Google Docs and Forms
Purpose: Create, edit and share online documents and forms
Google provides a suite of online collaborative tools for anyone with a Google email account. You also can pay for Google’s business suite that includes custom email addresses that match your website. Either way, these apps have a place in church administrative efforts.
For document creation, meeting notes and even sermon writing, Google Docs is an easy option that allows cloud storage and sharing of documents. You can even invite others to join in and edit the document in real time, which is great for event planning or other collaborative efforts. You can export documents to Microsoft Word and PDF file formats, as well as print documents directly from your computer.
The app version of Docs allows for easy editing on-the-go, though there might be a learning curve for those who are less tech savvy.
Whether you need a permission form, new visitor questionnaire or some type of survey to gather information, Google Forms offers templates and a user-friendly interface to create it. You can drag and drop form fields, and then email the link or text it to others for filling out.
Once submitted, the form entries can be viewed, downloaded as a spreadsheet or emailed to you
depending on your preferences.
Things to consider before using Google Docs and Forms:
- Easiest to use these on desktops and tablets
- Being a cloud-based application, you’ll need internet access in order to use.
Slack is a great tool for internal communication in churches, offering an alternative to text or email threads. While there are paid plans with per-user pricing, most churches can make the free version work for them. Communication in Slack can be separated into sections or separate conversations called channels. Our church uses Slack for leadership and volunteer communication extensively this way. We have channels dedicated to sermon discussions and planning for pastors, children and youth for volunteers and teachers, as well as teams for audiovisual and other services.
The free version allows access to a certain number of messages in conversation history before it puts them behind the paywall. Other useful features include private channels that are invite-only for sensitive discussions and direct messaging between individuals.
Things to consider before using Slack:
- Assess the use for your situation to confirm whether the free version will be good long term
- Have a good game plan set in place for the use of channels in
order to keep the clutter managed.
Purpose: Personalized mobile app creation
OneAppWay is a newer contender in the mobile app for churches, nonprofits and businesses. The platform is built on InfoMark, a proprietary system that has powered websites for several years now.
They gave me a chance to create an app so I could experience the process like a typical customer. Jesse Stallone was my main point of contact. He walked me through the steps to register and choose a template. Then they built the app. The process was super simple with clear instructions provided.
After the app structure was in place, Jesse explained the content controls and management system. He also showed me how to use the InfoMark app to make a lot of content changes from my phone.
All in all, OneAppWay is quickly making itself an easy place for churches to provide a quality service for their members.
Things to consider before using OneAppWay:
- While it has multiple ways to customize, you can’t remove the OneAppWay branding from the app template.
- The price is affordable, and features are good, with nice templates.
- Support is very good.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Jesse Stallone was a guest on a recent episode of Amplify, a TAB Media podcast. Check out that episode at thealabamabaptist.org/podcast/jesse-stallone or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.