We're not about global connection, we're about local engagement.
Search this blog
Browse by Date
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
Subscribe via RSS
birthday case study church coming soon community conference content contest custom directory discussion event example facebook free get started give granger groups how to ideas integration international interview iphone launch map ministry mobile news prayer press profile round table serve share social network social networking stories story substance superadmin tips twitter video vision volunteer webinar why you can't do that on facebook
One of the most useful features of the Table is the directory. Surfing through all the names and faces is a great way to learn and remember names. You can click on the faces to learn more about the people in your community. You can even stop and say a prayer for each person you pass. It's a great way to connect.
Unless you come across one of these:
The dreaded default profile pic. That's what you look like when you don't upload a profile picture. A default grey silhouette. It's hard to match your name with this face. You're a stranger.
Don't be a stranger.
Upload a profile picture. Step out of the shadows and be a person. Put a real face to that avatar. A faceless and silent profile is a sure way to stifle community. That's why we think it's important to upload a profile picture.
Tip: Use a close-up headshot so we can see your smiling face!
How Do You Upload a Profile Picture?
Easy. Here's a video that shows you how to add a profile pic or you can read our instructions below.
Step 1: You'll need a picture of yourself saved on your computer. It can be a JPG, GIF or PNG file. You can crop and resize your pic after it's uploaded.
Step 2: When you're on the Table, click on "Howdy Kevin" (or whatever your name is) at the top to access your profile. Under the default gray silhouette that is so not you is a link that says "Change Pic"—click on it.
Step 3: Click "Browse" to find the image on your computer. Check the box to indicate that you own the picture and it's appropriate, and then click "Submit" to upload it.
Step 4: Next you'll have a chance to crop and resize the photo. The square is what your finished profile pic will look like—as shown in the preview square. Click and hold to reposition the square, and drag a corner to resize and zoom in on your smiling face.
Click "Crop" when you're finished to save. Click "Canel" to completely quit and go back to your profile, or click "Delete Photo" to scrap this picture and upload a new one.
That's it. You're no longer a stranger.
Tip: A picture of your dog or favorite cartoon character doesn't help anyone recognize you and learn your name. Use a picture of you!
This week on the Round Table webinar we gave a grand tour of the next version of our Facebook integration. It include all kinds of great updates, like logging in via Facebook, adding friends automatically, pre-populating fields on sign up and recommending friends. The Facebook integration is coming soon, so get a sneak peek now.
You can watch the archived video here:
Watch: Facebook Integration (39:25)
Don't forget to register for our upcoming Round Table webinars. We'll be talking about how to make the most of your profile and giving a tour of our coming iPhone App.
We added the Serve App to the Table because we think it's a no-brainer way to get people connected offline. Sharing stuff and serving one another is a major need, going back to the early church, and it's something we desperately need today. Imagine how your community will begin to change as you start serving one another more.
Here are 10 ideas to get you started:
1. Kitchen gadgets - Do you even know what's in the back of your cupboard? It's where you keep your seldom-used gadgets: the espresso maker, the fondue pot, the ice cream machine, the crock pot, the juicer, food dehydrator (admit, you bought one off the infomercial). Share the home-cooked love.
2. Snow shoveling - It breaks your heart watching your elderly neighbor shovel her snow, but you're never home in time to beat her to it. Ask for volunteers in your neighborhood to get over there during the day and shovel her sidewalk.
3. Garage giveaway - Instead of throwing a garage sale, have a garage giveaway. It's too much work and too little profit to sell everything, so just give it away. The confused looks from garage sale regulars will be priceless.
4. Community cleanup day - The local park is doing a community clean up day. Why not organize a squad of volunteers from your church?
5. Give food - "If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." -Mother Teresa
Sometimes the most powerful gift is simply a home-cooked meal or a bag full of groceries. Use the Serve App to make your willingness to help known.
6. Helping an elderly neighbor with yard work - The Serve App gives you the ability to organize people from your church to help. You can also assign tasks and gather supplies all from the comfort of your Table. All it takes is initiative.
7. Start a lending library - Set up a group for book lovers and use the Serve App to swap and share books. It's your own library, complete with personal recommendations. You can start with one book that has changed your life.
8. Children's clothes - You may have hated hand-me-downs as a kid, but your thrifty parents loved them. Widen the hand-me-down pool to your church and maybe your kids won't complain so much.
9. Home repair - Some people are handy and some people are definitely not. The not-so handy can post their volunteer home repair needs and the handy can offer to give away their services. That pesky dripping faucet gets fixed and everybody's happy.
10. Disaster response - Communities come together in disaster and the Serve App can help. Post the needs and the different jobs available, whether it's clearing downed trees, sharing food, offering temporary housing, playing with the kids or just being there for somebody.
This week on the Round Table webinar we'll offer a grand tour of the next version of our Facebook integration. This will include all kinds of great updates, like logging in via Facebook, adding friends automatically, pre-populating fields on sign up and recommending friends.
Tune in on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 from 3-4 p.m. CDT. Register now.
If you're busy then, don't worry. We'll record the webinar and post it to our site a few days later. But if you tune in live you can always ask questions and get instant answers.
Offering unique content as a carrot can be an easy way to bring people to the Table and help you gain traction when you launch. If people can only get the content on the Table, that's one more reason to check it out.
Some examples of unique content that will bring people to the Table:
Pre-Sermon Sneak Peek
Offer your congregation a sneak peek of the upcoming sermon in the discussion board. Share the books you're reading, what's inspiring you, what's challenging you or the questions you're struggling with. A little pre-sermon discussion and feedback might even make your sermon better.
After the sermon post some follow-up questions to the discussion board and try to generate some on-going discussion. This can be a helpful way to make your sermon go deeper. As people think it over and respond, you're getting more out of it. Suddenly it's not forgotten by Sunday afternoon.
Be sure you're making the most of the Prayer Wall. Consider posting some proactive prayers requests. Not only is this consistent content you're not offering anywhere else, but it's encouraging people to pray. Everybody wins.
Another way to pull people into the Table is with the communications tools. You can use the Quicknotes feature to send quick notifications to your entire church that can be received as email or text message, however people choose. That can be huge for things like service cancellations, daylight savings reminders, mobilizing folks to respond to emergencies, etc. You can also display targeted notifications in the tip bar based on age, gender, location and interest.
The Serve App is a great source of unique content and we've been sharing loads of suggestions for how to use it. But you can bring even more people to the Table by using it as the place to post your church volunteer needs.
Using the discussion board to make files available is another great carrot. It works especially well for groups, like the worship team sharing MP3s or your leadership team sharing PDFs.
Encouraging your church ministries to use the groups function of the Table is a prime carrot. In many cases this will give your ministries a level of organization, community and consistency they've never had before. One better: They can run it all themselves.
What Not To Use as a Carrot
These are all examples of things that work well to draw people into the Table because you can't get them anywhere else. There are other things you could only post to the Table, but they might not work as well.
For example, a pastor's blog that's only on the Table would be a bad idea. Why? That's content you can share with the world. That's content that might bring people closer to faith. Don't gate it off so only your church can access it.
As much as we value privacy and close-knit community at the Table, we're not in favor of gated communities. Sometimes we call them ghettos. You should still share this great content publicly, either on your website, Facebook or somewhere else. Save the Table for content that might work better in the context of a community.
That's why we didn't build our own blog, podcast or video app. Instead we built tools that allow you to import blogs, podcasts and videos from other sources. So you can share them with the world and bring them into the Table. That content should be freely given, not used as a carrot.
This week on the Round Table webinar we covered how to launch the Table. We covered the ins and outs of a successful rollout, everything from getting buy-in from leadership to planning a launch Sunday. If you're wondering how to make the Table a success at your church, you need to watch this webinar.
You can watch the archived video here:
Watch: How to Launch the Table (44:48)
1. Game group - Launch a board game group and swap and share your games. Share your love of Settlers of Catan, Risk, Killer Bunnies, Ticket to Ride or Apples to Apples.
2. Snowmobile - Sure, you ride that snowmobile all weekend long, every weekend. But you could still share the fun when you're lashed to your desk at work. Let someone else soar across the powder when you can't.
3. Paint supplies - Most people have a collection of painting supplies from the last time they redecorated. Brushes and rollers and drop cloths, oh my, sitting idly until the next great inspiration hits. Save your friends some cash and lend out your painting supplies.
4. Nursery swap - It takes a lot to wear out baby gear, so give it away and reuse it. Set up a group for your church's nursery and use the Serve App to encourage parents to give away and reuse cribs, highchairs, diaper bags, pack ‘n' plays, strollers and all the baby gear that isn't worn out after six months of drool.
5. Snow blower - You've got the biggest, baddest snow blower on the block. But your driveway and sidewalks aren't that big. You're squandering all that horsepower. Let the people borrow your snow blower after a big snowstorm. Or better yet, volunteer to lend your time and muscle to do it for them.
6. Redbox for your church - No need to hit up the Redbox or scour Netflix, borrow from your friends at church. Start a new group for movie lovers and load up the Serve App with DVDs you're willing to loan out. You can give recommendations and offer families a wider selection of appropriate movies for the kids.
7. Pickup truck - Every now and then people need a big ol' pickup truck to haul stuff. Lumber, dirt, boulders, wicker furniture—manly stuff. If you've got the truck, share the love.
8. Sports equipment - Your golf clubs, snowboard, skis, rollerblades, ice skates and more that have consumed a corner of your garage could easily be shared. You're not the sports giant rocking the field every weekend, so share the gear.
9. Share a room - If you've got a spare room you could share it. A college student with a gap between summer housing and the dorms opening, a missionary home on furlough or a guest speaker in town for the weekend could all use a place to stay.
10. Framed art - You've got posters, paintings and prints in frames that lost out to pictures of your family and multiple redecorating efforts. You can't bring yourself to get rid of them, but you can share them. That art deco print will do more good hanging on someone's wall than it will sitting in your basement.
The Prayer Wall on the Table encourages prayer. How much prayer?
- Since the Table launched more than 8,000 prayers have been posted.
- Those prayers have been prayed for nearly 70,000 times.
That's a lot of prayer, but we're just scratching the surface. You can use the Prayer Wall to start a prayer movement in your church.
Why Push the Prayer Wall?
The Prayer Wall puts the old prayer chain to shame:
- There's no need to pass requests around—everyone can be instantly updated.
- A prayer can be updated with new info. No need to send out repeated emails keeping people in the loop.
- Using the ‘Pray Now' button you can let people know that you're praying. That's encouraging. If you posted a prayer, you can be notified of that on-going encouragement—there's a shot in the arm when you're going through something tough.
- You can use the ‘flag' feature to call out prayer gossip and keep the Prayer Wall legit.
- Since you can add the Prayer Wall app to any group, you can encourage more prayer. Prayer isn't just for the Prayer Team. The softball team, children's ministry and board game group can all be encouraged to pray. (But praying for a softball championship might need to be flagged!)
- You can post anonymously. Sure, the prayer chain would let you do that, but somebody always knew. With the Prayer Wall it's actually anonymous.
- The Prayer Wall becomes an archive of your church's prayer history. Imagine being able to search through years of prayer history at your church. There's a lot of power in revisiting answered prayer and seeing how God has moved.
Make the Most of the Prayer Wall
The Prayer Wall is easy to use (watch our help video for the basics), but how do you get the most out of the Prayer Wall? Here are some tips we've gleaned from churches using the Table:
- First and foremost: Actually pray. It can be tempting to just push the ‘Pray Now' button and move on. But that would be a tragedy. Stop what you're doing and pray. That's where the power comes from.
- When you talk to people in person encourage them to use the Prayer Wall. Let them know that you pray for items there and that they should post their prayer requests. This is especially helpful when it comes from your church's pastors and leaders.
- Be proactive in your prayer. We often pray in response to what's happening in the world, but we can also pray that God would proactively move. Here are 10 ways you can pray proactively with the Prayer Wall.
- If you have a prayer ministry at church, get them using the Prayer Wall. It's a great way to see the fruit of that ministry and an easy way to get more people praying.
The Prayer Wall is an amazing part of the Table that encourages people to share prayer needs and prompts people to pray right now. You won't find that on Facebook.
But there's a temptation to only post specific needs. It's a temptation common to prayer in general—the emergency prayer. Only praying when you're in dire need. But we can and should be praying for so much more. And we can and should be using the Prayer Wall for so much more. Your prayer posts don't have to be limited to current needs like your sick Aunt Sally. You can pray proactively.
Here are 10 ideas to get you started:
1. Pray for the missionaries and organizations your church supports. Every month post a new missionary or organization to the Prayer Wall with a few updates about their ministry and their specific needs.
2. Pray for your church. Post prayers for your different ministries, pray for upcoming events, pray for leaders and volunteers, pray for new visitors to come on Sunday morning, pray for people to come to Jesus.
3. Nobody needs to get political in church, but we can still pray for our leaders. Pray for your local, state and national representatives, from school board members to the president.
4. Pray for issues that are on your heart. People talk about taking action instead of simply praying, but we can do both! Give clean water and pray for those who need clean water. Maybe you're doing a sermon series on human trafficking—what better time to post the need for prayer for that heart-breaking issue? Posting it to the Prayer Wall not only gets people praying, but it spreads the word.
5. Give thanks and post some praises when things go well. Didn't you learn how to say thank you? Not only is this a chance to offer thanks, but it's a chance to reflect on how God is moving. What is God doing in your life that you can give him glory for? These quiet but amazing movements of God never make the news, but we should be sharing them with one another.
6. Pray for specific members of your church. Go through the directory and list a few people to pray for each week. Go above and beyond and contact them ahead of time and ask if they have things they'd like prayer for.
7. Pray for miracles. That's why we pray, isn't it? Because prayer is powerful and it changes things, sometimes in mind-blowing, miraculous ways. Pray for those miracles and watch for them.
8. In the wake of disasters people are always looking for something to do—they can pray. From flooding in the Midwest to tornadoes in the South to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, there are constantly fresh disasters around the world that need prayer. People can't always donate or go and help, but nothing can stop them from praying.
10. Pray for opportunities to tell people about Jesus. There's a scary prayer. But you'll be amazed at how those opportunities present themselves when you start asking for them and start looking for them.
So many of us have that feeling of wanting to serve but not knowing how. Instead of finding a way to serve, we just let it go. Well, it's time to say hello to the Serve App and goodbye to apathy. With the Serve App you can post volunteer needs or offer to "give away" your skills. Here are 10 ideas to get you started:
1. Computer help - Your church is likely full of techno geeks and the techno impaired. The Serve App can bring the two together to do some good. Your techno geeks can offer up their services to "borrow." The clueless can make their needs known.
2. Tax time - As April comes calling the accountants in your church can offer up their services. It's pro bono to borrow.
3. Dog training - Your church likely has some obedience experts who are willing to help with problem pups. They can offer their services to "borrow" and share their skill with your church community.
4. Cooking 101 - Unleash the Julia Childs in your church. Find the folks who always get the culinary kudos and encourage them to share their gift on the Table, offering to lend their expertise.
5. Music lessons - Watch your worship team grow with aspiring musicians when the rock stars offer up lessons on the Serve App.
6. Car repair - Everybody needs a good mechanic, and they can serve the church by offering up their skills. The Serve App is also a perfect place to loan tools.
7. Knitting - Knitting and crocheting isn't just for old ladies anymore. The Serve App can be a great place to loan out needles and supplies, give away extra yarn, ask for volunteer help with big projects and veteran needle pushers can even offer to share their skills.
8. Document proofing - Need help proof reading and copy editing a paper, blog or manuscript? There's likely a proofreading pro in your congregation.
9. Help other organizations - Your church likely knows about loads of volunteer needs around your community—including soup kitchens, day care centers, tutoring and more. Post the known needs of your local organizations and get your church community helping.
10. Resume help - Writing a resume is an art and when you're looking for a job you need all the help you can get. Reach out to the experts and get all the help you can.
For more on the Serve App you can watch our new how-to video.