Tips for Preaching From an iPad

I’ll be honest, one of the reasons I wanted an iPad was to preach from it. Preaching from my iPad is probably the main thing I use my iPad for on a weekly basis. It seems this trend is becoming more popular and you see more and more pastors preaching from an iPad or a tablet. With this new trend comes some opposition as well as much support. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if you preach from an iPad or not. What you preach with or from is not a big deal, it’s the actual preaching itself that is important. But if you do decide to preach from an iPad, here are a few tips that I have learned along the way that may help you:

Don’t make a big deal about it. If you preach from an iPad, don’t make it a point to flash your iPad and make sure everyone in the audience knows you have an iPad. I recommend keeping it on the pulpit or podium so no one sees it while you are preaching. Your iPad is just a tool you are using to share God’s Word, keep your focus on the right thing.Try and keep it out of the audience view as much as possible. More than likely there will be people out there that will get distracted and maybe even jealous when they see you have an iPad.

Use a physical copy of the Bible. If you preach from an iPad, please DO NOT use a Bible app, such as YouVersion, instead of a physical copy of God’s Word. Call me old school, but I think it’s important to preach from an actual copy of the Bible. Use your iPad for your notes, not your Bible. Plus, switching from your notes to a Bible app will be extremely distracting to you and your audience.

Use a good app for your sermon notes. Make sure you have a reliable, easy to use app to have your sermon notes on when you preach. When I preach, I have my sermons on the Dropbox app on my iPad. For me, Dropbox works the best and is easy to get my sermon notes to. After I write my sermon manuscript as a Word doc, I simply drop that Word doc into my Dropbox on my Macbook and then open it up in the Dropbox app on my iPad right before I go up to preach. There are other apps you can use, but I recommend Dropbox.

Try not to look at your iPad too much. This doesn’t just apply to your iPad, but your notes in general. Be so familiar with your sermon content that you don’t need to look at them much as you preach. Stay engaged with your audience and don’t be glued to your notes on your iPad. I try to run through my sermon two times or more before I preach so I will be able to preach and not look down at my notes that much.

These are just a few tips I would share with anyone who is or is thinking about preaching from an iPad. Every good gift comes from God (James 1:17) so use your iPad as a good tool He has given us to expand His kingdom. Use it as a tool to help you preach His Word better and more effectively.

[Question] Do you use an iPad or a tablet when you preach?

My Favorite iPhone Apps for Student Ministry

I’m always on the lookout for new apps to use in student ministry. There are a ton of apps out there, but there are some that are great for student pastors that will come in handy for your ministry. I wanted to share my favorite iPhone apps that I use regularly in my student ministry.

Youth Culture Report. One of the things I am always doing as a student pastor is keeping up with the current teen culture. I try to keep an eye on current trends as well as what is happening in the life of teenagers around the world. I do believe every student pastors need to be students of teen culture. This is why I love this app! On the Youth Culture Report app, you will find tons of links to blogs and articles about current teen culture. It’s simple and easy to use. This is an app every student pastor needs to have on their iPhone. By the way, they are relaunching this soon and it will be even better!

Group TextThe best way to send out reminders to students is via text messaging. Because of that, I use text messages to promote events, send out reminders, and to just connect with students. Most of the time I send out promo’s and reminders as a large group text using the app “Group Text.” This is a great app I was introduced to by my friend Josh Evans who uses it with his students. It allows you to create lists and then send out a mass text to whatever list you want. I have a list for my students, leaders, and parents.

DropboxI absolutely love Dropbox! Dropbox allows you to keep files in a cloud that can synced between all your devices. For example, the files in my Dropbox are synced between my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook. Awhile back I wrote a post about using Dropbox in ministry that will help you see how I use Dropbox in my ministry (Click here to view that post). It’s a nice app to have if you have important files you want at your fingertips at all times. I keep all my files for our student ministry in my Dropbox so I can access them whenever I want on what device is infront of me. This also allows me to back up those files and not have to worry about loosing them.

EvernoteEvernote works the same as Dropbox, but is notes instead of files. I use Evernote a lot when it comes to meetings and reminders. If I need to take quick notes during a meeting with my leaders, parents, or senior pastor, I can take them in Evernote on my iPad and open them up later on my iPhone or Macbook. What is so great about Evernote is that your notes can be text, audio, or even an image. There are some great posts about using Evernote in student ministry, but here is one I would recommend you taking a look at.

InstagramBy far one of the most popular iPhone apps out there is instagram. But instagram is a great app to have if you’re a student pastor! It’s a great way to take quick pictures of your students, events, and trips and post them to Twitter or Facebook so other students and parents can see them.

There are a few more apps such as Twitter and Facebook that are self-explanatory that I use daily in student ministry. The ones I mentioned are one you may have not heard of that I think are “must haves” for student pastors. What iPhone apps do you use most in student ministry?

Recommended Ministry Apps

The other day my good friend Josh Evans posted a blog with some great ministry apps he recommends. I would encourage you to go over to his blog and check out the recommended apps, he recommended some great stuff! I always love when people share resources as Josh did so I figured I would share some ministry related apps I am currently using as well. I have an iPad so these apps will be for that, but all of them are iPhone apps as well. Enjoy!

The Gospel Coalition-If you are keeping up with whats going on in ministry than you know the voices that come through the Gospel Coalition-Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Tim Keller, DA Carson, Mark Dever, and many more! The blogs, articles, and videos on this app are amazing! So much good ministry-related stuff!

Reformed Theological Seminary-One of the top seminaries now have all their course lectures for you for free through this app! Yes, you heard me right, every lecture, from every class, is on this app for you to listen to for free! A lot of people cannot go to seminary for different reasons so if you’re looking for some seminary level lectures and education, here you go! Listen and learn!

Elevation Church-I am a big fan of Steven Furticks’s preaching and listen to him via podcasts a lot. Elevation now has an app where you can listen, and watch, every sermon from every series Furtick has every done! Also, his blog is part of the app so you can keep up with his blog as well as his preaching.

Dropbox-You have to use Dropbox! I recent wrote an entire post on how you can use Dropbox in ministry. Click here to read that full article.

YouVersion-This is by far the best Bible app out there. It has every translation you can imagine and it lets you keep your own notes that will be saved to your account so you can access them from the app or on the website. The downside of this app is you have to be connected to internet most of the time to use it. I would also recommend the ESV Bible app that works offline.

Vyrso-If you like to by e-books and do reading on your iPhone or iPad this app is for you. You can purchase books through this app and it will save them in a library for you. If you use Logos Bible Software this is a must have app for you! This app is made by the same people and if you have Logos your whole library will be saved in Vyrso for quick, easy reading. This is nice because when you use the Logos app it sometimes take too long to load and is complex because its such a huge program. But with Vyrso, its easy to read a book from your library.

Grace to You-I am very big fan of John MacArthur. I use his study Bible frequently and enjoy his preaching as well as writing. Grace to You is his ministry and they now have an app where they keep all the resources. You can listen to almost every sermon he has ever preached as well as watch him teach the Bible. His blog is also on this app so you can keep up with that as well.

Now for some less ministry related apps that might be of interest to you who are in ministry or not in ministry.

Amazon-I do most of my shopping through Amazon. I always buy books through Amazon and recently have been buying others things from them as well. They have this handy app that lets you quickly browse items and purchase them from your iPhone or iPad.

WordPress-If you are a blogger and use WordPress as your platform you have to get this app! I love it! It allows you to keep up with your blog on your mobile device like a charm! It basically is your dashboard where you can see your comments, views, and even edit posts.

Twitter, Facebook, and Google-There is no need to explain these apps, everyone loves social media and google is the number one search engine. Get these apps and use them!

I hope you have found these recommended apps helpful. They all are free and work on both your iPhone or iPad. I would love to hear of the apps you are using in ministry and outside of ministry!

Why You Should Use Dropbox in Ministry

About a year ago I started using Dropbox after two of my professors at PBC told me about it. Since then I have been hooked and use it for many different things. There are countless reasons why you should use Dropbox and many ways you can use it, but I want to highlight how you can use it in the area of ministry. If you are in church leadership, Dropbox is a great tool for you! Here is a few ways you can use Dropbox in ministry.

1. File Sharing. When I was volunteering as a leader at The Grove, a student ministry in NC, I oversaw a lot of the media and technology. Every week I would set up the media and get all the videos and files together to run on ProPresenter or EasyWorship. Josh Evans, the student pastor, and myself set up a shared Dropbox folder so he could just drop the videos, announcements slides, and whatever else he needed for the night in the folder and I was able to pull them up on my laptop and import them into the program. Also, as I was interning at Weymouth Community Church I helped get the media up and running at one of their new campuses and we used Dropbox as well. We created a “church media” folder in Dropbox where we dropped all the motion backgrounds, countdowns, and song files so the media guy can easily pull them up on the media computer at the new campus. Sharing files on Dropbox is extremely fast and easy! Forget sending e-mails with huge attachments and having to take a flash drive along with you, use Dropbox to share files with others in your ministry.

2. Make files public. I love using Dropbox for this! When you get a Dropbox you get a “public” folder where you can drop things and it will give you a link to each thing in your folder. For example, if you go to my “preaching” page on this blog you will see links to audio of my sermons. All I have to do is drop the audio file of my sermon in my “public” folder and paste the link on my blog. When someone clicks that link it pulls up my file and they can listen to the sermon. This feature is much like Google Docs where you can share your documents with the public. If you have documents and files you want others in your ministry to be able to view, use Dropbox to publically share your files.

3. All your files on multiple devices. This is another great reason to use Dropbox. Let’s say you are working on a document on your desktop computer in your office, but you have to go home soon. If you have a Dropbox, you can install it on as many devices that you want including laptops, iPads, iPhones, and almost every other device. So you can leave the office and go home and as long as that file is in your Dropbox you can open it up at home on your iPad and continue working. The cool thing is that when you make changes to a document it saves it in your Dropbox on every other device. For example, I have a folder in my Dropbox that has tons of eBooks and PDF book. This is nice because I can pull an eBook up and read it on my iPad or if I’m in the office I can pull one up on my laptop. Having all your files on all your devices is another great reason to use Dropbox.

As I said earlier, there are many reasons why you should use Dropbox as well as many ways you can use it. These are just a few of the ways I use it. If you are using Dropbox I’d love to hear the ways you are using it and if you are not using at least check it out by clicking here. Install it and give it a try!