Apps are great. You can play fun games, stay productive, catch up on the news and be very social. You can also do many creative things with the variety of apps. Whether it is touching up a photo, making a video for your student group, creating a great Instagram Story image or designing a poster in Canva, there is almost certainly an app that can help you and your ministry.
But apps aren’t just for fun and productivity. Apps can be HUGE relationship building tools for you to use in your ministry. In fact, here are 3 apps you can use that can help develop and strengthen relationships with students.
YouVersion Bible App. This app is the most downloaded Bible app around. Not only does it offer a variety of different Bible version you can access, but it has a plethora of daily encouragements and Bible Studies. In fact, what makes this a great relationship tool for student ministers is the Group Bible Study option.
Life is busy and students are constantly busy. So while they may really want to be apart of your small group, home group or Bible study, they just may not have the time to physically participate. However, with a Group Bible Study in the YouVersion app they can participate in a Bible study with fellow students and leaders and discuss what they read in the “Talk it Over” section for the day. All of it is online through the app, which means they can do it at any time of the day. Then, through those conversations in the app, any student ministry leader can follow up with thoughts or answer the questions students share each day. It could be via text, phone call or even in person. It makes for a great relationship tool for very busy students.
ESPN Fantasy Football App. There are many different ways to build community with students. Playing fantasy football is definitely one of them. I was first introduced to fantasy football in 2003 and from that moment on it has been a core fall activity that I have used to engage and build community with students. In fact, I have one fantasy football league that I started back then that is STILL going. Some of the members have changed over the years, but the core participants are still from that original group. It has been amazing seeing how God has used fantasy football to assist my walk with students as they went from high school students to college students to young adults with families of their own.
In the ESPN Fantasy Football app you can create a league with students and volunteer leaders and engage with them on a daily basis. They have a message board in your league that, if desired, can be used all year long. During the football season, daily interaction is almost a given, especially as the playoffs approach and it gives us great starting off points for conversation when we see each other in person.
Whats App. The battle of Android vs. Apple is very real. They especially don’t like to talk well with each other when you are trying to do group texts. That is why I like starting using Whats App Group Messages with different student groups. Whats App is available on all platforms and is a fantastic tool to simply talk in groups with students via text thread without worrying if someone is getting the messages or not. Whether it is sending them encouragement, laughing about something funny from group, or even talking about random stuff, this has been a great way to continue relationships with students throughout the week.
The great thing about all these apps are that they allow you to use online activity to make offline connections. You can use each of these apps to engage with students at any moment of the day and then, the next time you see them in person (offline), you can follow up from those online conversations. You can get even more personal when you see them in person and that just strengthens relationships over time and take it to the next level.
What about you? What apps have you used to develop or strengthen relationships with students? Share them.