The Minister’s iPad
It has been nearly 2 years since I ditched my laptop in favor of an Apple iPad. The transition has been great and I haven’t looked back once. I get questions from other guys in ministry on how I am able to get everything done that I use to. So I thought I might walk you through what apps I use and how I get most things done. I use my iPad where ever I am and I have a Mac Mini in my office. Here is my “Starbucks Desk”
The first thing I would recommend is the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. It is super-durable and the batteries last forever. In fact, I haven’t changed the batteries since Christmas of 2010! I also use a SF Bags keyboard sleeve to keep it safe in my bag.
But enough about the hardware, here is a list of Apps that I frequently use and how I use them.
First off, I use Apple’s Pages word processor all the time. It’s interface on the iPad is simple and quick. You can write letters, type notes, and even edit Microsoft Word Documents. You can do anything you will need to do right from Pages. It even has an excellent export function which allows you to simply choose whether you want to export your document as a PDF, .doc, or Pages document. Just one click. I have yet to have any problems with people reading things I type on my iPad. Pages cost $9.99 and is completely worth it.
Next up, if you blog, I suggest to use Blogsy. Blogsy is a great writing program which directly interfaces with your Blogger, Blogspot, WordPress.com, or WordPress.org site. I am sure it does others as well. There are two feature which set Blogsy apart. First, it uses a “two-sided” interface. On the one “side” you get to visually edit your blog. Very WYSIWYG. The other side allows you to fiddle with the html of the post. The second great thing about Blogsy is the tool bar on the right side. You can access the web, email, Youtube, Picassa, and a host of other services directly from the sidebar. This makes inserting media into your posts a snap. If you like to blog, it’s worth the $2.99. (I used Blogsy to create the entirity of this post)
For reading and annotating PDF and other documents, I use Good Reader. GoodReader will set you back $3 and will become your default program in meetings. Our session and Presbytery have gone paperless and Good Reader makes this a synch! You can inport the files directly from your Google Docs, Dropbox, Sugarsync, and even Gmail accounts. Once you set these up, it will automatically search them for documents and you just tell it where to file them. You can create a filing system within your Good Reader so things are easy to find. I also have my administrative assistant scan in commentaries when I preach, import them through Good Reader, and annotate them as I study.
The last reading/writting tool I want to highlight is Circus Ponies Notebook. If you are a Mac user, you may be familiar with Circus Ponies. Notebook is their all in 1 productivity suite for the iPad. It comes with a heavy price tag ($29.99) but has some great features. You can create notebooks that include a mixture of imported PDF and .docs, your text, and drawings. I have found the more document heavy a notebook is, the glitchier it becomes. The real jewel of Notebook is its heirachical outlining system, where you can simply indent items underneath others, then colapse them into their parent. In addition to this helpful feature, when your iPad is in landscape view, you can view and edit 2 pages at the same time. I use this as I develop sermons to go from a long-form study notes to an extensive outline/manuscript, then to a preaching outline. I typically preach from a Notebook.
First up, the ESV bible App. This App is the simplest and cleanest way to read scripture. The font is perfect size and you can navigate from book to book quickly. Not bad for a free app.
If I am doing a more in depth study of a passage, I am a big fan of Accordance. Since I am a Mac user in the office, I have a pretty decent amount of Accordance modules. Any module or rescource you purchase on your mac is available on yout iPad and vice-versa. Accordance’s languages interface is a great on the go rescource if you want to dig into the Greek and Hebrew of a passage where ever you are at. The Accordance app is free, but the modules and resources can get pricey. I have other friends who have Logos and rave about it’s iOS app too. Pick your pleasure.
PrayerNotes is a simple interface you can use to keep track of prayer request and answers. I like to use it to divide my prayer time up over a week. It has categories for requests and an export function that allows you to send others portions of your prayer list as a text or email. Kind of handy. The app is free, but has advertisements. These distracting ads can be removed for $.99. Worth the buck for sure.
Speaking of prayer, I like to use the Book of Common Prayer for my daily Bible reading. Mission St. Clare has an excellent, free app which allows you to read the daily office without the page turning and book switching. Quite handy. Mission St. Clare also links to the Episcopal Church in Garret County, Maryland who post an audio podcast of the daily office each morning. Another sweet way to spend time with Christ.
Calendar: As far as I can tell, there is no better calendar app for the iPad then the one that comes pre-loaded on it already. The best thing to do with this app is to hook it up to your Google calendar and let Google do the juggling. I haven’t had any trouble with this and it adds a key function: I can give other people access to my schedule. This means the administrative assistants at the church can see my schedule and even add apointments to it directly from their computers. Google syncs it all using their potent internet magics. Viola! I am well scheduled.
In addition I have recently started using 2Do: Tasks done in style. This app typically costs $9.99, but I found it on sale for just a buck! For me, it has replaced Apple’s native Reminders program. It does everything Reminders does (including interfacing with Siri and iCloud) but in a much richer environment. You can choose from 5 different themes, which are far better than Apples spartan black and white look. Additionally, you have far more options in creating and customizing reminders.
Finally, Evernote. Evernote is a sort of Swiss Army Knife application. In it’s simplest form, it is a note keeping program. However, It has so many functions, I have not even scratched the surface of it’s power. It syncs with a free desktop application for Mac or PC. You can create check lists, notes to share via a live link, cooperative multimedia documents, and a bunch of other stuff. Best I can tell, there is not limit to what you can do with Evernote, and the more you use it the more you love it!
These are the programs that I use on a weekly basis in ministry, what would you add to the list? Let me know if you have any questions!
Next week, I will show you how I create, project, and control Keynote presentations using just my iOS devices.