Well, I don’t do promotions often but this was too good to pass up. For those of you who always wanted Photoshop but couldn’t afford the high price tag, Adobe has made CS2 available for the Mac and PC available for free download and use.
In fact they have several others available including Premier, Acrobat and Illustrator. You might think an older version is too old, but they are recent enough to do most of what almost anyone could want to do.
You can get it at: www.adobe.com/downloads/cs2_downloads/index.html. The license codes for using them are on the page and you will need to create a free Adobe account but that just takes a minute to do.
Merry Christmas to all three of my readers out there!
We have a new announcement for our followers out there. We’ve launched a new venture called Optimization Labs.
Its a new type of web agency we are calling a lead agency. A lead agency is focused on helping organizations and businesses take it’s existing web visitors and help them “convert” at a higher rate and for less investment. In the case of a ministry or church, that would be signing up to volunteer, sign a petition, or simply to participate. For a business, it means new customers and new revenue.
Well, with this launch, we have something special for those Christian ministries out there. We are launching a 6 month project that will focus on helping one ministry as much as we possibly can with web design and services for free. We can only take on one at a time right now so be sure to sign up for consideration as soon as possible so we can evaluate your ministry.
Today many in our country will take a day off from our jobs to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers. No matter if we’re celebrating at home or at the beach, we’re entering into a tradition that has largely been shaped by Labor Unions – organizations that are dedicated to protecting workers’ interests and improving their wages, hours, and working conditions. Today as we lounge around or hang out with friends and family, we’re not only celebrating hard work, we’re honoring fair, ethical working practices and the laws that prevent discrimination, abuse, and child labor in our country. Without these laws in place (and enforced), the most vulnerable members of society suffer. Who are the most vulnerable? Children.
Today as we’re celebrating the systems in our own country that strive to prevent injustices like child trafficking and child labor, we’re mindful of the many child slaves around the world who are unprotected and the organizations, like Mercy Project, who are working to free them.
As a mother, it’s difficult for me to imagine my children working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. I’m unable to wrap my brain around the thought of my children engaged in long, hard days of physical labor, eating one meal a day, and then falling asleep at night on a dirt floor filled with other slave children. Yet this is the daily reality for kids who have been trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, Africa. As with much of Africa, there is a great deal of poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, this leaves many mothers in an unimaginable position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death. Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves and their mothers never see them again. Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves. Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta.
We invite you to watch this moving, 10 minute documentary about the issues surrounding child labor and trafficking in Ghana and most importantly the hope Mercy Project is bringing to children and entire communities in Africa. Mercy Project is the only NGO working on Lake Volta addressing the injustice of child labor and child trafficking at its root – by strengthening the Ghanaian economy and eliminating the structures that cause the demand for trafficked children.
Whether these ideas of child labor, child trafficking, and modern-day slavery are new to you or you’re aware of these injustices, but need to hear some good news every once in awhile, we invite you to become a part of what Mercy Project is doing in Ghana. When Mercy Project frees their first group of children this month, we can all celebrate together.
Learn more and get involved by:
- Watching Mercy Project’s short documentary.
- Following Mercy Project on Facebook.
- Connecting with Mercy Project via Twitter.
- Spending some time on Mercy Project’s website.
Although child trafficking, child labor, and the unstable economies that result in these injustices are a tragedy, we’re grateful for what Mercy Project is doing to protect the vulnerable and for allowing us to be a part of this story. While we’re commemorating labor laws and ethical work in our own country today, we invite you to follow along on this journey with Mercy Project to protect and free children in Ghana.
If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. — Abraham Lincoln
Church websites have two primary types of visitors. They are either members of the church looking for updates because their pastor mentioned it, or they are people looking for a church. Unfortunately, these two groups don’t have the same needs and it excludes an overlooked group, people looking for God.
Solving both of these issues is pretty easy to do for any church. For members, the easiest thing to do is setup a separate website or a sub-domain to handle all the communication you need to that group. You can make it public or private, that’s simply up to you.
This leaves you with two groups to content with, those looking for a new church and those looking for God. I believe both of these can be handled at the same time by pointing people to Christ. In this age of technology, accomplishing this isn’t hard. You want to be able to educate people about God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice as well as show how he is impacting the lives of church members and the community they interact with on a regular basis. Here are some ideas to accomplish this goal.
Video and Audio sermons. With a large percentage of people having smartphones, there is no excuse for any church in the US, Europe and most Asia-Pacific countries not to record every sermon to video. 1,000s of pictures and videos could be taken of ministry work in the communities we serve. All of this content can be uploaded to places like YouTube and Flickr for free then served through your website. The cost to churches are simply the time to organize it all into a compelling story.
Testimonials. Everyone has a story. Some stories are amazing. Many stories are very similar to one another. But those stories are compelling. They are evidence of changed lives through The power of the Cross. Capture those stories on video and pictures. Share them online. Again,expensive cameras aren’t needed. God will shine through whether you are using a cheap video phone or an expensive studio.
Ministry Impact. Record in video, pictures and words your ministries impact on the world. Show the changed lives. Show the effect on the community. Show God through the eyes of the people who serve and are being served.
Sharing. With all this awesome content, make sure you enable it all to be shared by membership. Their reach is greater than the church alone. Help them reach the world by socially enabling all of the content you have.
Get them involved in the adventure. All of this material should be compelling to anyone, especially those God is calling. Invite them not necessarily to join the church, but to join the adventure, to be part of the journey you are on to impact the world.
Christ told us to love one another and to teach people about Himself. Remember that non-Christians are generally turned off by the church. Church to them is for weak-minded whackos. There is very little about the idea of a church that is attractive to that audience. So stop trying to sell the church and simply show them who Jesus is through your words and actions. He is far more attractive than any church, which is what we should be striving for anyway.