Have you ever stopped and considered how blessed we are to partake in ministry in the time we are in? Some of you who have been in ministry longer can probably think back to when you started and how different technology was back then. I mean, even just what, ten years ago, people were still using clip art like it was going out of style (which it was, and now is. Please accept this fact). Now many youth pastors could double as graphic designers thanks to tools like photoshop and illustrator.
But there are other tech tools we have to use in Ministry that make our weekly schedule so much easier and simpler. Below are 6 tools that we use in our Student Ministry every week that save us a lot of time and energy. Some readers may already know all of these tools, but my thinking is that there are others who won’t.
Box is a somewhat new tool, in the past we used dropbox and the like, but box.net allows us more space for free, and we can collaborate much easier. Essentially, our worship leader can create power points for the songs we are doing on his computer at home, I can create the lesson slides, and we can both upload them to a shared folder on box.net and access them in the youth room, as well as on our phones.
Evernote is a wildly popular app that many people already use. Michael Hyatt has some great tips and tricks for using this app the most effectively, but I like to use it to write my lessons, because it will automatically sync to other devices. So when I sync it on my computer, I have it on my iPad, which is what I teach from, and have my outline all right there. I can also send it to our media guy and he has it without having to print it out as well. Saves us paper, and thats just one of the many ways I use it every week.
I like to pretend I’m good at graphic design, and I can do the basics. But creationswap.com is full of amazing Christian designs, whether we need inspiration for series artwork or simply a background for worship slides, there are literally thousands of amazing Christian images on this site for free.
Teacherpal is an iPhone/ iPad app, though its possible its on android and others as well. Its designed to be an easy way for teachers to take attendance of their classes, but we simply set up a class for Sr. High and one for Middle School and are able to easily input attendance and know who wasn’t there so we can make a list of who to make sure we reach out to that week to come back.
Church Metrics is an amazing, amazing, free tool that does more with your attendance. We use teacher pal to take attendance and then input it in to our church metrics site, which automatically graphs it out with the whole year’s view, as well as shows our comparative numbers to last week and one year ago. It helps you keep your finger on the pulse of the attendance so you know “Hey, we were down this week, but historically, its always been a low week for us and we should pick back up next week” or to know “we were unusually down, what happened?”
The Youth Leader Stash is a great resource for us to find games, youtube videos, and other great new things to try and use in our ministry. Chad Swanzy does a great job of finding things I’ve never heard of that I instantly think “that would be sweet to try and do here.” If you have never been there, check it out, and if you are needing consulting or coaching, he runs a great coaching program, Subscription Service, and much more.