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Discovery Ministry and Handhelds

by Tim Drenk

The mission of Discovery Ministry is to build disciples in the community and marketplace building a foundation for ongoing spiritual growth and minitry. We have developed materials to help us accomplish that goal called the Essentials for Spiritual Growth Series. This series focuses on building a foundation for ongoing spiritual growth and ministry by thoroughly understanding and practicing the basics of the Christian life.

We have incorporated handhelds in a variety of different ways. We have created several ebooks that are available to people going through the Essentials for Spiritual Growth Series (of course these items were developed for paper and are still available on paper). We use PalmReader as the reader program for these ebooks for several reasons: it's free, it's available for the Palm and the PocketPC, the program to create the ebooks is free, it supports stylized text and limited formatting, and it's easy to beam from one person to another.

One of the series of ebooks is a daily devotional called Personal Time with God. The goal of Personal Time with God is to help provide an outline for spending time with God every day that focuses on our relationship with God. By making it available for handhelds, it can be used wherever and whenever a person with a handheld has the time to go through it.

Another series of ebooks developed by Discovery Ministry is review content and questions for each topic covered. A person can review what was discussed and have the content available at any time. Being reminded of spiritual truths already discussed help in the process of learning and applying them. Having that content available whenever a person has his or her handheld is simply taking advantage of the technology available.

As staff of Discovery Ministry, I use my Palm in many different ways for ministry, personal growth, and productivity. I keep track of appointments and meetings as well as a record of my activities and meetings for each day. I keep a database of my disciples, what we covered during our last meeting, what we will do during the next meeting, and prayer requests. I keep track of the miles I drive to and from meetings for tax purposes. I have an outline of our strategy, distinctives, and resources and a diagram of the process of discipleship. I take seminar and conference notes on my Palm that I can transfer to my desktop computer for further use. I also have task lists for the variety of projects that I am working on that keep me on track and organized for each one. When I am overseas on mission trips, I use my Palm for email and currency exchange.

I use the Personal Time with God on my Palm every day as well as studying passages and exploring them for growing in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I use two translations of the Bible on my Palm so much that I no longer carry my printed Bible. I take sermon notes during church on my Palm, switching between note taking and the Bible to add Scripture verses to my notes. And I keep track of prayer requests of family and friends.

For the other areas of my life, I use my Palm just as much. I keep account information in a secure encrypted database. I have pictures of my family on my Palm. I write quick notes to transcribe later. I keep track of finances, recording expenses that are synced with my desktop program. I keep track of logins, passwords, and websites in a database. I read ebooks and write letters using a fold-out keyboard. And I play an occasional game.
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