Blended Families

Here are the latest improvements (v0.5935) to the Church Admin plugin for Church websites using WordPress…

  • I’ve finally updated it to display blended families better.
  • There’s now a first name next to a mobile number or email address, where a houshold needs that clarity!
  • All phone numbers are clickable for dialling on smartphones and tablets (for the geeky “tel:” works that magic – bit like “mailto:” for email addresses.)
  • The rota pdf is now formatted in columns month to view

 

Improvements to Church Admin Plugin

I’ve made some improvements to the Church Admin Plugin in v0.52

Main menu – vastly improved with drag and drop and close

Rota management – the rota now uses autocomplete to store people in their job! You can also email the rota out to participants

Sermons – can now be uploaded and podcasted – mosts hosts have an upload limit of 8MB, so there is a facility to add already uploaded files that perhaps you have ftp’d.

The cache of emails is now stored in a subdirectory the uploads directory – with a redirect in the old directory.

Photos You can upload photos for people, but not much use is made of them yet

Fixes

  • Activation errors
  • Tied up code and initialise all variables more correctly
  • Functions that require people to be in the directory first only show when directory is populated.

Coming Soon

  1. Shortcodes page in the menu to list all the shortcode options
  2. Photos in the directory as an option
  3. Bible passages in the sermon uploader
  4. Rewrite of the calendar module – with ical support
  5. Instruction Manual

Writing and updating the plugin is pretty time consuming but fun and largely fuelled by coffee, so if you like, please thank me with a brew!…


What would you like to see added to the plugin?

How welcoming is your church?

Being the most welcoming church in your area is not rocket science and pretty easy to achieve.

I’ve had some awful experiences visiting other churches over the years, from the large church with multiple services to the small baptist church that just haven’t taken the time to make sure they are welcoming new visitors.

Think about it – if you have a congregation of 100 currently and get 5% visitors but manage to get only 5% of those to stick – your church will grow by at least 10% a year and double in 7years!

So how welcoming are you? Why not use this welcome audit tool next Sunday? Get a few people to fill it out with the eyes of a visitor. Better still get a non Christian friend to come and do it!

Your church at a distance- website

Your website is the primary shop window for first time visitors, who haven’t been invited by someone.
How clear is it for the first time visitor? – the who, the what, the where, and then when – should be right on the front page!
Does it communicate who you are? Or is it a bit corporate, or a building?
Have you signed up for google places, so your venue appears on the map and a google search for “church your town” gets you above the fold by the map?
Does it work in all browsers and on mobile devices?

Your meeting place

Can people find it easily? Is there good signage, both outside and inside the building you use.
Are the toilets clean and nice enough? One hired venue we use for a very short time, we took a bottle of bleach with us! (we moved to a better venue pretty sharpish)

Your people

Do you have a good welcome team who know they are there more to welcome people than give out a notice sheet?!
Do the regulars turn up early enough to talk to visitors. A first time visitor at The Gateway last week, emailed to ask if they should get ther 15mins early – that’s what visitors do, because they are nervous about finding it, parking and getting a seat.
Do you have a welcoming culture – or are the people cliquey and ignoring of visitors.

Your systems

Do you have a welcome pack – please don’t embarass visitors in the way you give it to them, by making them stand up! I don’t want to be applauded, that is embarassing not welcoming!
What’s your follow up process? We track visitor follow up with our church admin plugin (for WordPress sites) – we used to use this visitors spreadsheet to track our welcoming process.
How do you get address details? We currently use a guest book – nice old ladies are great at getting people to sign it with an address!
Are visitors getting chatted to by lost of people and invited out for coffee, back for lunch, to multiple small groups?
Visit your visitors quickly – Herb Miller’s “Magnetic church” gives some stats on how many return if visited quicly. More on that here.

What others ways do you make visitors welcome?

Copying Amazon Kindle highlights to Evernote

I’m loving Evernote as a storage and retrieval medium for notes and quotes. You can download the app for most devices here and once installed it will synchronise with your online account.

Evernote EssentialsIf like me you are just getting started with Evernote, then this ebook Evernote Essentials by Brett Kelly is well worth a look. He was hired by Evernote to be their technical communications manager after they read it!

It’s a 95 page pdf book, with over 12,000 copies sold and just $29.

I’ve a few books on Kindle now and as always I want to store useful quotes to spice up sermons and talks. So here’s how to get the best bits into Evernote…

1) Install Evernote web clipper

If you don’t have the Evernote Webclipper installed on your browser, head over to http://evernote.com/webclipper/ and install it on your browser.

2) Go to your very own Kindle web page (If you have an Amazon kindle account!)

It’s at kindle.amazon.com – login with your normal Amazon details and you should reach a page like the one on the left.

3) Click on Your Highlights

That will bring up all the highlights you have made in Amazon Kindle ebooks. Then select the highlights for the book you want to copy over to Evernote. Next click on the Evernote elephant icon on your browser toolbar, which brings up the screen shot below!

I store book quotes in a notebook called Books Read and then create a note for each book. So by filling the menu with the book title, selecting “Books read” and then “Clip selected” my highlighted quotes are safely in Evernote. I leave the tags blank as Evernote’s search engine is good enough to not need them!

The screenshots show the process I went through to store quotes from the fantastic “Art of Neighboring” which is without doubt the best book I’ve read on the second great commandment. Just got to improve my putting it into practice now!

I’ve adapted the steps from Michael Hyatts’ how to guide, so that it stores my highlights, not everyone elses! (His method is to goto the chosen book via My Books and select what you want to copy over)

What’s the latest Kindle book you have read?

View Calendar by Categories

The calendar-list shortcode has two new features – limit to one category and number of weeks to show
To get the shortcode code simply go to the category page on the Calendar admin page…


Click on the “Category List” link on the calendar page and then simply select and copy the right shortcode for the category you want to use.


Shortcodes shown on the category list

That shortcode can then be pasted within any page or post – you can change the number of weeks to any integer.

The year planner

Why is it that most calendar software doesn’t use or give that most powerful of Church planning tools – the year planner? The answer is because a year to view would mean the text is too small.
So I’ve added an A4 pdf year planner to my WordPress church_admin plugin. It uses colour to show different events. Max one event worthy of year planner a day!
Simples.


Now to add some more things to the planner!