Your Church Website v Mobilegeddon

Mobilegeddon and your church website

Don’t let your church website get LEFT BEHIND

If your website doesn’t pass Google’s Mobile Friendly Test (see the link at the end of this article) then your search engine ranking will be affected when people search for your church with their mobile devices.

What is Mobilegeddon?

It is a word that many are using to describe the most recent update to Google’s algorithm. Every year Google makes changes to their ever-improving search system in order to best determine which websites will show up higher in search results. They make algorithm updates every year and this particular one came with a strong warning on Google’s own blog that non-mobile-friendly websites will see a significant decline with their ranking when it comes to mobile searches. This update started on April 21, 2015 and will probably take a couple of weeks to fully rollout.

How will Mobilegeddon affect your church website?

Fewer people will be visiting your hard-to-read-on-a-mobile-phone website because Google just wont bother recommending your church site ahead of other sites that are mobile-friendly. Google knows that if someone is using their iPhone to search for a local church then they probably want to visit a website with readable text and properly sized links that will be easy to tap. Mobile-friendliness now matters even more.

Does it cost a lot of money to upgrade to a mobile-friendly website?

Not necessarily. Some web companies have very affordable options for creating a second mobile-designed website that site visitors are redirected to when going to your site. Here is an example of a mobile-designed website that we did for our client’s. This is their desktop site.

Responsive Design ExampleA better option, although more expensive in many cases, is to develop a responsive website. Responsive web design is a different approach to web development that is finally becoming mainstream. Unlike the mobile-design approach, you don’t need to create an entirely new mobile-designed website if you are developing a Responsive website. Instead, at it’s core, a responsive website is one website developed to dynamically change in appearance depending on the screen size and orientation of the device being used to view it.

Another Helpful Blog Post on this topic

If you are interested in digging deeper to find more specific answers to whether your website will be affected by Mobilegeddon then I do recommend this post called ‘Mobilegeddon Checklist’. It answers the most common questions people are asking.

Check your church website against Google’s mobile-friendly test

Google Mobile TestHere is the link to the official Google Mobile-Friendly Test to see if your church website is indexed properly for Google and meets their mobile friendly standard.

Did you pass?

If you passed, that’s great! Keep working with your web developer and move the conversation forward to the next level by asking about other Search Engine Optimizing tips. Or upgrade to a Responsive design if you don’t have one yet.

If you did not pass then I recommend reaching out to your current web developer and requesting either a mobile-designed website or a responsive web redesign. Or better yet, give me shout and our team can help you.

Please contact me right away if your web guy doesn’t know what the term Responsive Design means. That’s a sign that you need to make a change.



Tile: Get a yearly reminder that you are forgetful for $25


The white rounded square-shaped item in the above image is a Tile. It is promoted as the answer for those of us who have a habit of losing things. I admittedly, am one of those people. So in 2013 when I noticed the online ad for Tile which stated, “Stick a Tile to anything and track it with your device” I had to jump on the early adopter bandwagon. I purchased four to attach to my potentially wayward items.

Tile on white

How did my real-life testing go?

It went well overall with one glaring concern; that no one else around me has one. As a result, I kind of feel like the first person who bought a fax machine. It will be a much better experience when other people in my community start using them.

If you’re thinking about picking one up, then here’s my take:

Easy to set up

As this blogger shows, it is an easy process to assign your Tile to something and then activate it. When I first attached my Tiles, I had no communication issues. It should be easy for anyone. Just make sure you have an iPhone or Android device.

Bigger and thicker than I expected

When I first pulled the Tiles out of the box they seemed larger than I expected them to be. I don’t think the company intentionally misled people, but the ads that were circulating the internet did a great job of hiding the thickness of these things.

Tile on a Keychain
A Tile attached to a Keychain.

This may not be a big deal for most people, but it comes into play when you make your careful decision as to which ‘thing’ you are going to attach it to. When I decided to secure my Tile to my keyring, I found that it looked more like a vacation souvenir rather than a discrete tracking device. I did it anyway.

I also opted NOT to attach one to my remote control because I didn’t like how much it bulked up the look of my Apple remote. Instead, I went straight to my dog’s collar. That seemed like a good idea at the time.

Don’t let your dog get out of range

The most frustrating part about having a Tile is that it’s not like the ‘Find My iPhone’ app which uses satellite GPS to help my find my phone every time I forget it at the movie theatre. Yes I’ve done that . . . multiple times.

Tiles instead use Bluetooth technology; which means that you need to be within 150 feet of your Tile in order for you to know where it is. This is fine if you’ve just lost your keys in your house or if another lost item ends up within range of another Tile user. But if you’re like me and you live in a small town with no other Tile users then you really don’t want your Tiled ‘thing’ (i.e. dog) running away. Chances are, she’s not going to run towards another Tile user. It’s just better to put your phone number on her collar.

Tracking our suitcases

Another fun test I did was attaching a Tile to my luggage when my wife and I took off for our last vacation. It was a relief to be able to open the Tile App on my iPhone and confirm that our suitcases were indeed on same plane as us and not somewhere else. I was also able to confirm the safety of our suitcases when we got home; while waiting for our luggage to come down the conveyer belt.


Tiles are expected to last a year and I’m told that just before your year is up, the Tile company will send you instructions for how to order a replacement ($25) and how to send back your expired Tile to be properly recycled. There is no way to just swap out the battery.

In Conclusion

The Tile is a great idea and could be worth the $25 if you have something valuable that you would like to track; especially if you live in a city where there is a greater potential for other Tile users. However, if you’re like me and would really only use it for finding your keys or your remote control, then it would just feel like a yearly ‘stupid tax’ to buy a device that reminds you that the remote is lost again inside the couch and that your keys are in your other jacket.

2014 Christmas Narrative: “Simeon”

Merry Christmas 2014!

As promised, here is my Christmas narrative for this year. I decided to have a look at the life of Simeon and ask what it would have been like for him to hang on to a promise that God gave him. He’s most likely an older person who is nearing the end of his life, and yet he has not seen the fulfilment of a promise that he has been waiting for. So after a lot of study, here is how I picture this event, which is recorded in the Bible in Luke 2:22-35, unfolding.

Many blessings on you and yours this Christmas Season!


Scroll to the 17 minute 35 second mark to go straight to the story (17:35).

For my other Christmas narratives from previous years, please visit the Media Page.

Tips to Avoid Smart Phishing Scams

Most recent phishing scam from fake ‘iTunes’ will catch many people

Today, Cheryl and I both received the same scamming email from what appeared to be Apple. From what I could see, the title of the email, the sender, and the details all appeared legitimate. Below is a screenshot of how this email came in.

phishing screenshot

The email was meant to pose as a ‘receipt’ that iTunes was sending me, and it caused me concern because I didn’t buy anything today from iTunes. So the natural reaction after reading through this email was look for the ‘Issues with this transaction?’ portion. I read through and clicked the only link on the page, asking me whether or not I approved this transaction. I should have had my first moment of hesitation at this time because I most certainly did not rent a movie for $41.99 (a first warning flag).

However, since the link displayed smart text leading me to believe that this was the real deal, I naturally clicked it and was then taken to another screen that also seemed official.  But have a closer look at the image below, because if you examine the screenshot carefully you can see that this is not really Apple.

The first clear indicator is that the address bar has a wonky name; it’s coming from something with the phrase ‘endoftheinternet’ in the address. The second concern I had was that the links at the top of the page were not real links at all; nothing was happening with I clicked on them. And finally, when I pressed on the ‘Apple’ logo and dragged it to my desktop, the whole page came with it, confirming my suspicions that this whole page is just one crisp screenshot (image) that someone with basic photoshop skills grabbed and put up to trick people.

apple scam screenshot phishing

Thankfully I was able to recognize this before any information was submitted. I quickly went back into my email and click the ‘report phishing’ button in my gmail program so that some programmers at Google could stop this from happening to too many people. The reality is, however, that many people will be fooled and I’m told that the next screen after this one, if you follow through on the ‘iTunes Sign In’ page, is a screen requesting your credit card information, similar to these iTunes scamming blog pictures.

Be careful my friends and try these tips:

  1. Watch for fake addresses in the address bar that don’t have clearly defined domain names. Have a read of this:
  2. Ask yourself: Do all of the buttons on the site behave as expected? Does any of the design feel out of place?
  3. Take time to read the content of any website that is requesting you to log-in or submit personal information.
  4. Always check to make sure the site has https in the address bar and not just http. Think of the ‘s’ as standing for ‘SECURE’

If you do feel like you’ve given too much info, quickly go into your account (iTunes in this case) and change your password to be safe.

It doesn’t hurt to change it up regularly anyway.


When I chose NOT to forgive

When I chose not to forgive

I’m usually the forgiving type.

When someone causes hurt, I work to try and understand them; meaning that I don’t immediately write them off as wrong. Instead, I attempt to look past the emotional reaction of that person and quickly consider the different views of a situation. I also take time to ask myself those tough questions like: Am I really the person they are describing? Did I mean to hurt them? Were my intentions malicious? What do I need to change if they are right?

However, there is a downside in this approach. If you don’t process the situation maturely and with humility then you can begin to let resentment towards the person set in and/or you can begin to let the unwarranted opinions about you fester and remain in your thoughts. This can lead to a deeper unforgiveness because you’ve now given that person undeserved power over you. ‘Failure’ is a message that you will feel anytime you are challenged in a similar way in the future. As one popular quote says, you are essentially allowing that person to “live rent-free in your head.” – Ann Landers.

When I ran into someone who hurt me years ago.

An event that brought to light some unforgiveness in my life happened a few months ago. I attended a large social event and recognized someone who spoke hurtful words to me many years ago. I’ll call her Jane. This person and I were both involved in the vision and direction of a multi-faceted organization. If I were to be any more specific then my Jane will lose the anonymity I’m trying for. The point I’m trying to make here is that she spoke some words at a meeting once that cut me deep. I felt personally attacked and I spent quite a bit of time questioning my leadership abilities and my character after the encounter.

My reaction at the time was to not say anything. I didn’t give in to believing the worst of Jane, and even when I eventually moved on to another organization and a new leadership role I didn’t feel hatred towards her, but I never really let go of her words. I didn’t really deal with the hurt and forgive her; and in moments of insecurity I would occasionally hear those words again challenging my ability to succeed.

So not surprisingly, this led to a visceral reaction that I felt when I saw her again at this function many years later. Some flashbacks hit me hard and I was a little awkward as I approached her to say hello. I still didn’t feel any anger, but I did have that sense of disappointment like I was a kid walking into the dentist office the week after Halloween. I felt exposed. Vulnerable.

Talk about unexpected!

Then it happened. I walked over to her, curiously seeking closure that would free me from her voice in my head. I reached out my hand to say hello and she . . . didn’t recognize me. Now don’t misunderstand me. She didn’t do any sort of double take that turned into a pleasant greeting. She really did not know who I was. I was a stranger. To make it worse, when I asked her how things are going in her life, she pretended to know who I was and gave a vague response to my questions. My heart sank a little.

I was shocked. This voice that had been a negative anthem in my mind was just that, in my mind. She probably never thought of it again. And even if she did, why did I give it so much power?

I walked away thinking of the time that I wasted letting her words echo in my mind. I thought of the hours of energy I used up letting Jane live in my head during crucial decision-making moments, when she probably never gave that night a second thought after that meeting. More importantly, by not letting that moment-of-the-past go, I allowed myself to believe that I was still that person for way too long. Even if all of her words attacking my character were true back then, I’m years removed from who I was at that time and I have grown since. I have navigated countless other leadership scenarios and allowed myself to learn new lessons along the way.

In that moment, one quote stood out more than any other,

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes

The only person I was holding captive by not letting her words go was myself and perhaps you can relate. You have people in your past who still reappear as negative thoughts when new challenges are put before you. You haven’t been able to forgive and the pain is reoccurring. Don’t hesitate to free the prisoner so that you can move forward today. You are just holding yourself back by hanging on to yesterday’s opinions of you.

So it’s time to Forgive.

Forgive so that you don’t let the emotions of the past dictate the reality of your present therefore limiting the potential of your future.




If I could live today over again, I’d . . .

Did you get the right things accomplished today?

If you are reading this then you might be one of two types of people. People who I’m going to call, for some real excitement, Person A and Person B. I know it’s not that creative but it’s what we’ll go with.

As Person A, you are someone who lived today with gusto and accomplished more than you set out to do. Your to-do list has been marked off and it’s been triumphantly ripped up and tossed into the trash can; unless your organizer is an iPad or phone. It’s probably not good to throw them around. You worked hard today but I expect that most of the people you came into contact with were just ‘projects’ that needed to be checked off your list rather than humans. At the end of your day, before falling asleep, you have a sense of accomplishment in your work but you contemplate what else you could have done.

If you don’t relate to that profile then you could possibly be Person B: Someone who will fall asleep tonight from fatigue, stress and just plain being busy with who-knows-what. You carry some guilt for not being as successful with your priorities and your to-do lists are probably scattered on your desk, behind your desk, under your brake pedal, or maybe that’s what the dog was choking on earlier. You started the day out strong with your coffee in one hand and your beeping, buzzing, ring-toning iPhone in the other. But many times in the day you question your choice of that now-annoying ringtone and your too busy to Change it. People, procrastination and petty procedures stole this day from you. What day is it anyway?

I’m sure that I could also describe Person C,  D or Q to fit your specific description of how you busied yourself today but you get the picture. We all awoke to the same sunrise. We all stopped at similar coffee shops. We all had an equal quota of time, the only currency that we’ll never get back. But each of us has a very different feeling of success or fulfillment when we eventually and hopefully find at the end of a long day.

So what does all of this have to do with trying to live today over? Good question.

What if tomorrow, when we all wake up, we choose to live it backwards? What if we start the day by thinking about it as already complete, already in the past? What would you and I do differently? Or let me say that another way, what if you started tomorrow by listing all of the things you would do if you could do today again?

It’s an interesting idea and it comes from Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Vienese psychologist who worked with depressed and suicidal patients. His theory and approach has helped tens of thousands of patients who needed rescuing. What’s remarkable is that so many people came to him for help and not one of them ended their own life while under his watch. In fact, many improved significantly thanks to his guidance. Donald Miller also references this theory on his website and it’s a core starting point for his learning tool for productivity called The Storyline Productivity Schedule: The One-Page Key to Increased Productivity.

Today as I write this, it is February, and in this part of Canada many people I’m running into are beginning to feel the ‘dead-of-winter blues’. Christmas is gone, spring isn’t coming soon enough and the days are still cold and grey, not to mention snowy.  There’s a depressing tone in many people’s voices; and perhaps yours is one of the loudest. This causes many people to struggle even more in feeling productive at all with their day. Work tends to feel like drudgery at it’s peak.

If you can relate to any of the situations or emotions of the people I’ve mentioned, I would like to challenge you that you can make today count even more just by reminding yourself what deserves your attention today.

Try shaking up your morning routine tomorrow by spending a few moments, before checking your phone or reading any emails, and focus on your day ahead while your mind is it’s freshest. Your mental energy will slowly drain throughout the day so grab it before it get away. Sit down and write a list of four or five things that answer the following question: If I could live today over again I’d . . .

As Donald Miller’s Storyline Productivity Schedule suggests:

Asking yourself what you’d do differently if you were living today over again is one of the keys to living a more meaningful life and assessing priorities

Yes it’s a psychological mind trick! But in doing this you might realize that some of the things you’ve worried about are not worth it and some of the relationships you have could probably use more of your attention.

In fact, you might just turn some of your projects back into people.

The Journey of the Magi (Audio)

I presented this original story about the “Wise Men” at the Arts Centre in Brockville (The Pier Christian Church) on December 29, 2013. This narrative is the result of some research, prayer and fun creative writing so that I could share what it might have been like to be one of those Magi who travelled a thousand miles to worship this newborn King Jesus. I know that Christmas is over for another year, but thankfully this story is the one Christmas story that doesn’t begin until our reason for celebrating Christmas Day, Christ’s birth, has already occurred. That may not be the best excuse for posting this after January 1st since most of us are already working on our new year’s resolutions and Christmas is looooong in the past, but that’s what I’m going to say for now. 🙂

Enjoy! Dwayne