What are the best iPad apps for pastors?
I have been using my iPad as a pastor since I bought my first iPad in 2012, and I have tried a lot of different apps.
If you are anything like me, you are in a never-ending hunt, roaming the App Store looking for the next app that will make your iPad better than ever.
After trying many different apps, I have compiled a list of my absolute favorite iPad apps for ministry that I truly believe every iPad packing pastor needs.
The Best iPad Apps for Pastors (in no particular order)
(updated April 11, 2016)
Word Swag – You no longer need to be a graphic design to create pictures worth sharing on social media. Word Swag is a phenomenal app that helps you create amazing looking word pictures without any graphic design skills. Word Swag is the best tool for the busy pastor to quickly create beautiful looking announcement slides, Bible verse, or inspirational quotes to share. In fact, I even used it to make the title picture for this article. Every pastor needs this app.
Day One 2 – Day One has won various app awards for a reason. It is the best app for anyone who journals. It is especially useful for your quiet time with God. Also, if you are not into journaling, consider using Day One for recording prayer requests. Another great use is for having a record what God has been speaking to you in your quiet time with Him, so you can pull those thoughts for sermon preparation later.
Evernote – Never forget anything ever again. This the best note-taking app ever. I use Evernote for keeping a database of every sermon I have ever preached. I also use it to capture down random ideas for sermons, illustrations, blog posts or whatever else comes to mind. Evernote helps you capture great ideas before you forget them. A must for every pastor! Plus, here are more ways Evernote makes a pastor’s life easier.
Penultimate – Penultimate is a hand-written note taking app created by the good folks at Evernote. Because it is owned by Evernote, as soon as you are done taking your notes, it automatically saves them into a designated Evernote folder for you. I love using this app for taking notes in meetings. Call me old school, but I find that typing on an iPad can seem obnoxious during meetings. People don’t know if you are sending email, surfing the web, or actually paying attention. So I use Penultimate along with a good stylus to write meeting notes by hand, that are later searchable in Evernote. This just feels and looks much more professional to me.
Dropbox – Dropbox is an amazing hard drive in the cloud. Dropbox syncs with your computer so you can easily drag and drop any file into it. Then, you can easily pull these files up at any time on your iPad or iPhone. I love having it for things like volunteer applications. Any time someone asks me about volunteering, I can simply pull up Dropbox and email them an application on the spot. (Similar apps: Google Drive and Box)
Paper – Paper also won the app of the year award from iTunes. It is an awesome note-taking / drawing app. Paper allows you to organize notes and sketches into different notebooks just like if you had a bag full of notebooks with you. The interface is smooth and easy to use. I love using it for brainstorming sessions. Plus, it just looks beautiful.
1 Password – Never forget a password again! Like most tech-savvy pastors, you probably have multiple different accounts on multiple different websites. Forgetting a password can be an extremely frustrating and time-wasting scenario. 1 Password is an app for keeping all of your passwords in one secure place.
Downcast – The best podcast listener out there! If you want to grow as a pastor, listen to free podcasts from your favorite preachers. It automatically syncs across your iPad and iPhone. The best feature is the ability to speed up podcasts. By going up to 2x speed you can cut an hour-long message to 30 minutes, or a 30 minute message to 15. This is a great time saver, and you will be surprised at how quickly your brain adjust to the increased speed.
Bible! by Logos – Logos gives you the power of an entire research library with you wherever you go. If you haven’t purchased the Logos software you can still do Hebrew and Greek studies and read the Bible for free. However, if you use Logos software, this app will sync with your entire book library. Excellent for sermon study on the go!
Bible – The Bible App from YouVersion is the best Bible app without exception. This has practically replaced my paper Bibles. The reading plans are a fantastic way to keep you accountable for daily Bible reading. And if you are driving, working out, or just don’t feel like reading, you can listen to the audio versions. All for free!
Feedly – After Google Reader closed down, Feedly quickly became my favorite RSS reader for the iPad. Feedly allows you to subscribe to all the posts from your favorite blog. I use this app to sift through hundreds of blog posts a day. Leaders are readers. Why not take advantage of the great free content some of the best minds on the internet are producing every day? (Other option: Flipboard – Does the same thing, but puts it together in a visually appealing magazine that also includes news feeds and social media.)
Planning Center Services – Planning Center is the best worship service and volunteer management system available. If you have never heard of it, do yourself and your worship pastor a favor and go to PlanningCenterOnline.com right now! Hurry up! I use this app weekly to manage the service order and coordinate the scheduling of hundreds of volunteers. Makes planning services and coordinating volunteers easy! I really don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have it. Also, you may want to check out their Projector and Music Stand apps.
Planning Center Check-In Station – Last year my church switched to the Planning Center Check-In app and we have loved it. You can easily turn an iPad, iPhone, or even an iPod into a kids or student check-in station. This app will help you keep track of attendance, collect information for new guests, and print tags to help with child safety and parent pock up. We started in the early stages, but Planning Center continues to make improvements to make this check-in solution even better. Love it!
HootSuite – If you are using Social Media to reach your people and community (which you should). HootSuite is a great way to schedule posts across multiple sites. Use it for the church Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. The greatest feature is the ability to schedule posts in advance. You no longer have to login to each website individually at the perfect time to get the message you want out at the optimal hour. I am currently 3 months out in scheduled posts. Did I mention it’s free!
Buffer – Buffer is a great social media management solution. I like it, because it is incredibly easy to use. Set up the days and times you want to post on social media. Then, add posts to your Buffer queue. Then, buffer will automatically post for you. I use Buffer to manage all my social media posts for ProPreacher. As of this post, the only downside is that there is no support for Instagram. That’s the only thing keeping Buffer from completely replacing Hoostuite for me.
Pages, Numbers, Keynote – The office products from Apple are second to none. For writing documents, managing spreadsheets, or creating presentations, these apps are a must-have for every iPad. Apple used to charge for these (which I gladly paid), but now they are FREE! I love how they sync via iCloud across my iPad, iPhone, and Macbook. So I can start a project on one device, and pick it up on another device without missing a beat. This is really helpful for sermon preparation on the go.
Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets – My church uses Google Apps for email, file storage and shared documents. These apps are quickly giving the apps like Pages a run for their money. I tend to use my Apple apps for the work I do by myself, and the Google suite of apps for work that I want to share or collaborate on with my team.
Kindle – If you love reading, you need to get the Kindle app on your iPad. Why do I use Kindle instead of iBooks? 1) Amazon is the biggest book company in the world, and has a bigger selection of books for often a better price. 2) Call me paranoid, but if Apple ever went downhill as a company—gasp—I will still have all my Kindle books that I can read on an Android tablet, online, or an actual Kindle device. I am not locked into an iPad. And 3) I love being able to access all my notes at kindle.amazon.com and save all of my highlights and illustrations I find into Evernote for quick reference (more on that here).
Scannable – Scannable turns your iPad into a portable scanner. I have gone paperless at home and at work. No more messy stacks of paper scattered across my desk! Just open Scannable and point the camera at the document, the app automatically takes a picture and adjusts the image to look better. Then, you can export it to your destination of choice. Scannable is made by the good folks at Evernote, so it syncs perfectly with all my other notes. Rather than searching through a messy pile of paper, I can now just search Evernote and—BAM—there it is. This is great for tracking receipts, handouts from meetings, or capturing writing on a whiteboard.
GoodReader – I love preaching with my iPad. GoodReader is a great PDF reader that I use for all of my sermon notes. I write my sermon notes in Pages, but word processors are terrible to preach from. With one tap you could accidentally delete or rearrange all of your notes. So I export my sermon notes to a PDF format. GoodReader allows me to crop, highlight, and read my notes without fear of messing them up.
Spotify – Spotify has completely replaced the iTunes app on my iPad. Spotify gives you access to a music library of nearly every song ever recorded! There are free options, but I signed up for the subscription, because it is worth every cent. Instead of paying $10 for just one of the latest Christian Album every month, I pay $10 a month for every album ever. I did the math on what I used to spend on music, and this actually saves me money. It is great for making current playlists for my ministry. No more old songs playing again and again for years in my church. Nothing but the best.
Duet Display – Duet Display turns your iPad into a second monitor for your computer. I love having a second monitor on all my computers. Being able to organize multiple windows and quickly transition between them makes you more productive. I often have three or more application open at once. So if you have ever wanted to use a second monitor, now you can turn your iPad into one. How cool is that?
iMovie – Being able to create quality video is more and more important for churches. If you want to shoot and edit video announcements, testimonies, skits, highlights of service projects, or whatever, iMovie is the best. This app can handle just about any video project a church has (other than 3D animations and more technical videos like that).
30/30 – 30/30 is a time-management app for getting more done. It lets you set a list of tasks and a time allotment for each. Start the timer and get as much done as you possibly can before the buzzer. Then, switch to the next task. This works great if you think about it as a game. How much can you get done before the clock runs out? Just don’t forget to schedule a break or two in between tasks. Use it for managing time on Facebook, checking email, or working on a sermon. You will be surprised at how much more you can get done in less time.
Wunderlist – Wunderlist is my favorite to-do app. I have tried many to-do lists, and I absolutely love the simplicity and features of Wanderlust. If you live and die by your to-do list like me, you need a simple, enjoyable way to keep your list across all your devices. Wunderlist is great because you can share your to-do list with others to collaborate on projects together. You can also set reoccurring tasks if you need a monthly, weekly, or daily reminder to do something. Plus, it syncs seamlessly with their desktop and iPad app.
Audible – If you like to listen to books, Audible is the best choice out there. Audible is a service by Amazon, so they have every audio book you could imagine. I love listening to books in my car, working out, or doing stuff around the house. I wrote more about Audible here. If you haven’t tried it, sign up for a free trial, and you get two audiobooks free!
I hope you found this list of the best iPad apps for pastors helpful. I plan to keep this article updated as I discover new apps. So…
What apps am I missing? I’m always looking for new suggestions. What would you add to this list?