5 Apps I Recommend For Every Creative Ministry


27 Aug 2014

I don’t know what I would do without my iPhone.

I use it in every area of my life and Creative Ministry is no different. Having powerful tools readily available in my pocket makes all the difference in productivity.

Of course, I use the obvious apps that many of you do. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for my social media. I listen to music with Spotify and Apple’s app for podcasts. I’ll even admit to being slightly addicted to the Roller Coaster Tycoon game.

Beyond the everyday downloads, there are few apps that are extremely helpful for Creative Ministry.

I use these tools both on Sunday mornings as I lead our Production Team and during the week for various creative tasks.

1. Planning Center Online

Planning Center OnlineLast week, I posted a tweet expressing my love for Planning Center along with the question “Do you use PCO?”

There was a massive response.

In fact, there was so much buzz happening on Twitter from my post that the PCO staff sent me a message thanking me for the publicity. A lot of churches use it.

While integrating this system into your church can be a little overwhelming, I don’t know where our church would be without it. I use the app throughout the week for planning our services and scheduling our volunteers. On Sunday mornings, I use it as a digital order of service to keep us on track.

With this app, you never have to go searching through emails to find who’s running ProPresenter this week or which songs your worship team singing. It’s all in one organized place.

2. GroupMe

GroupMeI was first introduced to this app when I trained with the production teams at Church of the Highlands and Elevation Church.

To be honest, I didn’t see the true value when they first recommended it to me. It took me using it at our church to fully understand.

Once I saw that I could keep all of our team’s communication in one place, I was hooked.

Our church’s staff uses a group message for all of our basic communications to each other, each ministry team (production, kids, connect) uses it to keep volunteers aware of what’s coming up on Sunday, and we’re able to communicate last-minute changes to each team during service.

This app has also been useful for our kid’s ministry to communicate nursery alerts to our ProPresenter operator.

 

3. Buffer

BufferMore than an app, Buffer is a total package for all things social media in our church. 

Rather than individually creating posts on all of our various social networks, we are able to use this one central app to get the word out.

Social media for your church doesn’t have to be difficult. This app gives professional results with ease.

I use Buffer to schedule all of our social posts for the month in advance, then simply maintain on the go with the app.

I made the switch from the similar app, HootSuite, a few months ago and haven’t looked back.

Plus, it also comes in handy that we’re able to post to networks like Google+ without actually having to have those apps on our devices. ;)

4. Latergramme

LatergrammeThe only downside to social media managers like Buffer is that they don’t include Instagram.

If I was granted three wishes from a magic genie, one of them would be for Instagram integration into Buffer.

Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.

The closest thing to scheduled Instagram posts is this awesome app, Latergramme. It allows you to pre-write your text and schedule your IG photos so that when it’s time to post, you’re notified on your phone. With just a few taps and mere seconds, you can move from this app into Instagram and post your image.

Would it be great if there was an easier way? Yes.

Is this the easiest thing currently available? Definitely.

5. Repost

RepostOne of the best ways to share with the world what God is doing in your church is by posting photos on social media. 

Unfortunately, not every church has professional photographers who are willing to volunteer on Sundays.

But, you do have a congregation full of people who have phones in their pockets with high-quality cameras.

Encourage your church family to take photos on Sunday mornings and share them on their social networks using your church’s hashtag.

Then, you can use the handy app, Repost, to share their photos on your church’s networks.

Not only does it allow your church to have great photos from your services, but it gets your congregation excited to share their Sunday experience with their friends.

What About You?

What are your favorite and most useful apps that you use in Creative Ministry?

Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter at @CreativePastor!

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Kendall Conner

Kendall Conner serves as the Creative Pastor at Piedmont Chapel in Greensboro, NC. He is a graphic designer, video editor, and all-around media geek, but above all enjoys seeing lives changed. Together with his beautiful wife, Holly, they strive to use media to spread the message of Christ and equip others for ministry.

Comments

  1. Hey Kendall, great post! I was wondering what the difference was between GroupMe and just texting people outright? I just downloaded it last week on the recommendation of another blog I follow but I can’t quite understand the difference. Could you go into more detail about how you use it?

    • Kendall Conner : August 27, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      Hi, Tim –

      The biggest difference for me was group messaging that works across different platforms. For example, when I would send group text messages, it would get messed up for people without iPhones. This solves that.

      There is also a “like” button that we use to communicate that the message was read and understood.

      Hope that explains it well!

      • Oh yeah that is awesome! Do all of your volunteers have to have this app? Thanks a lot for all that you do on this site!

        • Kendall Conner : August 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm

          That’s correct. Everyone who serves on my Production Team must use PCO and GroupMe. Both are accessible by browser, also.

      • Hey Kendall,

        Are there any features of GroupMe that make it stand out from other Instant Messaging platforms like Google Hangouts, Whatsapp or even FB Messenger?

        • Kendall Conner : May 18, 2016 at 8:58 am

          We like that it’s something separate from the messaging apps that people are already using. That may seem counterproductive, but has worked well for us. People go to that app specifically for their team member messaging.

  2. Thanks for the Buffer App! I’m definitely going to download it. It’ll make my life so much easier!!

  3. Kendall,

    I run the media ministry back at our church and i’ve been following your posts for a while!
    I really think PCO looks really fantastic and I may try it out and see if we can integrate it with the band and see how that goes.

    However, how different is GroupMe from Whatsapp? It looks like yet another chat system that adds to the redundancy of the already overloaded apps in our phones. Is there something in there that keeps you to it vs Whatsapp?

    May I also suggest Whitagram as a great app to add the necessary borders to pictures when posting them on instagram, as I personally (from the point of view of a photographer) find that horizontal pix are best viewed the way they are

    Best,
    Tim

    • Kendall Conner : August 27, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Hey, Timothy –

      Thanks for keeping up with my posts!

      I’ve heard of Whatsapp, but never used it. I assume that they’re all pretty much the same. The important thing is getting all of your crew to use one singular thing. We include it in our training before you ever start serving.

      I’ll also check out Whitagram!

  4. Thanks, Kendall.

    Does your church’s management system (database) integrate with PCO?

    Or do you enter contact details in 2 places?

    • Kendall Conner : August 27, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      Hi, Justin –

      We use F1 and it unfortunately does not integrate with PCO.

      There aren’t too many contact details that go into PCO, so I just look up the names and emails from F1.

  5. Great list! I’d add Wunderlist to the mix also… it helps keep me on top of everything & manage my projects more efficiently. Being able to attach files & have conversations within shared to-do lists are key for communication within our Creative Team. As Creative Director, it helps me to keep everything in one nice, neat & clean little bundle for each project.

  6. Love PCO! It just keeps getting better and better. Nozbe is another great tool. Not ministry specific, but definitely useable in the ministry. A really cool app I’ve started using is Shift Worship. You can make your own backgrounds for worship. Pretty cool considering anything and everything around can be used.

  7. PCO is quickly becoming a church wide software, not just worship ministry. Love the versatility of it. Everything flows in and out of Nozbe for me. We also use it for our team here at the church. Designate responsibilities, update within the app, etc. Just an all around good productivity app.
    On a side note, I appreciate your blog and postings. Our creative team keeps up with ya, so keep bringin the goods! :)

  8. Hello sir,

    Great article. I was wondering, however, if there was a similar post to this for those of us on the android platform. I have read the one for the worship ministry. It’ll be great if the creative ministry had one too. :)

    Once again, great post.

    • Kendall Conner : August 27, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      So glad you like it! Sorry, though. I typically just write about the products and methods that I’m using myself, so I’m not so in the know about Android apps.

      Sorry!

  9. Hey is there a free buffer app? I love the concept of buffer but don’t want to pay the $100 to manage my 7 facebook pages and 4 twitters accounts.

    • Kendall Conner : August 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      There is a free version of Buffer, but it’s limited to only a few accounts. I use the $10/month account for our church.

  10. Hey Kendall, we use KakaoGroup to do that very same thing now with a couple of our ministries within our church. We were trying to do it through Kakao talk (I live in Korea) but people always leave the group because it’s just a chat. But with the groups through the group app every knows to stay in and receive information that way. We will be starting to use PCO in the new year as well. We used it in the past, but had to put it down because of budget cuts and what not… looking forward t begin organized again!

  11. Kristopher Schmetzer : January 17, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Great apps. Thanks for sharing! I have used buffer as well. I will have to try some of the others.

    There is an app coming out for iPhone and iPad on January 29 that you might find beneficial. It’s called Wants and Needs. It’s geared towards Christians to help put your life in perspective and cultivate more gratitude. It can also be used as a prayer list.

    You can check it out at http://WantsAndNeedsApp.com. I will send you an email with more info and how you can download the pre-release version.

    God bless.

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