When the wi-fi cuts out at our church, we all seem to be lost.
It is amazing to see how dependent we are on technology. This is vastly different than the world that my Grandfather worked in.
Can you imagine having to write out every single word in your sermon, every single week? Or having to actually pick up the phone to discuss a minor detail with a key volunteer in your church? Or having to worry about putting files away? I can’t.
The fact is that the world in which I pastor is extremely different than my Dad’s generation and enormously different than my Grandfathers.
While I think there are many lessons to learn from previous generations of church leaders, I am grateful to be able to do ministry in technologically advanced society as it enables me to process information, build leaders and stay organized.
With that in mind, here are two apps that I simply couldn’t do ministry without:
Evernote allows you to “get smarter, work smarter and remember everything.” It’s true. It is a cloud-based personal organizer for all of your ideas and notes.
Specifically, it helps me in ministry by:
o Being able to rip online articles and file them according to topic
I have over 600 articles that I have read over the past 6 years on my Evernote. I often go back to this database of articles to read and re-read articles that can spark ideas and eventually find their way into conversations, leadership development and preaching.
o Organizing all of my academic notes
I never opened one Word document to take notes throughout my Master’s degree. I had all of my classes as different notebooks and organized each lecture in those notebooks. It was easy to search by keyword or phrase to bring up something I wanted to research again.
o Saving sermon illustrations
I have a “Sermon Illustration” file that currently has 133 personal anecdotes and thoughtful quotes and stories. Using the “tag” feature, I can easily look up “grace” or “sovereignty” to see if I have corresponding illustrations that help me put together sermons that speak to the heart.
o Edit and save PDF’s
In the Premium version I have, I am able to take PDF’s, edit and save them. This is a great feature as I go over contracts, read theological journal articles or want to edit a colleague’s work.
I know that there are features that I have not even begun to use, and yet this is an app that I use every day.
You can download Evernote for free from the app stores, and obtain the Premium at a yearly cost of 59.99.
Things is my personal assistant. I don’t know what I would do without it. What does it do? It is a task management app that manages every part of my life.
Here are the features I enjoy the most:
o It syncs with all of my Apple devices. This is handy when you think of something to do when you’re not around your computer.
o It is compatible with Siri, so she can jot down reminders for you while you drive
o You can program repeating tasks for those weekly must do’s
o You organize tasks by project
o It syncs with your calendar, so you can see not only the tasks you are supposed to complete that day but also your entire calendar
o You can program shortcuts to navigate around the app and add a task item easily and efficiently
This is how important it is: Things is one of the mechanisms I have in my life to keep me healthy. I have repeating “to do’s” that remind me to take care of my family, and myself.
For instance, every Friday I have a task that says, “Plan the next 14 days.” This prompts me to take 5 minutes to plan a date night with Krista, a prayer day away from the office to refocus and get ahead of my schedule to have a sustainable rhythm of work and rest.
At first glance, Things is a steep price to pay. But to have it run your life, $60 is not that much. Think of how much you would pay someone to keep you organized, healthy, ahead of your schedule and productive. In the end, the return on investment is worth it.
In our fast-paced tech world, it is easy to get lost, waste time and check out. Technology can be a giant burden and a waste of time.
But these two resources help me do the opposite: plan my life, keep me healthy, lead and love my family and serve the church.
And those things I want excel at.