B-I-N-G-O (Or "How to get a free Amazon gift card")

So a lot of my friends are like "Ohemgee I'm so tired from staying up late to watch the Olympics." And I'm over here like "Yeah I'm so tired because I stayed up late to rewatch every episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." (<-- which is the best show on Netflix and if you aren't watching it, you're wrong)
lochte liar, lochtegate, olympics, rio olympics, ryan lochte olympics, rio liars, ryan lochte meme, ryan lochte loses endorsements, olympic swimming

I seem to be the only person not infected with Olympic Fever. It's not that I'm unAmerican (USA! USA! USA!), I just don't care to watch a bunch of dudes swim real fast. What I DO want to do is get closer to my next Amazon gift card.
Swago is a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards (I've shared that last year I received $418 in Target, Amazon, and Sephora, Ebay, and PayPal gift cards). If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in Swago is a great introduction to the site because you can get extra bonuses for trying out all the activities as you complete your board.
swagbucks, swag bucks, free gift cards, swago, amazon gift cards, sephora gift cards

If you didn’t participate in the last round of Swago, here’s what you need to know to get your 300 SB Bonus:
  • Starting Friday, August 19th head to your Swago Board and hit “Join” to pre-register. If you don’t hit “Join” you won’t get credit for completing the action items.
  • Swago will begin on Monday, August 22nd at 12:01am PDT/3:01am EDT, so sit tight and get ready.
  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, earning SB in Surveys, or earning SB in nCrave.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Monday, August 29th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.
I've never been able to fill the entire SWAGO board but I do enjoy the few rows I fill in and the bonus points I get!

Click Here to join Swagbucks!

*****************************************************This is a post sponsored by Swagbucks. They are giving me bonus SB in exchange for making sure YOU know about using SWAGO to earn more points for yourself. Win/Win.

How to Develop Fresh Eyes for Evaluating Your Service

The weekend comes every weekend!” Not deep, but it's  the truth! The reality of our situation in our churches is that it never stops. Every weekend, we are tasked with presenting the gospel message without it feeling like we just heard the same message last weekend. It’s a tall order, but one that is important and should never be taken for granted.
As with anything that has a recurring cycle, there is an inherent danger for our weekend services to feel repetitive, tired, or just plain old boring. On the other hand, we also face the challenge of keeping things excellent and not deviating too far from the norm. So we don’t create a culture of unwanted surprises and give people an opportunity to question whether or not they can share this experience with a friend. It feels like a tightrope walk. So how do we navigate it?

Creating a culture of evaluation is absolutely key! Over the years, at our church, we’ve woven critical evaluation into the fabric of our planning process. For us, that plays out it in a few very specific scenarios. Creating this culture of evaluation has served us very well over the years and has allowed us to improve in several different areas, as well as dial in very specific elements and transitions each weekend.
Creating a culture of evaluation is absolutely key.
The culture of evaluation is all well and good, but remember, the weekend comes every weekend! So how do we avoid repetitiveness in our services? How do we get past the numbness of seeing and planning the same kind of service every. single. weekend? Well, as with anything that presents a challenge, it’s certainly easier said than done. But there are some key things that I’ve learned over the years to help develop fresh eyes for evaluating our services.

1. Think like a first-timer.

Have you ever considered what your service feels like a to first time attender? If you were to walk into your church building for the first time – with brand new eyes – what would you see?
Have you ever considered what your service feels like a to first time attender?
In my opinion, there is one key trap that many of us fall into: We think and program like a church programming professional. We’ve done this before, literally more than a thousand times; we know what we’re doing! The danger we face in thinking like a church programming professional will almost always cause us to forget about the first time attendee. Some practical ideas to avoid this trap: Try parking in a different parking lot and walk into your church through the front door – instead of the private access staff entrance – shake the hands of the greeters on the way in, and stand or sit in a different part of the room while observing the service. I’ve always felt like putting myself in the position of a first time attendee gave me a fresh perspective and allowed me to give more critical feedback to the experience.

2. Visit other local churches.

One of the easiest ways to put yourself in the shoes of a first time attendee is to actually be a first time attendee at another local church.

These is tremendous value in visiting other churches, beyond just getting the experience of a first time attendee. One of those key areas of value is getting a higher-level perspective of the Kingdom of God at work beyond your church. I can’t over-state how valuable this is! We’re a part of an incredible movement, and getting that perspective outside of our normal setting is such a refreshing and encouraging experience.
But be sure to use your experience to help shape how you will plan your own weekend services. Take notes of how things felt as a first time attendee. What made you feel comfortable? What made you feel awkward? What made you smile? What worked and what didn’t? One word of caution: Try your best to find a healthy balance between learning and being critical. Let’s do our best to avoid any negative chatter on how churches do things and instead learn what might or might not work for you in the context of your church.

3. Bring an unchurched friend.

Have you ever brought a friend or family member to church and asked them for direct critical feedback?
Have you ever brought a friend or family member to church and asked them for direct critical feedback?
We all have those folks in our lives – the ones that have never set foot in a church or haven’t been in 20 years and probably have no desire to ever attend a church again. Not only are these people our mission field, but they can also be a great sounding board for critical feedback. What if you were to ask a friend to come to your service just to evaluate it for you? Asking for sincere and direct feedback from a trusted unchurched friend could provide invaluable insight. And what if just getting them through the doors of your church actually enabled them to experience God in a way they never have before? Of course, there’s no guarantee that would happen, but the opportunity for them to give feedback might just be the incentive to attend that they’ve been looking for.
These are just a few of the things that have worked for myself and my colleagues over the years, but I’m confident there are many more ways to a fresh perspective on our weekend services. Creating a culture of evaluation is key, but developing fresh eyes for that evaluation is a discipline we can all stand to improve on.

Dr. Martin Luther King on Love

My favorite book that Dr. King wrote was Strength to Love. On page 52-53 of that fantastic work, Martin Luther King, Jr. writes this:

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy  by getting rid of enmity. Lincoln tried to love and left for all history a magnificent drama of reconciliation. When he was campaigning for the presidency one of his arch-enemies was a man named Stanton. For some reason Stanton hated Lincoln. He used every ounce of his energy to degrade him in the eyes of the public. So deep rooted was Stanton's hate for Lincoln that he uttered unkind word about his physical appearance, and sought to embarrass him at every point with the bitterest diatribes. But in spite of this Lincoln was elected President of the United States. Then came the period when he had to select his cabinet which would consist of the persons who would be his most intimate associates in implementing his program. He started choosing men here and there for various secretaryships. The day finally came for Lincoln to select a man to fill the all-important post of Secretary of War. Can you imagine whom Lincoln chose to fill this post? None other than the man named Stanton. There was an immediate uproar in the inner circle when the news began to spread. Advisor after advisor was heard saying, "Mr. President, you are making a mistake. Do you know this man named Stanton? Are you familiar with all the ugly things he said about you? He is your enemy. He will seek to sabotage your program. Have you thought this through, Mr. President?" Mr. Lincoln's answer was terse and to the point: "Yes I know Mr. Stanton. I am aware of all the terrible things he said about me. But after looking over the nation, I find that he is the best man for the job." So Stanton became Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of War and rendered an invaluable service to his nation and to his President. Not many years later Lincoln was assassinated. Many laudable things were said about him. Even today millions of people still adore him as the greatest of all Americans. But of all the great statements made about Abraham Lincoln, the words of Stanton remain among the greatest. Standing near the dead body of the man he once hated, Stanton referred to him as one of the greatest men that ever lived and said, "He now belongs to the ages." If Lincoln had hated Stanton both men would have gone to their graves bitter enemies. But through the power of love Lincoln transformed an enemy into a friend. It was this same attitude that made it possible for Lincoln to speak a kind word about the South during the civil war when feeling was most bitter. Asked by a shocked bystander how he could do this, Lincoln said, "Madam, do I not destroy my enemies when I make them friends?" 
Tuanson and Friends Proudly Powered by Blogger