When it comes to utilizing technology in ministry, many people don’t know where to begin. If you’re looking for a place to start, here’s a list of some of my favorite tools. Take a look and let me know if you have any other suggestions or questions.
Evernote – Notes
Evernote is my favorite notes tool. It gives me the ability to save my notes in the cloud and access them from anywhere on any of my devices. You can store notes in different notebooks just as you would physical notebooks. But the most powerful function of Evernote, in my opinion, is its search function. Not only can you search within all of the notes you’ve typed, evernote can also search pictures for words or phrases. I use this often when I’m wanting to save a page of book for future reference. No need to pull a book off the shelf and dig through it to find that one sentence I’m looking for. All I have to do is pull out my phone, snap a picture and save it. If I ever need to look it up again, evernote can find it.
Things 3 – Action Items
Things 3 is great tool for organizing action items or to-do lists. I like it because it gives me the ability to tag certain action items for certain contexts. For instance, I often tag certain items “errand” so that when I’m out running errands I can pull up the list of things I need to get done.
Fantastical 2 – Calendar
Fantastical 2 is a great calendar app. It syncs with google calendar or whatever you use, but my favorite feature is the ability to enter tasks in plain speech. For example “Meeting with Chris tomorrow at 6pm” would automatically insert an event called “Meeting with Chris” on the correct date and time.
Spark – Mail
We’ve all wondered how we’ll ever get through all of those emails that have piled up in our inbox. Spark is a great app for reaching inbox zero. My favorite feature is the ability to “snooze” emails, which takes them out of your inbox and returns them at a designated date and time.
1 Password – Password Manager
Are you still using a pad and pen to keep track of your passwords? Or do you use the same password for every website? Stop it! You might as well lock a chain around your computer and call yourself
“safe.” Get yourself a password manager. 1 Password is a great one.
Workflow & IFTTT – Automation
Automation is the new wave in tech. Apps like Workflow and IFTTT give you the ability to automate things you might do over and over again everyday. There is a bit of a learning curve to them, but worth the effort. I have workflows set up for copying templates in evernote that I use for sermon prep and Bible study. Every week I run my workflow and the app does everthing for me. All I have to focus on is studying the text.
Accordance – Bible Software
There are several different versions of Bible software out there. I like Accordance because I use a Mac, and accordance works well with Mac. If you do not have a Bible program, I would recommend looking into it. They are a bit pricey but worth every penny.
Tweetbot – Twitter
I have used Tweetbot for awhile now and, although Twitter has recently restricted certain functions in third-party apps, I still believe Tweetbot is a great app. I enjoy the design and simplicity of this app, particularly with managing my lists. Everything is clean and easy.
Feedly – Blogs
It can be difficult to keep up with RSS feeds and blog posts on your own. This is where an app like feedly comes in handy. All you have to do is enter or search for the websites you want to follow and subscribe. Feedly will collect any updates from those sites and save them in one place. I use this app every day.
Overcast – Podcasts
I started listening to podcasts 3 or 4 years ago after listening to Serial over Christmas break. If you do not already listen to podcasts, you should check them out. They are a great way to consume news and learn some really interesting things. There are many apps for following podcasts. I’ve probably tried most of them. I used the app Downcast for a while and enjoyed it, but recently I’ve switched to Overcast. Downcast is highly customizable, but Overcast is clean and simple and I like apps that keep things clean.
Whatever you use, I would find an app that allows you to speed things up. At first its an adjustment, but eventually it becomes a new normal and you are able to consume a lot more in the same amount of time.
Pocket – “Read it Later”
Sometimes you come across an article you’d like to read but just don’t have the time. I love pocket because it gives me the ability to save articles for later reading. I generally will go through tweetbot, feedly, and others, collecting articles as I go. At the end of the day I’ll sit down and read everything I’ve collected.
Voice Dream – Listen to Articles
Some days I simply don’t have enough time to read, or I’ve read so much that I my eyes can’t handle anything else. Voice Dream can read articles for you. All you have to do is share articles with the app and press play.
Buffer – Social Media Posting
With so many social media platforms out there, it can be a pain to share posts on all of them. Buffer allows me to connect all of my social media accounts to one app, so that sharing posts to all of them is simple. If your church or organization has many social media accounts, I’d recommend trying buffer.
Mailchimp – Newsletters
Looking to start a newsletter for you church or organization? I recommend Mailchimp. It’s easy to use and you can automate quite a bit. Plus, users can subscribe or unsuscribe whenever they want, which makes managing email lists simple.
Scanbot Pro – Document Scanner
Scanners are almost a thing of the past. They’re bulky, expensive and an app on your phone can do the same thing. There are several different scanner apps out there, but my favorite is Scanbot Pro.
Unsplash – Free Pictures
We’ve all scoured google images at one point or another looking for that perfect image for our new sermon series. Unsplash has a great collection of professional pictures that are free and legal to use. Download the app or visit the site next time you are looking for that perfect image.
Word Swag – Adding Cool Fonts to Pictures
Usually, once I’ve found the perfect image I want to add some words. Word Swag is a great, easy way to add words and cool fonts to your photos.
Canva – Marketing/Logos/etc…
Are you looking for a quality logo, but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Canva is a great place to start. Add photos, designs, graphics, letters, cool fonts, everything you might need. Some add-ons cost a bit, but not much, and you can find a lot of things for free.
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