Posted by: Sean | May 10, 2008

Free Tools! All you can eat!

Great custom graphic design is ideal. But sometimes time, money, or skill limitations make it necessary to use premade graphics. And even when you have the time, money, and skills, there are still occasions when it is more efficient to not reinvent the wheel and to instead use and build upon a premade resource.

In either case, here are 15 of the best sites offering free church graphics and resources. And if you want to spend some cash, I have also included 6 sites that cost money but are worth considering for premade resources.

Free Church Graphics and Resources

  • CreativeMYK.com
    Offers free church graphics including logos, photos, vector art, projector slides, bulletins, sermon graphics, projector slides, templates, and more. The site also includes a social network for Christian artists.
  • LifeChurch.tv Open
    Offers free sermon series resources that include message outlines, sermon graphics, videos, and more creative materials created by LifeChurch.tv (Edmond, OK).
  • Muddy River Media
    Offers free illustrative videos, motion backgrounds, countdown timers, stock photographs, illustrations, small group resources, and more.
  • NewSpring Ministries
    Offers free sermon series resources (e.g., sermon graphics, audio, message outline, & service outline) as well as administrative forms and manuals created by NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC).
  • Northside Christian Church Creative Resources
    Offers free logos, posters, and other artwork designed by Northside Christian Church (New Albany, IN).
  • Nside Admin
    Offers free administrative documents from North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, GA) on church government, human resources, accounting, facilities, IT, and Web.
  • Seacoast All Access
    Offers free sermon series resources that include sermon graphics, motion graphics, audio, video, message notes, and small group questions created by Seacoast Church (Mt. Pleasant, SC).
  • Vine Resources
    Offers free sermon series graphics, postcards, countdown videos, and message bumpers created by the college ministry of Southeast Christian Church (Louisville, KY).

Free General Graphics and Resources

  • Adobe Exchange
    Offers free downloads to use with Adobe software including brushes, styles, gradients, custom shapes, and patterns for Photoshop.
  • BittBox
    A blog that regularly highlights free Photoshop brushes, Flash components, vector graphics, and more.
  • Brusheezy
    Offers free Photoshop brushes.
  • Flasheezy
    Offers free Flash elements.
  • PS Brushes
    Offers free Photoshop brushes.
  • Smashing Magazine
    A blog that regularly highlights free graphics, fonts, and more.
  • Vecteezy
    Offers free vector graphics.

Church Resources that Cost Money

  • Creative Pastors
    Sells sermon series resources that include sermon graphics, video, mind maps, outlines, audio, and more created by Fellowship Church (Grapevine, TX).
  • North Point Resources
    Sells logos, DVDs, sermon messages, conference messages, and more created by North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, GA).
  • Outreach
    Sells church graphics that include postcards, banners, bulletins, door hangers, invitations, brochures, logos, signage, and more.
  • The Church Box
    Sells sermon series resources that include sermon graphics, PowerPoint slides, and audio created by Four Corners Community Church (West Chester, OH).
  • WiredChurches.com
    Sells sermon series resources (e.g., outlines, graphics, videos, audio, & scripts) and administrative resources (e.g., forms, documents, & manuals) created by Granger Community Church (Granger, IN).
  • WorshipHouse Media
    Sells mini-movies, motions, stills, software, and editables for churches.
Posted by: Sean | April 23, 2008

Buzzword Rocks My Socks Off

Seriously, church bulletins are driving me crazy! This Pastor keeps changing the copy and my designer is sick of getting something that is half-proofed, a quarter edited and, at best, the rough draft. (Enter Buzzword…)

There is a bit of a buzz about Buzzword, the slick, new, online word processor built in Adobe Flash. It’s so slick, in fact, that Adobe has just bought Virtual Ubiquity, the company behind it, while it’s still in beta.

If you’ve used the word processor in Google Docs, you should find Buzzword impressive. Google Docs is clunky, hard to use, and looks awful; Buzzword is smooth as silk, has a much nicer user interface, and the results look as good as Microsoft Word, if not better.

Indeed, if you maximize Buzzword and go into Full Screen mode (hit F11 in Windows), nobody would suspect it was an online application running in a browser.

Obviously it has far fewer functions than a full desktop word processor such as Word, however, it offers a choice of fonts in sizes ranging from 8pt to 72pt; you can insert lists, tables and images, and it spell-checks (without auto-correction) as you type. Buzzword also supports headers and endnotes, notes and pagination. If you move or resize a picture, text flows around it, though it can’t do columns yet.

More features are being added, but I reckon you could already write a decent term paper in Buzzword, as long as it’s for one of the softer subjects such as English or History. (I couldn’t find a way to enter equations.)

Buzzword features a somewhat novel menu system. The toolbars are stacked on the top right of the screen, and when you click on the one you want — Paragraph, List, Image, etc. — Buzzword fires it across the screen. If you need to go back to an earlier toolbar, it’s now stacked on the left, so you have to fire it off to the right.

ADOBE says this about the future for Buzzword: “Buzzword will integrate with Adobe’s document services in stages. The first step is to extend support for PDF output and gradually integrate with future releases of Acrobat Connect, Create Adobe PDF Online, and Adobe Document Center. Buzzword currently imports and exports Rich Text Format (RTF) files, Microsoft Word DOC files, and Word 2003 XML files. Adobe plans to add support for standard open file formats such as PDF, Open Document Format (ODF), and others over time.”

Posted by: Sean | April 7, 2008

It’s a Blog-eat-Blog world

Vodpod videos no longer available. from vodpod.com posted with vodpod

You know, the more people are separated from friends and loved ones, the more they really are concerned about each other. Not only are they changing technology to bring people together, but they are trying to make Tech connect them even more intimately. It used to be, a group of people on Myspace were your friends and they were able to stop by and see what others were saying about you, then there was the Facebook wall and now there’s Twitter. Twitter is the next generation of BFF (Best Friends Forever). Could you imagine if your ministry could grab hold of this power? College Ministries could connect with those far away “religiously” and lend a hand to a member in need. Prayer requests come alive and stumbling members can see how God is moving in the lives of those they know using this new tool. Wow, a new generation of communication…how will you use it?

Posted by: Sean | April 5, 2008

Forms Made Easy – Wufoo.com

Check this out its a program called Wufoo.com! Stop bothering that guy that works on your site everyweek when your ministry leaders want to do a sign up for their next event. Just login to your wufoo account and start to drag and drop your needed form fields without knowing any coding what so ever, then just copy the <html embed> into your site.

Top 10 reasons to try wufoo – from the wufoo team.

1. Wufoo is easy.

If you’ve ever used a desktop form building application, then you’re familiar with complexity. If you’ve ever hired a programmer to make a form for you, then you’re familiar with delays and communication barriers. Enter Wufoo. Wufoo enables anyone from students to secretaries to office managers the ability to publish an online form within minutes. Your forms, on your terms. Programming experience not needed.

2. Wufoo is fast.

Why wait days and weeks for someone else to build a database and all the scripts needed to just collect simple information from your form? With Wufoo, you can build, design, and collect with professionalism and personality in only a few short minutes.

3. Wufoo is fun.

Just because you’re working with forms and data, doesn’t mean you have to do it without personality and style. Gathering information from your users is exciting, why shouldn’t your tools be exciting too?

4. Wufoo is secure.

We’ve done everything possible to ensure the safe keeping of your data and the data you collect. Our servers are located at 365 Main and backed up onsite and offsite—every 12 hours in Toronto and every 24 hours in Virginia. We also offer plans with 128 bit SSL encryption on form submission. We have the expertise of BitPusher, a company whose founders have experience with Napster and Netcom (among others), to ensure that everything is safe and stable on the hardware end.

5. Wufoo is portable.

Wherever you have an Internet connection, you have access to Wufoo. Plus, all the data you collect with Wufoo can be exported to Excel or CSV so you can take your data offline and with you wherever you may go.

6. Wufoo helps you understand.

Your data is pretty useless if you have no way of organizing and understanding it. Wufoo allows you to filter through entries, create reports, and build graphs based on your collected data. We also give you the power to share and password protect this data, so you’re in control of who can see your information.

7. Wufoo integrates with your web site.

While we do offer hosting of all of your forms, we realize that placing a form on your own site is often a priority. Wufoo offers easy, copy/paste solutions for integrating a Wufoo form into a web page. For advanced users, full CSS and XHTML markup is also included. To simplify the process even further, the intuitive Wufoo theme manager allows you to customize the look of your form with a few clicks of the mouse so that your form seamlessly matches the look of your site.

8. Wufoo is affordable.

Desktop software, outsourced programmers, and even an internal IT department are all expensive solutions for building a form. With Wufoo’s tiered plans, ranging from FREE to $199/month, a more affordable solution is offered to anyone with form building needs.

9. Wufoo talks to you.

Forms are built to collect data, but wouldn’t it be nice to be notified when submissions come in, and have a statistical look on the activity of your forms. With Wufoo, you can have all entries emailed to you, or updated in your RSS feed, as they are submitted. On top of that, each form comes with graphs on the usage over the day, week, month, and year.

10. No long term contracts.

Wufoo costs less than most desktop software and a lot less than hiring a development team. After creating an account, you can leave at anytime without any questions asked. Why not try it out when it costs so little to be the office hero?

Pricing Options


Posted by: Sean | March 30, 2008

Box.net makes FTP obsolete

box.jpg

Do you have files that you need to share via the web? Like, say you have to post your weekly bulletin for your congregation to view and or download online! Simple save it to a PDF and the upload it to your very inexpensive box.net account! Or say you have a leadership group that needs to get a hold of weekly bible study notes from your Pastor. Let the Pastor Post ’em directly and online through his collaborator account. Say goodbye to FTP “Flawed Transferring Programs”! This may be a solution for you – Checkout this widget of our bulletins online. We just created the folder on our account, and then embed a widget into our page. Its as easy as copy and pasting into your Html.

Click here to visit Box.net

Here is how the widget looks when its on your page!

picture-2.png
This is just a jpeg not the embeded widget, click it to see it in action.

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