When used properly technology can be a great tool to save you time, communicate with parents, and help you connect with and engage more students in your community. But with all the options out there, technology can easily become overwhelming and even a distraction. So to help you sift through all the options out there, here are five technology tools I believe every youth minister should be using.
1. Google Drive
We have only so much time in the day and we cannot afford to waste it. And one of the biggest wastes of time I find for people is being unorganized. We all have been there. We are scrambling for event registration forms, parent contact lists, event schedules or whatever the case may be, and losing precious minutes that could be spent planning, growing spiritually or investing in students. But Google Drive can solve a lot of this for you. Granted, you could just organize your desktop but here is what I love about Drive. For one it works across all devices, including you phone. So if you are away from your computer you can still access everything you need. The other thing that is beneficial is the search functionality. At its core, no matter what new product Google releases, it is still a search company. And this gets put into all their tools. This is great because no matter how much I tell myself I am going to put things into folder and create naming schemes I know I won’t. But with Google Drive I can filter by file type and even search for words in the document. So even if you can only remember a phrase in the doc you can search and find what you need.
You need to be tracking your ministry data. I say data because I get that we do not want to be numbers driven. But when we do not track anything we are failing our students. You need to know who was there and who wasn’t. You need to see not only who is coming but who is joining and who is getting saved. You need to know when student’s birthdays are and where they go to school. In short, there is power in information and when stored and used properly it will exponentially increase the ability of you and your leaders to connect with students and experience life change. And when done properly it can actually save you time.
There are many options for doing this but here are a few suggestions of things to look for in a program.
- Look for something that works across operating systems and platforms, including in the browser.
- Look for something that your leaders can use at no charge to them.
- Look for something that does more than take attendance. You need to be able to download reports, message kids in a variety of ways, and truly track data over time, not just check kids in.
- Look for something that will automate processes for you be that anything from birthday reminders all the way to follow-up with new visitors. Again, we are trying to maximize impact and efficiency to keep us healthy spiritually, emotionally and physically and free us up to continue to invest in more students.
3. Google Slides
Yes, another Google tool and yes you probably have PowerPoint or even Pro Presenter at your disposal. But here is the thing. Not only do you get the benefits of storing things in the cloud and being able to pull up your sermon to work on it whenever inspiration strikes
Yes, technology has it’s bad side. But I firmly believe that when used properly these 3 tools will transform your ministry.