In Layman's Terms: Give app a try to hold you to your spiritual disciplines

Todd Seifert


This week’s subject is part resource, part shameless self-promotion. But it’s aimed at helping you stay connected with other United Methodists across Kansas and Nebraska while helping you stay in tune with your spiritual disciplines.

Earlier this year, the Great Plains Conference launched its new app. Available both for iPhones, iPads and for Android devices, the app really is two pieces of software in one. My purpose for writing this week is simply to ask you to give the app a try.

First, let’s get it added to your phone or tablet. To make that as easy as possible, just scan this QR code, which will take you to the respective store associated with your smart device’s operating system.
If you don’t have a QR reader on your phone or tablet, don’t worry. Simply go to your app store (Google Play! for Android users) and search for “Great Plains United Methodists.” Install the app for free. Here's how to get to it: Once the app is installed on your phone or tablet, you can use it every day to help you follow some important spiritual disciplines. Just click on the “Spiritual Fitness” tab under the large photo on the home screen. From there, you’ll find three parts meant to help you stay as healthy as possible.

The primary feature of this part of the app is “Spiritual Activity.” As you complete one of five activities meant to help you in your journey with Christ, you simply touch the slider to give yourself a point. The activities are:
  • Complete a daily devotion or read scripture.
  • Pray.
  • Attend worship or a church activity.
  • Take part in a small group.
  • Provide a service to another person or group.
Hit the “Submit” button, and now your points have been recorded. If you pray multiple times a day or read scripture multiple times a day, just hit the slider on the corresponding line, and you’ll record more points. Why record them? So you can track how well you are doing. For example, I can look at my chart to see how many points I recorded today, in the past week, in the past month, in the past year, or for a customized period of time within a year. By doing so, I can tell if I have fallen off my desired pace for reading scripture, for praying or for participation.

To help with the efforts of lots of people to stay healthy, we have a similar feature in this section of the app for exercise – where you can record time spent in aerobic activity and strength training, record your number of steps for the day and make notes about other activities. We also have a food tracker that allows you to estimate the percentage of each meal or snack as protein, grains, fruits, vegetables or desserts.

All three of those portions of the Spiritual Fitness Tracker allow you to compare time frames and track your progress. You do have to register to start using the tracker. The registration is free and really just helps us in case you ever forget a password or need technical assistance.

The main portion of the conference’s app has some fairly conventional content elements that you would expect:
  • A link to the Upper Room’s Daily Devotion.
  • A link to the calendar of events.
  • A link to our conference news page.
  • A quick look at our latest social media posts via Facebook and Twitter.
  • Our GPconnect weekly email newsletter archive.
  • A church locator.
  • Links to our videos and blogs.
  • Photo galleries.
  • Prayer requests.
  • An easy button to allow for sharing the app with your friends or fellow members of the congregation.
  • A staff directory.
  • And, since this is the Midwest with some crazy weather at times, a link to AccuWeather’s mobile website. It defaults to Topeka because that is the location of the conference’s office, but you can change it to your town or zip code easily.
With the move to Topeka, we’ve had some staff changes in almost every department. We’re working on updating the app with those changes over the next week or so, including the best numbers to call to reach a real, living person to help you answer your question. But the rest of the information on the app is up to date.

Our hope for this app is that you’ll find it useful to stay informed about what is going on within the conference. But even more than that, we hope you’ll give the Spiritual Fitness Tracker a try and will use it to provide a daily reminder to read your Bible, spend time in prayer and to be fully engaged in the life of your church.

Download and use the app today!

Todd Seifert is communications director for the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church. He can be reached via phone at 785-414-4224, or via email at Opinions expressed are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Great Plains Annual Conference or the United Methodist Church. Follow him on Twitter, @ToddSeifert.