by Kellie De Leo, Director of Faith Formation, St. Bartholomew Church, Long Beach, CA
Digital Disciple Network Associate
You have seen them around, these little boxes that have black and white blotches in them. They are on cereal boxes, magazines, our condiments, and much more. But what are they? They are called QR Codes; meaning quick response.
According to Wikipedia, a QR code is ” a specific matrix bar code (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR bar code readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL, or other data. “The “QR” is derived from “Quick Response”, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.
So, you are probably saying to yourself, these are for advertising, they have nothing to do with ministry. Wrong! I like to think of these as “little jewels” because they can be used easily, without much effort, while opening up a whole new world for us to engage our learners, our parishioners or visitors to our church campus.
When Jesus walked the earth, he taught and engaged His followers using items that were relevant to them and they knew about. This still holds true for us today. QR codes can be one of these tools we can use to engage our audiences on a variety of levels.
QR codes are easy to create and use. All you need is a laptop/desktop, tablet, or smartphone, a QR Code generator and QR code reader. To create a QR code, I usually use my laptop or desktop, but if you are more comfortable on a tablet or smartphone you can create a QR code with them. There are several free QR Code generators and readers to choose from. You can even choose a color, and add an image to them now.
Once you select a generator, all you do is add the URL for the item you want people to see and it will automatically generate your QR code. Then you can download it and put it where you want to use it. Your audience then can scan the QR to reveal your message. To scan a QR code you will need a QR Code scanner which can be downloaded to tablets and smartphones free.
The possibilities are endless for the uses of QR codes. I would like to share 10 ways you can use QR codes in ministry:
1. God Created Me – Find out more about me! Have the children type in some things they like to generate a code, then have their picture on card that says “God Created Me.” Scan the code to learn more about me.
2. Find out more about where Jesus walked. Take a map of where Jesus walked and create a QR code that has a video of that area showing where Jesus would have preached, or walked.
3. Learn about Saints, ten commandments, etc. – To learn more about Saints, you can have posters up around the room, then a sheet of questions that they would have to find out from scanning the QR code. This could be the same for the ten commandments, beatitudes, corporal works of mercy.
4. Learning prayers – To help children learn their prayers you could have them decipher the code to see what line comes next in the prayer or what word. Another way is to help them see what words they missed.
5. Create Advent Calendar, or Walk through Lent
6. Scavenger Hunt – Have children find the clues and then decipher the code which could be topic of discussion or bible verse.
7. Tour of the Church – place QR codes around your parish that tell what the various items are. You could have a video to describe it or written words. Example – place it next to the baptismal font, stations of the cross, pews, statues, outside the parish that tells about your parish, etc.
8. Bulletin Boards – Have your audience learn more about a certain topic.
Example – this year’s catechetical theme is “Prayer.” You could have an image, then below the image a QR code descripting the prayer. Your bulletin board could say: Can you name the different prayer styles?
9. QR Stations for self-directed learning: Creating QR stations. Have stations set up around the room on a specific topic. The students scan the QR code to reveal the task and the students must work together to get the task complete.
10. Review – Send a note home telling families what you learned in class this week. It can say: Dear Families, this week in class we learned that Jesus created everything, including me. Here are a few resources you might want to explore with your child of the next week. Then have the QR code that has a couple of different resources for them to review. It could be something for them to read together or a video, or song.