Communication with the parents of your students is vital to the success of your ministry. This is a given.
Of course, we also know there are different kinds of communication. We know we need to communicate information. But we also communicate with an eye toward encouragement, or inspiration, or creating stronger ties to your group, and so on . . .
With these different kinds of communication in mind, I wanted to pass along two different apps that are EXTREMELY useful for communicating all types of information.
Camera+ (Not to be confused with Camera Plus.)
For iOS and Android, this is actually my favorite photo editing app. But that’s not why I’m sharing it here. What makes this little app a communication workhorse is its “Create Web Link” feature. This is an awesome way to send photos to your students’ parents as the event or program is happening. Count this in the “creating group ties” communication category.
In three easy steps, you can create a unique webpage that features only the photos you’ve sent. It generates a URL you can copy and paste and text or tweet to parents. The best part? There are no passwords or memberships needed to access it. Here’s how it works:
Take a picture in Camera+ (or import them from your photo album). You can choose to edit it using the apps many great photo editing features, or not. When you tap the photo, you’re given this prompt:
Hitting “Create Web Link” takes you to this screen where you are given a custom URL to the page where your photo (or photos) is posted. It looks like this:
You can tap the link to go via your phone, but you can also copy and paste the link into an email or text message. The URL for the image I uploaded looks like this:
This feature in Camera+ is a great way to quickly and easily share with parents the fun you and your students are having.
(NOTE: Make sure anytime you post pictures of students online that you follow your Church/ministry’s social media/privacy policies.)
This browser-based app from Google will change your life. (At the least, you should never send home a sign-up sheet of paper with a student again.) Google Forms is hands down the easiest way to communicate to your students’ parents important info that you need for an upcoming event. (There are a TON more applications for your ministry, including student polls, questionnaires, checklist’s for volunteers, etc.) You’ll need a Google account (which is free), but that’s the only real hoop to jump through.
Google Forms has been rolled into Google Drive. So, simply go to
and scroll down to the bottom of the page. You’ll see the “Forms” icon and the prompt to “Create a New Form.” Once you log in, you’ll be taken to a Form generator. The prompts are super intuitive and give you a lot of options.
I used a very simple option in my example, just selecting a couple of “yes” or “no” questions as if I were trying to plan for a parent meeting where I was serving dinner. You can see from the screen shot what’s happening:
Here’s what my finished form looks like in the builder:
Here’s the cool part. You have a few options. You can email the form straight out of the form builder as you see here:
Or, you can copy and paste the link they provide into an email you create ad send to your students’ parents. The form they will see when they click on your link will look like this:
Now, here’s the coolest part. All the responses on your form are saved on a Google Spreadsheet. You can access this form online anytime, and when you’re ready, can export to any number of file options. My sample spreadsheet looks like this:
So, you can see that I have two responses, a Yes and a No. And the “yes” Wants extra pizza. ☺ I hope you can begin to see the help this could be in your ministry.
Communication to students' parents is important, but it doesn't have to be hard.
Hopefully, this little post has helped you add two new creative ways to communicate with your students' parents. Do you have apps that make your youth ministry life a little easier? Consider sharing the knowledge by leaving a comment below.