Top 5 Apps for Kids Ministry
Let me start off by saying this post may seem a little biased, because the technology ecosystem I live in every day is Apple. I have an iPhone, iPad mini, and a MacBook Pro, so the integration is a big deal for me. I've posted links to these apps on the iOS App Store as well as on the Google Play Store (for those who use Android).
1. Pinterest (iOS / Android) - Where do I even start when it comes to this app? If I had to choose only 2 resources to use in my kids ministry, I would choose The Bible and Pinterest. It's really that awesome. You can create specific boards for just about anything. When I first started using Pinterest I created 1 massive board just for kids ministry stuff (as seen in the picture to the right). Now, I have lots of Pinterest boards that are much more specific. I have boards for themed sets, events, holidays, snack ideas, small groups, games, the list goes on. You can choose to follow other Pinterest fanatics' profiles or specific boards that suit your interests. Another neat feature on the app is the option to send pins or entire boards to other people on Pinterest or via email. I have some leaders and parents in the church who follow my boards and even send me pins with ideas for upcoming events. If you don't have a Pinterest profile yet, you should go get one right now! Disclaimer: you may not leave your device for a few hours because you will be pinning up a storm.
2. Reminders - It may seem silly, but I use the Reminders app on my iPhone for each and every day. It's an extremely simple app that I use to make lists and set specific reminders for items in the lists to keep myself from forgetting about things. The biggest deal to me is synchronization. If I'm working at my desk on my MacBook Pro, I want to be able to add something to my lists and have it show up on my phone or iPad later, and Reminders lets me do exactly that.
3. Planning Center Services (iOS / Android) - This is a little bit of a cheat, since I use the website more than the app itself, but I could not plan my services without it. I like that this allows me to schedule the staff I need for each service, and that I can outline my entire service for everyone involved. An example of one of my services is posted here. It works great for multiple services and is extremely flexible. I'm pretty sure my husband is a Planning Center nerd, since every time I want to know if Planning Center can do something, he seems to already know how to do it.
4. Google Drive (iOS / Android) - I have a love-hate relationship with Google Drive. The syncing hasn't always worked correctly (though my husband says he's got that worked out now), but the concept is great, and my church uses Google Apps, so as a result, I use it daily. The best thing about it is the ability for people to share and collaborate together on documents in real time. Google Drive gives you the ability to see where other user’s cursors are and what they are typing. We use it for internal church and staff forms, budget sheets, to share staff meeting notes, and our media department shares the scripts for videos.
5. GroupMe (iOS / Android) - This is an app we use as a church staff for internal communications (all staff members, not just pastors, and their spouses are a part of this group), and it's a great way to communicate details of things going on in real time. If you don't have a smartphone, people can be added to the group and receive messages via text message. (Example 1, from the admin assistant: "Jim Bobert is in room 301 at Baylor McKinney, flowers were sent. I'll visit him tomorrow.") (Example 2, from the first person to the office in the morning: "Power is out at the church, no ETA on when it's coming back on.") (Example 3, from the event coordinator: "Does anyone know where the furniture is that was used for guest seating in the mallway?")
We also have a kids ministry staff group that we use to communicate kids ministry details (and I find that some people respond better to texts versus emails). (Example 1: "New kids ministry t-shirt design here: http://bit.ly/kidminshirt. Let me know what you think") (Example 2: "Don't forget about our set design this Saturday @ 10am. I'll bring Einstein Bros!")
What about you? Are any of these apps in your top 5? What must-have apps for kid's ministry would you add to this list?