Whether you are a youth pastor, a leader, or even a parent, you are always in search of more ideas on how to minister to the teen(s) in your life. That is why we are excited to announce the Youth Ministry Ideas app. This app has all the ideas you need to minister to the teen(s) in your life. It contains 100 ice breaker questions, 100 mission project ideas, 100 ideas for fellowship and relationship building, over 50 book/bible study suggestions for discipleship, and a search bar for easy filtering of the resources. And you get all this for only $.99.
Let me take a moment to delve into why we have created this app. For years we have spent hours scouring the web and other resources looking for great ideas for youth ministry. We have also spent hours making copies and binders to make sure that our leaders and parents were fully equipped with all they needed to reach their students. Then we thought, why not save time and resources and bundle all these great ideas we have used over the years into a simple mobile application? So that is what we did. No more scouring the web for resources. No more spending hours making copies and binders for your parents and leaders. All the ideas you need are now in one place, the Youth Ministry Ideas app. Download it today.
We began offering a ministry app because we realized something had to be done. All that we are doing in student ministry is working to an extent but it is not enough. Everyday I hear students who are hurting, questioning things, and finding advice on major life issues from all the wrong places. We must step up and work like we never have before to see God move. We must find new ways to not only engage our culture, but more importantly give our students tools to go out and reach that culture. Because not only can we only do so much on our own, but also the impact of a student reaching another student will be far greater than any impact we could ever make. Not that our work is not important or great, but their is just something unique and special about those peer to peer to connections and the impact it has on all who are involved.
As part of our ministry app package you also get a mobile website. But why would this matter? Well more and more people are going to the web for information. And more and more churches are using the web to disseminate information and stay connected with those whom they minister to. But what is even more important to note is that people are now beginning to use their mobile devices instead of desktop computers to browse the web and this trend is going to continue. That is why you need a mobile optimized website for quicker and easier browsing and to take advantage of all the features that mobile devices offer. Plus, many church websites have flash which mobile websites cannot use. So ask yourself, do you have a mobile website? Are you ready to minister in a mobile world? The answers to these questions may help you identify important next steps for your ministry.
One the biggest questions with a ministry app is, "Is it just for students?" This is understandable since we are primarily a youth ministry resources site. The answer to this is a resounding no and there are three reasons why. First of all, people of all ages use technology. It is no longer the case where technology is just for "young people." The second reason is that all people need to be discipled. I would be willing to be that if you went to your adults in your church you would be shocked to hear how few feel that they were actually discipled. Finally, we are all called to build disciples and therefore we must look for ways to equip all people to do just that. Therefore, this resource, even down to the Bible studies, is fit for everyone from teenagers to adults to work together to go out and build disciples in the world around them.
We got some great feedback last week from our ministry app blog about technology in ministry and what that looks like in our congregations. So I thought I would share some quick data based on the feedback I received and then share a personal story that it all reminded me of.
Then I began to think, if I am not much different than my students, couldn't they make the same changes I did. Why couldn't their devices turn from distractions to tools for growth and outreach? I firmly believe that they can. And as we have seen, almost all students and adults have a mobile device so they opportunity for there to be a wide spread movement is great. I firmly believe we have an opportunity here that we must take advantage of. And I have seen it begin to work in my life already. I have seen it work in my wife's life when some of her girls wanted to know how to share their faith so she told them to get out their phones, download our app, and walked them through the Gospel and how to share it. I have seen it work in a high school student who usually waffles back and forth in his faith. But when he finally had a tool that he could use to grow in his faith and share it with others he got excited and is doing great things.
We have a great opportunity before us if we will choose to not just accept the way things are and instead to choose to see the way things could be and work to make that vision a reality. And I'm scared to think of what it means for those around us if we do not.
When we developed our ministry app it was out of one major realization. Things are not going well. People are turning from the faith and daily the growth rate of others coming to Christ is slowing at an alarming rate. There are many causes to this but one is that the church has stop doing their job of reaching out and building disciples. And we see the results of this failure in very tangible ways through broken families, teen depression, growing rates of various kinds of addiction, and teen suicide. But what happens if we continue to not make any changes? What happens if we just continue to settle for a Christian life of mediocrity and a world that continues to fall apart? Honestly, I do not want to think about it. It is time for us to stop looking at how things are and start looking at how things could or should be. We must step up to our calling as followers of Christ. We must devote our lives to the Gospel and spreading it in loving, passionate, and innovative ways.
Most of us hear about the opportunity for a ministry app customized for us and we get excited. But then we begin to wonder whether or not this will work for our ministry. These concerns usually boil down to one of two things: the people we minister to and the size of our ministry. The first issue usually boils down to whether or not we think that our members would use an app. Honestly some of the people who walk through our doors are less tech savvy than others. But as we have seen in previous posts, the numbers overwhelmingly show we live in a mobile world that is centered on apps. So even in the most rural of churches or the most urban, most people still have smart phones and use apps. The second issue deals with the size of church. Our churches come in various sizes. But they all are ministering in the same world and all have the same calling to build disciples in that world. So even in a smaller church we still need to equip those whom we minister to so that they can go out and build disciples. And because of the world we are living in, apps are becoming the most cost effective and powerful way to go about this. Now I know some of our budgets are smaller, but don't you think there is someone out there who can go out and give the $100 or $24.95 a month to to get this great resource into people's hands so they can more effectively reach out to the world around them? I believe so, but even if not we must do what it takes to equip others to go out and build disciples and no investment or sacrifice is too great to make sure that this happens.
Some of you may have been wondering why we are choosing to offer a ministry app now. There are many reasons but the primary one is that we are ministering in a mobile world. For a while now we have had our cell phones with us 24/7. Then Apple came along and convinced us all that we needed a smart phone. By 2011 40% of all mobile users owned smart phones(That number was closed to 60% for 18-34 year olds). In 2012 that number rose to over 50% and only continues to grow. With this has also come a boom in mobile data usage vs. browsing online using your desktop. Hence we continually hear talk about the death of the PC. At first this boom came to the web but then with the coming of the age of apps, 82% of mobile data usage is now on apps. What does this mean for us as the church?
I believe it leaves us with three options. Our first option is that we can reject these numbers as meaningless and just say that all this use of technology is a waste of time. Honestly this is not a terrible attitude. Much of our time spent on technology is wasted and leads to missed opportunities and broken or nonexistent relationships. But to merely say, as I have many times, "Let's get rid of all our technology," is short sighted to me and and could lead to the church becoming more and more irrelevant. The next option is to just accept that these changes are happening. This is a good attitude as well to an extent. The mobile revolution in our world is not going away any time soon and we need to get used to this fact. But we should not accept all of it. We should not accept how it has led to so much wasted time. We should not accept how it has destroyed relationships and families. And we should not just accept that these changes are happening without putting thought into how we can use all this new technology as an opportunity for the Gospel. The last option, and the best in my opinion, is that we redeem this technology. Instead of just seeing it as evil and a waste, we need to see it as an opportunity to spread the Gospel in new and exciting ways. Just think about your church. How many people remember to bring their Bibles still? But when was the last time anyone forgot their cell phone? I can not remember any other time in history where there was a device that just about everyone had, and on top of that a device that we could easily and quickly disseminate information to and through.
This is why we decided to begin offering app design services. Because no longer can the church just look for great resources but they also must consider how to best get those resources out to the people who they are ministering to. Many churches have realized this and starting having apps. But many of these apps fall short because they only exist to market the church and help their members grow in their faith. These are not bad things. But this opportunity is far too great to just stop there. We also need to find ways to use the technological advances happening everyday as an opportunity to reach a lost world around us. That is why we include things like curriculum and a Gospel tract in our app along with a bible, journal, and opportunities for you to add information feeds. We want you to get the word out about what God is doing in your ministry, and we also want your members to grow in their faith. But even more than that we want to see a movement of God's people started like we have never seen before. A movement where all followers of Christ are out sharing their faith and building disciples. A movement that refuses to accept the lie that things are just too far gone and the lost world around us cannot be reached. And we firmly believe that the tools we have added in this app, and the others that we will continue to add, may just be the spark that starts that movement in your communities.
Why now? Well studies have continually shown that 4% of this generation will follow Christ. We can point the blame finger but I squarely point it at us, the church. We have dropped the ball, not just with students but with the generations that have become before them as well. And it is time we realize there needs to be a change in they way we go about what we do. More importantly, it is time we realize that change cannot wait and must happen now. We must find ways to equip all of our people to go out and build disciples.
Just imagine for a second if ten years ago I told you that you could have a Gospel tract, Bible, Bible reading plans, a life issues scripture guide, and six months worth of discipleship curriculum for $24.95 a month. Not only that but you would also have a way to communicate with your members and people who you have not even met yet. And best of all, your members could copy all of those resources and share them as many times as they wanted to at no extra charge. I would have fallen out of my chair laughing at you and said your were crazy. But thanks to the advances in our world this is the opportunity that is staring us in the face. Take advantage of this opportunity today. Start turning the tide in your churches, schools, places of work, and communities. Let's work together to start a movement of God like most of us have never seen before.
If you have not heard yet, we are now offering you the opportunity to have an app customized for your ministry. Take a few moments to watch this video and hear the vision and heart that brought all of this about and to take a tour of all that our app contains.
Our ministry app is not a replacement for discipleship. Instead it is a tool to help others go out and build disciples so that together we can see the great commission fulfilled. That is why we have included things like gospel tracts, a bible, a journal, and a discipleship curriculum but do not have things alike alerts to tell you that you did not read your bible for the day. We do not want you to rely on an app to hold you accountable to grow in your faith but instead want you to have relationships with other followers of Christ and just let the app be a tool you use to help deepen those discipleship relationships. Because discipleship has not changed in two thousand years. The only thing that is different is that we have new tools at our disposal that we can take advantage of in our commission to build disciples.