The future of Logos and Faithlife: Help us make the right decisions!

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Posts 1
Brennan McLean | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 7 2019 3:09 PM

Does anyone know if Psalms Explorer works on Logos Basic?

Posts 588
Steve Maling | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 7 2019 4:42 PM

Welcome to the Fora, Brennan. You need to get in the habit of clicking "Logos Help" (F1). According to Logos Help, "The Psalms Explorer requires a reverse interlinear Bible and the Lexham Hebrew Bible to see the Hebrew column." Here is a link to what is included in Logos Basic: https://www.logos.com/product/168880/logos-8-basic I don't know what Features are included in Logos Basic. Here is a link to the Psalms Explorer product page: https://www.logos.com/product/45685/psalms-explorer 

Posts 1690
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 8 2019 5:07 PM

Donnie Hale:
(I looked into sites and online giving, but they weren't competitive).

I'd love to know in which areas we need to improve. or what you saw ask the weak parts of our Sites and Giving products.

Posts 1690
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 8 2019 5:17 PM

James Macleod:
On a similar note, I tried to use the Sermon Editor this week for my sermon prep and found myself frustrated by a lack of basic formatting options. It seems half-baked to me.

We avoided Sermon Editor for years because we didn't want to have to re-create a word processor... but we did it when we thought there was enough unique value in the smooth integration of slide building, sermon export, etc.

We did choose to go with a semi-structured editor, to allow style-based formatting (as opposed to full free form styling).

What formatting options are missing that you would you like added?

Posts 1690
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 8 2019 5:19 PM

I started using Logos when I was in seminary (1992-1995).

Thanks for sticking with us so long! I do get the point about a really small church -- at a certain size, you don't need many tools. And that's fine, and also why we're making so much of the Faithlife platform free, so small churches can use what's helpful without a big cost. A lot of the functionality is 'free to test', but a small church can live in that zone just fine.

Posts 1690
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 8 2019 5:23 PM

Karl Fritz:
not as robust as other church website providers, but certainly covers the necessities

I'd love to head what you want to see to help it catch up in robustness. More widgets, or more designs, or more control over details?

Posts 43
Karl Fritz | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 8 2019 5:46 PM

Bob Pritchett:
I'd love to head what you want to see to help it catch up in robustness. More widgets, or more designs, or more control over details?

A few things come to mind, and these are roughly in order of importance (for my preferences):

(1) Ability to re-size content/widget spaces.

(2) Some templates have content spaces that do not have all the widgets available (though it might be because the particular content areas are smaller in that template[?]).

(3) More freedom with color schemes. Some templates have more freedom than others.

(4) More freedom with font schemes, and (relatedly) ability to manually adjust Header 1, Header 2, Header 3, and normal formats.

(5) Video backgrounds and scrolling/rotating banner.

(6) A landing page for blogs so that they can be searched and sorted, similar to sermons.

(7) A way to more easily sort and filter sermons (strictly for our church) once landing on Faithlife serous page.  Perhaps a filtering/faceted (and searchable facets) a la Logos library.  Perhaps this is manageable to some extent now(?).  I tried a few churches already using Faithlife Sites - I could sort by sermon series, but as soon as I ran a search, it searched the entire Faithlife sermon archive.  Maybe there's a way to filter by one specific church and then copy that link as linked text or call to action widget(?).

(8) Fixed (or parallax) background images might be cool as you scroll down.

(9) Apropos cool features, maybe some ability to have widget text or content slide in - something a bit more animated as people scroll down.

Some of those are pretty trivial.  Again, it definitely covers the basics, and I really love that sermons, blogs, and events are automatically updated on the site.  We're also officially moving forward with Equip for our small church plant.  Even though we're going to be in the smallest tier to start, the feature offering is great and many of us are excited to have the content available for our members.

Karl

Posts 141
James Macleod | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 8 2019 9:45 PM

Bob Pritchett:

James Macleod:
On a similar note, I tried to use the Sermon Editor this week for my sermon prep and found myself frustrated by a lack of basic formatting options. It seems half-baked to me.

We avoided Sermon Editor for years because we didn't want to have to re-create a word processor... but we did it when we thought there was enough unique value in the smooth integration of slide building, sermon export, etc.

We did choose to go with a semi-structured editor, to allow style-based formatting (as opposed to full free form styling).

What formatting options are missing that you would you like added?

I've been working with it a bit more this week and worked through most of my frustrations, by doing things differently, but these are still a problem for me.

1) I like to be able to markup scripture so I can remember to hit on specific things when I am preaching. I could copy the scripture text into the editor, but that sort of defeats the purpose of the scripture functionality, one of the main selling features.

2) It is really awkward to move stuff around, especially the scriptures. I usually end up deleting and re-adding scripture and slides.

3) Undo functionality

These items are not unique to me. Everything else, I can deal with, though, I would love to be able to print/export thumbnails of the slides with my notes.

Posts 559
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 10 2019 6:25 PM

Hi power users:

Many interesting posts. I  see the whole bit from a different angle.

When reading about chaplaincy, I was surprised by the Corporate type. Working there in the trenches of daily work life, a corporate chaplain is not only helping the people there (many times over burdened with all kind of problems), and that are in dire need of knowing the Savior Jesus Christ in a more real way.

We all know that companies appropriate the surplus of value production, very little goes into corporate social responsibility that makes a real change.

The way I see it, It would only be great if FL could get involved closer with the development of excellent corporate Chaplains, and see if through networking, the same could be hired to provide a very needed service in modern corporate America.

Persons in need of good counseling and help with life planning and management could be reached, and introduced to Logos and some of the "for real life" resources and tools that can be used to get right with God, and start enjoying the blessings that He may bestow as He wishes.

There are persons struggling with addiction, compulsions, illness, aging relatives, misbehaving children, debt, exploration, past abuse, in work abuse and harassment, etc. 

A well trained chaplain can really make a difference in such situations.

Once the value of such initiatives is realized by corporate America, then partnership can be formed, where they can give back to society by backing FL, to continue developing tools, resources, personnel  as they will allow trained Chaplains to:

Be of help in making moral business decisions.

Help in the labor relations where godly due process systems can be a boost to moral in the workforce, and a blessing from God's point of view.

Truly help persons find proper and effective help from God to learn how to navigate through the difficult times in life when tough situations arise.

Help the Glory of God fill the Earth, as predicted in the Bible.

Allow persons to learn more about Christian responsibility and stewardship, and to appropriate of the wisdom God has revealed in the Bible.

Eventually, multiply the chaplaincy corps, as persons that receive help, decide to be a tool of help eventually in gratefulness to God.

Just a very different angle for further research, reflection and constructive comment as needed.

Corporate America, business profit, corporate social responsibility, and the like, are not inherently bad. No body more appropriate than Christians to help redeem the bad parts of it, and help expand the Kingdom, and help the sheep get back to the flock.

Peace and grace.

Posts 1809
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 11 2019 9:31 AM

James Macleod:

2) It is really awkward to move stuff around, especially the scriptures. I usually end up deleting and re-adding scripture and slides.

3) Undo functionality

These items are not unique to me. Everything else, I can deal with, though, I would love to be able to print/export thumbnails of the slides with my notes.

I echo all 3 of these frustrations, however I would prioritize in reverse order.

1. print thumbnails

2. easy to "undo"

3. sometimes when I switch from one template to another (or change from "header" to "content") I have to rekey text because text boxes disappear

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

Posts 1809
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 11 2019 9:34 AM

Hamilton Ramos:
When reading about chaplaincy, I was surprised by the Corporate type.

An organization already exists for this - https://mchapusa.com/ Personally, I would prefer that Faithlife NOT devote resources to this niche. I prefer that Faithlife keep getting better at what Faithlife is already doing. 

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

Posts 1064
Myke Harbuck | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 11 2019 12:13 PM

Bob Pritchett:

Donnie Hale:
(I looked into sites and online giving, but they weren't competitive).

I'd love to know in which areas we need to improve. or what you saw ask the weak parts of our Sites and Giving products.

For Giving:

1. Better reporting, such as customizable daily reports via email of the previous day's giving.

2. Better customization of receipt / thank you notices for giving. Right now it is very limited.

For Sites:

1. A preformatted Staff page.

2. More flexibility on page layouts.

3. A forms tool.

4. Better alignment of pictures around text. Right now when you insert pictures around text, the top of the picture is in between two lines of text rather than aligned with one line of text. 

5. More widget

6. Most importantly, less integration with Faithlife.com. For example, host blog posts on the webpage, and not on FL. We have a lot of older members, and they don't like needing a FL account to access features of the website.

Myke Harbuck
Lead Pastor, www.ByronCity.Church
Adjunct Professor, Georgia Military College
Mac OS 10.13.6 High Sierra, Mid 2015 iMac, 2.5GHz i7, 32 gbRAM, 1tbSSD

Posts 170
Al Het | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 11 2019 12:40 PM

Bob,

I tried to give a quick read-through of the other responses, so my response might not be too redundant.  I would affirm what many people have said.  Your customers appreciate the ability of giving you direct input.  However, I suspect that there are several who feel like I do, that the direction you are taking the company just happens to be different than what would best work for me, so my input may not be very helpful. However, you asked...

As a pastor, I would agree with those who say that most smaller churches won't want to wade into the water to try your church software, because it actually requires the church to jump in.  You have replied to these responses about cost.  However, when you say, "A lot of the functionality is 'free to test', but a small church can live in that zone just fine," I think you are missing some pieces of why many churches won't engage.  From you perspective, much of the software is "free to test," and your intention will be to keep the cost down fore very small churches.  However, that misses a couple of major issues for the average pastor/church.  Maybe first and foremost, many of the pastors on this forum appreciate figuring out and using more complex software.  However, most pastors I know are far too busy and disinterested to take the time to explore complex software. 

In my opinion, this has become a major problem with Logos.  I've been with Logos since 1996.  Back then, you marketed your software as a way to access (mainly scholarly) books, and it was very good at that.  Up to and through Libronix, I found myself talking up Logos to Pastors and Missionaries, without even trying.  I unintentionally converted dozens of ministry people, and even whole church staffs to Logos, because any pastor who knew the basics of computer software could begin saving huge time accessing their study material, right away.  While Libronix had begun to get more complicated, by version 4, most people I knew in ministry were no longer talking about how great and easy Logos made studying, but how they didn't have the time to put in, to get significant value from the program.  A common response to this by Logos has been "more training," often at a cost (and in fact you mentioned this in this thread, talking about access to training videos).  The problem is, that adds considerably MORE time required, so that I can potentially benefit from the software.  Also, many of the features I might learn how to use, if I don't use them regularly, than I forget how to use them, and have to spend hours going back and trying to find instructions/training on how to use those features, in the middle of trying to prepare a sermon, for instance.

I was always surprised because whenever I visited these forums, I read lots of pastors heralding all the new features of Logos, but I only knew a couple of pastors who felt that way.  Interestingly, a short time ago, there was finally a thread on this forum that addressed this, and I was surprised at how many of these same people who love the new features of Logos were expressing frustration about how complicated it is.  Also, when you moved to version 4, cost began to be a major factor.  I've had many pastors and missionaries tell me that the won't even consider Logos because of it's cost.

Sorry if this feels like a rant.  It is not intended to be.  I'm including all this because I think this is the very reason that you might have problems convincing many churches to try your church management software.  Like Logos, it takes time to learn and gain real value from a lot of new software.  Smaller churches have little to no paid staff. You mentioned that you'd like to make Equip as easy to use as Excel, which would be great.  However, you have to remember that for non-business people, Excel is often too complex to use.  However, it is so widely used in business that a significant amount of people already know how to use it's basic function.

So, even with "free to test" software, I have to take the time to figure out how the software works, and what value it would add to the church.  Then I need to train whichever office staff (mostly volunteer) to use it.  And, I'm doing this with "free to try" software, that might become no longer free at any point.  Or, if we grow, and use more of the capabilities, we will then have to pay an unknown future amount, and if we can't afford it, or the features aren't great for us, we will need to learn and retrain people to use some different software.  This is why churches (and pastors) particularly like buying/owning software, and specifically single purpose software.  It's not that we unsympathetic to your company's financial needs.  It's that the realities of ministry make spending large amounts of time, energy and money on software a negative, not a positive.  After all, the intended purpose of software is usually to REDUCE the amount of time, energy, and money it takes to minister.

Last thing.  For some of us long-time Logos users, the very thing that drew us to Logos is what is now concerning to us about the direction of Logos, and also makes people like me more hesitant to try this particular package from Faithlife with our churches.  I and many others bought Logos, and spend considerable money adding books in electronic form, because we were sold the idea that, "we are not selling software, we are selling books in an easier to access manor, and it won't cost you more to use them."  That's not exact wording, but that was the idea.  As Logos set it's sights on more advanced software capabilities, it required more staff, more costs on your end.  Like other software companies, there became a need for greater, and perhaps more perpetual revenue streams to keep the process going.  This lead to discussions of moving to subscription based use.  It also lead to massive, very expensive Logos programs, requiring cutting edge computers to work properly.  Add to that the practical need for constant internet connection for Logos to work well, and potential loss of ownership of purchased material, and many people in ministry are getting much more skeptical of Faithlife software.  What you are offering might well be beneficial for churches.  However, the nature of Logos, and potentially this church management software system, is that very quickly, one can feel trapped - it would be to hard/costly to go another direction.  While it might be easier to have the church's website, management software and sermon prep software under "one account," that means that if costs increase, or it quits being so beneficial for the church, it has already hitched it's whole wagon to that one account.  It would be much harder to switch for even one part of that process.  You could easily get too far in to make it worth looking at other options.

Sorry for the long post, but I appreciate your desire to get input for your customers, so I wanted to be really clear (I hope I was) 

So, all of this to say, for most churches, mine included, the software would have to be very quickly useful (of value), and not trap us into a particular direction in the future.  It's a brutal task to try to have software be of significant value and easy to use for a small church, and of great value for a much larger church as well.  I think the suggestion for modular options makes great sense here.  If I could get the church to try a thing or two that worked well, we would be more inclined to try more things from Faithlife as our needs increased.  We would not feel like any particular purchase puts us in a potentially tough place down the road.  Over all, we would much prefer to support a company that provides many specifically church based resources, with our business.  I very much appreciate that Faithlife's intention and perspective of truly aiding churches in ministry.  I hope that you guys can make the software more useful for us than what we currently use.

Thanks.

Posts 559
Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 11 2019 2:52 PM

Hi David Thomas:

Thanks for the link. 

You say that you would like FL to not get into marketplace chaplaincy. Even though there is an organization for that, I do not see them using L8 platform (I may be wrong).

In order for FL to continue innovating, they need extra income. Where are you going to get it? from Academicians? from Pastors of small churches?

From casual users?

Corporations have all kinds of problems, and they need help that brings results, they can generously support initiatives that really help them solve many of the problems they are facing.

I see potential in a niche where you can help the working person, and allow companies to spend their social responsibility money in a better way.

But maybe you know something that we do not know, and could illuminate us more on the details.

Supervisors keep saying that we spend most of our time at work, (common sheep talking here), so what would be wrong to get God to redeem the bad parts of secular work, via a wonderful platform like FL?

Input related to any of the above is highly appreciated.

Posts 1690
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 12 2019 8:19 AM

Karl Fritz:

A few things come to mind, and these are roughly in order of importance (for my preferences):

Thanks! I appreciate the feedback. Some of these things are already on the list.

When you say 'manually adjust Header 1' etc. do you mean you want to hand-edit the style sheet (changing all H1's in this website) or that you want to override the H1 in this particular page/instance?

(Feel free to email me at bob@faithlife.com.)

Posts 43
Karl Fritz | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 12 2019 9:17 AM

Bob Pritchett:

When you say 'manually adjust Header 1' etc. do you mean you want to hand-edit the style sheet (changing all H1's in this website) or that you want to override the H1 in this particular page/instance?

Hand edit the style sheet, to maintain uniformity across the site.

Posts 1809
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 13 2019 6:54 AM

Hamilton Ramos:
But maybe you know something that we do not know, and could illuminate us more on the details.

Only my personal experience as a law enforcement chaplain in 2 departments and an awareness of others who are speaking to the FWE (Faith Work & Economics) space. But not pertinent to Bob's request in his original post on this thread.

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

Posts 809
Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 13 2019 2:46 PM

Hello Bob:

I'm just a lackey at our church, but we are a very large church of over 20,000 people who worship at something like 11 campuses.  I know that when I teach, our church prefers Pro Presenter (BIG learning curve) and has really been pushing all teaching leaders to switch from power point to pro-presenter.  Leaders and layman have access to online giving, child check in, accounts to Right Now Media, yada, yada yada.  I guess something to look in to (as I'm sure you already have considered) is how could you entice churches that already have much of what FL is offering to switch.   I know that "relationship" is big to churches and I would agree that even in our church, having someone to call who is a "personal rep" is a big deal.  Further, ease of use for layman (which I think has been an issue for FL, and certainly in Logos).  I don't think it's all about price point, unless it something completely out of budget no matter what.  Those are just come thoughts floating around in my head, for what it's worth.

Wishing you and FL all success as you seek to honor Him in all you do.

Cynthia Feenstra

P.S.  Al Het:  GREAT POST!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

Posts 129
Matt Zimmerman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 13 2019 5:42 PM

Bob,

That was a long and thoughtful post. Without spending a lot of time, might I add a suggestion that might help achieve your goal?

I have been with logos for over 10 years and it seems that 95% of the features added to the software are for Hebrew scholars (which the masses will never use) or church-wide software such as proclaim or equip (which many churches such as mine, which has 300 members, will not spend $125/mo for a subscription).

Here the profile of 95% of the people in my church and probably every other church:

1. Can't read Hebrew

2. Probably isn't interested in Hebrew

3. Probably isn't interested in the desktop full version of Logos

4. Desires the "best" mobile bible tool on the market

5. Happy with existing free ways to connect with church members (text messaging, facebook, a phone call)

I think your team should spend a LOT more time improving the features of the mobile apps to make them more layperson-friendly (while retaining the advanced features). I think there have been some wonderful advances such as the "reference scanner". But there are also glaring problems that probably do you more harm than good. The biggest issue is something I've already identified ad nauseam (ex., https://community.logos.com/forums/t/176232.aspx) which is a fundamental flaw.

I don't know if you are trying to "make more money" or just maintain the status quo, but the answer isn't through advanced Hebrew features which 95% of the church population isn't going to use. It also isn't through these social applications such as proclaim or equip because smaller churches, such as mine, will never pay the monthly fee. The way to make more money is to get your app to rank #1 on the app stores when people search "Bible" and make sure it's the best dog-gone mobile bible app on the market. If you do those two things and focus 100% on those two things for a while, your lay-users will start buying more resources and FL will make more money.

Posts 1064
Myke Harbuck | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 13 2019 6:17 PM

Matt Zimmerman:

It also isn't through these social applications such as proclaim or equip because smaller churches, such as mine, will never pay the monthly fee. 

I fundamentally disagree. We are a church of about 50, and use and LOVE Proclaim, Faithlife Sites, and Faithlife Giving. These value added products are very useful tools for our ministry. I would think that most of their user base ARE in fact smaller churches. Just a hunch. 

Myke Harbuck
Lead Pastor, www.ByronCity.Church
Adjunct Professor, Georgia Military College
Mac OS 10.13.6 High Sierra, Mid 2015 iMac, 2.5GHz i7, 32 gbRAM, 1tbSSD

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