Youth Minister Tutorial: Dropbox

Pastors, listen up! I want to make you aware of an awesome tool that you can use for your ministry. Dropbox literally changed how my team communicated and collaborated. It also changed how I prepped my messages. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to start using Dropbox and give you some tips for effective ministry use.

Why Dropbox ROCKS:

1. Get your team on the same page.

Before my youth ministry started using Dropbox, our collaboration was limited to printouts and emails. During meetings, we often couldn’t discuss certain items because a particular file was located on someone’s computer. Once we started using Dropbox, we created a central filing system and everyone saved ministry items to the cloud. We instantly had access to those files on our computers, iPhones, and iPads. If you’re working with multiple people, get everyone on the same page.

2. Access your files anywhere

Whether I was in Costa Rica or Indianapolis, I had access to all of our ministry files. This was particularly helpful when I needed to work on a message. As many of you do, I would start a message for Sunday at work and then leave to go home. Later, I wanted to work on my message only to remember that it was saved on my desktop at work. After Dropbox, I could access that message anywhere anytime. I can’t count the times that I pulled up my message in the airport, mission van, or at my in-law’s house.

Are you worried that saving to the cloud will mess you up one day? Don’t worry. Dropbox saves a copy of your files to your computer in the Dropbox folder. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can still get your files. On iOS/Android Devices, you can cache files you want to access later.

Change a file? It syncs instantly across every device you use to access Dropbox.

3. Get more storage by inviting your friends.

Every time a friend signs up for Dropbox, your gifted more free storage. It’s that easy. The free plan starts out with 2 gigs of free storage but can increase with friend invites. We use the 9.99 a month plan for 50 gigs. Whatever you choose, remember that if you invite your friend and they sign up, you get more free storage.

Read to start? Here we go!

Dropbox 101:

Step 1: From your computer, go to http://www.dropbox.com

Step 2: You have two ways to create an account. First, you can go ahead and download the Dropbox app for your computer and create an account that way. Second,  click on “Log in” to create an account. Tip: Create a general account for your ministry instead of going personal here.

Step 3: If you haven’t already downloaded the application to your computer, do so now. Follow the install instructions and leave everything on default. Do not change the default location for the Dropbox folder.

Step 4: Once the program is installed on your computer, I suggest creating your folder structure. Dropbox will become ineffective if you just throw your files in there at random.

Step 5: Sync. The little blue box is your friend. If a “check” appears under the box, then everything is synced. If the box has a blue icon and is rotating, you’re syncing files with the cloud.

Step 6: Download the iOS/Android apps and enter your credentials.

Step 7: Repeat this process (Start at Step 3) for all devices that you want Dropbox to sync. We added this to our tech computer, middle school pastor’s computer, and our admin’s computer. We used the same username/password for each computer.

Step 8: Enjoy the wonders of cloud syncing! It’s magically delicious.

Dropbox Tip:

Scan medical release forms (as PDF’s) before each trip and place them in the corresponding Dropbox folder. That will keep you from having to lug around a binder full of medical release forms.

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