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Article Summary:

1) Google Apps = Word, Excel, & More
2) Education Edition free for non-profits

Ok, so we all know Google will someday rule the world and might even be the anti-christ…someday…but not today. Today it provides incredible resources for the local church through Google apps.

First, for those who don’t know about google apps education edition, it’s a set of online programs that include:
1) Google Mail – Ad Free, & Calendar
2) Google Docs – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, & Drawing (for flowcharts, etc.)
3) Google Forms, Site (free website)

What are all these Apps good for?
The main benefit is that all your documents are online and accessible anywhere!
The secondary benefit is that you can collaborate on the same document, at the same time, while chatting or talking to each other via google video or audio chat!

Here’s how we use some of the apps:
1) All Prayer requests are put in an Excel document that all staff members and prayer team members can navigate to. When they receive an update, THEY can update the document so it always stays current.
2) All my sermons are organized in a folder and accessible at any time from any location.
3) Google Site allows us to have an inner office intranet where all important logos, letterhead, etc. are kept and easily downloaded.
4) Google Forms allow us to embed registration forms on our website. The data from those forms can easily or even automatically be put into a Google Excel document for interpretation of data.
5) All our Email is AT OUR DOMAIN (i.e. jon@esfoursquare.com, not @gmail.com) plus if you own mulitple domains (we own esfoursquare.com, .net, .org, esuturn.com) people can email you at any of your domains and it goes to the same account (jon@esfoursquare.com, jon@esfoursquare.net, jon@esfoursquare.org)

Best of all…It’s free!

Information on “how to” get the FREE Education Edition (same as Premium which costs $50 per user, per year)
Information on Google Apps

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www.dropbox.com
Get drop box. That’s all I need to say. Forget a network server, this is the easiest way to share files…period. You install a little app (both mac & pc) and it looks like just another folder on your computer. But, anything you drag into it, automatically is synced to every other computer you choose. Imagine the possibilities. You have all your logos, letterhead, and important docs shared and updated all the time. You have a safe and secure online backup of all your important documents (free) that you can access from anywhere. You have a folder with all your previous sermons and PowerPoint files so when you’re asked to speak last minute…you’re prepared.

*One way I use it. Every week, during our LIVE broadcast, we have a copy of the sermon notes in a pdf file that can be downloaded by anyone watching (so they can follow along). Rather than updating the website every week with a new file, I just “drop” the latest pdf file into my dropbox folder, on my computer and give it the same name (sermon-notes.pdf) and dropbox automatically puts the new file on the server and my web link never has to change. Brilliant! (not me, dropbox).

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As a camp director of over 500 kids a camp, I understand you NEED good admin resources and forms. Here are all the forms I’ve developed over the years, from medical releases to staff job descriptions. Most forms were created in an apple program called “pages“. Below you will find a zip file with all .pdf files and another zip file with all the pages or word documents.

1) Zip File with all PDF forms
2) Zip File with all Pages and Word documents

Documents include:
1) Cover letter (explaining everything to camp leaders)
2) Cabin Leader Criteria
3) Financial worksheets
4) Camper & Leader Registration form & medical release
5) Letter to Parents
6) Policies & Procedures
7) Rules & Packing List
8) Gift Certificate for fundraising
9) Staff Job descriptions

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Trust me, this is simple. And very, very effective. And very, very free.  First question to answer, why? Here are the top 5 reasons:
1) For perspective visitors who wouldn’t dare step into a church.
2) For congregants who are sick or injured.
3) For people who’ve moved (i.e. college students, etc).
4) For a free video recording of your services.
5) For those who don’t live close but want to see a baptism, special performance of their nephew, etc.

Here are the 3 simple steps:

1) Log on to Ustream.tv and create a free account.
2) Have a computer and a webcam or (video camera connected with a firewire cable) (point webcam at stage)
3) Link or embed your Ustream account to your website.

Optional: Download the free application, Ustream Producer and use that interface instead of the online one.

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www.polleverywhere.com A-ma-zing. This little web software has an infinite number of applications. LIVE AUDIENCE POLLING through text.  It’s free for the first 30 responses, then the monthly fee kicks in. You can poll and have free rolling texts. Simple and effective. Here’s some application to ministry:

1) A game. Create a keyword for “boy” and “girl” and have the kids text in as much as possible, over and over and see the bar graph jump in real time.  Which gender can type faster!
2) A question. “What if….” and you let each person fill in the blank with their texts.
3) A survey. Each week poll your congregation with a question, this software will generate reports.
4) Voting or fund-raising. Have a contest and the audience can vote (once, they have the option to restrict voting to 1 vote per number) for a winner.
5) Choose your own adventure, I mean sermon. Start a message, pitch your 3 points, and let the audience decide which one you actually speak on…LIVE.

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