The Absolute Best iPhone Apps for Pastors

I love my iPhone. It is easily one of the most powerful ministry tools a pastor can have.

If you are a pastor with an iPhone, like me, you are probably always looking for the best apps for your iPhone to make it even better.

I am completely obsessed with finding the absolute best apps for pastors in the iTunes store. Because of this, I am constantly searching for new apps. Here is my current list of favorites.

The best iPhone apps for pastors (in no particular order):

(Updated January 6, 2014)

Evernote appEvernote – Evernote helps me never forget a thing. I add everything to Evernote: articles, blog ideas, sermon illustrations, quotes, meeting notes, receipts, etc. I have a database in Evernote of every sermon I have ever preached. One of the coolest things about Evernote is that you can add pictures you have taken of a document and it automatically converts the document so you can search its content. This means I can take a picture a meeting agenda, add it to Evernote, and then later when I can’t remember what we decided a simple search pops it right up! Here are some other ways I use Evernote.

Downcast appDowncast I love listening to podcasts! And, in my opinion, Downcast is the best podcast listener app available. It easily syncs all my favorite podcasts. My favorite feature is the ability to increase the playback speed. I can cut a 30 minute podcast to 15 minutes or less. It takes a little getting used to, but our brains process things we hear a whole lot faster than we can speak. This helps me listen to all my favorite preachers and leadership podcasts. This is a must for all pastors who want to continue growing.

IFTT appIFTT – If This Then That (IFTT) allows you to create automated processes between popular apps. You can backup all your contacts to a google spreadsheet; make all your tweets into Facebook posts; send yourself wake up calls on specific days; automatically record emailed receipts to a google spreadsheet; have it call or text you when your favorite blog (like this one!) posts a new article; even set it to email people on their birthdays! The possibilities are nearly endless. I have only begun to tap into what this amazing app can do.

Planning Center Online appPlanning Center Online – If you are not on Planning Center for you church, check it out immediately. It has become the standard tool in churches of all sizes around the country to plan church services and schedule volunteers. For worship leaders, planning center allows you to upload mp3’s of your songs and music charts so everyone can practice at home before they come for rehearsal. This is an amazing tool for scheduling volunteers, and planning services months in advance.

Kindle appKindle If you are like me, you read a lot. I read books on the Kindle app instead of iBooks. Why? Because Kindle books are often cheaper, there is a larger selection, and it automatically syncs across any device. I can read on my iPhone, put it down and pick up right where I left off on my laptop or iPad. I also like that I won’t lose my library if, God forbid, I ever switch to a non-Apple product.

Feedly appFeedly  After Google Reader shut down, Feedly has become my favorite blog reader. This is one of the first apps I open every morning. Not only does it help me stay up with current events and ideas, it also helps me sift through hundreds of blog articles quickly to read only the best ones. I also love the functionality to save articles for later or share them on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever.

The Bible AppThe Bible App The Bible App by YouVersion.com is by far the best Bible reading app. It has almost made my paper Bible obsolete. You can choose any of your favorite translations to read or even listen to the audio version (a great option while driving or working out). I do almost all my reading on this app following one of their many reading plans. This app always comes in handy when I need to reference a quick passage of scripture or I’m in a Bible study and somebody didn’t bring a Bible. Download it and tell everyone in your church to download it too!

Bible for Kids appBible for Kids – Bible for Kids is made by the same people behind the YouVersion Bible App. If you have kids, get this app! My 4-year-old daughter loves it! This app does a fantastic job of making the Bible fun and interactive for kids, and allows me to have great conversations with her about the Bible. Get it and recommend it to all parents and kids ministry workers in your church. Where was this when I was a kid and we were stuck with a flannelgraph?

Clear appClear+ Clear is my new favorite to-do list. I have tried a lot of different task manager apps, but I just love the interface and simplicity of Clear. I live and die by my to-do list. Without an enjoyable way to track tasks, I wouldn’t get anything done. And this might sound weird, but the interface and sound effects of Clear make accomplishing tasks feel like a video game.

30/30 app30/30 – This simple productivity and time-management app is amazing for getting more stuff done. 30/30 lets you set a list of tasks and a time length for each one. Then, start the timer and get as much done as you can before time runs out and you switch to the next task. Try to think of it as a game. How much can you get done within the time limit? It is proven that focused, timed effort helps you get more done. Just don’t forget to schedule breaks in between tasks! Try using it to manage how long you check email, work on a sermon, or be on Facebook.

1Password app1Password – If you are like me, you have dozens of different passwords and usernames for sites all over the internet. Trying to keep track of these all can be a real pain – especially when you need to access something quick but can’t remember the password. 1Password saves all of your passwords in one place. No need to try to remember them all. This great app does it all for you.

dropbox appDropbox Dropbox is a life-saver. It is basically an online hard drive. I use it to back up all of my important files and documents. Simply drop your files in the folder on your desktop and it automatically syncs to your iPhone, iPad, and the web. This really comes in handy when I don’t have something like a volunteer application on me. I just open Dropbox on my phone and email the application directly to the prospective volunteer. I also upload my sermons just in case I lose my notes.

Spotify appSpotify Spotify has replaced iTunes for me. It gives you a music library of nearly every song ever recorded! I even signed up for the subscription version because it is worth every penny. Why would I pay $10 a month for one CD worth of music when I could pay $10 a month for almost every album ever recorded? I also use the app to make a playlist for my ministry. This way I always have the most current music. No more problems with repeating the same old songs over, and over, and over again in my church!

Genius Scan appGenius Scan I use Genius Scan to turn my iPhone into a pocket scanner. I use this app to go paperless at home and at work. So this app takes a pic of the document and exports it into a folder in Evernote for me. Then when I am looking for a paper, I can easily search for it in Evernote and find it in seconds. I also use it to immediately scan receipts so I don’t lose them. No more clutter in my office and no more hours of searching through large stacks of random papers! YES!

Buffer appBuffer – Buffer allows you to automatically set a schedule for all of your social media posts. You can sit down once a week (or month), and schedule all of you posts. I use this for my accounts for ProPreacher and my ministry. You just set the days and times that you would like to post and start adding posts. Done. This makes managing multiple social network accounts easy and frees you up to work on more important things!

Presentation Clock appPresentation Clock – I speak a lot in environments with no clock. Rather than bringing in a big clock and mounting it in the back of the room, I use Presentation Clock. I set the length of time I have to speak, then I place it on a stand next to my Bible. It counts down the time remaining, and changes color to warn you when you are almost out of time. When your time is up, it inverts colors and starts counting up to tell you how long you have run over. Trust me, your church will thank you for using this!

LogMeIn appLogMeIn – This app is perfect for the pastor on the go, or one who just doesn’t want to carry their work computer home every night. LogMeIn allows you to remotely access your computer. So if you forgot something at the office and need to access your computer late on a Saturday night, no problem.

Wordpress appWordPress I use WordPress to run my blog. I mostly use the app to track stats and monitor comments, because I still prefer writing posts on my computer. So if you are considering starting a blog, you need to go with WordPress. It is easily the best platform out there. Also, if you want a cheap and relatively simple solution for your church’s website, WordPress is the way to go!

Over appOver Sharing pictures on social media has never been more important. Posts with pictures always do better than just text posts. Over is an amazing app (similar to Instagram) for editing pictures and adding text. This is a great app to throw up beautiful looking announcements, Bible verses, or inspirational quotes to Facebook or Twitter.

iTunes U appiTunes U Anyone who doesn’t take advantage of iTunes U is missing out. You can listen in on college classes in the best schools in the nation for FREE! If you cannot afford the time or money to go back to school, why not do it free? You won’t get the diploma but you will still get the knowledge. History, science, theology… pick whatever you want to learn more about?

mint appMint.com All pastors should be good managers of their own finances. I use mint.com. I love how it automatically tracks debit and credit card purchases and then categorizes them into your budget for you. This takes all tedious data entry out of keeping a budget. And, best of all, it’s FREE!

Logos Bible!Logos Bible! – Whether you have purchased their study library or not, you should get the Logos Bible app. This app is great for digging deeper into scripture with Greek or Hebrew word studies. And if you have purchased any of the Logos Bible Software (which I highly recommend), you can read every book from your library of commentaries, bible dictionaries and more. This app is extremely handy for sermon prep on the go.

Day One JournalDay One – If you like to keep a journal or want to start, Day One is the best app in the app store for you. It automatically syncs with Dropbox, so you don’t have to worry about losing any of your journal entries. Day One also works great if you are just keeping a prayer journal.

pages appPages, Numbers, & Keynote – If you are looking for word processor, spreadsheet, or slide apps, there is nothing better than Apple’s own creations. These apps cost around $10 each (which I gladly paid for), but now Apple has made them completely free after you purchase a new apple device! These are must haves.

MileBug appMileBug – If you drive a lot either to church, hospital visits, counseling sessions, lunch meetings, or wherever, MileBug will track your mileage for you. Why would you want to track your mileage? You can report it at tax time and save money!

Nike+ RunningNike+ Running It’s important to stay healthy spiritually as well as physically. This is the most popular running app on iTunes for a reason. It uses GPS to track how far you run and monitors your pace. You can also see a map of the exact route you run. I love running with this app to track exactly my time, how far I ran, and my average pace.

5k Runner app5K Runner I used this app to help train for my first ever 5k. I am horrible at running long distances, but this app eased me into running a 5k in under 30 minutes. It’s like having a personal coach in your pocket. It tells you when to walk and when to run. It takes all the thinking out of training. Just turn it on and do what it says. I put in headphones, turn on the Nike+ app, play my workout playlist, and then start 5k Runner.

 

Hope you found my current list of best iPhone apps for pastors helpful. I plan to continue to keep this post updated. So…

What apps am I missing? I’m always looking for new suggestions. What would you add to this list?

*These links are affiliate links, which means I get a tiny commission on products sold at no cost to you. This is just a tiny way to help cover the cost of keeping this site running. So if you click a link and download an app, thank you for the support!

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28 Responses to The Absolute Best iPhone Apps for Pastors

  1. Eric 01/06/2014 at #

    Just a question for you. I looked into Keynote, Pages, and Numbers and they all cost $10. Am I wrong and if so, how do I find the free ones?

    • Brandon 01/06/2014 at #

      Eric, thanks for pointing this out. I made a mistake. These apps are only free with the purchase of a new apple device. It showed up for free when I looked, because we just upgraded my wife’s phone.

      I still got them before they were free, but if you are going to upgrade soon you can hold off and save the money.

      I just updated the article with the changes. Thanks again for pointing this out.

  2. Peter Walters 01/08/2014 at #

    Brandon,

    I just switched to Evernote this week. I have no idea why I took so long it’s great:) Signed up for Planning Center Online yesterday and I am loving it. After looking at your list I think I am going to check out Genius Scan, sounds like a useful tool.

    Thanks for posting.

    Peter

    • Brandon 01/08/2014 at #

      Awesome Peter! Glad you are liking them. These tools are all life savers!

      Thanks for letting me know it’s working for you. Comments like these keep me going.

  3. Trey Ethridge 01/10/2014 at #

    I really like to use the app Groups to message all of my Small group leaders, accountability group, and volunteers.

    • Brandon 01/10/2014 at #

      Trey, that sounds great! I’m definitely going to check that one out. I use a mass texting system, but it doesn’t allow for anyone to reply. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Jesse 01/10/2014 at #

    Notability. I import my sermons, review and make notes over top the document and then either preach from Notability or import it into Quickoffice if I want to make sure I don’t modify anything accidently.

    • Brandon 01/10/2014 at #

      Thanks for the tip Jesse. I haven’t used Notability before. Is it a PDF view or text editor? Gonna have to go check it out.

  5. Jason Burden 01/10/2014 at #

    Pat, check out Skitch. It’s a neat tool for annotating pictures.

    • Brandon 01/10/2014 at #

      Jason, I do like Skitch. It is owned by Evernote and I am a huge fan of everything they do.

  6. Joshua Breland 01/10/2014 at #

    Great list! Thanks for sharing.

    • Brandon 01/10/2014 at #

      You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you found something helpful!

  7. Jim Dillinger 01/11/2014 at #

    Expensify is a great cross platform expense tracker, receipts, milage, and much more!

    • Brandon 01/16/2014 at #

      Thanks for the tip Jim. I will look into it.

  8. Bill 01/13/2014 at #

    Thanks for the great suggestions. Here are a couple of apps to think about also.

    I recently started using my iPad for my sermon outline. I like to prepare it on my Mac in “Pages” and then open it as a PDF on the iPad with “GoodReader.” It is easy to add notes and highlights.

    The one iPad app that helps most with sermon preparation is the “WORDsearch” app. Of course it is more powerful and flexible on the Mac (or PC), but now there is less lost time in waiting rooms (or when waiting on my wife while she is shopping.) It is a great way to read a commentary or reference material related to the next sermon.

    • Brandon 01/16/2014 at #

      Thanks Bill. I actually ave written a post in the past specifically for iPad apps that includes some of these. I’m probably going to update it in the next few weeks. Stay tuned… :)

  9. Brian 01/13/2014 at #

    Thanks for this post! I am not hugely tech saavy but am developing. Keep these coming! It’s great to point us in the direction for what to use. Telling us how you used it was also helpful for the “intro to tech”-ie person I am.

    • Brandon 01/13/2014 at #

      Thanks Brian! So glad to hear that you and others are finding this useful!

  10. Jay 01/14/2014 at #

    I noticed that there weren’t any apps about internet safety – such as convent eyes or triple x church. These aren’t only great resources for a pastor, but are also helpful for him to be aware of, in order to prescribe them to a needy congregation member.

    • Brandon 01/16/2014 at #

      Good point Jay. I have been a fan of the new built-in security features on iOS7 so that’s why I didn’t list these apps, but I may add one to the list because pornography is a HUGE problem.

  11. John Finkelde 01/16/2014 at #

    Superb list. Thanks. I use a lot of these on android.

    I’d add Timely, a beautiful timer app; Overdrive Media Console, borrow books from your library to read on your tablet; Taptu, excellent curator of news and articles from a huge variety of sites.

    • Brandon 01/16/2014 at #

      Thanks John! I will definitely have to check these all out.

  12. Matt 01/16/2014 at #

    Google Drive is a great free app for all devices, it is kind of like Drop Box.

    • Brandon 01/16/2014 at #

      Thanks for the recommendation Mat. I am a big Google Drive fan too. I have used their collaborative functions for documents many planning meetings so everyone could see the same notes in real time.

  13. david 01/22/2014 at #

    EasilyDo will automatically merge contacts and monitor your social media to let you know about birthdays, anniversaries, popular posts, etc and let you comment from the app.

  14. allen 03/13/2014 at #

    I really enjoy your blog, and this post. I’ve just downloaded most of these on my phone after reading. But there are some things about smart phones and their “great apps,” that also get under my skin. Not a reflection of you or your great writing, but some thoughts that I feel are worth exploring: In regards to Spotify, I think it’s appalling that we must pay to “rent” music. The reason I (and many others) prefer to pay $10 for a CD, is that afterwards, I own the CD. I don’t have to continue to pay $10/month to listen to it. I understand that this limits the selection, but how often to we “need” every song ever made?
    With something like Downcast the features it boasts are something that my original iPhone debuted, and are had within the music native app on the iPhone already, no app needed. But again, with technology in its current state, isn’t it time to start asking more fundamental questions? Questions like, how important is this podcast, really, if I can’t even listen to the conversation at normal speaking speed? Please understand i’m not trying to criticize you. It’s just that these questions have burned in me for a while now, and your article has me hoping that this is an ok forum to voice them?
    And finally, in the instance of Presentation Clock, wouldn’t it be much more respectable to wear an actual watch? I know this sounds nitpicky. But instead of training people to rely even more heavily on their phones for simple tasks that we have managed for years, why don’t we encourage preachers to do things that are a part of being a mature adult? It’s possible that i’ve read too much artofmanliness.com lately, in that I’m wondering if new ways are necessarily better. In many cases, they are much better! But in some, maybe we should ask ourselves what we’re becoming when we rely on the calculators of our modern day to think FOR us.
    Again, thank you for the space to write. I hope the tone of this comment comes across as intended.
    With respect,
    allen

    • Brandon 03/14/2014 at #

      Allen, no offense taken. I love hearing other people’s opinions. I can see how some people are resistant to “renting” music. It is definitely not for everyone. For me, however, I don’t listen to enough of the older music I have purchased. So it makes sense to be able to continually have a fresh library without breaking the bank.

      As far as the Presentation Clock app, if a watch works for you, that’s great. I have tried watches in the past and I found it too distracting to look down at my wrist (especially if it was not a digital watch because I would have to pause and calculate the minutes I was preaching based on the service). Personally, I don’t even own a watch anymore, because I have simplified everything to working on my phone.

      You definitely raise some good questions though. Technology is a powerful tool, but we must be careful not to be consumed by it.

      • allen 03/15/2014 at #

        Thanks for the reply. As one more note for folks, I was REALLY excited when I first downloaded Planning center, and noticed they had a “Music Stand” app. But was sad to find out that while the app itself is free, the usage will cost at least $14 a month. Just a heads up for those interested. Thanks again.

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