The following list of apps is the “go to” helps for Bible study, communications and social media, and overall productivity. Some of these tools are a daily part of my ministry. Most of these apps come with options at different prices, and most have free levels. Which is great for small budgets. However, if there was one common theme about all of these apps that I absolutely love is they allow me to be mobile. Whether at my desk with a laptop or in a waiting room on my phone or tablet, I can enjoy not being tethered to just my office. Taking my Bible study with me wherever I am, along with all the other techier points of ministry, is a wonderful opportunity.
Blue letter bible has an app to accompanying its website. I primarily use this site for looking up verses and original language studies. However, they do have commentaries as well.
When I need to use the computer for a broader period of study, e-sword is the way to go. I have Logos, but it can be very slow at times. However, e-sword delivers everything needed for taking those deep dives into Scripture. There are apps for phones and tablets, along with a software program for computers.
Communications and Social Media
When it comes to communication, social media is essential, and Facebook is still king of the hill here. The feed is directly linked to our website, and what is updated on the page is automatically updated on the site. Facebook pages also make it simple to still manage our churches facebook account without being distracted by my own account and getting them confused. 🙂
Twitter is another social media platform that we use for the church and ministry. Primarily this is for engagement with a different demographic group, usually younger.
Instagram is quickly becoming the most engaging social media platform for our church. It’s fun and centers around pictures and short movie clips. It can also be linked directly to our churches website in a way to make an instant photo gallery.
With so many different social media accounts, it can become tedious to post the same thing, or even different things, to each account at a time. HootSuite and Buffer both do the same thing, scheduling out your posts so that you don’t have to sit in front of the screen all day. You can schedule way in advance and find even more metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of your posts. I’ve used both and really can’t say there is much difference except interface. HootSuite is my preference, but I have nothing against using Buffer again.
Sometimes, using email is the way to go. For that I use MailChimp. With this website (and app) you can build your mailing list through sign-ups. Then you can either use a template or create your own email layout. When you send the email, you are provided with real-time metrics of engagement. Also, you add your personal email to the sender, which helps avoid junk mail.
There are also times when snail mail is most beneficial still. For mass mailers, Click2Mail is a great option. I upload my letter or flyer, the address list, and the printing and mailing are done for a small fee. Its great and the quality has been high. It saves my ink, paper, stamps, and time.
One Call Now is a mass calling line. Previous to finding this gem, our church had a prayer chain. It was a pass it on to the next person on the list. The horror stories of playing the telephone game and the message being lost in transition are real. However, we can record our message, text-to-voice, mass text, or even email to our entire congregation. We can also create thousands of sub-group combination. This tool alone has saved us thousands of hours.
I have used Zoom interface for both board meetings, conferences, and classes. It is amazing. Being able to see and hear every participant at the same time in a “facetime-like” technology is a great way to save time and miles. I am able to share my screen and for teaching and planning sessions is a great addition.
I use Google drive every day. Whether it’s creating a document, spreadsheet, or slideshow, every tool I need for ministry is here. This is the essential tool. In fact, if I wanted, I could do everything in Google Drive that we also have in Planning Center. It would be a little more work to get everything transferred over, but it really is this good. It does not have as much capability as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, but there is very little that I can’t do with Drive. Also, it is one of the ways that I have access to all my files wherever I am.
Planning Center is a great website and app that we use for Church Management. It is a record keeping hub. There are a few options you need to pay to use, but the basic people management (contact information) is free and secure. We utilize this with our online giving options at church and is highly recommended.
We put the Sunday morning sermons on Facebook Live from the Church. To do this, we are now using switcher studio instead of directly through facebook live. There is a free trial period and then becomes a monthly fee. However, I am able to use up to ten cameras from iPhones, iPads, and Apple Computers. The app allows seamless switching and overlays to provide a very professional touch. The app also includes interaction with those on the Facebook feed.
I am recommending two website hosting and builder options. I use both of these hosts because of different needs. Wix is excellent at building a professional website quickly and easily. They have very affordable pricing, state of the art software, and can be linked to Google Drive and Email to give you a complete online solution.
I use WordPress for my personal website. Mostly, because of the blogging capabilities that are associated with it. It is another excellent and affordable option for blogs or websites in general.
This final app is a lifesaver. With so many copyright issues, the easiest way to stay clear this is to create your own media. Wordswag is an excellent app that allows you to create captioned pictures. Whether it is inspirational or informational, WordSwag is a quick and easy tool to create professional looking media for your website and social media posts.