If you tune in regularly to the Vanderbloemen Leadership Podcast, you know that one of the final questions we ask all of our guests is, “What app is catching your attention these days?” The answers always surprise me and, when not ministry-related, are related to personal hobbies, interests, or are just plain fun!
I thought I would do a little survey of my own to find out what top ministry-focused apps are being used by church staffs to further their reach, increase their productivity, and help them execute their responsibilities better. I connected with a small sample of ministry leaders in a variety of church staff roles around the country.
I’ve segmented the list by categories that you may find helpful depending on the type of role you serve in on your church staff. Some of these apps are church-focused, while others are created as tools for any type of organization, whether corporate or ministry.
Sermon & Service Planning Apps
1. Planning Center Online (PCO)
Planning Center Online is by far used by the most church leaders in the most variety of roles. From its capacity to plan services and events, to scheduling volunteers, to sharing music, it is the best out there in resourcing church teams. PCO is web-based, but their apps serve teams on both iOS and Android. They have also branched out to include apps for room scheduling (Resources app), camp/event registrations (Registrations app), small group life (Groups), and giving. These guys are a ministry powerhouse!
The Logos app is a comprehensive tool with an extensive theological library and text comparisons to help in your sermon preparation.
YouVersion is a free resource that helps you read, watch, or listen to the Bible in various translations ad-free. Some small groups even use their bible study plans as their curriculum.
4. Blue Letter Bible
Blue Letter Bible is a free Bible app that empowers you with advanced Greek and Hebrew tools. It is great for intensive word study and also has a small list of commentaries available that are very handy.
File Sharing & Strategic Planning Apps
Evernote is a note and file sharing and storing app, and it’s hands down one of the most used tools for leaders in any industry. Some of the best features are a camera (which can take pictures of white boards, brainstorm sessions, or handwritten planning ideas) and the ability to easily email articles directly to Evernote for future messages or meetings. You can also take quick notes on your phone directly in the app if an idea hits you “on the go.”
6. Google Drive
Google Drive offers access to your files anywhere through secure cloud storage. It has a fantastic real-time updating feature that allows multiple users to edit a live document simultaneously. With Google Drive, you can always be sure your documents are up to date and everyone involved has access to them.
Dropbox is a file hosting service that is utilized most by groups of people looking to share large files or those who desire “24/7 access” to these files. Your account is free but a fee is required for larger amounts of storage.
Wunderlist is a simple, sharable, task management & list app that is useful for anything from shopping lists to managing complicated work projects that require a variety of staff members to complete. You can also set reminders, so you’ll never miss your deadlines again.
Basecamp is a high capacity web-based project management tool with the ability to attach files, create personnel assignments, and create to-do lists with due dates.
10. Church Metrics
The Churchlife app from ACS is an all-in-one app. This app can engage your congregation by giving them access to the event calendar and allowing them to easily give to your church. On the staffing side, you can easily find visitor and member contact cards, assign tasks to church staff members, add photos, and schedule rooms in the facility.
Music & Creative Arts Apps
12. Music Stand by PCO
Music Stand by PCO allows musicians to keep all of their sheet music in one place. You can to see your charts and sheet music and takes notes while rehearsing. You can swipe or step on your foot pedal to advance the page. This app makes it very easy for churches to go paperless.
Spotify is a digital music streaming service that allows you access to millions of music ideas for your service planning. It’s also a great way to research and share music with your teams. There are similar services on iTunes and Pandora, but with Spotify, you don’t have to buy all the songs to hear them in their entirety or listen on demand. The $10/mo premium service is well worth the music access.
14. Ultimate Guitar Tabs
Ultimate Guitar Tabs is the mobile version of the largest catalog of guitar tabs available. Not only do they have guitar tabs but also online lessons and tips from guitar gurus at your disposal.
Children & Student Ministry Apps
15. Crossy Road & Smashy Road
Funinja.org is a website rather than an app, but I would be remiss if I didn’t share its endless amount of fun and game opportunities for youth groups.
17. Game Show Sound Board
Game Show Sound Board is a free app that you can use as a fun addition to your KidMin or StuMin games. You can access beeps, buzzers, cheering crowds, and even crickets! Your children’s ministry and youth groups will love it!
This is just a small sampling of the most helpful apps that ministry leaders around the country use every week to build and advance the Kingdom.
What other apps do you like to use for your church and why?
By: Deanna Kotrla, Vanderbloemen Search Group