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Computer science student creates popular app to support youth pastors

October 3, 2014

Ministry—it’s about loving God and loving people. That is often what you will hear when you ask any youth pastor what they enjoy about their jobs and why they went into ministry in the first place. While youth pastors have a knack for connecting with students and journeying through life with them, the job also comes with some bookkeeping and attendance tracking, which can take up precious time. One Northwest Nazarene University student saw an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained from his coursework in computer science to help free up some time for people in ministry.  

Reagan Keeler, senior NNU computer science major from Oroville, Calif., along with his high school youth pastor and mentor Kurt Libby, had a dream of coming up with an app that would ease the burden of tracking attendance at events for youth pastors. 

“My hope was that Youth Ministry Tracker would help youth pastors spend less time on management tasks and more time caring for students,” Reagan shares.  

"My hope was that Youth Ministry Tracker would help youth pastors spend less time on management tasks and more time caring for students."

The dream for this app began years ago, but the two had to wait until Reagan was far enough along in his studies to have the knowledge needed to design and develop it. Finally, last December, Reagan felt as though he had learned enough about programming and researched enough about iOS development to begin the process of creating an app. Finding a starting place was the most challenging part of the process as creating an app from scratch is a daunting task. 

“It was easy for me to become overwhelmed with all of the things I needed to do to make the app work, so I had to try really hard to break down the app into manageable pieces that I could accomplish one week at a time.” 

With Reagan’s knowledge of programming and Libby’s experience in ministry, it is no wonder this app has been successful from the moment it hit the Apple App Store on Aug. 27, 2014. “We expected Youth Ministry Tracker to be a niche product and never thought we would make any sort of top ten or even top one hundred lists, so I was completely shocked when my brother sent me a picture of Youth Ministry Tracker ranked #1 in the Productivity category on the App Store. In addition, the app made it as high as #77 in all apps.”

“I wanted to create a tool that could solve a real problem that youth leaders have. Youth Ministry Tracker is already meeting the needs of many small to medium sized churches, but there is still more that I can do to make Youth Ministry Tracker work for larger churches that have a slightly different set of needs.” 

To keep informed on what Reagan is updating and working on for the Youth Ministry Tracker or for more information, visit youthministrytracker.com. 

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