Parents, Bookmark These Sites!

51af94d1a351c27119Parents, want to know more about the music, movies, and apps your teens talking about? Below are three sites you should visit often to get more information on things like music, movies, and apps. Check them out and then bookmark them so you know what your teen is listening to, watching, or using on their smartphone.

Common Sense Media. This is one of the best sites to get information on things like movies, music, apps, and other things. In particular, their movie reviews are extremely helpful and insightful. They are written for the purpose of parents so they tell you everything you need to know from positive and negative messages, violence, sexual content, and language. Another thing I like about their movie reviews is they always have a “Families can talk about…” section that offers questions and discussion starters parents can use with their children about the movie. Click here to see their movie review of the popular movie “The Fault in Our Stars” for an example of all these things. They also offers these same kind of things for their music reviews. Click here to see their music review of the popular song “Fancy” Iggy Azalea. You can also check out reviews on books, apps, and video games.

Plugged In. Plugged In is a ministry of Focus on the Family and is pretty much offers the same thing as Common Sense Media does. In addition to movies, music, and game reviews they also offer some other helpful stuff on their site. One of them is what they call the “Family Room.” In the “Family Room” parents will find tons of articles and conversations starters for parents.

iTunes Charts. Most teenagers have iPhones and on those iPhones they are downloading tons of apps and hundreds of songs. iTunes charts let you see what the top songs and apps are. This is extremely helpful because your teenagers are probably listening to the top songs and using the most popular apps. Once you see an app or a song you know your teen has said something about, jump on over to Common Sense Media or Plugged In to get a review of it.

There are many more helpful sites out there for parents, but these are three that I am always pointing parents to. Parents, inform yourself with what’s going on and what is popular in teen culture.

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My Favorite iPhone Apps for Student Ministry

I’m always on the lookout for new apps to use in student ministry. There are a ton of apps out there, but there are some that are great for student pastors that will come in handy for your ministry. I wanted to share my favorite iPhone apps that I use regularly in my student ministry.

Youth Culture Report. One of the things I am always doing as a student pastor is keeping up with the current teen culture. I try to keep an eye on current trends as well as what is happening in the life of teenagers around the world. I do believe every student pastors need to be students of teen culture. This is why I love this app! On the Youth Culture Report app, you will find tons of links to blogs and articles about current teen culture. It’s simple and easy to use. This is an app every student pastor needs to have on their iPhone. By the way, they are relaunching this soon and it will be even better!

Group TextThe best way to send out reminders to students is via text messaging. Because of that, I use text messages to promote events, send out reminders, and to just connect with students. Most of the time I send out promo’s and reminders as a large group text using the app “Group Text.” This is a great app I was introduced to by my friend Josh Evans who uses it with his students. It allows you to create lists and then send out a mass text to whatever list you want. I have a list for my students, leaders, and parents.

DropboxI absolutely love Dropbox! Dropbox allows you to keep files in a cloud that can synced between all your devices. For example, the files in my Dropbox are synced between my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook. Awhile back I wrote a post about using Dropbox in ministry that will help you see how I use Dropbox in my ministry (Click here to view that post). It’s a nice app to have if you have important files you want at your fingertips at all times. I keep all my files for our student ministry in my Dropbox so I can access them whenever I want on what device is infront of me. This also allows me to back up those files and not have to worry about loosing them.

EvernoteEvernote works the same as Dropbox, but is notes instead of files. I use Evernote a lot when it comes to meetings and reminders. If I need to take quick notes during a meeting with my leaders, parents, or senior pastor, I can take them in Evernote on my iPad and open them up later on my iPhone or Macbook. What is so great about Evernote is that your notes can be text, audio, or even an image. There are some great posts about using Evernote in student ministry, but here is one I would recommend you taking a look at.

InstagramBy far one of the most popular iPhone apps out there is instagram. But instagram is a great app to have if you’re a student pastor! It’s a great way to take quick pictures of your students, events, and trips and post them to Twitter or Facebook so other students and parents can see them.

There are a few more apps such as Twitter and Facebook that are self-explanatory that I use daily in student ministry. The ones I mentioned are one you may have not heard of that I think are “must haves” for student pastors. What iPhone apps do you use most in student ministry?

Recommended Ministry Apps

The other day my good friend Josh Evans posted a blog with some great ministry apps he recommends. I would encourage you to go over to his blog and check out the recommended apps, he recommended some great stuff! I always love when people share resources as Josh did so I figured I would share some ministry related apps I am currently using as well. I have an iPad so these apps will be for that, but all of them are iPhone apps as well. Enjoy!

The Gospel Coalition-If you are keeping up with whats going on in ministry than you know the voices that come through the Gospel Coalition-Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Tim Keller, DA Carson, Mark Dever, and many more! The blogs, articles, and videos on this app are amazing! So much good ministry-related stuff!

Reformed Theological Seminary-One of the top seminaries now have all their course lectures for you for free through this app! Yes, you heard me right, every lecture, from every class, is on this app for you to listen to for free! A lot of people cannot go to seminary for different reasons so if you’re looking for some seminary level lectures and education, here you go! Listen and learn!

Elevation Church-I am a big fan of Steven Furticks’s preaching and listen to him via podcasts a lot. Elevation now has an app where you can listen, and watch, every sermon from every series Furtick has every done! Also, his blog is part of the app so you can keep up with his blog as well as his preaching.

Dropbox-You have to use Dropbox! I recent wrote an entire post on how you can use Dropbox in ministry. Click here to read that full article.

YouVersion-This is by far the best Bible app out there. It has every translation you can imagine and it lets you keep your own notes that will be saved to your account so you can access them from the app or on the website. The downside of this app is you have to be connected to internet most of the time to use it. I would also recommend the ESV Bible app that works offline.

Vyrso-If you like to by e-books and do reading on your iPhone or iPad this app is for you. You can purchase books through this app and it will save them in a library for you. If you use Logos Bible Software this is a must have app for you! This app is made by the same people and if you have Logos your whole library will be saved in Vyrso for quick, easy reading. This is nice because when you use the Logos app it sometimes take too long to load and is complex because its such a huge program. But with Vyrso, its easy to read a book from your library.

Grace to You-I am very big fan of John MacArthur. I use his study Bible frequently and enjoy his preaching as well as writing. Grace to You is his ministry and they now have an app where they keep all the resources. You can listen to almost every sermon he has ever preached as well as watch him teach the Bible. His blog is also on this app so you can keep up with that as well.

Now for some less ministry related apps that might be of interest to you who are in ministry or not in ministry.

Amazon-I do most of my shopping through Amazon. I always buy books through Amazon and recently have been buying others things from them as well. They have this handy app that lets you quickly browse items and purchase them from your iPhone or iPad.

WordPress-If you are a blogger and use WordPress as your platform you have to get this app! I love it! It allows you to keep up with your blog on your mobile device like a charm! It basically is your dashboard where you can see your comments, views, and even edit posts.

Twitter, Facebook, and Google-There is no need to explain these apps, everyone loves social media and google is the number one search engine. Get these apps and use them!

I hope you have found these recommended apps helpful. They all are free and work on both your iPhone or iPad. I would love to hear of the apps you are using in ministry and outside of ministry!