All posts tagged: reviews

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Tonight we went out on the town! Used a free babysitting pass and gift certificate for Ravioli’s. An evening alone with my wife and great food – it doesn’t get much better than that. I have to give Ravioli’s a big shout out – amazing little place on Main Street in Lake Elsinore. If you are into Italian, a cool vibe, and great service, and you live in the Inland Empire, you gotta check it out.

After dinner, we decided to go over to Barnes & Noble, which conveniently has a Starbucks. Cinnoman Dolce Latte for me, Hot Tea for Jen. Then we spent the next half hour just perusing the store; no kids asking for stuff, running through the aisles, or having to go to the bathroom – it was sweet. Looking through the magazines, I found this and just had to snap a photo:

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I’m not sure which is more disturbing:
– The dog with no front legs
– That there is an “Animal Wellness” magazine
– That there is a “Shooting Horse” magazine
– Or that these magazines were placed side by side

We recently switched from Church Community Builder to Connection Power for our Church Management system. We probably should have researched Fellowship One a little more, but for our budget (or lack thereof), Connection Power was the clear choice. We were getting serious complaints from our Admin Team about the quirkiness and bad graphic interface of CCB, so we started looking at other options. Long story short, we landed on Connection Power and we were pretty excited about switching over. Here’s a couple stories that might help you in your decision to start using or switching Church Management Software.

1. It has a very large impact on Staff. It sounds like a simple thing – just transfer some data and boom – you’re good to go. But in reality with our church size of 500+ (about 1200 in our database), we really should have planned better for the switchover. I’m thinking that we should have budgeted about 4-6 weeks of staff time to really learn the software and implement it into how they administrate their ministries and groups. CMS is great for getting true data, stats, and quick communication – but only if it is setup correctly, which takes time to learn and to do. So think about that and plan time for your staff to handle the learning curve – or else they won’t buy into it and it will be a wasted resource.

2. (click on images for full size) I’m not happy at all with Connection Power’s online giving interface. It’s very complex, and that’s good for data collection, but horrible for the user. ccb.jpg
When we had CCB, they required only that we have our own merchant account and then they created a page for us that looked like this:

It was simple and easy to complete – very comprehensive.

When we switched over to Connection Power, we realized that their Online Giving functionality is much more complex. But the interface is downright frustrating – especially if you are not internet/computer savvy. It’s really hard to navigate – you have to really look for what you want. Here’s an example: cp.jpg But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that using Connection Power’s giving module, you actually have to be a “member” of the online community and have been “invited”. Well, that doesn’t work for us – we want that giving page to be as easy as possible to navigate, and as easy as possible to enter your info and click “give”. So thumbs down to Connection Power for that one.

We are planning on creating our own online giving page that is attached directly to our merchant account. I called their tech support and complained and they were very gracious and welcomed my feedback. Kudos.

We drive a 1997 Chevy Suburban, probably responsible for at least one degree of heat last summer. It’s such a good vehicle, especially for my wife, who feels so safe in it, plus it fits the kids, the dog, and a couple other people every once in a while. The problem is that it gets like 5 mpg’s & with gas at $3.50+, it’s literally killing us. So we’ve been talking about sucking it up and getting something new/different that gets triple or quadruple the gas mileage. We can’t really afford it, but we also can’t afford to keep dropping cash into the beast either.

Anywho, as we’ve been doing our research, we found this cool site where you can find out some good info on vehicle’s gas mileage, how much it costs to go 25 miles, how much it costs in gas per year, etc. And you can compare vehicles side by side – pretty cool!

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I posted a while ago that I was watching/listening to Hillsong’s new DVD, Savior King. The first couple times I watched it I was like, “it’s alright, I like Hosanna and Break Free”. Now after watching it over 20-30 times, I absolutely LOVE it! Here’s why:

  • Multiple worship leaders
  • Hillsong and United together – so it’s actually doable for multiple generations
  • Excellent production
  • Amazing lyrics
  • Many “doable” songs
  • It’s long (I hate short DVD’s)
  • Did I mention United?

Go get you some, you won’t be disapointed.

transformersOK. I’m going to get crucified for this, but I’m watching Transformers right now, and I can barely stand it. It is soooooo cheesy. I’ve seen the cheese factor at least a dozen times, and in the last scene there were at least 3-4; Bumblebee “lubricating” on a guy. The “hot” girl telling the secret agent to undress, and he’s got some crazy superman tank top on and printed boxers. I mean, come on… I watched Transformers as a kid and this is such a let down. The scene where the parent catch the kid upstairs and all the Autobots are hiding outside – cheese! “Sector 7”? Get real…

And the soundtrack? wow, not even close! It’s all soundscapish and LOTR style… for Transformers? Come ON!

Maybe I’m just numb to CGI, but other than that, what a let down. Maybe it’s one of those movies that everyone builds up so much hype around, then you watch it and it’s nowhere near what you thought it would be.

Cheese factor quotes: (as I’m watching the movie, I’ve already missed like 50)

“I bought a car, turned out to be an alien robot”

“Freedom is the right of all sentium beings”

“Autobots roll out!”

“Oh and her juvie record, that’s gotta be gone forever”

“NBE’s?”

“We call him NBE One, that’s what we call it”

“All hail Megatron”

“Freddy Kruger had four blades, that’s Wolverine baby!”

I’m losing interest… Rich Kirkpatrick just IM’d me, later…