We live in an “App” filled world. You know the branded commercials, “I have an app for that?” That kind of thinking is so true in today’s society. My students are using apps with their smart phones like crazy, and we must engage this resource in our student ministry. They really have an app for about everything!
I get asked regularly, what apps do you use in your ministry. I also ask tons of people what apps they use as well so that I can stay up to date and am using the best apps for our student ministry. Here are a few of the ones that I use regularly. Note: Some of these are for your own use as a student pastor. Also, the link will take you to the itunes app store.
Facebook is the best way to connect with students! If you do not have a facebook and you work in student ministry, I highly encourage you to get one! I find out everything about students and their lives on facebook. It is a great way to determine the spiritual attitude of your students. It is a great way to meet new students in your community and connect with them. I have met a few new students on facebook and seen them attend our student ministry as a result of our online connection.
Facebook is a great way to connect with other students pastors! You can friend other student pastors and message them. You can read their post to see what they are doing in their ministry. I have joined two youth pastor groups on facebook (YouthPastor.com & Youth Pastors Only). Each of these groups contain helpful information from other youth leaders around the globe! I have shared my blogs, ideas, articles, and input on the various discussions going on in these groups. As a result, I have “friended” many new student pastor friends and leaders through this resource.
Facebook is a great way for you to share and get information out regarding your student ministry. If you have a student ministry, create a page for it. Share post regularly, photos, and videos. We share everything through this page, and it has grown consistently!
Twitter is a must have in student ministry! Not all students are on twitter, but about 25% of ours are regularly on twitter! It is a great way to connect with your students and know what they are feeling and thinking at (about) all times. Also, twitter is a great resource for student pastor’s to share blogs and articles that have been helpful. Most big time student pastors who blog relevant information pertaining to our specific areas of ministry are on twitter regularly sharing, and it makes it easier to get information fast.
Honestly, I find more information out about sports and the news on twitter than I do on television. It is the fastest way of getting information around!
This is a social app that I use for many social sites. You can have up to 5 different social sites in your hootsuite account for the free version, and you can have unlimited in the paid version. I have the free version. I can post through hootsuite a message that can go directly to my personal facebook/twitter pages, and our student ministry’s facebook and twitter pages instantly.
I love the places app! This is an app through google. It is an app that helps you find places nearby you that you will love. Honestly, I use this as my primary source for any place more than I do the browser. I use places for searching for any restaurant in any city, any store, or any historic landmark. It very rarely (if ever) cannot find what you are looking for. It finds your place and gives you the address and if you have a Droid (built-in gps), it immediately plugs it in to navigate you there. It also plugs in the phone number for you to call. It gives you quick reviews on the place as well. It is a great app to have when you are with students in an unfamiliar area and need some local places around you’s information and directions.
Texting is the best way to communicate information to your students, parents, and leaders- HANDS DOWN! If you are not a big texter and you are in student ministry, you might need to get educated with it, and get to texting. I send about 3,000 texts a month to people. It is a quick way to get information to our students about upcoming events, change of information, reminders, etc. This app is $2.99, but I could not find any free mass texting apps that would work well. So, I downloaded this one. It was well worth it. It can send as many as you would like in a number of minutes (depending on how many you are sending too). I send about 100 at one time, and it takes about 2 minutes to go through. You can create many list too send too as well.
This is an app for you personally to keep track of the mileage that you use for ministry. I use my own vehicle for taking students home, driving students places, etc. I can get reimbursed for a portion of the mileage that I drive. This app keeps track of the mileage for you. You can plug-in the starting mileage, ending mileage, cost per mile, what it was for, and where you went. You then can email a spreadsheet each month to your email to print off for your treasurer at church.
You have to love skype. This is great to use when you are away and want to talk with someone face to face. You can skype into your student ministry if you cannot be there while they are having an event or service. You can skype a parent while you are on a trip. It is a great free resource for you to stay connected with people in a more personal way when you are not there.
This is the best Bible app that I have found. It is also the fastest Bible app. It contains numerous different versions for you to choose from, and is very easy to navigate through. It is a free app. You can highlight verses and copy them and share them directly to your social sites.
This is a productive app. It is a free app that you can use to try to remind you of certain things on your “to do” list. You can record a voice, take a picture, or just type in a reminder. If you want to be more productive, it is important for you to use an app to help you remember things that you must do.
If you do not know what dropbox is, please check it out. Also, a great friend of mine wrote an article on his blog about the important of dropbox in student ministry. You can check it out here. It is a great way to share your files with other people using dropbox. It functions as a network drive, but can be put on multiple computers. The cool thing is that anywhere that computer goes, the documents are there and can be updated as long as there is internet access.
We use a laptop for our student ministry, and I do my work on my desktop. So, what I do is I throw everything that I will be using for our student ministry in dropbox and pull it up on my laptop to use for our service.
I have my dropbox synced with my personal laptop, the Grove laptop, my desktop, and my phone. So, I can throw something in dropbox, and it can be visible on anyone of these platforms.
This is a free app, and if you do not know what this is, google it! It is a fun game! It is basically an electronic scavenger hunt. Students love this because it is an adventure and can be done spontaneously. Many times, if we get our student ministry set up in time, we will try to find a geocache. They are everywhere, and you can locate the closest ones to you from wherever you are at anytime (as long as you have internet service).
One of the biggest negatives to the Iphone is the lack of a built-in gps. I am surprised that it does not have one integrated in the system yet, but I am sure that they will with the Iphone 5. Well, I found a free way around this problem. I wanted a turn by turn navigation system, and I found that in the free mapquest app. It is pretty accurate from what I have seen and used of it. It is very helpful for you when you have no idea where you are at or going.
This is a google reader. I like the google reader. I know that there are many other good feed systems out there, but I started with google feeds, and I have stuck with them. I enjoy their ease of use, and the way that the blog appears on my phone. I read a lot of blogs, and I like this feed. You can use other ones, but I definitely think that this is a necessary idea for a student pastor to learn, be trained, and grow while reading helpful articles pertaining to your ministry.
These are just a few of the apps that I am currently using! This changes from day-to-day, and over time, I will write a new blog with the newest apps that I am using then. If you have some cool apps that you would like to share, please leave a comment or send a direct email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.