In a world full of smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops, we have the opportunity to utilize many tools for the glory of God. There are so many great tools and apps for pastors that it may seem a little overwhelming, but I hope to break them down in some helpful categories and give you some thoughts on each one.
Need a Great Pastor App? Here Are 20
Google Docs are great because they sync across your devices and they are very useful for collaborative projects. So if you have a sermon planning team and want to be able to work on a document at the same time, Google Docs offer you what you need. Multiple people can edit the same document at the same time. You can also work offline on Google Docs if you use the Google Chrome web browser. As soon as you get Internet connection back again, your document will be synced. You can also use Google Docs to write your sermon.
Evernote is a powerful note taking application that allows you to organize notebooks or notebook stacks around topics that are important to you. It also has tagging capabilities so you can organize your notes in an even deeper way. As far as sermon preparation goes, you can make a stack of notebooks for each series you will preach in 2016 and add notes for each series as you come up with ideas and research. If you’re just getting started with Evernote or want to take it to the next level, check out my article on the essential notebooks every pastor needs. I give away two great templates for Evernote in that article as well. The Evernote Web Clippper is a great tool to take things off the web and put them straight into your Evernote. If I read a good blog post, I clip it and put it in my research stack -> articles notebook.
Pages is my alternative to Microsoft Word. I have a Macbook Pro and Pages came with it. I love this word processor for all of my writing except for books (I use a great Word template from Redeeming Press). I love Pages because it’s less clunky than Word. It feels substantially more minimal.
BibleHub is a powerful, free Bible study site. It’s great to look at the original language of a passage and they even have a substantial library of online commentaries. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it’s very functional.
BibleGateway is my go-to Bible study site for looking up passages outside of my main text. I also go here to grab the text to copy and paste into my sermon slides.
TinyPDF is what I upload my completed preaching notes to. I preach from an iPad Mini and this app is a great tool to hold and display my preaching notes. It has a lot of capabilities that I don’t use, but it does a great job. I’ve never had an issue with it while preaching. They recently updated the app and changed the way you go to the next page. It used to be that you swiped horizontally like you would with a book, but now it’s vertical, which I’m not sure I like. Nonetheless, it works great, but I may look for another solution.
Zoom Video Conferencing is what Joe and I use to record the Rookie Preacher Podcast. Most times it’s high quality, but there have been a few times where we’ve had issues with recorded sound quality. Regardless, if you work in an environment where your fellow staff members are not all in one place, this is a great tool to host meetings. You could also use this to host meetings between you and other ministry leaders or really anyone.
Google Hangouts went through an overhaul somewhat recently. It offers a great way to connect with your team through video conferencing and offers some powerful tools within the video conference that may be helpful for your virtual meetings. You may find that Google Hangouts can be utilized for a Video Blog solution where people can join you live and then it automatically gets uploaded to YouTube.
Dropbox is a powerful file sharing solution for your team. Dropbox is a cloud solution for personal and shared folders and files. They have recently done an upgrade that allows you to see who else is looking at a document along with you, and when you make an edit, it updates it for everyone.
Early Morning Alarm (you should have one of these on your phone already). Wayne Cordova, a.k.a. Geek Pastor, says that the number one productivity boost you can do is to get up early. I can attest to this. Running two blogs, both with podcasts, and with two books in the pipeline, I wouldn’t be able to do a fraction of what I do without waking up early in the morning before everyone else wakes up.