User’s Guide

Introduction

In this section we will highlight some of the technologies and solutions that individuals and organizations can utilize to more effectively share the gospel. This page is specifically oriented toward those working in ministries rather than to individuals with a technical background. The Technical Guide is for those who are working within Information Technologies and interested in working on developing, enhancing, or implementing technological solutions.
Below are our top recommended resources. We don’t want to confuse or overwhelm with numerous options, so here you’ll find what we consider the best of the best. Over time we will add additional pages with lists of additional resources that you can review as desired.

Bible Study Software

  • Logos Bible Software – Logos is an old and venerable line of bible study software that continues to innovate and impress. Their software is amazingly powerful both in the depth and breadth of resources included and for the technological features which can significantly reduce the amount of time required to complete a thorough study of the text. Logos also offers payment plans making their Bible Software affordable to just about everyone. We’d recommend grabbing the Scholar’s Gold edition.
  • e-Sword – This is a free alternative to Logos. It does not include the breadth of resources Logos has but it is free and does include a significant number of useful resources. You can also purchase some excellent premium modules for e-Sword at great prices. e-Sword is a great study tool – the best free one out there – but it cannot compare to Logos. If you are new to working with scripture study on a computer it might be a good place to start – before investing a few hundred dollars into Logos – e-Sword has an intuitive user interface and allows you to see many of the benefits of computer assisted biblical study at no cost.

Bible / Ministry Study Resources

  • Biblical Studies Foundation – BSF offers an amazingly diverse and deep library of resources for biblical studies and practical ministry. This includes the New English Translation (NET) bible which includes nearly 70,000 translators notes explaining why they chose to translate a passage in one way over another giving lay readers insight into the issues behind the variations in different bible versions translations and a deeper understanding of the original languages. They also provide contemporary commentaries on almost every book of the bible, a lay theological training program, and more than can be listed here.
  • Christian Classics Ethereal Library – The CCEL is one of the oldest Christian resources on the web and has amassed an impressive library of classical Christian works available online and for free. Want to read the early church fathers? Visit the CCEL. Catching up on John Bunyan, Johnathan Edwards, George MacDonald, or G.K. Chesterton? Its over at the CCEL. My favorite resources are probably the resources by Philip Schaff. No need to delve into them here – but lets just say if you need to know about theology or history or want to read translations of early church father’s documents – the CCEL probably has it and Philip Schaff was likely the author or editor.
  • Best Commentaries – This site helps readers navigate the murky waters of Old and New Testament biblical commentaries offering reviews and ratings that make finding and acquiring the best commentaries on each book of the bible (and different segments) possible. The site utilizes a mish-mash of methods for compiling its choice lists including aggregating suggestins from numerous leading evangelical institutions and individuals.
  • Biblical Training Institute – Provides undergraduate and seminary level courses in biblical and ministerial studies for free from an impressive range of excellent biblical scholars including Dr. Paul House, Dr. Bill Mounce, Dr. John Piper, Dr. Douglas Stuart, and Dr. Daniel Wallace.

Church Management Software

Church Management Software (ChMS) is utilized by churches to simplify the management and administration of church functions – including membership, attendance, events, and finances. Many smaller churches begin utilizing the ChMS for contact management and over time can expand into other areas.

  • BVCMS – A free, open source, web-based ChMS solution written by Bellevue Baptist Church and utilized by their church. They also offer setup/hosting for churches that don’t have in-house technology staff.
  • Church Info – Another free, open source, and web-based ChMS solution. This one is written by a team of developers not associated with a particular church.
  • CiviCRM – This is the open source application we use at CCC. It is a robust relationship management system created for the public/non-profit sector. It works great as a ChMS.

Projection Software

While one can use Microsoft PowerPoint or OpenOffice.org to display presentations on a projector during services this isn’t the easiest or most productive way to accomplish this process. Specific software has been designed for churches that allow for one to quickly and easily create slides. It also provides for maintaining a library of saved slides for easy reuse in future services.

  • openLP – A free/open source project that runs on Windows and offers a number of excellent features. Easy to use and robust in its featureset you can download the 1.x version immediately and the developers are working on 2.0 version currently that will make dreams come true!

Bible Mapping

There are a number of resources for biblical maps, most of them are below. However, we’ve also collected a number of maps useful especially for presentations/teaching here.

  • BibleMap – Overlays biblical locations on Google Maps. A very intuitive and easy-to-use, web-based interface.
  • Bible Geocoding – Overlays biblical locations on Google Earth – a 3D world environment. Much more powerful and customizable than BibleMap, but lacks the ease-of-use and intuitiveness due to Google Earth being a bit advanced/complex.
  • Bible Mapper – David P. Barrett’s windows application available for free that provides an easy method for rapidly creating biblical maps without needing technical drawing skills.
  • Accordance Bible Atlas – Bible study software for the Mac, by all reports has an excellent map creation application for a reasonable price (<$100).