Friday, April 30, 2010

iPastor

iPastor is another little app that comes from the same stable as Prayer Journal. It is designed to be a simple way of recording and tracking ministry needs. The basic idea is good and the interface very simple to use, but it does suffer from one or two minor limitations.

There is something GTD-like (Getting Things Done) about the organisational structure of iPastor. You can assign both a situation (health crisis, grief, chemical dependency etc.) to a need and also a care strategy. Then, when you review the needs, you can do so by strategy or situation. You can also delegate care and review by delegate too. All very useful.

Recording a ministry needs allows for a fair amount of detail. You have space for name, address details, contact numbers, email etc. There's one interesting box 'connections' that allows you to select from a short list of things like small group member, church member, family or friend, prospect and referral.

But this is where the application begins to let itself down. The lists are a little restrictive and there appears to be no way to edit them or add to them. Maybe you don't want too many categories, but it would be nice to be able to make a few personalised adjustments.

Another improvement would be in the way the reviewing process works. As far as I can tell, fields such as 'situation' and 'care strategy' are sorted on the basis of the first item you choose. So, for example, if yo choose "send a card" and "home visit" for your strategy, when you review by strategy it will only show up under "card". That means you have to be careful to check each recorded need for any additional data.

Hopefully these are just minor things that can be fixed or will be fixed as the product develops. I still think I'll persevere with it for a while, just to see how helpful it can be.

One last thing. When you're filling in the details of a particular person and their need, it would be great if it could use your contacts to grab information. I know very little about the internal workings of the basic  architecture of the operating system, but if this can be done easily, it would speed up data entry, at least for some people. Thinking about, being able to add them to my contact list would be good too, rather like you can when you get a 'phone call or message from someone who isn't yet in your address book.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

Hello, I am the author of iPastor and PrayerJournal. :-)

Thanks for the feedback. We will be updating iPastor in the next few months and will incorporate your suggestions into our design considerations.

Thanks,
Bryan