Tech Bytes for Youth Ministry
Most youth workers I know have a major problem. They love all things technology but lack the cash to buy the tools they long for. So the real question is, “What are great tech tools for my youth ministry that I can get cheaply?” Here’s a non-comprehensive list of cheap tech toys that will make you look like you spent a ton of money, when you’re really stretching every dime. Flip video camera: If you haven’t seen this thing you are missing out. For as low as $120 you can buy your youth group the simplest video camera ever. Your turn this on, you press the red button to record, then you flip a switch and a USB connector pops out. It couldn’t be easier to capture all your youth group moments! In fact, it was so easy I handed this to my 7 year old and she made a documentary about our move from Michigan to California. Have a bit more money? You can record in full 1080i HD video with the brand new Flip HD. There’s no doubt why Flip has captured 24% of the camcorder market. Google Groups: Online project management and collaboration can be a fantastic way to communicate with your volunteer team or staff at church. In the past this meant that you needed to spend money on something like 37 Signals’ uber popular Basecamp. The secret is, if you set up a private group on google, you get 99% of Basecamp for free. (Did you hear the angels sing there?) Your youth staff can plan events, shares files, work on stuff, and flat out communicate easily with this fantastic tool… and it’s completely free. What’s better than Basecamp about it is that it’s a Google app so it’s built to be as portable as Gmail and simple to use. You can access your group via your Blackberry, Smartphone, or iPhone. ChurchMetrics.com: One of the most common questions I hear is, “What tools are out there to track students?” Let’s face it, 99% of churches out there can’t afford or don’t need something as comprehensive as Fellowship One. (Well, if you can afford it… get it, it’s amazing!) That’s why I recommend ChurchMetrics.com. This is a tool designed by Lifechurch.tv will allow you to track the most basic stuff for free. Check out this video describing a little more about it. New iPod Nano: I’m a huge fan of the new Nano and I think it’s a great tool for youth ministry. You spend countless hours on road trips and other times where there is “soft time.” Music helps you maintain the environment you’re looking for. (Small groups, time in the youth room before your night begins, etc.) With a $7 cord from Radio Shack you can plug your iPod into pretty much any sound system on the planet. From there, you’re just two clicks away from having an instant sound machine. Two features that I love on the new Nano are better cross-fading between songs and the Genius feature. When my small group comes over I can find a song I like and turn on the Genius feature to create a playlist for me of songs that sound great together. That way I don’t have to worry about it randomly shuffling from David Crowder to Twisted Sister like on older models. (You know it’s happened to you too!) With a better battery life and 8 GB of memory for only $149, I think the new Nano is a great tool for the price. Do you have others that should be on our list? Add them by leaving a comment!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.