The iPhone, Uses in ministry, and What we can learn..

I have been an iPhone holdout for several years. I have tested about every smartphone platform (I think I skipped Nokia’s S60…) but the iPhone. I have set them up for clients, transferred their data, but no extended use on my part. It was almost a badge of honor not to have traveled to “the dark side”. Through a strange series of events and blessings over the last 3 weeks, involving some eBay, Craigslist, and some stuff only explainable by God, I now have an iPhone. I had passed up two opportunities to go that road before, based on the preference if a physical keyboard. It is still my preference, even though the soft-keyboard in iOS 4.1 is pretty good.

Ministry uses of the iPhone:
This is an article that is not really a new discussion so much as my experiences to share. There are a lot of really good and decent apps on iOS that make life in ministry a little easier to navigate. It’s odd that while I tinker and do some crazy stuff on computers, tablets, and smartphones, my overall needs on a smartphone are relatively simple and can be made to work on about any of the major OS platforms. Here are a few of the apps that stood out.

Bible by YouVersion: one of the better implementations of their app, very similar to the webOS version for HP/palm phones. All the basics are there including dowlnloads for offline use.

LIVE Curriculum App: We use the LIVE Curriculum in our Youth Ministry. The App is nice, well designed, and functional.

Dropbox / Zumodrive: I like to have access to my files remotely, and this is a great way to make it happen. Personally I use both and sync them (redundant backup). You can get 2GB of storage at each. The apps are pretty similar in use.

Documents2: It’s a doc viewer for about any format you choose. The ability to add files over WiFi is a bonus.

PDANet (link omitted intentionally): This requires a “Jalbroken” iPhone. It turns your phone into a mobile Wi-Fi hot-spot, and I don’t really recommend it for regular usage, it really works great in a pinch to grab an internet connection for your laptop or netbook when WiFi is no where to be found. The app is on par or better than the Android App and Blackberry app by the same company.

Aside from some other productivity and social networking apps, The above are the standouts to me.

Overall View

Coming from other platforms, one of the iPhone’s biggest weaknesses is almost a strength as well. There are a few things that the iPhone doesn’t easily support – such as widgets, eye candy, and other customizations (there are “undocumented ways”, I know). But I have not seen a force close, or a Java error, or really any error message. The thing just works. It’s kind of nice.

What we can learn…

I think if we as churches took an approach that church should “just work”, we might make more advancements for the Kingdom of Christ. We need to stop looking at what the church down the street is doing, and concentrate on what God (our CEO, Owner, Executive Board, and COO, if you will…) is telling us we need to do. We need to focus on those few things and do them well to the point “they just work” . God never planned for the church to minister to the point of stretching and burning out. If He plans a ministry for the church, He is going to provide the people, the resources, and the skills necessary to pull it off. We often miss it in trying to plan it our way.

Go have a meeting with THE “Higher-Up” and let Him guide it from start to finish.

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