Could you survive a day without Facebook?  I just read an article over on about pastors in Houston that are challenging their congregation and Christians everywhere to fast from the service for one day, August 25th.

Imagine one day if everyone would turn off their cell phones, iPads or laptops; refrain from texting, emailing, tweeting or even chatting on Facebook and intentionally get face-to-face in their relationships. That’s what thousands will be doing during the National Facebook Fast on Wednesday, August 25th. We’re not bashing technology; we’re just challenging you to take one day and set it aside and to be intentional about the relationships in your life. For one day we’re getting back to the basics and we’re inviting you to do the same.

In this age where electronic forms of communication bring people together more than ever before it’s important to remember sometime they get in the way of us connecting with the people in real life.

If you want more info about the fast jump over to Facebook Fast |

Star Tours Summer Vacation

Chris —  August 13, 2010 — Leave a comment

I don’t know if you taken your summer vacation yet, but I want to go on this trip:

I personally can’t wait for the new Star Tours ride at Disneyland.  It’s needed a revamp for awhile, but it’s still one of my favorites.

New Star Tours Video Makes Us Ask: Where Will the New Star Tours Attraction Take Us? « Disney Parks Blog.

Over on we launched a great bundle this morning.  The Super Awesome Bundle 2.  It’s 8 great resources for $49. As the bundle sells it get’s better. Check out the bundle page for all the details.

Here’s a little video we made about how we came up with the bundle.  (Why do I always end up in these videos?)

Quantities are limited, so don’t wait too long.

Super Awesome Bundle - Revenge of the Robot - Physical
Also 10% of the sales go to help the Center for Parent / Teen Understanding.

I saw this post over on, and thought it had some reminders about shoot good video footage.  It might be great to share with any students that might be shooting for you.  Even if you are just shooting with a Flip cam, your final video can only be as good as the footage you have to work with.

The tips covered in the post include: timecode, camera movement, lighting, audio, and more.

GUEST POST: 12 Tips for Shooting Better Footage | More Than DodgeBall – Youth Ministry Blog by Josh Griffin.

It is frustrating to have to allow some app to compress you video or image files before you can upload them to your intended destination. Also frustrating is the cap on “over the air” uploading from your iPhone even when it is connected to WIFI. To top it all off, I like to have my video residing natively on YouTube and Facebook, but hate having to go through the painful uploading process twice. PixelPipe solves all of those problems.

PixelPipe focuses on one thing: publish photos, video, audio, text and files on over 100 online destinations. Basically that means it will put your media on every blogging, social media, and online storage site you can imagine.

Once you register for an account, you set up “destinations” like YouTube and Facebook and it adds them to your list of destinations.  Then, once you are ready to upload, you select the media you would like to upload, click upload and it does the rest (one upload to multiple destinations).  It has a 250MB cap which should make most of your HD clips uploadable; though, if you have edited them into a snazzy video, it may exceed the limit.

Its one flaw is its UI.  Once you fire it up, it is not obvious how to go about selecting which destination you are uploading to at that particular moment (you have to go into settings>edit destinations and then select “enable default” or “disable default” in a drop-down next to each destination).  It is this kind of unfriendly UI that would make you think twice before buying it, but is worth putting up with in this free version.

The bad UI aside, this app should be on everyone’s iPhone who does ministry as it allows you to easily upload media to lots of locations on the spot without having to wait until you get back in the office and have the time to sync it with your computer.

We just recently used this to upload videos of our kids on a mission trip every day while we were on the trip, and got rave reviews about our communication from parents as soon as we stepped off the busses.  Do yourself a favor and try PixelPipe out today.  There are versions available for tons of phones and operating systems (iPhone, Android, Nokia, Palm, IM clients, Windows, Mac, and Linux).

I’ve been a little crazed of late and haven’t given the blog the time it deserves (I have some fun posts coming very soon, including my Comic-Con wrap-up), but for now enjoy this bit of Summer Happiness.

Star Wars on a Subway

Chris —  July 14, 2010 — Leave a comment

The gang over at Improv Everywhere are at it again, this time re-enacting a scene from Star Wars on a subway.  Actually I think I really saw this at Comic-Con last year.

This week over at there was a great series of articles on using games in youth ministry.

Part one: GAME ON! how games can enhance your ministry – it’s a great reminder of why we play games in youth ministry.

Part two: GAME OVER! seven game mistakes that will derail your effectiveness – goes over some common mistakes that can derail your games.

Part three: TIME OUT! three practices that will strengthen your game plan – gives some great suggestions about making your games the best they can.

If you are looking for some new games to play, also has some new free game e-books for you.  You can download  Grass Stain: Outdoor Youth Ministry Games or Rugburn: Indoor Youth Ministry Games.  To get the free downloads you need to sign-up for the Daily email from Doug Fields and Matt McGill, but you also get access to some other great e-books as well as content like these articles in your inbox 4 days a week.

This past tuesday I got an email that told me I would be one of the lucky few to receive my iPhone 4 the day before it was released. I was more than a little bit pumped about that fact and waited somewhat patiently for it to arrive. Now that I’ve had it for a week, I feel fairly prepared to answer the question of whether or not you should rush out and get one.

The Basics
The phone is a substantial upgrade from the 3G, but far less of an upgrade from the 3Gs than apple would have you believe.

Topping the list of upgrades is the phone’s camera. Not only is it now 5 megapixels for stills, it added an LED flash. Video taken with the camera is now HD quality and can be illuminated by that same LED in dark situations. I will say that the camera quality is by far the best phone camera I have ever seen. It is on par with any 5 megapixel point and shoot I have used, and the video coming off is just as good, if not better, than any of the Flip models. AND, there is a smaller, lower quality camera that is front facing which will enable you to do easy self-portraits, video chat and FaceTime.

FaceTime is Apple’s video chat service that is built into the phone app, but it only works on WiFi.  In my tests it is good, but nothing to run out and buy a phone over.   As you can expect, it all depends on the quality of your WiFi connection.

One of the biggest updates is the processor. The iPhone 4 now has the same processor in it as the iPad which makes a noticeable difference in app performance and load times. It also ensures that when apps are running in the background that the rest of the phone doesn’t slow to a crawl.

The other big update is the display. It will blow you away. With a pixel density higher than the human eye can perceive at a normal distance, Apple’s “retina” display looks like nothing you’ve ever seen. Perfect shading, incredible viewing radius, and brilliant colors make it the stand out feature for me. I can’t wait until my laptop has one!

Good, Bad, and Ugly
All of those improvements are welcome and follow along with the rest of Apple’s excellence in implementation.  When you combine the video features with the $5 iMovie app, it becomes incredibly compelling.  I have been shooting short clips at our youth events, editing them in about two minutes with iMovie and uploading them to faceboook immediately.  That will rock your face off!  It will also allow you to make parents really feel like they know what’s going on at camps and retreats.

Though the phone is very attractive, it is glass on both sides, and that is a problem.  It will crack if you drop it on the right place at the right speed.  Since the screen is fused to the front glass, replacing the iPhone’s front glass will probably mean replacing the whole glass, screen, digitizer combo.  Pretty, but expensive.

There have been tons of reports about the iPhone 4’s antennae being able to be messed up by holding it a certain way.  That is 100% true.  Ask anyone with an iPhone 4 to hold it by cupping the bottom (usually using your left hand) and you can watch the bars drop to little or nothing at all.  However, you can do this same trick with the 3G or the 3Gs if you hold them properly.  It seems to be more pronounced with the iPhone 4, but is remedied by using a case that covers the edges (which you will need because of the glass design mentioned in the previous paragraph).

Should I Buy One?

Assuming you’ve got the dough, I would say it depends on two factors: what you are using now, and how much you want to use video.  If you, like me, had and liked the 3G and it’s time to upgrade, do it.  You will notice an amazing performance boost along with the incredible new features we discussed here.  If you really want to use video to up the communication in your ministry, do it.  The tools this phone has video-wise are incredible and will be worth every cent if you utilize them to communicate with your kids/parents.

If you have a 3Gs, I’d caution you to be careful.  This is not as much of a performance boost as you might need to justify the expense.  You can probably just update to iOS4 and download the iMovie app.  If you have a 3Gs or an 3G and will have to pay full price because you are not eligible for an upgrade, PUT THE CREDIT CARD DOWN AND STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER!  If you are patient there will be another revision next year, and you can save yourself about $400.

New David Crowder Band EP

Chris —  June 22, 2010 — Leave a comment

I love the David Crowder Band and was excited to see they released a new EP today.  It’s a 4 song acoustic set and it’s great.

Track List:

  1. Alleluia, Sing
  2. How He Loves
  3. Oh, Happiness
  4. Shadows

You can get it from iTunes today:
Summer Happiness (Acoustic) – EP – David Crowder Band