note' option would be a great way to start a prayer diary, keeping a note of what you feel God is saying to you as you pray (although this might take more than one minute!!)

Glitches

I use the android version which was a little glitchy but not by any means so annoying that it made the app unusable. This could just be my device.

 

 

Please do post your comments here or drop us a tweet to @aliveandonline if you've tried the app. 

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