Category Archives: free

Best (Free) Droid Apps for Youth Ministers

Android phones may not have as many apps as the iPhone has, but you don’t need that many when you have quality ones. There are many great apps that will benefit you and your youth ministry, and the ones I’m going to suggest don’t cost anything!

Here are some great, free, apps that will benefit you and your ministry.

Barcode Scanner

Ministry Helps:
Barcode Scanner
This little app is helpful in a couple ways. First, you can scan a book, DVD, or other product and look up its price. When shopping for a youth ministry with a limited budget, this will be very helpful. The other benefit of this app is that you can use it to scan QR codes which can be used to download other apps, contact info, and calendar events. (Use this app in combination with Shopper to find more price information)

Bible

*Bible
There are plenty of Bible apps to get from the Android Market. My suggestion is that you download YouVersion by lifechurch.tv. If you have YouVersion on your desktop, you can sync your reading plan and notes with your phone. This app gives you the ability to find a Scripture quickly, read the Bible when you have a few minutes, or follow along with the sermon when you accidentally leave your Bible in your office.

Dropbox

Dropbox
Dropbox allows you to have access to all of your files (at least the ones you put in your dropbox) while on the go. Put your message notes, list of students going on a trip, or pictures from the past year in your dropbox folder and you have access to them whenever you want, even if you are not in front of your computer.

*Facebook
This app has been recently updated, with some significant improvements. As a youth minister, you will be able to use this app to post updates from your youth trip, comment on students’ pages or quickly update pictures for those not on the trip to view.

*Messaging (already on phone)
Since you have a smart phone that has the ability to use apps, I’m going to assume you have some sort of texting plan. And so do your students and parents – so use this feature. Mine is on the home page because I want to be able to easily access it, so should you.

Google Shopper

Google Shopper

This might seem like a strange app to include on the list, but I have found it to be an invaluable app to have. The ability to scan (works with Barcode Scanner) an item’s UPC and then compare prices, online and in stores, to see what other local stores carry the item will save you time and money. You do not have to drive around looking for the best price or spend hours searching through the internet. Trust me, this app will be worth the price you paid (free) for it and more.

Tweetdeck

*Twitter/Tweetdeck
Having this app on your phone can make connecting to youth workers (or the occasional student who actually has a Twitter account) even easier. You can update without sending a text, you can take a picture or video with your phone and then update it to Twitter. During a ministry trip or while at a convention, set up your account to send you notices with specific mentions or from certain people.

Voice Recorder

Voice Recorder
This is great app for turning your phone into a digital recorder. You can use it to practice a message, remember something you want to write down but don’t have paper, or to record your family talking to you while you are gone on a trip. With the ability to send the recording to your computer via email, this is a much cheaper option than a digital recorder.

Youth Ministry Conventions (YSEvents & SYMC2011)

SYMC 2011

If you are going to the National Youth Workers Convention or Simply Youth Ministry Convention, these are must apps. The apps gives you the list of artists and speakers, the schedule, and the YS app gives you access to local info on each city and the ability to watch a life stream for the big room. Or if you are a fan of youth ministry but can’t make it to the conventions, these will give you access into the world of the convention.

Panic/Stress Minimizers:
*Calendar (already on phone)
This the app for Google calendar, which I did not use at all until I got my Droid. Since I have the ability to sync my phone with my desktop, this app allows me to keep much better track of where I need to be and what I should be doing. Plus, the ability to set up reminders (via email or notification) gives me another avenue to reduce the chance I’ll forget to meet a student for lunch.

Grocery IQ

Grocery IQ
Shopping for the high school cookout, but can’t remember how many hot dogs were left after last year? Use Grocery IQ to help make the shopping list and make comments on “actual use” from event to event. This app will also help you keep track of how much you are spending, too. Use with barcode scanner and Google voice to make adding items easier/faster.

*Maps
Making a house call to that seventh grader, but can’t find his house? Maps, especially using the Navigation feature, will help you find anyplace you are looking for. Not only can you use your phone as a GPS, you will also get “Places” which allows you to search for stores or particular locations based on your location. So when you are on that summer trip and realize the van’s gas gauge isn’t working right anymore, you can find the nearest gas station. *Bonus Use* Make a widget that will always give you directions back to your house, the church, or anywhere else you want.

Trip Master

Trip Master
Need to track your mileage for tax reasons or to turn in for reimbursement, but struggle to always right it down. Trip master can help. You can track your mileage using GPS or by entering your odometer reading (manually or voice). When you need this information, you can export either via email or the SD card.

Weather Channel

*Weather Channel
Is it gonna snow? Will we get drenched with rain? Will it be hot enough to go swimming? I’m sure every youth worker has asked these three questions and many more. Planning events is hard enough, then you add in the weather and it is down-right impossible to know what to do. With this app, you can have instant access to the latest weather from weather.com, including the radar map. I use this app at least 5 times a day.

Pandora

Have a few minutes to wait:
*Pandora
A great way to either waste a few minutes or listen to some new music. If you know what Pandora is, then you know why you need this app on your phone. If you haven’t used the website yet, go ahead and try it out. You might even want to use this app to help introduce your students to new music.

Whiteboard

Whiteboard
This is basically a smartboard on your phone (well, minus the ability to write to it from your computer). You can use this app to draw quick diagrams or sketches. You can also write small notes, like a student’s birthday. You can save whatever you write as a .jpg then you can send it to yourself or even use it as your desktop background.

Bubble

Just for Fun:
Bubble (a bubble level)
This app does exactly what you would think it does – it tells you when something is level. Use Bubble when decorating your youth area or office. Plus, if you want to play one of those “Minute to Win It” games that involves a rolling ping pong balls and paper clips, this app will help you get the right angle.

Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam
This is a fun game that will help take your mind off of ministry for just a few minutes. The goal is to get the yellow cab through the traffic to the exit. The levels start out easy and get more difficult as you go.

WordUp

WordUp

This Boggle-type game lets you select the words by highlighting them with your finger. Its easy to play, plus you can quit at any time and start back right where you left off.

 

WordPress

WordPress

If you are a blogger, and use WordPress, you will want to include this app on your phone. You can check comments and stats. You can modify posts or write whole new ones.

 

 

Angry Birds

Three more apps I probably need to at least mention: GMail, MyVerizon, and Angry Birds

——
Within each category, the Apps are simply placed alphabetically, not in order of most useful. Apps with an (*) before them are ones I use enough, they are on my home screen.

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TeuxDeux.com – A Few Thoughts

I started using TeuxDeux.com a few months back because I am constantly trying to find new ways to stay organized. Overall, I really like it and think it would benefit other youth workers. Here are some positives and negatives of TeuxDeux:

Positives:
1. Simple.
You see five days across the screen, with the ability to scroll forward or backward one day at a time. There is no extra clutter or ads on the page. <- I really like this aspect. 2. Easy to use.
When you want to add an item to your to-do list, simply type it in on the day you want to accomplish it. It will then be added to the list of items for that day. When you finish the task, you simply click on it and it gets crossed off.

3. Ability to add “someday” items.
At the bottom of the page, you can add items to a list of “someday” things you want to do. This is great for adding items that may not need to be done for months or for making a list of ideas or possibilities.

4. Mobile apps in the works.
According to the FAQ’s, there is a mobile app in the works for iPhone and possibly Blackberry. This would make TeuxDeux a better solution for those who are not close to a computer throughout the day.

Negatives:
1. Recurring items.
There is no simple way to add recurring items without manually retyping them into each new day.

2. Only move one day at a time.
Right now, you can only move one day forward and backward, at a time. According to the FAQ’s, there is supposed to be a forthcoming feature allowing the ability to jump to a farther off date more quickly. But until that release, you must simply live in the week or sluggishly click one day at a time.

If you need a way to track what needs to be done, I suggest you try out TeuxDeux.com. It’s free and easy to use. But if you are still not sure, check out this video:

TeuxDeux Demo from TeuxDeux on Vimeo.

"Minute to Win It" – youth ministry game resource

Over the last few weeks, I have watched previews for NBC’s new shows. One show in particular caught my attention (and the attention of the rest of the youth ministry world) “Minute to Win It.” Basically, contestants have one minute to complete a game using simple household items. If they complete ten games, then they win 1 million dollars. As I watched the commercials, I kept seeing games I have played with my youth groups. One is the “shrinking grocery bag” game (where the bag keeps getting shorter and shorter and you have to pick it up with your teeth.) I like the single player version better than the way I played. At a 30 Hour Famine we played where you went around a circle and everyone tried to pick it up. My version is not nearly as sanitary as the games version.

If you have not heard of “Minute to Win It” you need to check it out. It’s on Sunday nights at 7 central. You also need to check out the website for the game. Up until a few days ago, I knew about the game, but I had not realized that the show’s website would be a great help to youth workers until I read Youth Ministry Geek’s post. You need to go check out the game vault and use a game or two.

Before I hit “publish” I feel I need to offer this word of warning to youth workers everywhere. Please do not saturate the youth ministry world with an abundance of “Minute to Win It” games or retreats or evangelism events. These games will be a great addition to your events, but DO NOT overdue it. I saw it happen with youth ministry versions of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (and many other pop culture things) and students get tired of it.

Remember that moderation is a good thing.

One last comment (question). I know there will be a t-shirt soon based on “Minute to Win It,” but I just can’t figure out what it will say. Do you have any thoughts?

Jaroo.com: Hulu for kids

My kids like to watch Noonbory and the Super 7 and Busytown Mysteries on Sunday morning. Both shows are part of “Cookie Jar TV.” Well, on Sunday I saw a new ad for Jaroo.com which peaked my interest.

Jaroo (tagline: always something on) is still in beta, so its not expected to be without some needed changes. But I think it could be a great site for kids and families with little kids. Basically it seems to be Hulu.com for kids. As it is still in beta form, there are only a limited number of shows available. But honestly, the list is rather full of great “classic” kids shows and some good newer shows, too.

A few shows that my family would watch include:

A Miss Mallard Mystery
Animal Crackers
Inspector Gadget
Sonic Underground
Strawberry Shortcake
Super Mario Bros
Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad – never seen it but the name sounds cool
The Legend of Zelda

See the full list here.

Like Hulu, it appears that new shows will be added later and episodes will only be online for a limited number of weeks. They have a schedule to show you what new episodes will be added in the coming weeks. Overall, I think this could be a great site to watch some cartoons online. Take a look and see if there is anything you remember from your childhood or anything your kids would like to watch. Plus, its free.

I’d love to hear what you think.

Learned from Twitter: week ending Oct. 17, 2009

(multiple week edition)

Below are some tweets, from the last few weeks, that have caught my attention.

1. nickarnold (Nick Arnold) released a free ebook on connecting with students apart from the four walls at your church. You should check it out if you have not already. (I did add some insight/thoughts to the book, but don’t let that stop you from looking at it)

free eBook full of ideas for youth leaders and volunteers to develop relationships with students, would love an RT 🙂 http://bit.ly/J8qpk

2. YMX (Youth Ministry Exchange) asked for some help for an exchange student. (Don’t know if they still need it, but if you can help – get a hold of them or let me know and I’ll contact them)

HELP! Exchange student arrived with exactly 5 shirts! Have a size M guys t-shirt (maybe from a past event) he could have? @ for info

3. lovesmesomeyou (Andrew Marin) let us know that his book is available on Kindle. That’s awesome. Oh, and you should check it out.

RT @likewise_books Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community, is now available on Kindle! http://ow.ly/rZId

4. outsideallday (Andy Brazelton) linked to a free online version of Group magazine. You need to take advantage of this and go learn (ie. click the link…).

Miss the last issue of Group Magazine? Thanks to @crd55 and @zafdaddy you can check it out for free online: http://budurl.com/groupmag

5. pastorbuhro (Brad Buhro) wants to add to the number of meals that Pizza Hut will donate. I don’t know how long this lasts, but it wouldn’t hurt to try and help.

RT @pizzahut:We will donate 4 meals to World Hunger Relief 4 each person who RTs this: http://ow.ly/qWn8 #pizzahut (More: http://ow.ly/r3Cy)

6. MarkMatlock (Mark Matlock) asks a good question. Do you have any thoughts?

The question many in their 20’s (and 30’s) are asking: How do I become an adult? http://tinyurl.com/yd3dogq What do you suggest?

7. nywc (National Youth Worker’s Convention) is coming to Cincinnati the end of this month. They want to know if there is anything weird to do there – someone has to have an idea. I’d love to hear them (and I’ll pass them on).

We’re looking for weird things to do in Cincy. Got ideas? Share your link!

What did you learn from Twitter over the last few weeks?

Free ebook: Tear Down the Wall of the Youth Room

Nick Arnold, from ministryallies.com, has just released an ebook on connecting with students outside of the “church walls.”

Here is what Nick has this to say about the ebook:

Looking for a resource filled with creative ideas to build relationships with students? This is a free resource from Ministry Allies full of relational ministry ideas, including hanging out with students, working on projects together, going to cheer on other students together, and a ton of other great ideas.

You can get the eb00k by clicking on the link. Did I mention it’s FREE and full of great ideas.

(I had the privilege of being able to contribute a few ideas and comments to the ebook, along with a handful of other youth ministry minded people)

Learned from Twitter: week ending Sept. 26, 2009

A few highlights from the last few weeks:

1. chadswanzy (Chad Swanzy) linked to a book on mentoring. If you are involved with teenagers, go check it out.

“The Be With Factor” Mentoring Students In Everyday Life is on Google Books http://tr.im/ywIk

2. Drun (David Runnels) offered some great advice, that we all could stand to hear.

We need people who will encourage us, strenghten us so we can learn from our limitations.

3. BtotheEtotheN (Ben Boles) shared a thought on not letting all of the “noise” around you become overwhelming.

I realized last night, it’s not about the amount of noise in your life but how well you control the volume

4. gavoweb (Gavin Richardson) pointed us to an article on working with parents.

Youth Ministry Today – Parents Are Your Friends http://ff.im/-8a68o

and also this video from AT&T about “future” technology, from 1993.

RT @Alyssa_Milano See the #technology AT&T envisioned 4 our future in commercials done back in 1993 http://bit.ly/2jCzBt // i remember these

5. DougFields (Doug Fields) has officially stepped down as a pastor at Saddleback. This will mean he’ll be spending more of his time training and encouraging youth workers – that’s a good thing.

My resignation from Saddleback is public & all good. If you’re interested see http://tinyurl.com/9sqpgo

6. pattigibbons (Patti Gibbons) reminded me of one of the reasons I love going to the National Youth Workers Convention – getting to meet online friends in person. It’s going to be a great week.

@lilkup you mean I’m finally going to get to meet you?! 🙂

What did you learn from Twitter this week?

Learned from Twitter: week ending September 12, 2009

Here are a few of the things I learned from my twitter friends this week:

1. MinistryAllies (Ministry Allies) offered an invitation to anyone willing to be part of an ebook by adding input and suggestions to the written content. If you would like to take part, let him know. (if you don’t know how to contact him, I can get you connected)

Looking for ppl to add input to an eBook on hanging out w/ teens outside youth group, like what marko did with ym3.0. anyone want to help?

2. gavoweb (Gavin Richardson) shared a story from the AP on Dave Ramsey. I have to say some of the info in the article makes it harder to believe he is truly “saving as much as he can and giving as much as he can away” as 2 of the 3 things mentioned. (the third being “make as much as you can” and that seems to be covered). What do you think? Can it be a ministry when its a for profit business? Maybe part of me would like to see what % of profit gets sent to “missions or other ministries.”

The Associated Press: Christian money guru gets rich mixing faith, funds http://ff.im/-7S5LM

3. nywc (National Youth Workers Convention) was nice enough to inform anyone going to the Cincinnati convention about some lower rates at one of the hotels. BTW, I’ll be at the Cincy convention and would love to connect with any of you who might also be there. Leave me a comment or send me an email and we’ll get together.

Coming to Cincy? Check out the new rock bottom rate at the Westin. http://bit.ly/bBcwa

4. zondervan (Zondervan) linked to a free download of “The Naked Gospel.” Go check it out and read it. What can you lose, its free. 🙂

The Naked Gospel ranked as Zondervan’s top selling book on Amazon. Download your FREE copy at http://www.TheNakedGospel.com w code “farley”

What did you learn from Twitter this week?

Youth Ministry Mentorships (10 weeks & FREE)

The next round of youth ministry mentorships is about to start. This 10 week program allows youth ministry newbies (2 years or less) to learn from youth ministry veterans. The program is open to full-time, part-time and volunteer. (Sorry, no females this time, due to there not being a female mentor this time around).

The application process is only open through Thursday (9/10), so if you want to apply – you’ll want to do so soon!

There is a great bunch of youth ministers who have a lot of wisdom/insight to learn from – and I’m on the team, too. 🙂

Check out Tim’s post on the mentorship program that covers all the information you’ll need to know, plus more…

Learned from Twitter: week ending September 5, 2009

I took last week off from posting these updates, but this week’s edition is jam packed with great information and resources. Enjoy 🙂

1. snavenel (Len Evans) shared a link that youth ministers need to read – the newest Youth Leader Only from Interlinc.

Savy Youth Ministry: Work Smarter Not Harder http://bit.ly/11PX8N by @interlinc

2. Psych_USA (Psych) shared a great picture from an upcoming episode. Looks hilarious.

RT @psychwrites: http://twitpic.com/flb0c -From L to R: Jaleel White, Kenan Thompson, Dule Hill, Demord Dann. THIS EPISODE IS AMAZING.

3. gavoweb (Gavin Richardson) shared a link to an article on how to turn your blog ramblings into a published book. And one about putting your youth newsletter on Twitter.

Blog to Book-12 Keys to Posting for Publishing http://ff.im/-7jBhe

How to make a Twitter Youth Group Newsletter http://ff.im/-7suNF

4. saraeden (Sara Eden Williams) reminds us that some chances are worth taking in youth ministry. (Especially if you really want to go to the amusement park) 🙂

70% chance of rain but we’re still going to the amusement park. If I were I mom I’d probably say no. But I’m a youthworker and we’re crazy.

5. Writepop (Writepop) thinks we all should know these great opening lines from great novels. I must not pay attention to the first line, because I did not know many of them.

Great list! 100 of the best first lines from novels http://u.nu/78m43 #writing #books

And he wants to inform us that laptops have been “around” for a long time, since 1937?

Is this the first appearance of a laptop in fiction, all the way back in 1937? – http://u.nu/3am43 #scifi #comics

6. SYMConference (Simply Youth Ministry Conference) is getting relationally ready for the upcoming conference in Chicago. If you haven’t heard of this conference yet, you need to check it out.

lots of reconnection this week with a whole bunch of #symc volunteers who’ve become like family to us…I seriously love these people!

7. radarradio (Under the Radar) let us know about Amazon’s free download. It only lasts until tomorrow, so hurry!

Here’s link to the FREE DOWNLOAD (1 song your choice) on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/ktvssj

What did you learn from Twitter this week?