This is part two in a series on creative social media tools and opportunities for the church. For part one (my review of the new BibleGateway App) click here.
One of the great advantages of technology is the ease and availability of resources. Where it was once a struggle to have a Bible in my own language, I now have fifty translations available on my phone in only a few seconds. Another one of the great advances, has been the tools and resources that are available for discipleship training. Over the next couple of days, I will be reviewing three smartphone/tablet apps that can help you as you train, resource, and equip others to follow Jesus better.
Up first, I review the Multiply app (free to download and use). Visit their website here.
The good: It’s quick (and easy) to upload prayer requests, add to the conversation, share in community and connect with others. Also included are an abundance of resources including full video versions of past conferences, vision for how to multiply disciples, and resources and biblical training to lead with a group. The videos load quickly, the resources and group discussion guides are helpful, and can be available in the online app for and as a pdf. Everything is free and Francis Chan and David Platt are trying hard to equip and resource people to make disciple-making a priority.
The bad: There’s not a lot of bad, but here are a few that stood out to me. Some of the audio on the videos had trouble and between no sound or very little sound at points, it’s hard to follow. The app is little more than a mobile version of the Multiply website, so unless you feel the need to be super connected to either the Multiply Movement or Francis Chan or David Platt, you’re not going to gain a whole lot here. I consider it less a true app and more a really nice mobile platform. Some might have trouble with the theology, those looking for an explicitly Anabaptist, or even largely Anabaptist centered theology will be disappointed (though I also don’t think that should take away from the good material that is there). The last concern for me is a about the privacy and sharing. While I think the prayer request idea is good, the social media integration allows me to share anybody’s prayer request on Facebook and Twitter. The idea is nice, but privacy concerns are there. While sharing is good and valuable in a trusted community, the fact that anybody can post these publicly could be troublesome if use incorrectly.
Summary: Overall, a very good app and design. Smooth, quick, and easy to use are huge advantages. While I have some reservations about privacy concerns and audio/visuals at time, it is a helpful tool for those that feel ready to take the next (or first) step into discipling others. The fact that all of the resources (except the Multiply book) are free is also something that shouldn’t be dismissed too quickly, even if they are just used for informative purposes or as a starting point. I’d like to see a greater use of social media and the integration of things like Twitter feeds, and maybe a true mobile app with unique resources, but overall a good tool to consider as you disciple others.
Final score: 4 out of 5 stars