On this week’s episode we look back to 2015 and think about what were the biggest stories affecting church and Bible technology. We also look ahead at 2016 and try to predict what the headlines will be at the end of the new year.
Give it a listen below or watch on YouTube above. If you’re a YouTube users, please subscribe to our channel and share it with your friends that might have an interest in Church and Bible Technology.
What do you want for Christmas? We put that question to our Theotek team and this week’s podcast is the result. We also shared what tech gifts we would like to get and give each other. I’ve given some horrible gifts (like a kit of activated charcoal to whiten teeth – obviously not realizing how bad they were at the time). Throw in some lower priced stocking stuffers and we get an awesome collection of great tech gifts.
You can watch the podcast below from our YouTube channel. We hope you’ll subscribe, if you’re a regular YouTube user. Otherwise just keep this site in your RSS feed so you can get an update to the podcast each week when it comes out. Also, listen to the audio version below the post.
Wes Allen is our resident maker kind of guy which is why he wants a Raspberry Pi kit that he can turn into a media server. It’s a tiny computer that runs a Linux distribution and lets people do all kinds of cool projects, from a media server, like Wes plans to make, to a in-car media player.
Antoine went all out for his gift choice. He wants a tiny little gift, the Tesla Model S. It’s only $75,000.
Tech Gifts: Stocking Stuffers
Our second round of gifts includes stocking stuffers. Rick suggested the Apple Pencil Magnet Sleeve, which the person puts on the Apple Pencil and it doesn’t add much bulk to the svelte Apple Pencil while adding a magnet to attach to the iPad Pro.
Antoine brought up this Wi-Fi Bible again. He’s also interested in the Tronfy Mini S530 Bluetooth headset. It’s a tiny Bluetooth headset that fits in your ear and lasts up to 4 hours of talk time or 3.5 hours of listening time. It’s got nice carrying case and only costs $15-$18 depending on the color you choose (black, white, caucasian flesh, pink).
My stocking stuffer choice comes from Google again. The Chromecast and Chromecast Audio cost $35 each regularly, but you can find it on sale for $30. Plus Google’s giving people $20 store credit to buy media to stream to the Chromecast hooked up to a TV or stereo system.
Tech Gifts for Each Other
Antoine’s strange gift choice for me was a Paris Hilton style closet, but not for shoes. Instead, he said I need a close for all of my tech gadgets. Probably so, but really Antoine?
I picked a gift for Rick. He’s an Apple user and so I chose the Apple TV 4th generation. It’s a great set-top box for streaming movies, TV shows, and music from iTunes.
It’s also got Netflix, Hulu and other premium streaming services. Finally Apple added third-party app support. It’s one of the best entertainment boxes but comes at a price. $150 for 32GB of storage and $200 for 64GB. The voice search powered by Siri is awesome for finding videos and music in iTunes, but it doesn’t work on third-party apps.
Rick decided to gift an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to Antoine, since he’s such a gifted artist. Antoine, better than any of our Theotek team members, could make use of the Pencil on the iPad Pro.
More and more congregations seek church tech solutions to help them present the message, interact with their members and keep tabs on people’s needs. We talked about some of the problems people face and offer sensible church tech solutions in this week’s Theotek Podcast.
Our 4 Church Tech Solutions
We tackled four issues this week. The case of the dim projector, the need for ubiquitous Wi-Fi, the disappearing worship presentation computer (hidden in another room) and putting new tech into old wine skins (installing AV in an old sanctuary that has no good projection spot). Here’s the YouTube version of the podcast, which we hope you’ll watch and subscribe to. Then read the text version of our answers below. The audio version of our discussion of church tech solutions shows up at the bottom of this post.
Case of the Dim Projector
At my church we have projectors in the front and back, but occasionally they look a little dim. In our fellowship hall we have to turn out the lights to see any video, which always look darker than graphics. How does a church fix this problem without buying a new projector?
Avoid the problem in the first place by borrowing a projector to see how it looks
Use higher contrast images or brighter videos
Dim the windows or cover them up entirely
Stop using the projector if it’s really bad – this is more of a distraction than the media adds to the worship service
If you stop using it, then make any really needed images available in another form (paper, use an app like YouVersion Bible app or Proclaim from Logos that supports doing group presentations within the app instead of on a screen)
What would you suggest. Leave us a comment below or on the YouTube video above.
Need for Ubiquitous Wi-Fi
Churches increasingly offer free Wi-Fi to their church members. What’s the best option for getting the network throughout the church and how do you protect the church’s computers?
Install two networks to put a firewall between the public Wi-Fi and the private network. Some routers support this natively.
Use a power line Ethernet device to add a network access point to remote parts of the building. These turn your electrical power lines into network cables. Here’s an article on Engadget about some of the best options.
A great and powerful Wi-Fi solution that supports mesh networks (multiple access points showing up as once network) and public and private networks in one device is the Ubiquiti Networks Enterprise AP Unifi which costs about $65 for one.
A couple of our team suggested to not bother. Let people use their phones. That only works if people have access to good Internet at your church’s building location. Some churches are in pockets of poor coverage.
Remember to use something like OpenDNS filtering to keep young people safe and to keep people from using the network for porn or pirate software and media.
How does your church offer Wi-Fi to its members and what do people need to consider when allowing this?
The Case of the Disappearing Worship Computer
I sat in on a church media class at North Greenville University and one of the students went to a church that put their worship computer in a room behind the sanctuary so they couldn’t see the screens. I asked our team how to deal with this.
Move the computer into the sanctuary
If you can’t do the first one, then use remote control technology like Splashtop, which has an app that you install on a tablet to control the computer running the Splashtop Streamer app.
Some worship programs support remote control with an app installed on a phone or tablet. Examples include OpenLP.
Get a tablet like a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 which supports wireless display. Plug a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter into the projector(s) and use the tablet to wirelessly stream to the projector from the sanctuary making the computer superfluous.
If you keep the computer in the other room, make sure to rotate volunteers so that no one person has to miss being in the worship service every week. I thought there should always be someone at the computer, but others said it’s not necessary since the remote control solutions are pretty reliable and even if it does fail you can just shut them down and move on. I think that’s distracting so I’d always put someone on the computer. However,
Putting New Tech in Old Wine Skins
Some older church sanctuaries have no good place to install a projection system. There’s no blank wall or a screen would block a baptistery or some ornate decoration that members would hate to no longer see. How do you use presentation technology in a worship space that makes it nearly impossible to use heads up display projection?
The problem is a lot like the previous question about dim displays. Other than changing the way the media looks, just follow those tips for that problem with this one.
What church tech solutions do you have for our four problems and what problems do you see in your church’s technology? Answer below.
What technology are you thankful for this year. We did our favorite tech of the year using thanksgiving as our theme since we recorded the podcast the day after Thanksgiving.
We welcomed my son Michael Purcell to the Theotek team for this week’s podcast. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelJ_Purcel.
Here’s our list of our favorite tech for 2015 that we’re thankful for.
Wes shared Google Translate, which takes voice input from someone and lets him easily translate it to English. He talks to the pastor of an ethnic congregation that’s now part of his church using the app. Find it for iOS and Android.
Antoine talked about Wi-Fi Bible, which he shared a few podcasts ago when he returned from Australia.
Michael Purcell just got the new LG V10. He claimed the battery was bigger. It’s not, but it seems to last longer for him. It’s a rugged phone with a great camera and nice fingerprint reader on the back. The headline about this phone is the second screen where he stores app shortcuts, his name and notifications.
Next Wes talked about his love for Adobe Creative Cloud’s photo plan, which gives users access to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom for just $10/month. It’s a great deal and he loves using it. It’s awesome for editing photos and organizing them as well in Lightroom and Lightroom Mobile.
Michael’s second pick was not as much a thing he’s thankful for, but one he’s longing for. He loves ChromeOS and wants a Google Chromebook Pixel. He adjusted his pick to say he’s thankful for ChromeOS, but still really wants one of these. He’s not going get it from me because it’s ridiculously priced at $999 or more.
For Antoine’s second pick he chose FaceTime. That’s Apple’s video chat technology and he enjoys using it to communicate with family.
Wes’s last pick is his DSLR camera. His form of visual art comes from his Nikon D7000. Check out one of his gallaries at Flickr, “A Black Friday Stroll”.
The Surface Pro 3 is a great tablet that I love. When Microsoft released the Surface Pro 4 I didn’t think it had enough to warrant an upgrade. I may do some hand-me-down with the 3 and get the 4 next year. Until then, I grabbed the new accessories. The Surface Pen generation 4 and the Surface Type Cover with the fingerprint reader. I love the Pen’s tips which give you a different writing experience. The keyboard is a better keyboard and the fingerprint reader is a nice addition.
The last pick came from Michael. He hopes to go into ministry with the deaf. So he chose an app that helps you communicate with the deaf even if you don’t know sign. The Deaf Bible app includes videos showing someone signing each verse of the Bible. Watch the same above.