Guest post: 22 free software apps for youth ministry

Topic / Technology

Dennis Poulette contributes the following list of free software that is useful for youth ministry. If you’re interested in becoming a guest blogger for Life In Student Ministry, check out this page.


  • Picasa – (Windows only) An online photo organizer from Google that allows you to do limited edits on your photos, organize them, and easily share them with others.
  • GIMP – (Windows/Mac/Linux) The GNU Image Manipulation Program is a powerful, free Photoshop alternative that allows you to edit photos and save them in a variety of formats.
  • irfanview – (Windows only) A graphic viewer that allows you to preview many different types of image, video, and audio files.

Music and Audio

  • Audacity – (Windows/Mac/Linux) This music editing software is great for adding sound effects, making long songs shorter, mixing different tracks together, and any other basic audio editing you might need to do.
  • Switch – (Windows/Mac) I use switch to convert music files from one type to another. You can output many different files to mp3 or wav formats.
  • iTunes – (Windows/Mac) Unless you have lived under a rock for a while, you already know that iTunes can manage large amounts of music and do all sorts of things to playback your audio files as well as add visualizations to your music.


  • Handbrake – (Windows/Mac/Linux) Converts videos from DVD to MPEG-4 formats.
  • VLC Media Player – (Windows/Mac/Linux) A multimedia player for various audio and video formats that does not require external codecs or programs to work. It can be used to play just about any video format.
  • Download helper – (Windows/Mac/Linux) A Firefox extension that lets you save videos from most video sites on the internet, like Youtube, Google, and many others.
  • ffmpegX (Mac only) and SUPER (Windows only) both convert video into every and any format you could possibly ever need.


  • OpenOffice – (Window/Linux) An office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more.
  • Taco HTML Edit – (Mac only) A full-featured HTML editor and PHP editor. It allows users to rapidly create their own web sites.

Security and Utilities

  • McAfee site advisor – (Windows/Mac/Linux) A Firefox and Internet Explorer plugin that tests websites and warns users about spyware, spam, viruses, and other online problems.
  • AVG Anti-virus – (Windows only) Provides users with basic anti-virus and anti-spyware protection.
  • Mozy backup – (Windows/Mac) The free version of this online backup offers 2 GB of online storage space, and it automatically backs up your important documents online and encrypts them.
  • Caffeine (Mac only) – Keeps your mac awake when activated, which prevents sleeping, screen savers, and screen dimming, perfect for when you are giving presentations.


  • E-Sword – (Windows only) A free Bible software package with many versions, commentaries, and other books available to improve your study of the Bible.
  • Freemind – (Windows/Mac/Linux) A great mind mapping program that is useful for outlining books, organizing thoughts, and creating mind maps of anything you need.


  • FileZilla – (Windows/Mac/Linux) A fast and free FTP, FTPS and SFTP client.
  • Thunderbird – (Window/Mac/Linux) Mozilla’s alternative to Outlook, Thunderbird is very fast and efficient for email organization.
  • Burn – (Mac only) An application for burning CDs and DVDs.
  • NetNewsWire (Mac only) and FeedDemon (Windows only) are news reader that use a three-panel interface and downloads RSS and Atom feeds to keep you on top of all of your favorite news sites and blogs. Syncs with their online web reader, too.


Dennis Poulette is a youth ministry professor with Youth Ministry International. He lives and works in Mexico City. You can follow his ministry at

Posted on May 28, 2008

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