There’s an App for That: Trello

trello-blogOur next app to help make your ministry more efficient: Trello.

Trello is a great web based collaboration tool that makes project planning and execution a breeze. Whether you are working solo or with a team, Trello can help you organize your thoughts, tasks and resources in a streamlined and easy to use format. This tool possesses amazing visibility and cross collaboration features that will make planning any event or researching any project sail by. Features include but are not limited to:

  • Project specific boards
  • Task Cards
  • Sub-lists/check lists
  • Ability to assign to others
  • Card subscription so you are always in the know
  • Status bars and color coordination
  • Easy user interface
  • Drag and Drop
  •  Attachments (pictures, documents, etc)

How can Trello be used in a ministry arena? Here are 3 real life use cases for Trello.

1. Event Planning

Do you have a team working together to plan a summer camp? Are different people working on multiple tasks? Create a board for your even and share it with your team. Trello allows for a “swim lane” view of tasks. By creating an initial “List”, you can get a good picture of each over arching task that needs to be done by creating a “card” for individual items. Each team member can then have their own “List”. Once someone takes over a task, they move the card to their “list”.  Create a final “List” titled Complete, where team members can move finished tasks to. There you have it-an easy visual of what needs to be done, who is working on what and what has been completed. Picture staff meetings with this kind of simplicity.

2. Congregant Follow Up

Because of the simple structure of Trello, you can create a board for just about anything. Maybe you want to help yourself keep track of the people you minister to. Create a “directory” board. Next, make a list and add a card for each person. You can upload a picture, input a phone number, keep notes, etc. Next, create lists for each day of the week. Drag the people you want to contact with on Monday to the “Monday” list. Do this for each person you are contacting for the week. Using the check list option on the card, you can keep track of who you have contacted and any outstanding notes.

3. Music Archive 

That’s right bivocational Worship Pastor’s, this one’s for you. Set up your “Worship” board. Create a list titled “Songs” and create a card for each song in your musical tool box. Upload chord sheets/music/lyrics as attachments. Create a second list titles “Current Set List”. Once you decide on a song, drag it over to the list. Are you super efficient-you can work out as many weeks ahead as you like. Invite your team to view the board. They can download their music, review the set list and be ready before anyone shows up for practice. You can even make notes on the song on who is singing lead or playing keys.

There you have it. Simple and efficient. Head over to Tello.com and sign up for free today.

Next time: Slack

Your Turn: Have you used Trello in your ministry? How do you currently facilitate these types of activities? Share in the comments below.

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!

A Piece of Encouragement

As Cameron & I put the finishing touches on our Sunday prep, I came across this and wanted to share it. Be encouraged…for we all have a calling and the purpose of ministry is bringing God’s will onto earth…no matter the medium, within church walls or without.

~ Lyssah

4 Reasons Why It’s OK to Enjoy Having a Professional Job: Reason 4

As we near the end of our discussion, we have learned that we have every reason to enjoy the season God has us in. Like Paul, it does not make us any less ministers and like Jesus, we are salt and light in a world that desperately needs truth. We even see that Jesus addressed many of his messages to those in the mainstream, work-a-day life-because it is where the need is. If you are still feeling bad with the fact that you like being in the work place…I hope our last reason will put you at ease.

Reason 4: ‘Whatever’ in the Greek means…Whatever!

Whatever answerWhatever in the Greek means…Whatever! Colossians 3:23 states “Whatever you do, work at it with all  your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”. Throwing it back to the Greek, the word we  read as whatever is hos, which translates as “who, which, what, that”. Seems like an all-encompassing  definition if you ask me.

So you are literally under divine order to embrace what God has given you to do whole-heartedly. Not to mention that, seeing as God is more about the heart than the action (Ps. 40:5- 7), there is a difference between obeying and doing something with your whole heart.

As a last word of encouragement, whether you enjoy the challenge of a day job or you are challenged to enjoy it, know that this season is where you are meant to be. You are daily being equipped to run your race, not someone elses. And that, my friends, is a freeing thought indeed.