iStudy and iDelivery: My Apples and Preaching

July 17, 2013 — 3 Comments

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I was inspired by this post on Pastors.com that got me thinking about my method of study and preaching using my Apple products. Then, earlier in the week I had a conversation about it with my former boss at my former church. So I thought I’d share some of the ways Apple has made my life easier as a pastor, especially as it relates to delivering messages on Sunday.

Here’s some of the things I’ve learned…


I love my iPad.

I use my iPad when I teach. I put my notes on there and can easily see them when I teach. I have the larger iPad, not the iPad mini, as I need the extra size the screen affords to make my notes a little larger.

I always have my Bible handy.

I like the idea that I have my Bible handy so that I can read out of it if I want to. For me, I think it also connotes that what I am sharing is backed up by the Word of God.

I always have a back-up handy.

Call me paranoid, but the thing I sweat most is my iPad disappearing, dying, or otherwise not performing. I make sure my notes are loaded and work before anyone gets there in the morning (that way they will be in memory and accessible if our routers get overloaded with users). I also have my phone ready with a back-up, and a printed set of notes in my Bible, just in case. As the old saying goes, luck favors the prepared!

I never fully trust the technology.

One morning, it was one song before I had to preach. I checked my iPad. To my horror, my iPad would not refresh with the latest copy of my notes from my computer because the number of available user slots on our routers was full. I quickly ran to my office and printed a set of notes and preached. This incident led me to distrust technology fully (as well as leading me to always have a back-up). Lots of things can go wrong. Expect it. Plan for it. And, God forbid, if things do go wrong, you are prepared.

I found the tools that work right for me.

I use Evernote as a repository for all of my study prep as well as the location for my final message notes. I like Evernote because it syncs across all of my Apple devices and it is easy to change both font sizes and styles, which allows me to format my notes so they are easy to use. Initially I used the Notes app that is included on my iDevices, but I didn’t like the formatting as well as I do in Evernote. Another option I’ve used on occasion is printing out of Evernote as a PDF file and then opening the file in iBooks on my iPad. That also worked well, and you never have to worry about accidentally bringing up the keyboard in your app while you’re speaking. For me, though, I like the “running page” format that I get in Evernote over the “book page” format in iBooks.

Other tips for using your iDevice while teaching:

1. Turn off your notifications.
2. Mute the volume on our iPad.
3. Don’t let it out of your sight,
4. Make sure it is fully charged.
5. Turn off the auto-lock.
6. Lock the iPad in the aspect ration you like (I like portrait).

Something cool we are doing right now at CCF:

We are currently in a series call “Q & A” at my church. During the message, people can text (to a Google Voice number we set up), e-mail, Tweet, or FB message questions while I am teaching. We have a person who aggregates the questions and then sends them to my iPad using iMessage. Then during the message, I stop at a couple of pre-arranged points and answer some or all of the questions that come in. This has been a great way to use technology to bring people into the message.

What has worked for you? What crashed and burned? I’d love to hear your stories! Please leave a comment below.

Pat Callahan

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I'm a picker. I'm a grinner. I'm a lover. And I'm a sinner. I make my music in the sun.

3 responses to iStudy and iDelivery: My Apples and Preaching

  1. You’re too cool. Want to be my pastor?

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. The iPad In Ministry | Worship Links - July 19, 2013

    [...] Callahan has a post called iStudy And iDelivery: My Apples And Preaching. It’s all about using the iPad for his ministry. While it’s aimed at pastors and [...]

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