Apps for Pastors
As of mid-2011, about 25% of adults in North America have a smart phone. That number is expected to rise to more than half the country over the next three years. The idea of having some practical functionality in your pocket to help you in ministry is very real. At Dr. Merritt’s church, our key ministry staff are predominantly iPhone users. Here are some of the apps I believe are most useful to the Pastor and his team for conducting ministry via smart phone.
Bible App. Any pastor with a smart phone needs a copy of God’s Word at the ready. I use “Bible” which was developed by our brothers and sisters at LifeChurch.tv. I like it because you can download a few versions to the phone that don’t require an Internet connection to read.
iBooks (or Kindle App). If you’re a pastor then you’re reading regularly. iBooks or Kindle let you take a small library with you wherever you go. Surprisingly, larger phone screens are a pleasure to read on. Having a book or two handy makes good use of time waiting at the hospital, airport or between meetings.
Church Database Access App. Dr. Merritt’s church uses ACS Technologies as our database provider, and they have a great app for accessing the church database called “Church Life”. Other database providers offer mobile access to look up member names, phone numbers and addresses. I’ve found this to be a critical-use ministry tool to keep in touch with our church members.
Camera App. I’m stunned at how few pastors use the cameras on their smart phones. When God is moving at a church event, pull out that phone and snap a picture! One of the great things about a connected phone with a camera is that it allows you to share important moments with others.
Social Media Apps. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+ all have phone apps. You’ll also find apps like Hootsuite which allow you to post to all of your social networks simultaneously. Having this capability on your smart phone is a must in today’s sound-bite culture.
Shazam App. Ever hear a song on the radio and think, “This would be perfect to use in worship?” Well, Shazam actually listens to a snippet of the song, then tells you the name of the song and the artist. It’s perfect for the pastor who loves to suggest music but has no idea who sings what. Warning: do not use this app while driving!
Around Me App. If your smart phone has a GPS, as most do, then an app to let you know what is nearby is a must. I use one called “Around Me”, but there are several available. They’ll list nearby gas stations, pharmacies, restaurants, banks and more. These are great apps to have if you travel frequently to new cities.
World Factbook App. For the missions minded pastor, the World Factbook app helps you brush up on the nations, with info on all the countries of the world. I especially like the cultural sections, which detail what not to say or do that comes off as rude or insensitive in a foreign culture.
Clock/Calendar App. Alarm clock apps can do more than wake you up. I use mine to remind me of birthdays and anniversaries of friends and family, important meetings and commitments to pray for church members. When someone in the congregation says, “This is happening on this date,” put it on your calendar and let your smart phone remind you to pray for them at the appropriate time.
Newsreader App. In addition to individual news apps, you’ll find readers which put together all the popular news outlets into a single place where you can catch up with world happenings. If you had just one news app to get all your information worldwide, I’d recommend the BBC News app, where the reporting is short on celebrities and long on important world events.
Traffic App. If you’re an urban pastor then knowing where the traffic jams are can save you some time. I’m in the Atlanta area, so I use Inrix Traffic as my traffic app. I check it in the morning before leaving for the office and often save myself an hour or more sitting behind a wreck and work from home instead.
The Weather Channel App. If your church has frequent events, then a weather app will help you stay ahead in your planning. Years ago I used to pray about the weather. These days I can know what the weather will be in an instant, so instead I pray for those we’re trying to reach to brave the storms or winds or whatever God’s Creation happens to be throwing our way.
Author: Eugene Mason, Communications Director for Cross Pointe Church under the leadership of Dr. James Merritt.