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TMCNet:  Modesto-area faith leaders share their favorite apps

[November 08, 2012]

Modesto-area faith leaders share their favorite apps

Nov 08, 2012 (The Modesto Bee - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Increasingly, technology is moving into worship services across the country. Congregations watch video clips, read biblical passages on their smart phones or even text the pastor with questions and comments during sermons.

Many pastors are on Facebook and Twitter, while others are trying to figure out how to merge their centuries-old traditions with social media and instant research tools.

The Bee asked faith leaders to share their favorite apps, those they most frequently use to connect with their parishioners and prepare their sermons. Surprisingly, quite a few use Words With Friends to stay in touch. Not surprisingly, youth pastors seem to use more apps than senior pastors -- and think Jesus and his disciples would have used them, too.

Some leaders are deep into apps, while others don't yet plug into any and are looking forward to getting a few pointers from their peers.

Here are some edited responses to our question: -- The YouVersion Bible app resources millions of people with a bounty of Bible translations, notes and reading plans. It seriously helps any smart phone, tablet or breathing person in their walk with God! The Logos Bible app is a geyser full of rich biblical content. It has everything -- commentaries, text comparisons and even Greek (woohoo!) translations. It gives us another layer of biblical depth as we prepare to humbly present God's word. Last, the Group Game app. As a youth leader, this is a must. It has tons of great game ideas for junior high, high school and even active seniors. I am pretty sure Jesus and the disciples played a few rounds of "Shuffle Your Buns." -- Erik Anderson, pastor of student ministries, Modesto Covenant Church -- I love apps! I use Dropbox for all my documents (Word, PowerPoint, Access, Excel and pdf). I have access to all of them on my iPhone, laptop, desktop and any other computer I am using. Our church uses it to store our documents for our leaders; our council members use it to access the documents we are working with at our meetings. We are trying to reduce paper waste.

Trip Cubby and Gas Cubby apps keep track of my mileage and my car expenses. I can email the data to myself and print out reports. The Logos Bible app give me remote access to my Logos software, which is stored on my laptop. It allows accessibility to all my resources (books), which are many, and my current work. I use this app for sermon and Bible study preparation. However, I still use my many printed Bible commentaries and other print resources.

SplashID keeps the numerous passwords secure and accessible to me. It syncs with my other computers as well, so I can access my passwords and other personnel data quickly and conveniently. DocsToGo allows me to access all my documents on my iPhone. It is invaluable to help me read, edit and create Word and PowerPoint documents.

-- The Rev. Ron Youngdale, senior pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Turlock -- I have an iPhone 4S and my favorite apps are: --Mars Hill Church app -- daily devotions adapted from several people I respect, such as Charles Spurgeon, Mark Driscoll and more. There are also video and audio of every Mars Hill message preached. They run about 50-60 minutes, so they really make for refuelling car rides.

--Words With Friends -- I am consistently playing with my high school youth pastor who now lives in Texas, and the student ministries pastor who oversaw the department when I was a junior high and high school student. Those guys are always checking in on me, asking how I am doing and encouraging me with the built-in chat feature.

--Wikipedia app -- You may not think of Wiki as a dependable resource for getting biblical insight, but I would be a mess without it! Wiki gives great width on subject matter and terminology and is accessible at a moment's notice in Bible studies when a student asks me a question regarding the text. Schools don't allow students to use Wikipedia as a source for research, but I encourage it when it comes to biblical literacy because of how simple the definitions are.

-- Dan Navarra, youth pastor, Trinity United Presbyterian Church -- As a priest, I have found the use of the various applications beneficial to my ministry. The Daily Readings application that is a product of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Internet Ministries enables me to have quick access to daily readings of Holy Scripture and daily feast days of the Christian Orthodox Church.

The Facebook application has enabled us to recently set up a page for our parish. Daily spiritual messages are shared, as well as news in our parish.

Two excellent apps have been beneficial to me on a daily basis: The Pilgrim app contains a daily prayer rule and reflections and the Pray Always app provides a number of prayers and reflections that help me stay focused each day.

In addition, I have interacted with parishioners by playing Words With Friends and Scramble With Friends. The interaction in these programs strengthens the bond of trust and friendship.

-- The Rev. Jon Magoulias, Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation -- This is kind of boring, but my favorite ministry app for my iPad is the Kindle app. I read commentaries and devotionals through Kindle. There are other practical things, like my calendar app, Pandora (music), Facebook, ESPN, Redbox, and of course The Modesto Bee app. I use these all the time.

-- The Rev. Mark Krieger, senior pastor, Modesto Covenant Church -- 1. for worship management and planning 2. for creating videos quickly to share online and with students, recapping events.

-- Michael Saldivar, worship and youth pastor, La Loma Grace Brethren Church -- One application I often use in my ministry is Evernote, which will sync with smart phones and tablets. It helps me track calls I receive and the requests I get as a priest. With it, I am able to keep up with who called me, what he or she requested, and any other pertinent information related to the request. Also, I can keep notes on the various projects and events we have going in the parish, for example, our recent youth concert. At times, I have also used it to take notes in preparing homilies and talks.

-- The Rev. Sam West, St. Stanislaus Catholic Church -- One of my favorite iPhone apps for ministry is Dropbox because it allows me to have my sermon notes, documents and PowerPoints on hand everywhere I go so I can be practicing my message.

Of course, I use Facebook and Twitter to keep students updated about events and for uplifting status updates for encouragement. I use my YouVersion Bible app on a regular basis to look up passages using the keyword search. I use the X3 Watch Browser software on my iPhone for accountability purposes, which ensures I don't fall into the temptation of viewing pornography on my phone. And just for fun, I have the American Bible Challenge app to quiz my students with Bible Trivia when just hanging out.

-- Mark Weaver, pastor of high school ministries, Shelter Cove Community Church -- I like Skype for contacting missionaries overseas, Evernote for keeping notes of meetings, etc., and iBooks and Kindle for reading books.

-- The Rev. Wade Estes, senior pastor, CrossPoint Community Church -- I guess I'm still a 20th century priest. I'll be getting my first smart phone in January when my contract with my current carrier is up. Until then, I slog on using the old-fashioned way: notebooks, Post-its and my memory.

-- The Rev. Gerry Grossman, St. Francis Anglican Church, Turlock Bee staff writer Sue Nowicki can be reached at or (209) 578-2012.

------ AN APP A DAY Seven apps area pastors like to use: 1. Logos Bible 2. YouVersion Bible 3. Dropbox 4. Pray Always 5. Mars Hill Church 6. Words With Friends 7. Evernote ___ (c)2012 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) Visit The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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