Monday, June 28, 2010

There's an App for that!

The last couple of weeks have asked the Christian blogger community about motivation and inspiration and about their reading habits. Call it market research if you will, but Duane Scott picked up on where this is going in last week's comments. Not to rush ahead, there's still a question I want to ask.

When you are away from the desktop and aren't immersed in the blogosphere, what do you use to take your ministry mobile?

I received an iPhone for my birthday/Christmas. I sat on the fence forever about getting one. I don't have coverage at work and AT&T coverage is spotty locally also. I don't have any playlist built up on iTunes so the advantage of a phone + iPod is lost on me. I'm also not really a gamer, so the thousands of game apps weren't a motivator for buying either. But I was still drawn to this gadget if for no other reason than I that I was consumed with the hype.

My wife understood that I would never get one for myself; I would always argue my way out of it. So I'm grateful she went ahead and got me one anyway. Right off the bat, I committed myself to not become an iZombie (though she frequently has to remind me to "engage" in casual conversation around the house), that this wasn't just a portable gaming device, and that I would use it primarily for ministry. Now I have to admit that my iMinistry (this is fun, you can put i in front of just about anything! iParanthetical) frequently takes a backseat to checking sport scores, especially during baseball season, but I think I'm still holding firm to this conviction.

Not only does the seemingly limitless possibilities of the iPhone capture my imagination, but I'm also intrigued by how ministries are using this new interactive tool. Church apps are springing up left and right. You can fill your memory with countless books and Bible studies . You can do fancy things with your contact list, emphasising members of your church, your small group or your prayer circle. You can even track your prayer list! So I frequently find myself browsing the App Store to see what is the latest ministry tool that I have to have.

An article in this spring's iPhone Life featured Kevin Purcell, a minister and contributor to Christian Computing Magazine. Titled "A Day in the Life of an iPastor", the article listed his favorite apps for ministry. In addition to the obvious Bible apps and GPS/maps, there are other ministry-specific apps he describes like iDevotional and GNT and BHS for BibleReader. (sorry, can't see a way to link to the iTunes store for these) To add to those, and to help Peter Pollock with his new iPhone 4G find an app other than Words With Friends, here are some of my favorites:

  • Holy Bible by This app not only has several translations of the Bible (and the only free NIV I've found), but you can also highlight any passage and see what other people have written about it. Often during church, I'll be checking out other people's devotionals/studies/commentaries for the passage being discussed from the pulpit. It's like getting two sermons in one.
  • Read It Later by Idea Shower. This app allows me to save webpages (ie blogs) to view when I don't have a connection. This is especially useful for me when I fly and also for at work where I don't have a connection. This is how I keep up on the many blogs I follow. One problem, however: since their last update, I cannot read Wordpress blogs! I only get an index of every post that shows on that blog's front page that I can access via links. But since I don't have a connection, that doesn't do me any good. Which leads me to...
  • An RSS Feed. This doesn't fit on this list, but I need one! Ideally with the same features as Read It Later so I can read without a connection.
  • Urban Ministry (now called Sermons on Christian Social Justice) by TechMission. This has an archive of sermons in audio, video, and podcast formats from a diverse range of ministers. This isn't too handy since downloading sermons requires WiFi access and I am often without any access at all. But I still like the format and the selection of topics.
  • Finally, TweetDeck by TweetDeck is what I use to access and manage my Twitter account. I'm not often at the computer, so having this on my iPhone allows me to keep in touch with everyone while on the run.

So, what apps do you have for your mobile ministry (doesn't have to be limited to iPhones, any mobile app applies)? What other apps do you recommend (besides Words With Friends)?


JC Dude said...

ihappen not be be on the bandwagon!

Thanks for good info tho'


Duane Scott said...

Well, there is ONE app you still have to get.

Words with Friends.

My username is duane_scott

Let's duel.

Fatha Frank said...

@Duane, I knew you'd say that! One of these days I'll probably play it. But I'm not good at word games. I guess it's the interactivity that's the selling point though.

Thought this would get more responses? There's a lot out there- Mars Hill and Saddleback both have apps, LOGOS has an app, Relevant Magazine has an app, and so on. I can get game recommendations anywhere. Oh well. I'll try this one again another time.

Rama said...

it's funny you call this post there's an App for that, because in the South Region they are doing an entire sermon series call there is an app for that.