I remember when our family got its first portable phone: it was like carrying a brick around in a purse. The phone also only had one function—to make calls. This came in handy, though, if you were stuck in the mud out on the farm and needed to connect with someone to get you out. We now have smartphones, which are nothing less than small computers connected to the internet. With the right tools installed, these smart phones can not only get us out of the mud, but can also help us make new connections, manage them, and move our ministry forward.
Conversation starter app
Have you ever been stuck for a way to start a conversation? Or struggled to know how to move to the deeper topics of life? There’s an app for that. Questions In A Box is a great conversation starter app that lets you select from four levels of relationship depth. After selecting the type of relationship, the screen will provide random conversational questions. Developed by spreadtruth.com, a Christian organization, many of these questions are specially designed to bridge to your personal testimony and gospel truths. This app is great for one-on-one relationships and also groups interested in conversational English.
Mobile tract app
How many times have you met someone you knew was interested in the gospel, but you didn’t have a tract on you? The app Got Questions can be a lifeline to recommend to someone in those situations. It is a great app to refer to anyone seeking more information about all things related to the Christian life and the Bible. The app contains thousands of articles in many languages. More content is constantly being added and translated by the Got Questions team to address current spiritual and political issues around the world.
Meet new people app
Have you wondered how you can meet new people in your area or invite people to your event? There’s an app for that too. Meetup lets you search through groups categorized by interest that meet near you. There are international clubs, play dates for children, language exchanges, Bible studies, running groups, and many more interests to search through. Meetup is free to use after creating an account. Some groups require that you join their group before the location and time is shared, but others are open to anyone. If you have a group you would like to promote, Meetup charges you a small monthly fee to list it so that others can find it. Meetup is an easy way to make new connections and find others who have similar interests.
Remembering your acquaintances app
As you make new connections using these various apps you will need a way to keep all these acquaintances in order. Remembering the names, work, relatives, hobbies, and other information of so many people before they make it into your “official” address book can be difficult. Trello can help. It allows you to create a “card” for each person you wish to add. On each card, you can take notes as you build a relationship. If you forget the name of someone you met at the park that you later see at the grocery store, you can simply search for them with keywords you may have entered in their card such as, “park, two kids, husband, salaryman.” Trello can also serve as a tool for you to pray through lists of people you are communicating with.
These are just a few of the apps that can be used to help you in your ministry. Don’t be afraid to try out new ministry-specific apps. Feel free to contact their creators and let them know what you do and don’t like, because apps only get better as people use them and give feedback. As you can see, not every app has to be ministry specific for you to take advantage of it for ministry purposes either. Experiment with your current apps to see if they can help you in ministry in ways that you may have not thought of. With the right apps, your phone really can be a valuable resource in your ministry toolbox.
Jared Jones lives and works in Takasaki, Gunma as a church planter for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He and his wife, Tara, have been in Japan for nearly ten years and have four children.