Monday, January 16, 2012

Top 10 Mobile Apps for Church Leaders

  1. The Bible - When you can carry 800,000 words in your pocket, with lightning fast access to any book and verse (Do kids today even know what “sword drills” are anymore?), a church leader would be remiss to not have one of the hundreds of Bible apps installed on their phone. YouVersion, Olive Tree, The Voice, Logos, and the ESV Study Bible are all popular. will even read the Bible to you!
  2. Evernote - Evernote is a notepad on steroids who only drinks creatine shakes while striding down the beach in his muscle shirt, kicking sand in nerds’ faces. I would extol its benefits, but I still have sand in my eye. Michael Hyatt has a whole series of informative posts about Evernote. If you don’t have a central repository for all of the information you accrue as a church leader, this app could be just what you need. The fact that it seamlessly syncs your notes across platforms (mobile, desktop, web) is only the first of many wonders when it comes to this app.
  3. Twitter and Facebook - If you haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon yet, there’s always room for more. Whether you send out quotes from what you’re reading, updates from your blog, or pictures from your daily life, Twitter and Facebook, for better or for worse, are arguably the top two modes of communication for our current age. Whether you prefer Twitter’s in-house apps or third-party apps like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, these apps can help you stay connected to your team, your tribe, your church, and your friends. Need help with being consistent on Twitter, or only have certain times of the day to tweet? Try Buffer, an indispensable twitter-scheduling web app.
  4. E-book Reader - You may be a Kindle guy. You may be a Nook girl. Regardless, e-readers are a necessity for church leaders. With instant access to millions of books both past and present, e-readers allow you to get inspired so you can inspire others. And, since many of the classics of Christianity are public domain, hundreds of them are free for the taking.
  5. Leadia - Leadia is a new app, just released in September 2011 by Leadership Network, that provides invaluable leadership development resources. With four “experiences” currently available on the app at $5.99 apiece, from church leaders like Mac Lake, Stacy Spencer, Will Mancini, and Scott Wilson, the price of admission to hear from these leaders, through text, audio, and video, is quite low for its return on investment. As the app adds more “experiences,” it’s sure to be an integral resource for church leaders. The Catalyst Leader app is another useful church leader mobile application that offers articles, videos, and podcasts from a number of well-known church leaders.
  6. Fighter Verses - Do you have trouble memorizing scripture? Fighter Verses is an app that provides a variety of ways for you to memorize Bible verses, like leaving multiple blanks in the verse, offering a multiple choice quiz for different words in a verse, and allowing you to set the verse as your lock screen.
  7. Clips - If you like to incorporate visual illustrations from popular movies, Clips can be your virtual sermon illustration assistant. This app is a database of teachable moments from hundreds of movies. While the app doesn’t provide actual video, it does provide a description of the movie moment, the start and end times for the clip, a topical search, and discussion questions.
  8. GoodReader - Pastors, small group leaders, and other church leaders who want to deliver their message via an iPhone of iPad may want to check out GoodReader, a robust PDF reader that allows for annotations. JR Vassar wrote a post detailing how he uses GoodReader, including screenshots of the app as he used it for a sermon on Hosea. Some church leaders use Apple’s Pages app that enables you to work in Word or Pages on your laptop, then upload to iPad via iTunes.
  9. Siri / Dragon Dictation - With the release of the iPhone 4s and the hubbub over Siri, voice dictation is taking center-stage as the next evolution of how we interact with our mobile devices. (As my pastor recently warned us, “This is how the robots start the takeover.”) If you can’t get Siri-ous, Dragon Dictation has been around for quite some time, and they offer both a free mobile app as well as a robust desktop app for purchase. If you’re a pastor on the move, talking your thoughts into an app that can transcribe them for you may be just the help you need.
  10. Angry Birds - No top ten list of mobile apps would be complete without the inclusion of Angry Birds. Just don’t make the mistake of playing Angry Birds when your iPhone is plugged into the church’s sound system. The unmistakable squawk-squee-squawk of a launched bird and the resultant sneering snort of a defiant pig might cause a distraction. If this happens to you, be sure to yell into the horrified silence . . . “I got all three stars!”
What are your favorite apps as a church leader? Which ones did we miss?

[by Blake Atwood]