3 big announcements.
June 26th, 2015
Tomorrow marks the end of the 10th month that Youth Ministry Tracker has been on the iOS app store. As we approach the first birthday of our first app, we have a lot to celebrate and a couple of announcements to make. But first, let’s talk about how we got here.
In January of 2014, Reagan and Kurt sat down in Kurt’s dining room to start working on a solution to make Kurt’s life a bit easier. Kurt has been in vocational youth ministry now for over seven years, and Reagan was one of his students that had grown up and was working on his computer science degree at Northwest Nazarene University.
Our idea was to automate tracking which students showed up (or stopped showing up) to youth group while creating an easier way to connect with every student. There were many web based options out there, but all of them required subscriptions. So we set out to create an app to solve the youth ministry attendance and communication issues without charging a subscription fee. We were also dead set on pastors being in control of their own database.
Turns out that other people were interested in that solution as well.
Over 1,000 of you signed up for the original wait list to be the first to get your hands on Youth Ministry Tracker. We launched on August 27th, 2014 and climbed the charts in the App Store under the Productivity section and actually reached #1.
Unlike most software startups, we actually published our development timeline, indicating the features that would be added and in what order. We were very ambitious, but with Reagan still a full-time student, development could only happen in sprints. Releasing new features every couple of months has been helpful, but we are ready for a change.
Reagan has finished up his degree and has started to work on developing the app full-time. In the last month, we have been able to develop new features and bug-fixes much faster than over the previous nine months.
Most feature requests were already included in our development roadmap. Our goal is to finish the feature set by the end of the summer, which has lead us to a new question: what’s next?
#1. New apps.
As we thought about all the things that we could do, the main thing we think would be helpful is to answer the feature requests that take the app outside the scope of youth ministry. We have decided to no longer just offer one app, but to create a suite of apps that will help pastors in college ministry, kids ministry, and small group ministry.
We will soon be offering multiple apps with very similar features, but tailored specifically for different ministries. We have shifted the branding of the app toward being a hub for your ministry efforts, rather than simply tracking attendance metrics.
#2. New name.
Each app will be branded MinHub with a specification for the target ministry (Youth, College, Kids and Groups). This will allow us to add features for different ministries while maintaining different user experiences. For instance, in Kids ministry, information is collected from parents, but in College ministry, information about parents isn’t even necessary.
We have set up a new wait list for anyone that is interested in utilizing an app for relationship management in these ministries. Whichever wait list grows the quickest will be the one that we work on first this fall. Being on the wait list will also allow pastors to provide feedback on features before the app is even finished being built.
#3. New possibilities.
Throughout the summer, we will be rapidly releasing new features for MinHub Youth. One of the shifts will be away from iCloud to Dropbox for syncing. This will allow us to do a couple of things. We will more easily be able to control the syncing experience because Dropbox allows for things like manual syncing. We will also be able to move toward a backend system that can be accessed by Android devices. This move will allow for the possibility for Android devices syncing with iOS devices while keeping the data in control of the pastor.