Tony Myles

Tony Myles is a youth ministry veteran, author, speaker, volunteer youth worker and lead pastor of Connection Church in Medina, Ohio... and he really likes smoothies.

When it comes to apps, I really don’t care about things I really don’t care about.

With rare exception, many blog posts and articles I read about “ministry apps” tip me off to downloads that I’m not interested in. The authors mean well, but it often feels like they’re handing me their favorite pens and insisting that I can’t truly sign my name unless I use them.

Granted, I have found a few worthy downloads thanks to some timely tips. For example, the Dare2Share App is one of my personal favorites. Finding useful tools like these are rare when compared to the amount of downloading, installing, and uninstalling I typically end up doing. What helps someone else’s life feel easier can tend to make mine feel more complicated.

It makes me wonder if this is how some people view serving opportunities.

Have you ever encountered Christians who believe that there are a handful of “right ways” to serve or only certain causes that you’re supposed to care about? Flip that around – have you ever believed in something that you wished the whole would do something about?

Maybe we can play with that analogy a bit further to see it all from a fresh perspective.

Good apps and good serving opportunities:

  • Speak your language: If you don’t know what an RSS feed is, you probably don’t need to download something off an individual’s top ten list of RSS readers.  Similarly, there are countless ministry opportunities you could do – what you want to pay attention to are the ones that you should do, as if they speak directly into your soul.
  • Have features people want to return to: Apps may not be able to collect dust, but they do occupy space that could be useful for other things. Likewise, be willing to ditch the serving opportunities in your ministry you’ve been afraid to let go of. If something doesn’t really have sustainability over the long haul, consider cutting it loose in order to spend time on the things that do.
  • Are responsive to your touch: There’s nothing more frustrating when using an app than not being able to get it do anything. A good serving opportunity likewise gives its participants plenty of “buttons” to press and experience the difference their lives can make.
  • Don’t leave you personally guessing: Successful games and apps tend to have one thing in common – the developers themselves enjoy using them. When it comes to missions, don’t bother instilling something into students that you haven’t yet made a connection to first. If you respond to it, you may not need to guess how students will respond to it.

The list can go on. What else can we learn about serving using this metaphor?

  • Start free?
  • Think big?
  • Get feedback?

Share your thoughts. (And yes – feel free to share your favorite apps, too.)

Thank you for loving students!



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