Bringing Technology into a Technology Insufficient Youth Ministry

A guest post by a recent rebuildmychurch.org presenter Brandon Weisenfels.
See Brandon and Sister Mary Clare’s presentation on how their youth ministry is reaching out and evangelizing in the living rooms of families who may not have set foot in their church for years!

BSMC
Brandon Weisenfels is the Director of Children’s & Youth Ministry at Blessed Sacrament in Jonesboro, AR. Brandon has been involved in Youth Ministry Leadership for 17 years. He has served as a member
of Adult Advisory Council for the Diocese of Little Rock, as well as the Youth Director for the Arkansas Catholic Conference. He is now ministering in his parish full-time, working with grades PreK4 – college.

My parish ministry recently decided to update our technology in an effort to keep up with the demands of modern-day youth and families. We set some goals and figured out what we wanted to do. This is what we are doing and how we are doing it.

Goals:

  • Digitally register children and youth during Sacramental home visits
  • Wirelessly present praise and worship for children’s & youth ministry nights from a tablet
  • Allow parents to register via our website

After coming up with a budget and a plan, we started by purchasing two Apple TVs,an Apple iPad 2,an OtterBox Defender iPad Case,a Bluetooth Keyboard,and 2 Stylus Pens.We were able to purchase this equipment for less than $620, which was our budget. We used online purchasing sites to find the best deals and didn’t use the latest and greatest Apple products. We bought refurbished Apple TVs, saving us a bit of money, directly from Apple.
We already have two projectorsthat take HDMI Cablesand channels on our sound systems that take Stereo Headphone Audio Cables.We also have WiFi capability in all our buildings. (This is a must when projecting from an iPad.)

For our first goal, we are using an iPad app called “Mobile Forms” by Device Magic (review) and an account through DeviceMagic.This allows us to create forms that can be filled out on the iPad when we visit families in their homes. It includes signatures and the capability to take pictures of baptismal records while in the homes. After the form is filled out and signed on the iPad, it is uploaded to a Google docs spreadsheet and a .pdf document is sent via email.

To accomplish our second goal, we purchased the “Keynote” app, along with purchasing the Apple TVs to connect to the projectors. This allows us to present on the projectors without a video lag. We are using YouTube videos for our children’s ministry praise and worship. In order to present the videos in this new format, we needed to download the videos in an mp4 format to use with Keynote. To do this, we added the Mozilla Firefox add-on YouTube Downloader Lite, for our Mozilla Firefox browser, to download the videos from the YouTube website. After we downloaded the video to the laptop, we were able to sync them through iTunes onto the iPad. Once on the iPad, we were able to add them into Keynote to play in our presentations.

For our Third Goal, we purchased Adobe Acrobat Professional XIwhich allows you to create online forms to be added to the website, or sent via email, and submitted back to our Google docs and through a .pdf sent via email.

I hope this helps some of you get started incorporating tech into your New Evangelization efforts!

Let us know in the comments how your ministries have incorporated technology!
Pax,
Brandon Weisenfels

Here is a handy link to most of the products available through Amazon.com.

Scott Dougherty

Scott Dougherty is the Director of Ministry Development for Perpetual Motion Ministries and a co-founder of Project YM. His professional ministry career has included time as a camp missionary, Jr. High Youth Minister, Diocesan YM Special Initiative Director, RCIA Director, and Coordinator of Faith Formation for Children and Adults. Scott has a young family that includes his 4 kids; Jonah Thomas, Gabriel Joseph, Lucy Anne, and newest addition Francis Kelly III. He would be incapable of completing the simplest of tasks if not for his amazing wife Jennifer. He travels the country consulting with ministry professionals and developing programs designed to engage the unique charisms of each parish.


Scott Dougherty


Scott Dougherty is the Director of Ministry Development for Perpetual Motion Ministries and a co-founder of Project YM. His professional ministry career has included time as a camp missionary, Jr. High Youth Minister, Diocesan YM Special Initiative Director, RCIA Director, and Coordinator of Faith Formation for Children and Adults. Scott has a young family that includes his 4 kids; Jonah Thomas, Gabriel Joseph, Lucy Anne, and newest addition Francis Kelly III. He would be incapable of completing the simplest of tasks if not for his amazing wife Jennifer. He travels the country consulting with ministry professionals and developing programs designed to engage the unique charisms of each parish.



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