Summer is (almost) here and so are the 15 camps, events, and retreats you have planned for the youth ministry! And, so, if you’re like me, you regularly scan the app store searching for help maxmizing your time and impact. Here is a list of 10 of the apps that I use to streamline my summer as a youth pastor. I use plenty of other apps during the year, but these apps help me make it through the chaotic summer schedule. Some of the apps are for phones and others are for computers. Hit the title of each section to go directly to the app.
PackPoint is a packing list app that suggests items based on the weather conditions at your destination. It allows you to add additional items to pack and share the packing list with your friends. A great way to use this is to streamline your camp packing list. Throw away your Excel sheet, add your summer camp packing list on PackPoint, and share it with your interns. Now they can pack the sunscreen and beach balls while you coordinate the rest of the camp. PackPoint ensures you won’t leave town without everything you need for camp.
DYM Game App
Having fun is a great tool for youth ministries. Games welcome students and communicate that God cares about His people. If you are looking to add fun into your summer gatherings, you need to utilize the awesomeness of DYM’s Game App. It will make you look like a professional game show host without spending a large amount of time or money.
Your students will listen to music on the way to and from camps and mission trips. Why don’t you influence what they listen to? Make a playlist for them with the songs from the week, songs to make them think, or songs to trigger memories they just made. If you use Spotify for your weekly gatherings, it is definitely worth is to pay the $10 for Spotify Premium. Being ad-free saves you from running to the soundbooth to silence an awkward commercial.
Videos are an awesome way to send prayer requests and updates while you are on the road. You don’t have to have a GoPro and Macbook to make quality videos. Your phone has an incredible camera. This is a quick video editing app for iPhone. Simply shoot a quick update from camp, upload it in Splice, trim the video, and share it to your social medias.
Planning Center Online
Planning Center Online is changing the way churches manage services, check-in systems, volunteers, and groups. Their apps are easy to use and monthly fees are reasonable for ministries. Planning Center Services App is perfect for planning your weekly worship gatherings. But don’t stop at planning one week at a time – use planning center to outline the fall semester with theme nights, sermon series, and creative elements. The summer is a perfect time to plan for the fall. You can also use Planning Center Online to manage your volunteers, communicate with your group leaders, share curriculum, and contact students who are absent from group.
You will be too busy to post all of the social media reminders that your people need this summer. The easiest and cheapest way to schedule social media posts is through Hootsuite. You can schedule reminders about deadlines, packing lists, and updates from your Hootsuite app. I spend one morning per month scheduling social media posts for the upcoming four weeks. Then I don’t have to worry about social media, and our church thinks I post more than a teenage girl.
This is group chatting at its best. Students can join the group, and you can send one text to tell them it is time to meet back at the bus during your tourism day. The best part is that people can sign up through their phone without downloading the app. I suggest that small group leaders use GroupMe to stay connected with students this summer.
Remind is a free texting app that allows you to send and receive texts with various groups. People can text a message to the number to opt-in for a group that you create. Besides connecting with students about events, another way you can utilize Remind is to create a group for the parents of students who are heading to summer camp. With one text through Remind you are able to tell every parent that the bus arrived safely at camp.
Facebook And Instagram Live
Don’t underestimate the power of Facebook and Instagram. This is where most of your parents and students are social. Start a Live feed from the rest stop, right before worship, or send back prayer requests. This is a quick and easy way to keep your parents connected while you are out with their students. Even with the algorithm changes at Facebook, going Live still notifies the majority of the people who are connected to your accounts.
Logos Bible Software
Logos is the best Bible study software on the market. It allows you to access commentaries, Bibles, dictionaries, and word study tools from your computer, tablet, or phone. Logos not only changes the way that you study the Bible. It will change the way a pastor travels. The days of taking five bulky commentaries to camp to prepare for your teaching sessions are over. All your books are in one place – your computer. The only negative to Logos is its large price tag. If the price is too much, I would suggest that you have a conversation with your supervisor and see how you can add the base package of Logos and add some books over the next few years.
What other apps do you utilize during the summer for your student ministry? How are they changing the way that you do ministry?
Chase Snyder is a high school pastor in Metro Atlanta. His passion is to help people apply the Bible to their everyday lives. Chase has authored six books, creates retreat studies, and founded Ministry Bubble, 228 Publishers, and YouthMinStudies.com. You can find out more at www.ChaseSnyder.blog or on social medias at @ChaseSnyder12.