Most pastors wear many hats. The variety of things we juggle from event cordinating, counseling, visual designing, general business organizing (such as insurance, finances, etc), sermon preparation, spiritual leadership, and much more, can be overwhelming. I for one am glad we live in an age where we can utilize technology to give us a leg up on all of these things.
As someone who loves testing new applications and workflows to be more productive, I have tried MANY different applications. I hope that these can be of use to you. I’ve added links to the ones I’ve written in more depth on and I hope to write on all of these eventually so I’ll add links for those as I do.
NOTE: Personally, I am an Apple user. I love their products and the people who make applications for them so I don’t see changing anytime soon. However, many of these apps can be found on other platforms, and those that don’t have similar counterparts I’m sure you can find.
I’ve split up the list into apps that have iOS and OS X versions so you can see what will work in specific use cases. I hope this helps you find an app to help you in your situation!
IPhone/iPad and Mac apps:
- Logos – Of course, I have to mention a Bible app in a list of apps for pastors! There are many good ones, but I prefer Logos. I use to only like it for study, and I had others for general reading, but they’ve recently updated their interface so generally reading the Bible is now on par, if not better, than others Bible apps.
- Evernote – I love using Evernote as a catch all digital filing cabinet. This is where all my receipts (business, church, personal) go, as well as a ton of other things such as prayer requests, sermons, graphics, contact info, and general information backup. You can read my blog post where I go more in depth at this link, and this followup post on how I send information to Evernote.
- 1Password – I can’t emphasize enough how much of a blessing this app has been! Not only for creating unique passwords, but between all the different Instagram, Twitter, email, and bank logins (just to name a few) I have because of personal, business, and the church’s – this app has been a lifesaver and I can’t imagine working well without it.
- Text Expander – As I’ve written before, Text Expander is my top typing tip for pastors, and really anyone at all.
- Dropbox – As we move forward in the digital age, files are becoming bigger, and file sharing and syncing is evermore important. Dropbox has been such a great tool to sync preferences and information between my Mac and iOS devices, but it’s also been a great way to share large groups of pictures, or large audio files. You can read more about that on this post.
- Pocket – One downside of the digital age has been an overwhelming amount of information. I use pocket to save articles that I want to read whether from Twitter, Facebook, Safari, or just a random link in an email. This helps me have an ongoing list of things I’m interested in reading, so when I have some downtime, I’m never short on things to read.
IPhone/iPad only apps:
- Drafts – As I’ve written before, I think having a notepad is extremely useful. I personally prefer a digital version for most situations, so I’ve come to love the Drafts app as a way to take notes and then be able to send them anywhere I want to store them (usually Evernote).
- TurboScan – When I shared my receipt management workflow, I explained how I use TurboScan to get high quality scans of receipts. I also use this app for other paper items I want to digitize such as Christmas cards or even driver licenses.
- Onsong – This is the very best app I’ve ever seen for worship leaders. I use to have an ongoing Word document where I would copy and paste each song into a new setlist for Sunday. Onsong is a great app where it not only organizes your songs individually to be grouped together into sets, but you can also change the key of a song with a simple click rather than having to edit each chord. It can do so much more, but these two functions alone have been amazing and totally worth it.
- Hours Tracker – As I freelance making websites and doing marketing for churches (tnsinksdesigns.com) in addition to being an assistant pastor, I’ve found it very important to track my time both inside and outside of church work. This app is a simple, yet extremely useful app to do just that.
- WeekCal – This is just my personal calendar app preference. But I encourage anyone in ministry to become good at keeping a calendar, it’s one of the most useful things you’ll do.
- Services – This is one of the apps from Planning Center which is a great app to schedule and organize volunteers for services and events. Their iPhone and Android app (services) makes it extremely simple for volunteers to accept/decline volunteer scheduling, add in block-out dates, and to see their upcoming volunteer day/time.
- Metrics – This is another app that requires some online setup at churchmetrics.com. This is provided for FREE by life church.tv, the creators of the YouVersion Bible app and many other helpful tools. We use the Metrics app to keep track of attendance and new people on both Sunday’s and in community groups, and to also keep track of rededications, salvations, baptisms, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
Mac only apps:
- Keyboard Maestro – Although more of a technical app than the others, Keyboard Maestro is an app meant to create macros for your mac so you can automate frequent actions. It can do everything from keystrokes, to moving the mouse, clicking the mouse, utilizing input variables, and even editing the text on your current clipboard.
I hope some of these apps bring a solution to an area in your work, life, and ministry. If you have any apps you think ought to be added to this list, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!
Travis Sinks lives in South Florida with his wife and son. He is the Assistant Pastor of Redemption Church Delray Beach and a business marketing and growth consultant at Elite Business Growth Solutions. You can read his blog, focused on ” Equipping the Church for the Work of the Ministry,” at travissinks.com. twitter & instagram | @travissinks