Here are the apps I use to manage my “professional” life. These may be helpful to pastors, small business owners, and managers of non-profits.
1) File Management. Many businesses I know use on site servers for their files. This is where they will save documents and graphics. In my experience, I never loved this option. There is alot of overhead. You need someone who knows how to manage a server, must maintain some kind of external RAID (to always have a complete copy in case you lose a hard drive), and must create some kind of secured connectivity if you want to access the data while you are away from the office.
Instead of all this hassle, I opt for Dropbox. This is an in the cloud server for all documents. It is much more accessible than the walled garden of Apple’s iCloud and Microsoft’s OneDrive. The cost is negligible. I save alot of articles, sermons, board meetings, etc and have yet to run into my storage capacity. Changing one folder on my desktop will automatically push the changes to all my other devices attached to Dropbox (smartphone, tablet, etc). As the admin, I can access earlier versions in case a team member blows up the world (you know who you are). And you can give different access to different users based on their security clearance.
I have used this option on teams as large as 20, and as small as 2. A great product, with great integration, and great admin tools.
2) Team Communication. Boo for email. Boo for texting and FB Message. Boo on voicemails. These are not bad things, but they are constantly being filled by many different areas of life. I have to dig through sales people, buddies, newsletters… it is easy for the center of my life to get buried in other noise.
So, I have moved my Team’s Communication to Slack. This app is available on tablet, smartphone, and even a desktop app. And this allows our team communication to be in one place. This allows it to rise to the top when it comes to engagement and interaction. I don’t have to scroll through screens of text to find answers. They are in one place. And there are different “walls” for different teams. So there can be a “wall” for the leadership team, one for the weekend team, etc. This has lessened my email load, put all my team communication under one banner, and overall had a great feel to our team.
3) Church 101. Okay… this one is only for church folk. There are some basic needs for people having to deal with the administrative side of church. And historically, there have been some pretty poor software options. Giving, people management, small groups software, children’s check in. I remember a day where a single church would have different software to solve each need. And that would require inputing constant redundant information. It was awful.
Whelp, in the last few years, a new power awoke in the world. It’s rise happened slowly, away from pomp and circumstance. Before anyone knew it, a new champion had arisen that held all the cards and was built from the ground up to be mobile and intuitive. I speak of course of the Planning Center Online. This suite of apps is not new to the game. They have been the go to program used by church bands for close to a decade. But they have backed up and added new apps to their catalog. They now cover giving, check in, event registration, groups, and the classic service planning app. And all these apps are built upon an incredible (and free!) database app. Our fledgling church used the database app even before we needed anything else. It was truly free, and helped us keep track of phone numbers and emails and family households. Every time we brought a new app online, it drew its information from the database app, entitle People. We have brought new apps online each new step of our church’s growth. And we only have to pay based on size and which apps we need. It’s the best church management app on the market, trouncing their competition with their exhaustive offerings and centralized free database.