Mobile apps are becoming more and more a part of our everyday lives, simplifying ordinary tasks and providing instant access to information on the go.
For example, you can easily access information about The United Methodist Church with the new UMC app, which enables access to daily devotions, news, videos, photos and social media sites. The "Find-A-Church" feature allows you to find a United Methodist church in a specific geographic location, as well as UMC conferences, agencies and administrative offices. The "Ask InfoServ" feature connects users who have questions about the church or are looking for resources with church staff who can help.
After scouring the Internet and consulting with techie pastors, laity and bloggers, we take a look at ten other leading mobile apps for church leaders.
Beginning with Number 10
10. BC Reader
Are business cards falling out of your wallet or computer bag? Who has time to enter that information into a phone? You know what"s next! "There"s an app for that!" Use your phone to photograph each card , and Business Card (BC) Reader software will save the information and create a new contact.
iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (requires iOS 3.1 or later): $5.99
For preaching, the Lectionary app is essential. Spend 99 cents for this app, and you can easily review this week"s texts on your iPhone. Some may argue that this app should be closer to number one, but some helpful features are missing. For example, there is no search feature and no way to make notes inside the text. Still, for under a buck, it"s very handy!
iPhone and iPod touch (iOS 3.0 or later): $0.99.
iPad (requires iOS 3.2 or later): $4.99
With the new Facebook timeline, updating your church or organization"s Facebook page frequently is critical! If you are among the many people who have grown an extra appendage (phone or tablet), use it to update your page whenever and wherever! Photograph the potluck or vacation Bible school gathering and post it directly to Facebook. It couldn"t be easier.
iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (iOS 4.0 or later): Free.
7. Evernote & JotNot Pro
Evernote organizes everything! If you want to remember something, take a picture with your phone and Evernote will use text-recognition technology to make the text in the image searchable. Do you like the message on a marquee and want to use it at your church later? Take a photo and Evernote will store the words in its long-term memory so your long-term memory is freed up for more important things " like when the youth are washing cars.
In a similar fashion, JotNot Pro turns your iPhone into a scanner. Where Evernote takes a picture and catalogues the text, JotNot Pro takes a picture and cleans up your page"s background and text, making the document easier to read. If your goal is to go paperless, this app will help you get there.
Evernote iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (requires iOS 3.0 or later): Free.
JotNot Pro: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (requires iOS 3.1.2 or later): $0.99
If you"re looking for the best reading app for the Bible, look no further than Logos. Navigation is a breeze. Many translations are available. It includes Greek and Hebrew references.
iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (requires iOS 4.0 or later): Free.
5. KeyNote and KeyNote Remote
Create a presentation in MS PowerPoint or Apple"s Keynote and then control it from the pulpit. With Keynote, you can build attractive presentations and import PowerPoint presentations without any virtual jumbling to fix. Keynote Remote allows you to control another computer on the same network that also has Keynote. Keynote Remote also frees you to untether your iPhone and iPad and move about the room.
Keynote: iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S, iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation) and iPad (requires iOS 5.1 or later): $9.99.
Keynote Remote: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (requires iOS 4.2.1 or late): $0.99.
If you"re not using cloud-based storage and file sharing at least on an elementary level, you should be! Dropbox is an easy- to-use app that adds a nice little folder icon to your desktop. It automatically syncs any file that you put in that folder to other computers with Dropbox installed. No more frantic calls to find that elusive file at 11 p.m. on Saturday! Dropbox makes it easy to access those files from virtually anywhere.
iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (requires iOS 3.1 or later): Free.
FLANNEL and Rob Bell have teamed up to make all 24 NOOMA videos available for Smartphones and tablets. The app is free. The first video is free; the rest are $2.99 each " half of the retail price! With this app, you can have all of the 10-15-minute videos available wherever you go.
iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (requires iOS 4.0 or later): Free.
Toodledo will simplify your to-do lists. Toodledo is a powerful task and note manager that will help you organize lists and notes. Your increased productivity is a win for everyone! Use Toodledo as a stand-alone application or use it to synchronize your lists on Toodledo.com.
While Toodledo is designed for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, Ultimate To-Do List (Android) and TaskJot (Blackberry) offer the same functionality.
iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (requires iOS 3.1.3 or later): $2.99.
Compatible Android " Ultimate To-Do List: $5 after a free 14-day trial.
Compatible Blackberry " TaskJot: $14.95 standard/$24.95 Pro.
This app has everything you need and then some!. It includes several Bible translations and paraphrases, including ASV, ESV, KJV, LBLA (Spanish), NASB, NRSV and The Message. You can also download CUV (Chinese), Latin Vulgate, LutherBible, Reina Valera and Septuagint + Greek New Testament free. The translations are on your device so you need no Internet connection to use them.
The BibleXpress intuitive search feature rivals Google. It allows you to choose how to organize your bookmarks and includes Easton"s Bible Dictionary, with about 4,000 names, places and Christian-specific definitions along with Scripture hyperlinks. The app also includes a Prayer Journal that allows you to keep track of your prayers by contacts, categories and calendar.
With these features, you do have to pay a little more than for most other apps. You can purchase BibleXpress for $29.99 and enjoy all the features. If that"s a little steep, the BibleXpress Lite app has the intuitive feature. It does not contain copyrighted Bible translations, but you may purchase additional ones. BibleXpress Lite costs $2.99.