GoogleDocsYesterday I featured Google Docs as my app of the week. Let me show you another reason why, a prime example of why you might want to start using Google Docs in your ministry today.

Do you ever have to manage any kind of volunteer schedule? In the past I remember having created the schedule and then sending it out to all my volunteers. Now that we live in the digital age, one mass email and I’m done. Not too shabby. However, how long until that schedule is obsolete? Hours? Minutes? Volunteers call and email with their changes making the schedule you just emailed to everyone outdated. It would be pointless to email everyone with a new schedule every time it changed. Luckily several options exist.

  1. Create the schedule in a Google Doc and simply share the document. I’ve done this before. It’s really not a bad idea. You can manage everyone’s rights and it allows everyone to see what the most current schedule looks like. There are some downsides though. Not everyone has used Google Docs. Some will be confused. Some will never look at it. In addition, you have to paste in everyone’s email to share the document with them which can be time consuming. In addition, you have to keep track of who you’ve shared the document with. If they’re no longer a volunteer, you may want to remove them from viewing rights. It’s good solution, but there’s still a hassle.
  2. Here’s my favorite and the simplest option. Click on the “share” button and choose to “publish as a web page.” Essentially you can create a live page on the internet where people can always come and see the most up to date schedule. When sending out the schedule, rather than attach it like you’ve done in the past, sent them a link. The can go to this link at any time and see the most up to date schedule. If you manage your own blog or site, you can even embed your doc to one of your pages. For instance, I can permanently display my elementary schedule at My volunteers can simply bookmark that page and always go there to see when they’re working.

Want to see it for yourself? Below is the embed of of a spreadsheet I created several months ago. Before I left for Colorado, I was doing a little research into other mountains I might have climbed if I had enough time. Check it out.