The Best iPad Apps for Pastors (2017)


the best iPad apps for pastors

What are the best iPad apps for pastors?

I have been using my iPad for ministry since I bought my first iPad in 2012, and I’ve 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 May 2017)

Graphic Design: Word Swag

Word Swag iPad app

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.

Journaling: Day One Journal

Day One Journal iPad app

Day One has won various app awards for a reason. It’s 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 that you can pull those thoughts for sermon preparation later.

Notes: Evernote

Evernote iPad app

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 ideas for sermons, illustrations, blog posts or whatever else comes to mind. Evernote helps you capture great ideas before you forget them. It’s an essential for every pastor! Plus, here are more ways Evernote makes a pastor’s life easier.

My only gripe about Evernote recently was the speed of the app, but the newest updates have dramatically improved it.

Handwritten Notes: Penultimate

Penultimate iPad app for pastors

Penultimate is a hand-written note taking app created by the good folks at Evernote. Because it’s owned by Evernote, as soon as you are done taking your notes, it automatically saves them into a designated Evernote folder for you. So you can search and find them later.

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 and even rude during meetings. People don’t know if you are sending email, surfing the web, or paying attention.

So I use Penultimate along with a good stylus to write meeting notes by hand, which are later searchable in Evernote. This just feels and looks much more professional to me.

Cloud Storage: Dropbox

dropbox iPad app

Dropbox is a great 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.

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).

It is also great for sharing large files (like videos or a lot of pictures) that are too large to email.

Mind Mapping: SimpleMind+

SimpleMind iPad mind mapping app for pastors

Simple Mind is a simple mind mapping app. Mind mapping is a great way to brainstorm ideas and organize thoughts.

One of my favorite brainstorming tricks is to set a timer for five minutes and dump everything I can think of into a mind map. You could use this for coming up with ideas for sermons, outreach events, service planning, or anything else.

Once all your ideas are out, you can easily drag them around to organize by categories or delete the bad ones.

Podcast Player: Podcasts

podcasts iPhone app

Podcasts are amazing. Today you can find a podcast for anything you want to learn about.

The podcast app by Apple does everything you need in a podcast player. It syncs with podcasts on your iPhone and your computer.

My favorite feature is the ability to speed up a podcast. It takes a minute to adjust, but once you get used to it, you can listen to a hour-long preacher in half the time. It helps me save time while still listening to my favorites in my car or while doing work around the house.

Bible Reading: Bible

Bible iPhone app

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!

Bible Study: Logos

Logos iPhone app

While I love the Bible app for casual reading, it cannot compare to Logos for in-depth study. Logos gives you the power of an entire research library with you wherever you go.

If you haven’t purchased Logos, 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.

It gives me access to search thousands of commentaries, journals, theology books, and more in seconds. Logos is a must-have for sermon study on the go!

Blog Reader: Feedly

feedly iPhone app

Feedly is my favorite RSS reader for the iPad. If you don’t know what RSS is, that’s no problem.

Feedly basically allows you to subscribe to all the posts from your favorite blogs. I use this app to sift through hundreds of articles a day.

Leaders are readers. Why not take advantage of the great free content that the best writers on the internet are producing every day?

Church Management: Planning Center Services

planning center iPhone app

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 right now!

I use this app weekly to manage the service order and coordinate the scheduling of hundreds of volunteers. It makes planning services and coordinating volunteers easy! I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have it.

Also, you may want to check out their ProjectorMusic Stand, and membership management apps.

Child Check-In: Planning Center Check-In Station

A few years ago, my church switched to the Planning Center Check-In app because it syncs with their entire church management ecosystem of tools.

You can easily turn an iPad, iPhone, or even a cheap iPod into a child 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 pick up.

We started in the early stages, but Planning Center continues to make improvements to make this check-in solution even better. I love it!

Social Media: Buffer

Buffer iPhone app

If you have multiple social media accounts across multiple platforms (like most people), you need Buffer. Buffer is a social media management solution for multiple platforms.

It is incredibly easy to use. Set up the days and times you want to post on social media. Then, add posts to fill your Buffer queue and Buffer will automatically post them for you.

I use Buffer to manage all my social media posts for ProPreacher. Whenever I find an article or idea worth sharing, I drop it into Buffer and forget about it. Buffer does the rest.

Work/Collaboration: Google DriveDocs, and Sheets

Google Drive iPhone app

Many churches now use 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 (Pages and Numbers) 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. However, a day is likely coming soon when I will switch entirely to Google to keep it simple and all in one place.

Writing: Ulysses

Ulysses iPhone app

I have tried many writing apps, but Ulysses is my favorite. I love its simplicity and power.

It has a minimalist design, so it gets all the clutter of other writing apps out of the way so you can focus on just writing. But its minimalist design does not sacrifice power.

It’s what I use to write all of my articles, books, and devotions for my church. It allows you to manage and save all of your writing projects in one place. Everything backs up to the cloud, so you never lose a project again. Plus, it syncs effortlessly between the iPhone and desktop app, so my writing is always updated on all my devices.

There’s a small learning curve if you are not familiar with markdown, but Ulysses holds your hand through it. It’s pretty simple, and I now prefer it

One of the most powerful features is the ability to export your writing to other formats (ebooks, html, word documents, and so on). I also love how it helps track word count goals, and lets you customize the look of your writing.

I have not found a more beautiful, simple, and powerful writing app.

Book Reading: 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 largest book company in the world, and has a bigger selection of books, often for a better price.

2) Call me paranoid, but if Apple ever went downhill as a company or I bought a different device—gasp—I will still have all my Kindle books that I can read on any device.

3) I love being able to access all my notes at and save all of my highlights and illustrations I find into Evernote for quick reference (more on that here).

Scanner: Scannable

Scannable iPhone app

Scannable turns your iPad into a portable scanner. I have gone paperless at home and 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 another app 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 a whiteboard.

Preaching: GoodReader 

GoodReader iPad app for pastors

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 and open them in GoodReader. It allows me to crop, highlight, and read my notes on stage without fear of messing them up.

Music: Spotify

spotify iPhone app

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’s worth every penny.

Instead of paying $10 for just one of the latest Christian Albums 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 saves me money.

It’s 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.

I also love being able to discover playlists that others create to save the hours it would take to make my own.

External Monitor: Duet Display

Duest Display iPad app for pastors

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?

Duet Display isn’t perfect. It can glitch here and there, but I haven’t found a better solution out there.

Task Management: Wunderlist

Wunderlist iphone app

Wunderlist is my favorite to-do list app. I have tried many to-do lists, and I 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 iPhone app.

Audio Books: Audible

audible iPhone app

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?


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By | 2017-05-16T20:11:10+00:00 May 16th, 2017|


  1. -stallion 06/02/2016 at

    hey man, love the list.. have tried or been using a lot you posted.. one extra one I love is POCKET it saves articles from any device to read later.

    you either can install the pocket button or hit the share button at the end of an article and have it emailed to your pocket. Later on you open the app, and boom.. there’s all your articles saved in one spot to be able to read later, when you have more time

  2. Christian 12/01/2015 at

    I know this is a old post but one app I really like for Worship Leading is OnSong, you can import your files from Dropbox, Planning Center, SongSelect and more and you can transpose them into the key you want it. It also has a MIDI Output (I haven´t used it yet). With this app I don´t need to go through the folder anymore to find all my song sheets.

  3. Darryl Jones 01/20/2015 at

    Brandon, how would you rate/compare Clear with Todo Cloud by Appigo?

  4. Jamie Wilkins 05/07/2014 at

    Great list of apps, thank you for sharing! A couple of interesting ones that I will try out for sure. I use an app that helps me managing my meetings more effectively It works on my iPhone, iPad and Mac.

  5. Peter Bogert 01/27/2014 at

    I bought the Wacom bamboo you linked to and I can’t get it to work at all. I obviously must be doing something wrong here. Anyone have some tips??

    • Brandon 01/27/2014 at

      That is strange. You should just be able to touch the screen with the rubber tip and it will work. Only thing I could think of is if maybe there is plastic on the tip or some kind of screen cover on your iPad that is causing the problem. Hmm…

      • Peter Bogert 01/27/2014 at

        I got the one that you linked to – it has a very thin nib and came with a bunch of replacements. It does nothing when I touch the screen.

        • Brandon 01/31/2014 at

          Peter, I hope you have gotten your problem resolved. That is really strange that it wasn’t working. There may be a chance you somehow got a defective product. I would check with the manufacturer.

  6. Nieman 01/23/2014 at

    Brandon, Good hearing from you again. Great article. Loved it. You need to have a button on your Social Media line that is a “share” button. (I might have missed it.) This makes it easier to get your articles on to social media for more viewing. I understand that one can copy/paste the link, however, I’m never surprised by how lazy people are…starting with me! 🙂

    • Brandon 01/23/2014 at

      Thanks Nieman. Good to hear from you too. The buttons are supposed to be there, but having problems for some reason. Gonna look into that. Thanks for pointing it out.

  7. Chris Paradise 08/13/2013 at

    I love this app gives you access to different options of reading the Bible to you. You can have it in Drama or Non drama formats. This is a great listening app.

  8. Randy Willis 03/01/2013 at

    I use some of those. I know a lot of people use Evernote, and I even have it on my iPad, but I just haven’t really worked it into my routine. I should probably take another look!

    I also use iAnnotate (a PDF app which allows extensive markup). I put my sermon text in a PDF and mark it up in iAnnotate a few weeks ahead of time to give me time to soak in the text before studying and preparing the message. I wrote a review on my blog:

  9. Brandon 12/19/2012 at

    Wow, that sounds great. I’m definitely going to have to check that one out. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Darren Schalk 12/19/2012 at

    For sermons I actually use a teleprompter app called PrompterPro. It enables me to see all my notes and color code them as needed. It also has a timer at the top to show me exactly how long I’ve been speaking, AND, it has an audio recorder that runs while I speak that produces a fairly high quality mp3! I’ve tried various apps for public speaking, and when I am addressing a crowd in a monologue type setting, this app is second to none.

    • Brandon 12/19/2012 at

      Wow, that sounds great. I’m definitely going to have to try that one out. Thanks for sharing!

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