Today more than ever is such an exciting time for God’s work. There are an abundance of tools available to us for this era of ministry that often go underutilized and many are some of the best kept secrets out there 😉
This week I’d like to highlight a set of free resources that I even just became recently aware of. While I haven’t explored them in-depth enough to give a true review, this summary hopes to spark some ideas for you to explore—all developed by the great folks at Life Church.
Ideas, Teaching and Presentation
Open.Church is home to an idea repository, topics, guides (sermon and teaching), blogs and downloadables ready for you to use—free of charge. Their worship and production and leadership resources are a go to for me personally, and in general, are subject areas that are always a benefit to any ministry team, no matter the size. Everything has been packaged and prepared for you to use and enjoy.
Ministry Online, Streaming
21st century ministry requires us to be where the people are. The Church Online Platform is a free tool that allows you to build your online campus, with features such as chat, notes, mobile support, slides, bible integration, analytics and streaming. Their site touts that they even provide free help desk support for the service; a vast contrast from other free service models that typically charge for support when the product is free. While I cannot personally attest to the individual service’s reliability, their solid and successful reputation behind the Bible app gives great credibility, and at a very minimum, warrants a closer look. Their offerings rival those of other popular paid services like Streaming Faith and LifeStream.
Data & Analytics
Effective ministry is supported by good data. Data helps us to visualize the big picture of where we are, where we were, and most importantly, where we’re going. Church Metrics is a free data tool that allows you to track what’s important to your ministry, with tracking features such as attendance, volunteers, giving, salvation counts, multiple users for team support, reporting, and more. It even allows custom metrics to be added for tracking and sports a free app on iOS and Android. Best of all, your data is protected with bank level encryption (128-bit SSL) and no software is required to be maintained by your staff.
One of the more lacking addressed needs within ministry are tools to help evaluate, develop and equip your staff for optimal success. Develop.Me is a free human resources management performance review tool for ministries, with features such as performance cycles and plans, collaboration, web-based management, and multi-campus support. While HR is not my area of expertise, I’ve personally seen a great need throughout many consultations for a tool to help evaluate and cultivate the growth of the ministry’s leadership team, for both paid staff and volunteers.
Text To Give
With mobile device usage now surpassing that of desktops, every ministry should strongly consider adopting a mobile giving tool. While this particular service is not free, Kindred (in partnership with Life Church) allows your ministry to accept donations via text. There are many services available to accomplish this and you would certainly want to compare your options against your specific needs and goals. Having done some research in this area myself, I can say that their offerings and price points are very competitive and is worthy of consideration.
Last but not least, Life Church is best known for arguably the world’s most popular bible app, also known as YouVersion. While this is a great tool for your personal use and study, one of the more less known features, in my opinion, is the live tool that allows you to add an interactive element to your services and events. It features notes, selected scriptures, polling, anonymous questions, prayer requests, giving, and more; all of which can be set up and administrated through the publicly available Bible app.
All together or in part, these tools can enhance the effectiveness on your ministry, allowing you to focus on what’s most important. Many of the ministries I’ve had the opportunity to consult with were lacking or absent altogether in each of these areas, mostly due to cost or just not knowing. Big props to Life Church for meeting this challenge and need head on!