There’s an App for That: Evernote

As promised, our first app to make your ministry life more efficient.

hero_evernoteEvernote is a handy little app with a simple and consistent interface, no matter what device you are using. This little beauty will help you keep track of documents, collaborate on projects and help you keep a cleaner work space (or in my case, kitchen table and the backseat of my car)! Evernote can be used, but is not limited, to the following functions:

  • Taking, storing, sharing and searching notes
  • Check lists and due dates
  • Project collaboration and real time sharing without losing documents in e-mail
  • Directly Edit a document saved within Evernote, ensuring those with access have the most up to date version
  • Event research, preparation and documentation

This is a freemium product that is wonderful in it’s free form and has some great upgrades in the paid version , including more storage and the ability to view older versions of notes that have been updated.

So, that is what Evernote does. The question is, how do we harness all of that for our ministry? Here are four ways Cameron and I use Evernote with LEGACYouth:

  1. Keeping info on our youth organized.
    With just two of us organizing, facilitating and pastor-ing over 30 kids, we are constantly having to remember who said what, who paid what, who needs prayer for what and who has x event/play/sporting event coming up. We simplified this by creating a note for each of our kids (or siblings). After chatting with them, we update any pieces of information that may be needed for followup or recall. For example, if Suzy says “Please pray for my grandma, she is having surgery on xx date” we can make note of that and when reviewing our notes, we know to ask Suzy about her grandma. This helps us promote actually looking for answered prayers, as well as showing Suzy that we care.
  2. Staff meeting notes and action items
    Our church sends a lot of information (staff meeting notes, deadlines, etc) via our email service. Dotster is not my favorite personally and it is not the most friendly for flagging or following up (I am spoiled by Outlook). By moving staff notes, proofs or action items into Evernote, I can organize them by date and search them easy as pie. I can also then share the information directly from Evernote by sending or sharing the note to Cameron or anyone else who needs it.
  3. Organizing Event Details
    Every event we do get’s its own Note. Inside this note, I can keep a list of who is going, a check list for what needs to be done and any documentation (emails, flyers, contracts, etc) that is important for the event. Evernote has a table capability, which can be handy, or you can save an Excel spreadsheet directly in and edit it within the note. This keeps me working from the most up to date information, as well as having everything I needs accessible on any device (rather than that Event folder saved on the hard drive of my computer). I can also save notes directly into these notes and have a one stop shop for the entirety of an event.
  4. No more forgetting a face
    I’ll be honest, I am not the best with names and faces. There is one lady at my church I meet almost every week and for the life of me, I can never remember her name. Evernote is helpful with this as long as my ninja skills are ready. When I meet someone or get someones information, I can put their info into Evernote and snap a quick picture. After the conversation, I can make a quick note about what we discussed and then make a point to look for them the next week.

There you have it…making ministry more efficient one app at a time. Next week: Trello: Collaboration made easy.

Your turn: What are some ways you use/can use Evernote in your ministry? Tell us in the comments below.

New Series: There’s an App for That

For those of us who work in any kind of corporate, work-a-day setting, there is a hot word we all know. “Efficiency”. You know what I am talking about. That illusive trait we all crave and strive to achieve.

One of the things I love best about my co-workers is our passion to utilize the tools available to us to get the job done. This is getting easier and easier with the continued release of apps that sync across all environments (computer, phone and tablet).

One of the things I dislike most about ministry is the seeming lack of optimization and efficiency tools. One day, it hit me. Any lack of efficiency in my ministry space was due to compartmentalization on my part. The same tools I use to succeed at work can be used to succeed in ministry, because, let’s face it, they boil down to the same thing: Processes for helping people.

There__s_an_app_for_that__by_jwientjesThat is where this new series will come into play. Once a week for the next few weeks, we will be highlighting a tool that is dominating its space in the every day world and show you how it can make your ministry life ascend the peak of efficiency and hopefully narrow that bivocational gap.

First on the docket: Evernote: Going paperless with purpose.

Your turn: What are some of the biggest inefficiencies your experience in ministry? Let us know in the comments!

Rousing Resilience: Part 1

We all have heroes.

Whether they’re family members or historical/cultural icons…we all have figures we look up to1.

Of course, not all protagonists and champions are alike; however, when we consider their innate qualities, it’d be hard to find any who lacked some form of resilience.

What is resilience, you ask?

Well, for starters, it’s the theme of this year’s Acquire the Fire event (hence, the topic’s prevalence).

Yet, as far as definition goes, resilience bears rich substance2. In fact, when we dig into Scripture3, we find resilience to be a number of things. Among them…

  • A refusal to quit…
  • A pledge to stand firm…
  • Courage maintained…
  • Boldness with honor…
  • …and a fearlessness rooted in two instinct-defying words…

“I can’t.”4

Now, I know it sounds weird, but when we confess this itty-bitty sentence to God, it not only offers Him great delight, but it also allows us to see just how much “He can.

Why? Because owning our weakness is the first step to being set free from it!

In other words, when we admit and release our crap to God, He doesn’t just listen – He intervenes, He intercedes…all the while, showing us the pathway to real, radical heart change.

Pretty cool, eh?

But resilience doesn’t stop there.

‘Cause when we drill a little deeper, we find resilience also enables us to know how…

  • …our helplessness can be expressed as acceptable worship and reference (Hebrews 12:27-29).
  • …our weakness can be flipped into God’s strength filling in the holes of our efforts (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  • …and our problems can (and will) be fixed simply by fixing our eyes on the One who ultimately is in control (Psalm 16:8, Hebrews 12:2).

Honestly, when you think about, this can be especially encouraging, considering we will encounter adverse circumstances at some point, whether it’s an abusive relationship, financial and/or occupational turbulence, past woundedness, and/or the stubble of our sin. But even when life seems stuck on cruise-control and hope is nothing but a fleeting fairytale, we can still know “no fear5.

Cause truth is: all it takes is one simple shout of surrender to bounce back…

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…one victorious “Yes” to God in the face of apparent defeat…

…and one resolute declaration of “God is enough”…

even if 6 we’re walking through hell, unsure of what’s to come (see Daniel 3).

And I’m sorry, Captain Nesmith, but the phrase, “Never give up. Never surrender” doesn’t fully capture the essence of true resilience. Because the only way to “never give up” is to surrender…abandoning any independent pursuit that suggests we’re strong enough to adjust our course.

At the end of the day, the only means of courage is to admit we must be filled with it to live it.

And that, my friends, is what real resilience is all about it.

Next time, we’ll examine some practical points on how to live resilience out in a transformational way.

In the meantime, I leave with some passages from Isaiah & one from Habakkuk:

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In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength~ Isaiah 30:15

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” ~ Isaiah 40:29

“…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31

You wearied yourself by such going about, but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’ You found renewal of your strength, and so you did not faint.” ~ Isaiah 57:10

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” ~ Habakkuk 3:19

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Footnotes

1) Which is how we’re designed

2) And is arguably one of the most overlooked faith terms in Scripture.

3) Especially Joshua, 2 Timothy, Philippians and Romans

4) Point inspired by Christ Is Life Ministries

5) The fact this sentence contains a “triple-negative” doesn’t devoid it of truth.

6) The story of Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego really centers on these two words (Thanks to Kemtal Glasgow for the inspiration)

 
Cover photo from thefeministwire.com