Tech Tools that we Love

 In Blog, Communication

Occasionaly I build things around the house and there is one thing that each project has in common: I make a plan, a list, gather the supplies and tools before I begin each time. Without fail, at some point along the way, I realize that I need one more piece, or tool, or gadget to successfully complete the project, so off to the local hardware store I go.  I now rate the complexity of a project by the number of trips to Home Depot that I think it will require.  ‘Oh, you want a bookshelf for the living room,…. That’s gonna be a three trip to Depot job’.

The reality is that having the right tools makes the job much easier. We hope that the tools we build at aware3 make your life easier, but we know that you also need other tools in your toolbox. We thought we would share a few of our favorite tools with you in the hopes that they will help your church in the ways they have helped us.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Slack

We all need to communicate and collaborate on projects from time to time. Slack allows us to share files, connect about projects and get everyone on the same page quickly. For instance, if you needed to create a new video for a sermon series and were looking for feedback, you could drop it into slack and post a message “hey, what do you think” to everyone on the team that needs to have input and sign off. Now all your feedback and conversation happens in one place instead of trading 15 different emails. Bonus: we also have fun with the random .gif generator. 

Zoom

Sometimes group chat isn’t enough and you need to see people face-to-face. That’s where Zoom comes in. This video confrencing tool is an easy way of getting everybody in the same ‘room’ at one time. It can be a quick tool to create recorded webinars, have a team meeting when people aren’t in the same place, and it’s simple to invite people to join. If you need a few tips on getting started, here’s a great video from Church Community Builder on using zoom.

Trello

Remember cork bulletin boards? They just went digital. Trello is a great tool to manage processes and create a centralized location for notes, and tracking of progress. Picture a bulletin board with cards along the top, each signifying a different step in a process. This is a great tool for processes that happen repeatedly like connections, pastoral care, or emergency assistance. Here is a blog post from EFCA about how this tool can help your church.

Basecamp

This is another project management tool, much like Trello, but Basecamp is ideally suited for stand-alone projects with many steps. This tool allows you to create tasks, assign them to individuals, set deadlines and track progress. This is a great tool for managing events like VBS, or a youth retreat. You can even set up a project as a template. For instance, each year VBS has many of the same tasks and timelines so you can just re-launch that project each year. Here’s a blog from Churchm.ag on how to use basecamp for churches.

Google Apps

Is there anything that Google doesn’t do? If you are looking for an alternative to Microsoft office, google apps are fantastic. All your files are stored in the cloud and you have the ability to share, collaborate and revise together. In addition to office productivity, Google apps allow you to manage communications with email, calendars (both personal and group), chat online and even video conference. Google allows you to use one system to manage most of your office tools within one platform. Here are some tips for churches using it.

Evernote

Death to post-it notes! Evernote is a centralized and mobile friendly solution to keeping all types of notes.  If you are out and about and get an idea for a sermon, pull out your phone and jot it down. Pastors are using Evernote to keep track of pastoral care visits or sharing meeting notes within the leadership team so that tasks are easier to follow up on. LifeWay shares a few thoughts on using Evernote.

Hootsuite

Social media can be a pain. It can feel overwhelming to schedule all of the posts and ensure that people are replied to when the tweet or post on one of your channels. Using Hootsuite allows you to manage multiple accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram…) all in one place. You can also allow multiple people to have access to those accounts in Hootsuite sharing the load of managing all the moving pieces of social media. Here’s why the people at Brentwood Baptist love Hootsuite.

What tools are you using in your church to make life easier?