We're busy people with a lot of important things to do. Tracking what's important and measuring progress is one of the key activities you can do to grow yourself and your ministry. But tracking and measuring can take a lot of time.
You need to communicate with your team on a daily basis, but that gets tricky when most of your leaders are volunteers with full-time jobs. Plus, good communication can take a lot of time on your end—time that you could be using on other things.
Need a productivity boost? Here are six free apps that will help you track group sign ups, communicate effectively, and schedule your time wisely. In a nutshell, they'll help you work smarter.
1. GroupForms. I built this free app specifically for small-group ministries. GroupForms provides a free, customizable form for small-group signups. The real power of this tool, though, is what happens after someone signs up. It's designed to help you follow-up with each person and track them until they get connected to a group, so they don't fall through the cracks. (Computer, Free)
2. Huddle. This service allows you to e-mail a group of people by e-mailing a single, simple e-mail address. E-mail all of your leaders, all of your coaches, or your entire ministry with one quick e-mail. (Any Device, Free)
3. Slack. It's a modern-day AIM/AOL chat for the workplace that works on any device. Chat with your coaches or leaders, or set it up for your staff team. This works great if your team isn't near each other during the work day, like when you have a lot of volunteer leaders. (Any Device, Free and Paid Plans)
4. Boomerang. If you use Gmail or Google Apps, you can schedule e-mails to be sent later, automate follow-up emails, get notifications if someone doesn't reply, know if someone has opened your e-mail and more. Make your e-mail work for you. You'll never have to wonder if your coach read the e-mail you sent out, or forget to follow-up to a small group inquiry. It's a powerful way to clear your mind and your inbox. (Mac and Windows, Free and Paid Plans)
5. Calendly. This app lets you share your calendar with others so you can quickly and easily identify possible meeting times. You won't have to e-mail back and forth to find a time that works for everyone. Just think how much easier it will be to plan your next leader training meeting. (Any Device, Free and paid plans)
6. Pocket. Don't have time to read the newest SmallGroups.com article right now? Use this app to save the article to read later with one click. Then when you do have the time, you can pull up all of your unread articles on Pocket via phone, tablet, or laptop. (Any Device, Free)
—Tony Hill is a tech entrepreneur outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with a heart for small-group ministry.