By Tom Hammel • SoCal Network Assemblies of God • Irvine, California
If you are anything like me, you love technology! But, figuring out how to make it work beyond watching Netflix and playing Candy Crush can sometimes be a bit perplexing. So, my mission is to figure out how to make technology serve me! Here are just a few of the ways I use my iPad to help streamline and hopefully be more effective in youth ministry.
Keep Your Student Database Up To The Minute
I have found an amazing tool called MinHub Youth App. There are so many cool features that are useful, but a few of my favorites are:
Cost – Unless you want to sync your MinHub database across several devices (like your leaders’ phones), there are no ongoing subscription fees, (which is important for the youth ministry budget!)
Fun – While it takes a bit of time for the initial set up, I love the “selfie” check-in process they have set up for students. The moment something is fun for kids to do they will be more consistent in doing it.
Messaging – You can send something out to your whole database, or just to your leaders, or however you want to group your people.
I know that there are other tools out there, but this is a simple and economical one that syncs to Dropbox so you can have multiple devices running the same database.
Write And Deliver Your Talk From Your iPad, Complete With Slideshow
This is a huge part of what we do as youth pastors, and there are lots of options for displaying your presentations with Keynote, PowerPoint, or ProPresenter.
Using JUST your iPad and the built-in Pages app, you can build an efficient and simple collection of sermon notes. Start with the page formatting. I like to set the margins to 0.12” on both sides and 0.49” for the top and bottom – which fills the entire page with the notes. Then, use a large font size (I use 23) and build your sermon with color coding for Scriptures, quotes, comments, announcements, and what your audience will see on the screens. Then export that document as a PDF into iBooks so that when you are presenting, you have a simple page-by-page view. Finally, iBooks keeps an archive on my bookshelf in case I need to, um… be ready in season and out!
Stay on Time
Some time ago I found a simple but powerful tool to help me stay within my time targets, an application called Presentation Clock. It gives you the capabilities of setting whatever time length you want and the countdown timer changes colors at intervals of your choosing, which I have used for transitions or as ques to remind me where I should be in my talk/message to keep me on pace.
And Finally, Social Media
Even in a world full of communication and connection, announcements still can’t seem to make it home! Social Media, with all of its trappings, can be a very powerful tool. You can connect with parents, leaders, students, and the list goes on and on. I recommend finding some apps that will help you consolidate all of the Social Media options that are out there. I love the app Hootsuite. They have different paid versions to accommodate your needs and budget. They support all of the major feeds right in one spot –which is invaluable when you need to remind parents to send their students with that camp deposit, or those forms are due, or those moments when band practice is canceled.
These are just a couple of simple ways that I have used this amazing tool to be more effective at what I do. There are so many other things you could do – like, devotionals, study tools, worship set list, and many more!