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 always searching for new apps. Here is my current list of favorites:
The Best iPhone Apps for Pastors (in no particular order):
(Updated May, 2017)
Evernote helps me never forget a thing. Evernote is like my digital brain. I don’t trust my real brain to remember stuff, so I add everything I might want to remember later to Evernote: articles, blog ideas, sermon illustrations, quotes, meeting notes, receipts, etc.
I have a database in Evernote of every sermon I’ve 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 of a whiteboard or a meeting agenda, add it to Evernote, and then later, when I can’t remember what we talked about, a simple search pops it right up! Here are some other ways I use Evernote.
My biggest complaint with Evernote used to be the speed of the app, but recent updates have improved it considerably.
Hands down, Ulysses is my favorite writing app because of its simplicity and power. It’s what I use to write all of my articles, books, and devotions for my church. If you are familiar with Evernote, Ulysses is like Evernote for writing. 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.
It uses a minimalist approach, so you don’t get bogged down in all the clutter that other writing programs have (I’m looking at you Scrivener). My mind is free to open the program and just write. There is only a small learning curve if you are unfamiliar with markdown, but Ulysses holds your hand through it to make it incredibly easy.
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. I have not found a more beautiful, simple, and powerful writing app.
I love listening to podcasts! And, in my opinion, the native Podcasts app does everything you need. 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. If you have not yet joined the podcast listening revolution, what are you waiting for? There are endless hours of free content for pastors who want to continue to learn.
If you have not yet joined the podcast listening revolution, what are you waiting for? There are endless hours of free content for pastors who want to continue to learn.
Church Management: Planning Center Services
If you are not on Planning Center for your 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
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 to rehearsal. This is an amazing tool for scheduling volunteers and planning services months in advance.
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.
Audio Books: Audible
Audiobooks are gaining popularity. Like podcasts, they allow you to listen to books while you do other things like drive to work or mow the lawn. Audiobooks have helped me double the number of books I “read” in a month. I still like Kindle books, but it is nice to have a mixture of both. I know a lot of pastors use audible just based on the growing number of downloads of my audiobooks. If you want to get started,
I still like Kindle books, but it is nice to have a mixture of both. I know a lot of pastors use audible just based on the growing number of downloads of my audiobooks. If you want to get started,
If you want to get started, click here and you can sign up for a free trial and get two books free!
Blog Articles: Feedly
Feedly is the best blog reader available. It allows you to read and follow all of your favorite blogs in one place. This is one of the first apps I open every morning.
Not only does it help me stay up with current events and ideas, but 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 both using Buffer (see below). If you read a lot of blogs, you need this.
Bible Reading: Bible
The Bible App by Bible.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 (an excellent option while driving or working out).
I do almost all my reading on this app following one of their many reading plans. An often overlooked feature is the ability to select a favorite verse and turn it into a quick graphic to share on social media. 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 Study: Logos
Whether you have purchased their study library or not, you should get the Logos Bible app. While the Bible app is good for reading, the Logos app is better for Bible study. It’s 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.
Task Management: Wunderlist
Wunderlist is my favorite to-do list. I have tried a lot of different task manager apps, but I keep coming back to Wunderlist because of its simplicity and power.
I live and die by my to-do list. If I don’t write it down, I don’t get it done. Wunderlist helps me keep track of what’s important. It is also great for sharing and collaborating on projects with other people.
One of my favorite tricks is to set recurring tasks for monthly, weekly, and daily reminders to do things. For example, I have daily recurring tasks for my morning routine to help motivate me and track my progress. Wunderlist syncs seamlessly with their desktop and iPad app too.
Cloud Storage: Dropbox
Dropbox is a life-saver. It’s online cloud storage. I use it to back up all of my important files and documents. Simply drop your files into the folder on your desktop and it automatically syncs to your iPhone, iPad, and the web.
This 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. Dropbox is also great for sharing large files (like videos) that cannot be emailed.
Spotify has replaced iTunes for me. It gives you a music library of nearly every song ever recorded! You can listen for free if you don’t mind ads. But I 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?
A lot of churches use it to make playlists for various ministries (pre-service music, funerals, weddings, youth ministry, etc).
One of the most overlooked features is all the shared playlists that other people make. So if you don’t want to spend hours compiling a playlist, you can easily find great playlists that others have made.
Scannable is like having a scanner in your pocket. This app has helped me to go completely paperless at home and work. Just point the camera at a document and it automatically scans it. Then, with the push of a button, it saves the scan into a folder in Evernote (or anywhere else you choose to send it).
Now, when I am looking for documents, I can quickly search in Evernote and find it in seconds. One of my favorite uses is for scanning receipts for all ministry related purchases, so I never lose them.
No more clutter in my office and no more hours of searching through large stacks of random papers! YES!
Social Media: Buffer
Buffer allows you to set an automated schedule for all of your social media posts on multiple platforms. You can sit down once a week (or month), and schedule all of your posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more.
Just set the days and times that you would like to post and start adding content. Done. It makes managing multiple social network accounts easy, saves time, and frees you up to work on more important things. Most people can get by with the free plan.
I use Buffer to effortlessly manage my accounts for ProPreacher.
Preaching: Presentation Clock
I often preach in rooms with no clock. Whenever I guest speak, I never know if they will have a clock available. So, 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. It keeps you honest on your sermon length.
Graphic Design: Word Swag
You may not be a graphic designer, but sharing pictures on social media has never been more important. Posts with pictures always do better than just text. 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 throw together beautiful looking announcements, Bible verses, or inspirational quotes to share.
You could even use it to create sermon series graphics. I use it to create all the article images on ProPreacher.com.
All pastors should also be good stewards of their personal finances. I use mint.com to help. I love how it tracks my debit and credit card purchases and then categorizes them into my budget automatically.
This takes all tedious data entry out of keeping a budget. And, best of all, it’s FREE!
If you want to be a better manager of your personal finances, give Mint a try.
Journaling: Day One Journal
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.
Work/Collaboration: Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets
Many churches are now using Google Apps for email, file storage and shared documents. These apps are quickly giving the Apple work apps like Pages a run for their money.
I tend to use Apple apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) for work I do myself, and the Google suite of apps for work that I want to collaborate on with my team. But I can foresee a day when I start using Google for everything to keep it simple.
If you travel for conferences, speaking engagements, or family vacations, you need this app. Hopper monitors the fluctuation in flight prices and tells you when to buy at their lowest price.
I recently used Hopper to book a family summer vacation to Mexico. It told me to wait to book until the price dropped. So I set it and forgot about it. One day, I got a notification that the price dropped. I booked immediately and saved $900!
If you plan your flights in advance, this app will save you money.
Exercise: Nike+ Run Club
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 my time, how far I ran, and my average pace. I play an audiobook, podcast, or music on Spotify and enjoy a nice run.
What Other iPhone Apps Should Pastors Know About?
I hope you found my current list of best iPhone apps for pastors helpful. But I am always looking for new apps and plan to continue to keep this post updated.
So please, help me out.
What app am I missing? What would you add to this list?
Let me know in the comments below.