Like most of you, my family life is fast. With the thrill and grind of ministry, school, work, play, relationships, schedule, and rest, the pace of our lives often leaves us feeling breathless. As a result, we are always on the lookout for apps to help us become more creative, relevant, and organized. Below are few of my favorite apps:
- Pinterest. Pinterest is an app for ideas. We use it to search for DIY projects, recipes, remedies, graphics, and games. When I’m struggling with writer’s block, my wife sits down with me and we brainstorm with Pinterest to wake up the creative side of our brains.
- Cozi. Cozi is an app that helps us manage the chaos of our family life. The app provides a way for family members to share calendars, shopping lists, to do lists, and household reminders. My teenager can use the app to post her list of supplies for her next school project on my shopping list; my wife and I can combine our to-do lists; and all of us can receive reminders that trash pick-up is on Wednesday and Saturday.
- Spotify. Spotify is a music app. We use it to listen to our favorite artists, our kids’ favorite music (so glad we are out of the Wiggles phase), and the favorite artists of our students. Spotify even provides lyrics. Score! (Note: Our student ministry paid for the Spotify upgrade to get rid of the ads, so we also use it as our pre- and post-service bumper music. If you have the funds, it’s well worth the investment.)
- Heads Up (mac/android). We like any app that helps us play as a family. Heads Up is great for family fun nights at home, but it’s also fun to play during that 30 minute wait at a restaurant, in long lines for rollercoasters, or any other super boring moment that could benefit from some structured distraction. (We would not recommended using it during uber-long sermons).
- Geocaching. Our foray into geocaching marked the final step into full-scale nerd-dom, but it makes cheap family adventures possible. It’s too hard to explain it in this article, but do some research – it’s a blast to do by yourself, with a few buddies, or as a family. Our next step is to create and maintain a family cache. We dare you to try to find it.
- Social Media. We have every social media app that our students enjoy. It helps us stay connected to students where they are, it provides a smidgen of accountability, and it helps me have conversations with parents before they panic over their students’ Snapchat account.
Some of you may be wondering why we didn’t mention a bible app. I do use a Bible app fairly regularly, but I’ve realized that I have overused the app and underused my physical Bible. Research isn’t conclusive, but the initial finding is that retention and engagement in material on digital pages is significantly less than on paper. I’m not saying my bible app is of the devil, but I am saying for this next season, I have sworn on my bible app that I’m going old school and returning my paper bible.
I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite apps? Post yours in the comments below.