Favorite iPhone Apps for Youth Ministry (so far)

After having a Motorola Droid for almost two years (which I really liked, by the way), I finally got an iPhone about three weeks ago… and it really is everything it’s cracked up to be.  As a Youth Pastor I really don’t like being tied to the office in order to be productive and get things done.  Ministry should be much more about people than about administration and to-do lists… but if you’re not organized then your ministry to people will suffer.

I either had most of these apps on my Droid or found them through different blog posts similar to this one, so I thought I’d contribute since a lot of those blog posts seemed a little dated.  Here’s my list of the best iPhone Apps that I’m using and I thought they might be helpful to share:

UPDATE (11/12/12): I just wrote a new post listing 15 iPad apps that are great for those of us in ministry.  Follow the link above to check it out.  Most of the apps below are still on my iPhone and being frequently used (except for Google Plus, that was a total bust).  

Evernote  Evernote is a great way to keep a bunch of information readily available.  Working on a youth group event?  Download Evernote onto your phone and your computer and you’ll be able to access all your notes wherever you are.  It’s free and everything syncs up through the internet automatically.  There are tons of features to take advantage of (voice notes, picture notes, sharing notes with other Evernote users, and more).  This has really helped me in organizing a recent Camping & Canoeing Trip.

Wunderlist  My short-term memory is terrible, so I really need to keep a to-do list going that I can easily add items to wherever I’m at, otherwise I’ll forget about it and it won’t get done.  Wunderlist, like Evernote, can be downloaded on both your phone and your computer and syncs up through the internet and is also free.  I really like the design and ease-of-use, but I wish there was a feature to be able to add items to iCal or Google Calendars through Wunderlist while setting the due date.  Maybe that’s coming in a future update, who knows?

Dragon Dictation  I try to keep from texting while driving and am usually fine with being slow to repsond to text messages.  But there are times when you’re on the go and really want to get details hammered out or whatever and you’re tempted to text while driving.  Dragon Dictation allows you to speak your message into your iPhone and it translates it into text on your screen.  I’ve found it’s probably 85% accurate, but if you’re a clearer speaker than I am then you’ll be golden.  You can easily edit mistakes and choose to either Email, Send to Facebook or Twitter, or simply Copy the text so you can paste it somewhere else.  I don’t write emails with it, but it’s great for quick responses to text messages while you’re on the go.

Accordance Bible Software  If you use Accordance on your Mac then you’ll LOVE having it on your iPhone.  Want to do some sermon/lesson prep while you’re waiting for your car to be repaired, no problem.  Download the app, enter your username/password, and download any of the Bible, Commentaries, Reference Books or whatever else you have on your computer.  You can easily download and delete whatever books you want so you can use them wherever you are.  One of the greatest things is it still gives you the automatic parsing for Greek and Hebrew texts and you can open up an additional pane so you can reference two Bible at the same time (or have a Bible and a commentary open).  I know people wouldn’t think I’m using my phone to do exegesis in church if I used it during our Senior Pastor’s sermons, but I’ve been tempted a few times…

Bible by YouVersion  By far this is the best Bible app if you don’t have Accordance.  Tons of translations available for free, you can bookmark any verse for future reference, this is just an overall homerun.  If I didn’t like all the nerdy features of Accordance I’d absolutely have this one.  I encourage all my youth group students to download this onto their phones and they love it too.

WordPress for iPhone  The WordPress app is way better for iPhone than for Android.  It’s incredibly easy to maintain your website, moderate comments, and add a short post if you want.  If you have a WordPress site then you really should have this app.

PowerDocs  This is a great (and cheap!) app that lets you easily access all your Google Documents.  I’ve found Google Docs to be a great way to collaborate on youth group events with my youth leaders, brainstorm future lesson plans, and a million other things.  This app is easily worth the buck it will cost you.

Motion X GPS Drive  One of my favorite features about my Droid was Google Navigation was free and super easy to use… this was almost a deal-breaker for me switching to the iPhone.  I know where a lot of my students live, but I don’t know where all of them live and I don’t always know the best way to get there from where I am.  Motion X is only a dollar!  Sure, you have to pay a monthly fee if you want voice commands (“Turn left ahead”), but if you can have your phone somewhere you can easily see it then you can just follow the turn by turn navigation for only one dollar… how do you beat that?  It also syncs up with your contacts, so you can just type peoples names in and if you have their address in your phone you’re good to go.

Facebook  I have this last and won’t really comment much here because it’s such a “duh” it barely belongs on the list, but if I didn’t list it then I’d probably hear about it.

Google + The jury’s still out on what will happen with Google + (it looks promising but I highly doubt it will overtake FB), but here’s the link to download that app if you want it too.

As I said above, I’ve only had my iPhone for three weeks, so please let me know what I’m missing!  What iPhone apps would you add to this list?

10 thoughts on “Favorite iPhone Apps for Youth Ministry (so far)

  1. Robyn Lyn August 18, 2011 / 8:54 am

    Awesome article for anyone in ministry. I have about half the apps you mentioned and whole-heartedly agree with their inclusion on your list. I downloaded all the rest! Thank you for taking the time to share.

    • ebccrosswalk August 18, 2011 / 11:50 pm

      Thanks Robyn!

  2. Bradley McCarty August 18, 2011 / 10:27 pm

    That’s the must have apps for youth ministry got the golden, God would have one (if it wasn’t for that “prayer” thing), you wish you were this cool, iphone?! Seriously?! Where’s the writes lessons for you, makes more hours in a day, be in three places at once, better health insurance, more money, answers stupid questions with compassion for you, solves teen drama, reads teens minds to figure out what they want (cause they sure can’t tell you), grow a goatee, apps?!!! And I was thinking about switching from Android when the iphone 5 came out, shoot!
    But seriously… It’s the Google Nav I have the hardest time considering giving up too.

    • ebccrosswalk August 18, 2011 / 11:53 pm

      Hi Brad. If you’re asking what app I’d have if I could only have one then I’d probably choose Evernote because you can do so much with it (organize events, to do lists, memos, etc.). There’s an Evernote app for Android, check it out…

  3. Jon Beebe August 23, 2011 / 10:20 am

    Def. add the app “Group Text”. It allows you to set up groups (youth leaders, teens, church staff, etc.) and then all you have to do is select that group and put your text in, then hit send. No more picking all you contacts again. Great app. a must get! -Jon

    • ebccrosswalk August 23, 2011 / 12:47 pm

      Hi John, thanks for the recommendation. I’ve checked it out and there’s a free “Group Text” app and one that costs 3 bucks, which one are you recommending? I’ve been using Simply Text (now renamed “Communicate”) and have been pretty happy with it, but I’d love to find a free service to use… especially one with the ease of an iPhone app! How long have you been using Group Text? Sounds like a great find, thanks for the recommendation!

      • Jason Fishburn August 24, 2011 / 10:57 am

        I’ve been using Mass Text Message for quite some time, and it’s been great aside from a couple crashes way back. I’ve got 10 different groups setup, with 8-40 contacts in each group. Easy to setup, easy to use, all for a buck or two.

  4. wespardue August 23, 2011 / 4:04 pm

    I totally agree with Jon about Group Text. I started with the free one and then added the $3 version pretty quickly. With the $3 version, you can create as many groups with unlimited members as you want. There is no monthly fee. You generate your groups from the contact list on your phone so there isn’t a separate database to maintain. Messages appear in the user’s inbox as though you sent a standard text (Some other programs have a hash code or appear like an email). Groups can be created on the fly from your phone. When tornado’s hit our area on April 27 – including our pastor’s home – I was able to communicate immediate needs to our congregation the moment they came up. It was tremendously valuable.

    • ebccrosswalk August 23, 2011 / 4:10 pm

      Thanks, Wes! I think I’ll have to try this one out for a month and see if I can save the church some money!

      • wespardue August 24, 2011 / 2:50 pm

        Whoops! I just realized that i have “Mass Text Message” not “Group Text.” Although I’m sure GT is a great product, my comments were in reference to Mass Text Message. The icon appears as a green comment bubble with arrows branching out in all directions.

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