Archives For Web

Internet tips and tricks

Photoshop

In youth ministry today creating graphics has become a necessity.  Maybe you need them for your slides, your making a flyer, or just for a new cover image on your Facebook page, graphics touch so much of what we do.  Not all of us have the budget to cover Photoshop, so I thought I would cover a few options out there to help make creating and editing graphics a little easier.  Even if you don’t feel like you are the most creative person, these tools can help you look like a pro.

1. Canva.com

Canva is a great and easy to use way to create great looking graphics. They have a number of pre-defined templates you can start with (social media images, flyers, posters, business cards, invitations, collages and more) or you can design a custom one. You can upload your own images, use their stock images or buy premium stock images from their library to use in your projects. The cost is free so it’s hard to argue with that. As a bonus they have some great tutorials if you are new to design that will help teach you about using colors, fonts and more.

2. Pixlr.com

If you are used to working with photoshop and are looking for something that’s closer to that experience you might like Pixlr.com/editor. It has a more traditional photoshop like screen with your toolbox floating on your canvas.  It also allows you to upload your photos for use in your projects, but they don’t have the library of included images like Canva does, but you can start with a URL to an image if you’ve already found one online you like. It’s also a free tool, but to get the most out of it, you need to create an account.  They also have some more basic design tools with Pixlr Express and Pixlr-o-Matic.  These are really designed for photos that allow basic cleanup, filters and boarders.  They also have some mobile apps you might be interested in, you can get links HERE.

3. BeFunky.com

BeFunky is another Free service that allows you to edit photos and turn them into graphics that you can use for slides, flyers or elsewhere. They do have a paid version that gives you more filters, graphics and frames to use, but the FREE level still is robust. They also have mobile apps you can use on iOS (free or pro) or Android.

What tools do you use?

In our next post we’ll explore more mobile options.

Image Credit: geralt

5 Sites for Free Fonts

Chris —  May 19, 2014 — 5 Comments

Letters, A, Abc

Have you ever sat down to make a brochure, calendar or flyer and realized you really need a new font because people around the church have seen the same font on the last 7 flyers you’ve made for your youth ministry? Well, here are 5 sites with 1000′s of free fonts you can use in your next project.

  1. Dafont
  2. FontSquirrel
  3. 1001 Free Fonts
  4. Font Space
  5. 1001 Fonts

Summer is coming, maybe experiment with some new looks this season.

photo

The fine folks over at the Buffer blog have put together a list of 53 free stock photo resources for you to use in your youth ministry projects.  Everyone knows that pictures just make blogs, flyers, brochures, announcement slides, and social media more interesting.  I use a lot of stock photography, but I don’t always have the budget to buy it.  Here are a few of the sites off the Buffer list that that I’ve used:

Jump over to Buffer to see the whole list:

53+ Free Image Sources for your Blogs and Social Media Posts

Easter_VaultPromo_835x190-1

The fine folks over at YouthMinistry360 have some great freebies for your youth group teaching this Easter.  Visit their Easter Vault to download 3 free lessons and 10 free student devotionals.  It’s a great little treat to stick in your Youth Ministry Easter basket.

Here’s what you get:

Lesson 1: Encounter: Death. Life. Forgiveness.
Purpose: Challenge teens to remember why Jesus did what He did and what was accomplished through His sacrifice, and to formulate a response to Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Lesson 2: The Thread of Love
Purpose: Help teens see how God wove a thread of redeeming love through the Bible, culminating with the greatest expression of love, Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Lesson 3: The Big Picture
Purpose: Challenge teens to fully grasp the impact Christ’s resurrection has had on their lives by helping them articulate their response to Christ’s resurrection, and how it has affected them personally.

10 Easter Devotions: Death. Life. Forgiveness
Purpose: Help teens get prepared for Easter by looking at a chronological view of the events surrounding Jesus’ last days on earth. They will help your teens prepare their hearts and minds to celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

Thanks YouthMinistry360!

Take Me to the Downloads

Twitter released a new tool to easily find out what your first tweet was.

Here’s mine:

Discover_your_first_Tweet___Discover

(Evidently I wasn’t big into capitalization.)

Check out the your first tweet!

Youth Game Idea:

If you have a lot of students who use twitter, you might be able to make a youth group game out of it.  You could look up student’s or staff’s first tweet before youth group so you know what it is.  Then bring them up on stage and see how good they are at remembering what their first tweet was.  You could even make it multiple choice.  “Was your first tweet about a) Food, b) Your Parents, or C) Homework.” You might also let the group try to decide what the first tweet was about.  Then put in the user name with the tool up on the screen so everyone can see.  Even better might be to make up some fake ones.  You won’t be able to use the tool live then of course, but it could be lots of fun.

What was your first tweet?  Don’t forget to follow me at @CRD55 or this blog @YMGeek.

I don’t know about you but managing all my social media accounts can be a pain. If you are like me you have personal accounts, ministry accounts, work accounts, and fun accounts that all need to be kept up to date so your followers can know what’s going on.  I’ve tried many ways to keep them all in check, and a few months ago I discovered the easiest and most powerful yet — Buffer.

The first step in getting your Buffer going, is connecting your accounts.  In the free version you can connect 1 Twitter, 1 Facebook, and 1 Google + account which is great for personal use.  If you want to connect more, you can upgrade to their Awesome plan that allows up to 12 accounts, 2 users and unlimited posts for as little as $8.50 a month. This would be great if you wanted to manage your own accounts, plus those of your ministry.

Once you get your accounts connected, you can setup your schedule for posting.  On the free plan they allow up to 4 posting times a day that you can set to be what works best for you.  Once your schedule is set you can start loading your posts and can choose to post immediately or put it in your “buffer” to go out at the next scheduled time.  They also have a ton of pluggins and app hooks that make it easy to share articles and posts that you might be reading on your laptop, phone or tablet.

If you have been looking for a better way to manage your social media, give Buffer a try.

Find out more at BufferApp.com.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly adding things from my email into my calendar.  It doesn’t take long but just the cutting and pasting from an email into a calendar appointment can slow me down enough to take me out of the “Zone” when I’m working on a project.  That’s why I was excited to try a new service that called Super.CC and allows you to add an appointment to your calendar with just an email.  You use it just like Tripit, another service I love (you can read more about that HERE).

Here’s how it works:

1. send an email or copy [email protected] on the email with the appointment name in the subject and the details in the body. You can even put @ “meting location” in the body and it will put the location in the appointment so you can pull up the map on your phone.

super.cc email2. In a few minutes you’ll get a confirmation with the details of the appointment you created.

You can learn more about the different feature on their FAQ page.

It’s super easy and works pretty well.  It doesn’t always get the location right, but it seems to be getting better.  The location is still a new feature they are playing with.

It works with a variety of calendars, I’ve been using it with my Google calendar, so I’m not quite sure how well it works with some of the others, but I’m sure it’s great.

The best part it the service is free, so what do you have to lose. It’s lists itself as “Early Access” so I’m not sure if they plan on charging for it in the future.

Check it out at Super.CC

social-media-survey

My buddy Jeremy needs your help with a survey to help him in a class for Denver Seminary.  The survey is about what Youth Ministry and Social Media looks like across the nation.  There’s also $40 worth of swag for you for taking the time to fill it out.  It will only take a few minutes, I promise.

Take the Survey

 

I confess, I saw Star Trek Into Darkness this weekend, and I loved it.  Sure it wasn’t perfect, but it was a fun, space adventure — everything I want in a summer movie. (As a side note, it made me super excited for what JJ will do with Star Wars).  To celebrate the number one movie this weekend. Here’s a funny little video I saw this weekend:

I think I may have to make a starship Enterprise costume like this to wear at Comic Con this summer.

Bob Goff on YS Idea Lab

Chris —  May 19, 2013 — Leave a comment

In the latest episode of the new YS web show, YS Idea Lab, they interview Bob Goff. I also enjoy an opportunity to listen to him, if you’ve never heard him before this is worth 5 minutes of your time.

YS Idea Lab – Bob Goff: Loving People Inefficiently from Youth Specialties on Vimeo.

I’m really excited that Bob will be at the National Youth Worker Convention this fall, I hope to see you there.