Archives For android

Group Magazine Now Free

Chris —  March 3, 2015 — 5 Comments

Group Publishing announced today that you can now read the long running Youth Ministry magazine completely FREE. Group Magazine is making this change just a few issues after they celebrated their 40th anniversary. The other big change is the magazine is going from bi-monthly to a quarterly publication. The freebie not only includes the current issue, but you can access all the way back to the Jan / Feb 2011 issue.

You have 3 ways of accessing the magazine:

Group Mag Cover1. Visit and read the web version. You can also access a full screen version HERE.

2. Download the iOS version to read on you iPhone or iPad.

3. Download the Android version to read on your Android device.


A few weeks back I was visiting my friends at Download Youth Ministry and Doug asked if I would film an episode of 5-Minute Youth Ministry with him about my favorite apps.  I decided to go with the tried and true because I’m constantly surprised how many people still haven’t heard of them.  Enjoy the show:

Links to what we talk about:

What are your favorite apps right now?

Guest Post: My Switch to iOS

Chris —  October 20, 2011 — 1 Comment

A self-avowed Apple hater, I would never have thought I would be writing this post. Just this past week I gave up on Android, and went to iOS. I had owned a 1st generation iPod Touch in college, but ever since I have not used Apple technology (other than the iPod). For the past year I have carried the Android based Galaxy Tablet, and have truly enjoyed it as a close companion, but having made the switch back I wanted to point out a few differences between the two platforms, and a few reasons why iOS is such a great software.

  1. Keyboard– Say what you want, but this is my favorite thing about the iPhone. Whe you think about it, your digital keyboard is the most used input device on your phone/tablet. This means that the keyboard has to be stellar, because you will use it more than anything else (unless Siri takes over the world).  I remember Steve Jobs bragging about the keyboard on the iPhone back in his 2007 unveiling speech. Every word he said was true. Having used an iPod Touch, then Android devices, then back to iOS I can confirm that Apple makes the best darn keyboard in the business. It truly is a dream to type on.
  2. Consistency– Although I do believe that Apple is anal about what gets on their devices and what doesn’t there’s no denying the consistency of user experience across the many apps available. With Apple, if you have used one app, you can figure out the rest of the 200,000+. Android apps each had their own unique feel, personality, and idiosyncrasies. Apple apps feel like one giant loving family.
  3. Flash-I originally bought the Android tablet because of its Flash capabilities. But, now with HTML 5, and newer language development, Flash will not be as crucial an element in web browsing. Boy, how I loved the times when I could view Flash intense pages while my buddies with iPads could not!

These are just a few reasons why I am falling in love with iOS again. I haven’t even mentioned the sheer volume of apps, the quality of the Retina display, or the the trinity of iMessage/Facetime/Twitter integration. The bottom line is that everyone wants to develop for Apple right now, and it is showing in the quality of their products.

Jon Homesley

Jon grew up around Charlotte, NC. He graduated from The College at Southeastern in 2010 with a BA doubling majoring in The History of Ideas and Biblical Studies. In 2008 he married his wife Chelsea.  They currently live just north of Charlotte where Jon serves as the College Pastor, and Youth Ministry Geek (not his real title) at Christ Community Church. He prefers Windows 7 to OSX, Android to iOS, and Walkmans to iPods.

Jon’s church-
Jon’s personal site-


Brandon —  June 20, 2011 — 3 Comments

I love taking pictures with my iPhone and Droid X.  I always have one of them with me, and at 5 and 8 megapixels they take pretty good pix.  My favorite photo app is instagram (FREE) and a close second is Halftone. Both of these apps are only available for iOS (sorry Droid fans) but that is not what I am here to talk about.  I found a great app that takes those digital pictures and turns them into something a grandmother can enjoy (that sounded better in my head).  Drum roll please (enters stage right, crowd Awwws, cameras flash)…POSTAGRAM!!! Ok, I guess it is not that big of a deal but it is pretty cool.  Postagram, for Android and iPhone, was created with instagram in mind but a recent update allows you to use any photo in your phone and create a postcard.  Still not that impressed?  Well I tried it out and I was really impressed and so was my mother-in-law when she received a custom postcard with her grandchildren on it. Postagram allows you to create, personalize, and upload, a picture, note, and address.  Then Postagram prints a postcard on glossy paper, and mails it out for you.  The down side is that whole process took about 5 days, the app told me 3 to 7 days so I guess it could have been worst and each postcard from start to finish costs $1.00.  Don’t just take my word for it download Postagram the app and you first postcard are FREE!

I was thinking this app could be useful catching students doing good things, snap a picture and mail them a card with a note from you saying “Thanks for serving!”  Or take a picture of a kids face during a sloppy game and a note from you saying, “I love that you are in our ministry.”  Or get a pic of a staff person being with students and a note saying “You are making a difference, Thanks!”  People love mail and pictures, comment below with how you think you could use this app to better your youth ministry.

Every time we have been gearing up for some fundraiser or another, I think (at the last minute), “It sure would be convenient if we could take credit card donations/payments easily. A couple weeks later I have the same thought about registrations for camp. Each time I remember my research into the cost of machine with the receipt paper, the percentage off each sale it takes as well as the per transaction fee and decide it is not worth the hassle.

Then I stumbled upon Square.

Square is simple. From the little one inch by one inch plastic reader that plugs into the headphone jack on your phone (iOS or android) to the flat 2.75% fee per swipe to the super-straightforward, free app there is one word to describe it: simple.

Did I mention cheap? All you have to do to get the reader is give them basic accounting information and they mail it, at no charge, to your home or office a couple days later. How do they make money? Most places charge variable rate fee from 2.5%-5% per transaction and a $0.15 per transaction fee. Some level the percentage to three or three and a half, but square is cheap and simple. 2.75% per card swipe transaction.

The Square app is super easy to use. All you do is download the app, plug in the dongle, log in and you are ready to take a payment. To do that, you enter the amount and an optional description (we put the budget line item and the event) and swipe their card. They are then taken to a signature screen where they can sign with a finger or stylus if you have one. When they press the continue button, they are prompted to enter a cell number or email address where the app immediately sends a link to a receipt for the transaction. The money is then deposited (one lump sum deposit per day) into whichever account you provide.

You then have access to all that data (minus the full card number) in their clean, user friendly site which will allow you to download it in excel format with a ton of data attached to each transaction.

A couple of weeks ago I was stopped on Sunday morning on my way to the youth area by a member who said that he was sorry that he had not yet brought me his donation for a fundraiser.  He never has his checkbook at church.  I told him that I could take a credit card, and he was relieved.  I plugged in the square dongle, opened the app, swiped his card and it was done.  Brilliant.

Simple, cheap and brilliant, but not perfect. If you want to use this for multiple ministries, it may get difficult. You will have to sort through all the transactions to figure out which one went to which ministry. It would be nice if they could have sub-accounts to break things out easily.

Overall, I am telling everyone I meet to stop whatever they are doing, go to the Square website and start making life easier for them and their members.

For all you Android users out there, Amazon launched their long rumored Android AppStore.  I was able to do a little browsing and bought a couple of apps from it. I found it a little easier to use than the regular android marketplace.  It seemed easier to find things, but that could be because the catalog is definitely smaller. I also appreciated that when i searched for “Live Wallpapers” to use on my Nexus S I didn’t get a bunch of soft porn offerings.

One thing they are doing that I’m sure will drive traffic is everyday they are going to offer one paid app for free.  Today is Angry Birds Rio, and I a huge Angry Birds fan, so that just makes it all the better.

If you’re an Android user, it’s worth checking out.  Also pick up the new Angry Birds Rio for free.

The folks over and and Zondervan have made the new version of the NIV available as a free offline version in the Bible App.  Check out their announcement:

2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. To commemorate this milestone achievement, which made the Bible available in the common language of the people, throughout 2011, YouVersion will roll out events and opportunities that will help you more easily access, engage and share the Bible. The first of these events is that Bible App™ users will be able to download the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. Made possible through a special partnership with Biblica and Zondervan, this offer will only be available for a limited time.

Beginning THIS SATURDAY, February 12, at 8:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time (GMT-5), and lasting for 400 hours, you’ll be able to download the NIV to your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Android device. When you download the NIV, that means you’ll be able to read it even when you can’t connect to your service provider or to the Internet. This special promotion will end on March 1, at 12:00 PM noon U.S. Eastern Time (GMT-5).

Read more about how to download over at their blog.

I loved seeing this, I had actually stopped using the Bible app and had started using the TNIV Bible – Tecarta app because it had two features that the Bible app lacked.

  1. Notes feature: I liked being able to take notes directly in the app.
  2. Offline feature: I liked being able to have access to my favorite version when i wasn’t connected.

In the last few months, YouVersion has stepped up and added the notes feature, and now they have given me the version we use most at church.  Tecarta still has a few features that I like, a parallel version view and cross references, but I still find the YouVersion app so much easier to use, so I think it’s time to switch back.

If you don’t have the Bible app you can get it here:

There are others available also, but I think those two links should cover most of you.

Remember the free NIV download is only for a limited time.  Don’t miss it.

Happy Reading!

At SYM we are in the midst of app development, so I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.  Why are there so many apps out there?  Do we really need another one?  The answer to these questions for me is: 1) Apps make people’s life easy, that’s why there are so many, and 2) Yes, see answer 1.

There’s a great post over at from Matt McKee about mobile apps and why your church or ministry may need one.  The article points out that these mobile devices are not just for the geek anymore, but they are part of everyone’s life from age 2 to 90.

Here’s his list of why you may need one:

  1. It gives you another access point that your local community can access.
  2. It allows you to be location sensitive. You can send messages to a certain zip code if you want.
  3. It can integrate social media so that people can help spread your message across the Internet.
  4. It helps you get past a Sunday or Wednesday only mentality, and let’s people interact with content on a daily basis.
  5. It makes your message 1 or 2 clicks away.
  6. It makes your content more convenient, and the more convenient the more it is used.
  7. It makes your message more broad-reaching than just your local community.
  8. It can help drive people to your church building for special events or weekend services.
  9. It can make special announcements such as community wide prayer requests.
  10. It can stream your message in audio or video format.
  11. It makes reaching a new demographic even easier.
  12. It will differentiate your vision and values from others.
  13. It will create different engagement than your Web site.
  14. It drives loyalty.
  15. It puts your branding in front of potential guests before they walk in the door.
  16. It provides a new way to collect feedback.
  17. It can be a new place for people to contribute to your church or ministry.
  18. It encourages people to share your message with the people around them.
  19. It can reduce the cost of mailings and the frequency of mailings.
  20. It can highlight new books or resources that go along with current teaching series.
  21. It creates a buzz that you message is relevant in today’s culture.

Read the entire post here: 21 Reasons Your Church or Ministry Needs a Mobile App |

Do you think your ministry needs an app?

New Gmail Mobile

Chris —  April 8, 2009 — Leave a comment

Gmail introduced its new Gmail for Mobile web app for Andriod, iPhone, and iPod touch. They have tweaked the interface to allow for easier searching and basic archive, delete, etc. functions, but the most interesting update is that the app allows for offline reading of recently read messages using Gears for Andriod and SQLite for iPhone (according to Engadget). It was an allover great experience for me when I tried it out, and as earned a home screen icon on my iPhone. Check out their video (and TUAW’s review)for a demo and more information: