I love my iPhone. It’s easily one of the most powerful ministry tools a pastor can have.
If you’re a pastor with an iPhone, like me, you are probably always looking for the best apps for your iPhone to make it even better and help you get more done.
I’m obsessed with finding the absolute best apps for pastors in the iTunes store. Because of this, I’m always searching for new apps.
So here’s my current list of favorites. Some have changed, and some have stayed the same.
THE BEST IPHONE APPS FOR PASTORS (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER):
(Updated January 2019)
NOTES: APPLE NOTES
I used to be a huge proponent of Evernote. But over the years, the features have continued to bloat while the app grew more unreliable. Plus, they took away features that used to be free and want to charge me for it. No thanks.
In my quest to find a better note solution, I was shocked at how much Apple’s Notes app has improved.
- It’s simple, just the way I like my apps.
- It’s fast. When I want to jot a quick note or idea, I want to do it quickly before I lose it. Apple Notes, in my experience, is the fastest note-taking app out there.
- It’s already built into my iPhone, iPad and MacBook. So it just works and syncs effortlessly.
- With improved features like handwritten notes, attaching files, password locks, checklists, tables, document scanning and collaboration, it does everything I ever needed in a note app.
So I transferred all my notes from Evernote, and haven’t looked back.
Notes is like my digital brain. I don’t trust my real brain to remember stuff, so I add everything I might want to remember later to Notes: articles, blog ideas, sermon ideas, quotes, meeting notes, receipts, etc. I have a database in Notes of every sermon I’ve ever preached.
One of the coolest hidden features in Notes is the ability to scan documents. I used to use the Scannable app to scan things and save them in an Evernote folder. But now, I can do it all right in one app.
Plus, when you can add scans of a document, it analyses it, and you can search its content. This means I can take scan a whiteboard or a meeting agenda, and later, when I can’t remember what we talked about, a simple search pulls it right up.
This has allowed me to go completely paperless in my office. Everything is scanned and searchable in Notes.
Ulysses allows you to manage and save all of your writing projects in one place. It syncs automatically between iPhone, iPad and the Mac apps. So all of my writing is saved and backed up to the cloud, so I never lose a project again.
I love that Ulysses takes a minimalist approach to writing. So I don’t get bogged down in all the clutter that other writing programs have (I’m looking at you Scrivener and Microsoft Word). My mind is free to open the program and just write.
Now, there is a small learning curve if you are unfamiliar with markdown formatting, but Ulysses holds your hand through it to make it incredibly easy. Markdown essentially allows you to format your writing on the go, without taking your hands off the keyboard. So instead of clicking a heading button, I type # for heading 1 and ## for heading 2. It takes a little time to get used to it, but now that I have, I love it and find that I’m able to write faster and waste less time worrying about formatting.
The benefit of markdown and one of the most powerful features of Ulysses is the ability to export your writing perfectly to other formats (ebooks, HTML, word documents, etc.). I also love how it helps track word count goals.
I have not found a more beautiful, simple and powerful writing app. Yes, it’s not free. However, for pastors who write sermons, curriculum or more every day, it’s worth the investment.
PODCASTS: APPLE PODCASTS
I love listening to podcasts! There are other apps out there that boast advanced features, but the native Podcasts app does everything you need. It easily syncs all my favorite podcasts across all of my devices (even my Apple watch).
I use this app every day while I go for a run. This way, I get two things done at the same time: I’m exercising my body and my brain.
My favorite feature is the ability to increase the playback speed. I can cut a 30-minute podcast to 15 minutes or less. It takes a little getting used to, but our brains process things we hear a whole lot faster than we can speak. This helps me listen to all my favorite preachers and leadership podcasts.
If you haven’t joined the podcast listening revolution yet, what are you waiting for? There are endless hours of free content for pastors who want to continue to learn.