10 Ways the iPhone Helps Me as a Youth Pastor

I love hearing great technology tips straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. When I came across RJ Grunewald, youth minister and founder of GrunewaldDev, he had some great ideas on how to use technology, specifically the iPhone, to aid him in his ministry to youth. I thought his tips were a great resource and wanted to share them with you today, to coincide with his launch of a new iPhone ministry app called, Clips-App. Here’s RJ’s helpful tips:

10. There is not a single junior high boy in our ministry that doesn’t think Whoopie Cushion is funny.

This at times can be difficult.  I’ve been on retreats with giggling boys as their iPod Touches are making farting noises when I’d rather be sleeping.  But I’ve also had my fair share of phone plugging in my iPhone to the speakers and ripping one.

9.  When I’m texting in church, I can tell people I was reading the Bible App.

I hope this doesn’t actually happen.  In reality, the Bible App is an incredible tool that is used by people from all over the world in all different languages.  You can use it for your own personal reading or to encourage your students to try one of the reading plans.

8.  If I’m stuck in need of random conversation topics, I love TableTopics.

This is not a ministry app, but it definitely has some fun questions to get people talking.  If you were lucky enough to get Tough Topics when it was available in the App Store, it too was an incredible ice breaker questions app.

7.  I don’t need a GPS, I just use the Garmin app.

There are several turn-by-turn navigation choices; I use Garmin because I like how it looks, and it works just like their normal navigation devices.  There’s no need to buy a GPS if you have an iPhone and a nice car mount to help you get to your destination.

6.  Sometimes I need help remembering what I’m supposed to do

If I’m trying to keep track of my task list, I use Things.  If I need to keep track of my appointments, the Calendar app keeps everything in sync.  And in iOS 5.0 if I need to be reminded to ask an individual a student something important when I arrive at a certain location, Reminders can remind me when it detects that I arrived.

5.  I have to be social.

Whether it be twitter, facebook, or Google+.  The iPhone makes it easy to stay connected to students, to parents, and to the youth ministry tribe.

4.  Auto-tune is fun.

I Am T-Pain and the more recent free Songify apps have made frequent appearances on retreats so we could randomly have auto-tuned announcements.  It’s cheesy, but also extremely entertaining.

3.  There’s no need for bringing camcorders anywhere.

If you have to capture the moments of a retreat, the iPhone 4 has a great camera.  It’s not going to match the professional quality you’d get if you want to shoot with a DSLR, but for most highlight video purposes just have all your iPhone and iPod Touch users shoot some video on their devices.

2.  Everybody should hear themselves teach.

It’s torture to listen to yourself when you teach, but it is also a valuable learning experience.  The iPhone Voice Memos app makes it easy to record yourself no matter what the environment.

1. Watch movies; teach the Bible.

I’m a bit biased on this one, but I’ve put a lot into it because it’s the ministry app that I’ve wanted most.  Who doesn’t love using movie clips in a teaching or when leading a small group?  I built Clips out of that desire.  I wanted the resource for myself and I wanted to share it with my volunteers and it’s turned out to an app that I continually go to as I work on my weekly messages.

GrunewaldDev is lead by RJ Grunewald. RJ started this company as a hobby, hoping to make back some of his invested money. As GrunewaldDev has grown, so has the knowledge and skill in iPhone Programming. RJ is also a Youth Minister at Faith Lutheran Church in Troy, Michigan.

Here’s a little info on RJ’s new app, which launches today:

Have you ever noticed that a scene from a popular movie can often teach better than any great lesson from a pastor or small group leader?  Clips is all about helping people engage with the Bible by using scenes from great films. Pastors, small group leaders, and youth ministers can all benefit with the tools provided. Clips tells you exactly what scenes to use, what topics to teach, the verses you could use, and even some possible discussion questions.  It gives you everything you need to easily find the scene you are teaching from, even linking to it in iTunes.

Open the app and you are free to browse the movie library, look up topics you’d like to teach, or even search for a scene based on a particular verse.  Once you’ve found the movie you want to use, Clips makes it easy for you to have exactly what you need to lead a discussion on that scene.


– Library of 50 movies (and growing…)

– Over 80 topics

– Search by title, topic, or verse

– Share scene details via email

– Save your favorite clips and add used clips to history

– Easily find movies in iTunes through download links


Facebook: www.facebook.com/clipsapp

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dyS11

ChurchTechToday Weekly

Keep up to date with the latest news and updates related to church technology.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

About the author  ⁄ Lauren Hunter

Lauren Hunter is an entrepreneur, freelance writer, and founder of ChurchTechToday, where she encourages churches to better use technology to improve every aspect of ministry. She's also a wife to a pretty awesome coach, mom of four great kids, worship leader, and poet.


  • Reply
    Josh Pezold
    October 22, 2011

    Question, I am currently using the app you created and it’s awesome! However, the downfall is the necessity to buy the entire movie for one clip. Also once buying having to clip out the movie clip. Have you thought in the future figuring out how to sell the individuals clips or making them available through youtube? thanks!!!

  • Reply
    To Do Apps iPhone
    August 13, 2011

    Then you really don�t want to miss the boat. The reason most people do miss the boat is because, they believe the myth that it is just WAY too challenging to start and requires too much money and too much programming knowledge. Well, I am here to finally put that notion to rest!


  • Reply
    August 9, 2011

    youth today face real daily life questions need answers to believe 24-7-365 our free SPREAD THE WORD TALK WITH THE LORD program inspires daiily talks catch they need your help with first question our blogs help g hubbard po box 2232 ponte vedr FL 32004 http://talkwiththelord.blogfspot.com/

Leave a Comment

Budget Friendly Church Communications ebook

Get Instant Access to our

Free guide,
Budget Friendly Church Communications

Communicate more effectively for less money.  

Free eBook includes budget friendly communication strategies for Print, Social Media, Email & Web.

Fine tune your communications today!

Your eBook is on it's way. Check your email for download information.