Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Useful Web Resources for Ministers

Useful Web Resources for ministers


Compiled by Mark Adams with help from Matthew Dabbs & James Wood

NOTE: I do not concur with all that is on these web pages or their links, but I have found some of what they offer to be of value, and hope you will also.

  • Bible Gateway
    http://www.biblegateway.com
    • A website with dozens of translations of the Bible in several languages available for searching and reading. It’s especially helpful because the search can be limited to individual translations and sections of the Bible. This website can quickly eliminate your need for an additional concordance.
  • Sermon Illustrations
    http://www.sermonillustrations.com
    • While there are numerous websites available that have free sermon illustrations and quotes, this one is nicely indexed alphabetically by subject.
  • Open Office
    http://www.openoffice.org
    • There are many congregations who do not have the financial resources to purchase the latest versions of Microsoft Office for their computers, but who also realize that it is unethical to use pirated copies of Microsoft products for church applications. Open Office is a suite of software including a word processor, presentation program, spreadsheet program, graphics program, and database program. The best part is that because it is open source software, it is completely FREE. This is a great way for a church to be able to use high-powered software comparable to—and compatible with—Microsoft Office without having to spend a dime, or to do anything unethical. If you are used to MS Office, there may be a bit of a learning curve, but there is basically nothing that Office can do which Open Office cannot.
  • Peacemaker
    http://www.peacemaker.net
    • This is a helpful array of resources for conflict resolution. Though it is not a website one might use all the time, when it’s needed, it can be extremely helpful.
  • David Allen Company (Time Management and Productivity)
    http://www.davidco.com
    • This is not specifically geared toward ministers, but it has information helpful to ministers striving to keep their lives organized and productive.
  • The Barna Group
    http://www.barna.org
    • This is the main website for George Barna, who has done extensive surveys and research on the beliefs and practices of people on dozens of issues ranging from doctrinal beliefs to small groups to volunteerism. His research is objective and can provide helpful insights to understanding our congregations and our culture.
  • Presentation Help Websites
    • There are numerous websites, both Christian and secular, that contain information and products which can aid in giving sharp, impacting presentations. The following websites are primarily useful to people using Powerpoint, or who have some way of displaying computer images and videos.
    • Videos and Image Loops
      • http://www.sermonspice.com - There are hundreds of video clips that can be purchased and incorporated into classes or sermons. Also, there are animated background images that can be used to bring your slides to life.
    • Pictures for Powerpoint and/or Publications
      • http://www.google.com/imghp - Google image search is one of the quickest way to find pictures, but the caveat is that the majority of these may be under copyright protection, and should be used with caution and integrity.
      • http://www.istockphoto.com - $1 for low-rez images and $2-3 for higher-rez images. These are professional quality for a reasonable price, and this also alleviates the concerns for using images illegally.
      • http://www.gettyimages.com - Similar to istockphoto; a solid database of high quality images.
      • http://www.sxc.hu
      • http://www.morguefile.com - This one is free!
      • http://www.reverendfun.com - This website has archives of hundreds of original humorous cartoons, based on either biblical passages or church situations. There is a helpful search function to find cartoons fitting to what you are teaching.
  • For a good compilation of similar websites, see the post on Presentationzen.com called “Where can you find good images?”
    http://presentationzen.blogs.com/presentationzen/2006/01/where_can_you_f.html
  • Google Apps
    http://www.google.com/intl/en/options
    • Google has dozens of free resources for searching, communication, and organization, and several free computer programs. (If you don’t have a good program for organizing digital photos, I haven’t found one that’s better than Picasa by Google) If you go to this website, you will see a list of some of the resources Google provides with helpful descriptions.
  • Christian Blogs
    • There are at least two excellent compilations of Christian blogs that I know of with many of them coming from churches of Christ.
    • If you desire to start your own blog, there are several sites you could use. It might be best to go to the above lists of blogs, and look at some links that are “blogspot.com” blogs and some that are “wordpress.com” blogs. It will help you get a feel for the differences between the two. The two best sites to use for starting and hosting your own blog are:
      • http://www.blogger.com - This is a reasonably simple format that is still sophisticated enough to allow some flexibility in blog design, organization, and function.
      • http://www.wordpress.com - This is the option that most serious bloggers go with. It is more complex, but has a lot more capabilities.
    • If you become interested in regularly reading other people’s blogs, the best way to do this is by using a feed reader. Any website with regularly updating information such as blogs or news sites will have an RSS feed. When you use a feed reader, it will keep up with as many feeds as you tell it to. All you have to do is log on to your feed reader, and it will let you check new posts in a style similar to an e-mail inbox. It’s very simple, and if you tell the reader the website address you desire to add, it will usually be able to find the feed on its own. This saves you hours of hunting through your friends blogs, just hoping to find a new post. Two of the best feed readers are:
  • Restoration Movement Pages
    http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/index
    • This is an extensive list of biographies, pictures, and works by hundreds of restoration movement leaders. This is a work in progress by Hans Rollman, and is an astoundingly good resource for members of churches of Christ who enjoy studying their own history in the last 200 years.
  • Bible Study Resources
    • Matthew Dabbs has compiled a list of 31 online resources for Bible study including Biblical language tools, OT resources, NT resources, online commentaries, early Christian writings, full texts of religious books, and several other items at his blog. For the sake of conserving paper and ink, I encourage you to go to his blog and explore/bookmark some of the links he has compiled:
      http://mattdabbs.wordpress.com/bible-resources/
  • Social Networking Websites
    • There are numerous websites people use to connect with one another, and the majority of users are probably younger people. Even so, you might be surprised at who all you find that you haven’t seen in years! The two you are most likely to find other people using are:
  • Sermon Central
    http://www.sermoncentral.com
    • This website contains thousands of sermons (full text and outlines) from hundreds of contributors. It has a lot of different ways that sermons and illustrations can be searched and categorized. While it is not ethical to preach another person’s sermon—at least without giving them credit—it can be extremely helpful to get ideas for how to divide up and teach a passage by considering how others have preached the same passage. You can also become a contributor and upload your sermons.
  • 21st Century Christian (Devotional and application ideas)
    http://21stcc.com/downloads.cfm/
    • At the 21st Century Christian website, there is a lot of information about various publications from the company. In conjunction with their quarterly curriculum, 21st Century also has free weekly downloads that are designed to help students apply what they are studying that particular week to real life. Incidentally, the free downloads for teens called “The Beat” and “The Scene” are especially helpful for coming up with ideas on short notice. If you have to offer the Wednesday night invitation, but aren’t sure what to talk about, it’s worth taking a look at these, because they will draw from a current news headline and give a Biblical perspective on how Christians should respond to it. It makes a great way to find some fresh, relevant ideas in a hurry.
  • Daily Bible Reading Online
    http://www.esv.org/biblereadingplans
    • The English Standard Version’s website has a variety of plans here you can follow if you want to read the Bible through every year online. You might consider doing your daily Bible reading every morning before checking your e-mail.
  • Randy Willingham’s Courageous Conversations
    http://www.randywillingham.com
    • Randy Willingham is one of the leading experts in our brotherhood on handling church conflicts. He is very passionate about helping churches through problems, and also about encouraging ministers who have been fired or are feeling burned out. It is definitely worth going to his page and clicking on a few of the links to see what is available.
  • Cyber Hymnal
    http://www.cyberhymnal.org/
    • This is a website with numerous hymns from various denominations. It can be a good resource if you’re looking for new songs, or want to know more about older ones. It has a great scripture index to find songs by scriptural text.



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Here is a handout that I gave at a local ministers' luncheon yesterday as part of a presentation I did on "Technology in Ministry". I'm posting it here for your benefit. Thanks to Dale Jenkins for inviting me to speak. Thanks especially to Matt Dabbs and James Wood for excellent suggestions about some content that should be included. I've had a hard time to get it to display nicely while posting it in blogger, so please forgive the sloppiness of it...the one I presented looked nicer.

5 comments:

  1. http://www.exposureyouthcamp.net/

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  2. good stuff but is really hard to read with that background

    thanks

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  3. This is great info and very useful as study aids. I appreciate your time and effort to pull this together
    Jim Oliver

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  4. Blogprophet:

    Sorry about the background! I was posting it over from a word file, and I was trying my best to keep the formatting. I finally gave up. If you would like me to e-mail you a copy of what I worked up, let me know on here and I'll be glad to.

    Jim:

    Glad to see you've made a blogger account! It's good to have you posting on here. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Mark <><

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  5. Hi Nice Blog .I think HR understands the importance of other people tracking time--IT, Lawyers, non-exempt employees, but struggles with the idea of employee time attendance.

    ReplyDelete