Why You Should Use Dropbox in Ministry

About a year ago I started using Dropbox after two of my professors at PBC told me about it. Since then I have been hooked and use it for many different things. There are countless reasons why you should use Dropbox and many ways you can use it, but I want to highlight how you can use it in the area of ministry. If you are in church leadership, Dropbox is a great tool for you! Here is a few ways you can use Dropbox in ministry.

1. File Sharing. When I was volunteering as a leader at The Grove, a student ministry in NC, I oversaw a lot of the media and technology. Every week I would set up the media and get all the videos and files together to run on ProPresenter or EasyWorship. Josh Evans, the student pastor, and myself set up a shared Dropbox folder so he could just drop the videos, announcements slides, and whatever else he needed for the night in the folder and I was able to pull them up on my laptop and import them into the program. Also, as I was interning at Weymouth Community Church I helped get the media up and running at one of their new campuses and we used Dropbox as well. We created a “church media” folder in Dropbox where we dropped all the motion backgrounds, countdowns, and song files so the media guy can easily pull them up on the media computer at the new campus. Sharing files on Dropbox is extremely fast and easy! Forget sending e-mails with huge attachments and having to take a flash drive along with you, use Dropbox to share files with others in your ministry.

2. Make files public. I love using Dropbox for this! When you get a Dropbox you get a “public” folder where you can drop things and it will give you a link to each thing in your folder. For example, if you go to my “preaching” page on this blog you will see links to audio of my sermons. All I have to do is drop the audio file of my sermon in my “public” folder and paste the link on my blog. When someone clicks that link it pulls up my file and they can listen to the sermon. This feature is much like Google Docs where you can share your documents with the public. If you have documents and files you want others in your ministry to be able to view, use Dropbox to publically share your files.

3. All your files on multiple devices. This is another great reason to use Dropbox. Let’s say you are working on a document on your desktop computer in your office, but you have to go home soon. If you have a Dropbox, you can install it on as many devices that you want including laptops, iPads, iPhones, and almost every other device. So you can leave the office and go home and as long as that file is in your Dropbox you can open it up at home on your iPad and continue working. The cool thing is that when you make changes to a document it saves it in your Dropbox on every other device. For example, I have a folder in my Dropbox that has tons of eBooks and PDF book. This is nice because I can pull an eBook up and read it on my iPad or if I’m in the office I can pull one up on my laptop. Having all your files on all your devices is another great reason to use Dropbox.

As I said earlier, there are many reasons why you should use Dropbox as well as many ways you can use it. These are just a few of the ways I use it. If you are using Dropbox I’d love to hear the ways you are using it and if you are not using at least check it out by clicking here. Install it and give it a try!

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Youth Ministry Media

Youth Ministry and media. These days those two words seem inseparable. If we are going to be effective in youth ministry in today’s culture we must use media in one way or another. I keep a few church media sites bookmarked such as Igniter Media, Centerline New Media, Bluefish TV, and Wing Clips. I ran over a new one the other day called Youth Ministry Media. So far I have been extremely impressed by the resources and things on this site. This is a site every youth pastor needs to bookmark and keep an eye on.

If you subscribe to their e-mail list you will receive a short, FREE e-book called Youth Ministry Media: 5 Ways to Communicate Effectively in a Digital World (Click here to go to the sign up page). It’s only a few pages long so I quickly read it and got some great practical tips for youth ministry from it. The short book basically gives you a 5 step process to effectively use media in your youth group. I will quickly list them and explain them briefly.

1. Set up a plan. Before you start to use any type of media, especially social media, find out what type of social media your students are using. Don’t us Twitter if your students are not using it. If all your students on Facebook then you better start using Facebook!

2. Facebook. Facebook has 500 million active members including your students! Your students, and parents, are already on Facebook so start using it in your ministry! Create a page or group and have it has a hub for your ministry. Also, use the Facebook to promote and get rsvp’s for events.

3. Website. Even though most of your students, and parents, will use Facebook has the main hub for your ministry, don’t neglect having a good website. Websites are more professional and still there will be some who would rather go to a website than Facebook. If you are going to have a website, make sure it is always up to date!

4. E-Mail. Sending out a monthly or quarterly e-mail is a great way to keep parents, and students, up to date on activities and things in the youth ministry. I would recommend you use these e-mails as newsletters that have information, recommended resources for parents, and a quick word about the youth ministry from the youth pastor himself.

5. Texting. Almost every student has a cell phone and are texting. Neglecting to use texting in your youth ministry would be to neglect one of the most effective ways of communicating with your students! There are great programs and apps out there that will help you organize all your students, leaders, and parents numbers for texting such as Simply Text, Google Voice, and Group Text.

Even though media is a must for youth ministry these days, make sure you are wise and use caution because it can be, and has been, used by our enemy to destroy many students and youth workers. Take a few moments and read a blog post I posted awhile back called Guidelines for Using Social Media in Youth Ministry that will help you understand how you can use social media and be wise at the same time.