We love seeing new tools we can use in Youth Ministry, and last year we shared 4 resources we were excited to use in Youth Ministry. But we also love it when we are able to do amazing things for youth ministry from our phones, and we know you do too because one of the most frequent questions we get in the YouthMin.org Facebook group is what apps are used most in youth ministry. So with that in mind, here are 5 apps we know will be game changers in our ministries this year.
The first app is Slack, a team communication app. We’ve been using this tool for our go to means of communication with the site leadership for YouthMin.org for the past while and we love it. We tried Facebook messages, iMessage, groupme, and a few others, but this app is so feature loaded nothing compares. The possibilities with youth ministry leaders are phenomenal, as you can create multiple conversations within teams and limit who sees what. So say in your team of volunteers you have a group focused on worship, a group focused on small groups, a group focused on events, they can each be a part of the main conversation (and adjust notifications to their preferences) as well as in the loop on the important information for their specific team. You can also add files, images, links, and more, so you could text message your small group leaders next week’s lesson and know they have it readily available.
I personally am a huge fan of Orange and all they do. In my mind, the Orange Conference is the one conference to absolutely be at every year (unless, like me this past year, your wife is due with your child the week of the conference, and it’s a 4 hour flight. I didn’t absolutely have to be at it this past year, but I wish I was). Something I always hear people say about the Orange Conference is that they don’t go because they don’t use the Orange curriculum, and similar to that, people might not use this app because they don’t use the curriculum. But with both of those, you don’t need to use their curriculum to be blown away! This app is full of training videos and articles for small group leaders, it’s got great tools on it they can use during small group for games or discussion, and it enables your small group leader’s to input their students information, their parents information, and communicate with students and/or parents. It’s like a virtual swiss army knife for your Small Group Leaders, and it’s FREE!
Every once in a while, something fantastic will come out, or major will happen, and it will get posted 50 times an hour in the YouthMin.org Facebook group. We saw it when Mark Driscoll was removed from Acts29, when the guy invented the thing that tied 100 water balloons a minute, and most recently, when this app was released. For the longest time, I’ve wanted a database on my phone of students (besides the contacts app) and that’s a fraction of what this app is. It’s also the best attendance tracker out there, and gives the data that more Youth Ministries need to be able to track, attendance trends. As a quick note, if you are going to use this (or something like it) be as precise as you can be, if you only have 8 kids show up, register 8, not 10 or 13. That or be consistent with how many extras you count, so you can still see true trends in growth or drop.
Asana is another tool we started using with the site leadership to get things done, and so it’s another tool to use with your team of leaders. My leaders are broken into 3 teams (production, Host, and Small Group) and our production team is in charge of events, announcements, services, and more. Needless to say, we usually have a pretty long list of to-do items that is constantly being added to, and conversations can get crazy on email or Facebook. Though Slack handles a ton of our communication, Asana is great for organizing what needs to get done, keeping record of it, and working together remotely. Your volunteers may not jump at the opportunity of yet another app and another sign up, this is one that they will thank you for by the end of the year.*
*Not a guarantee, we just think it’s wicked useful.
This last app is all about fun. I wish I knew more about after effects, but making a 15 second video would take me hours longer than it should. I love that we’ve got contributors adding awesome video templates to the store to use, but sometimes you want just a quick video to get an announcement out there, and thats where Ultratext comes in. Ultratext easily makes gifs (that can also be exported as videos to instagram) and when I say easily, I mean it. Enter in your text, and it will automatically make every word it’s own image in the gif. Hit done and bam, you’ve instantly got a great video.
So those are 5 apps we’re using in Youth Ministry this year, what did we leave off the list? Like I said at the beginning, we at YouthMin love tools for ministry, so if you know of one we should be using, let us know!