The Best iPhone Apps for Pastors (2017)

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)

Notes: Evernote 

Evernote iphone app

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.

Writing: Ulysses

Ulysses iPhone app

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.

Podcasts: Podcasts

podcasts iPhone 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

planning center iPhone app

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.

Planning Center also has a growing number of top-notch solutions for child check-inmembership management, and more.

Reading: Kindle

kindle iPhone app

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

audible iPhone app

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 iPhone app

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 

Bible iPhone app

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

Logos iPhone app

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 iphone app

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 iPhone app

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.

Music: Spotify

spotify iPhone app

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.

Scanner: Scannable

Scannable iPhone app

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 iPhone app

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 

Presentation Clock iPhone app

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 

Word Swag iPhone app

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.

Finances: Mint

Mint iPhone app

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

Day One Journal iPhone app

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

Google Drive iPhone app

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.

Travel: Hopper

Hopper iPhone app

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

Nike+ Run Club iPhone app

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.


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32 Comments

  1. Charlie Holiday-Wilson 05/04/2017 at

    mileage tracker to track those business trips for taxes

  2. Trudy 09/28/2016 at

    Appreciate your ideas! I use many of them. 😀
    For me personally, I’m looking for a good app (for iphone or software for mac) to keep track of Bible Study interests. . .recording data such as name, address, phone, email…name of each study….date study given…their response. . .whether study is by mail or in person, which literature given, etc. Could also be adapted to evangelistic meetings interests. Do you know of one besides making my own in excel or numbers?

  3. Perry M. Tripp Jr. 02/25/2016 at

    Thank you for this list. I hope some of these apps can help me juggle more efficiently.

    I would like some feed back if possible. I have used Accordance for a few years, and have found it quite helpful, but I know of several people that have Logos. Is there any chance that you have any experience with Accordance, and might be able to discuss some of the pros and cons? I actually have one of the sets, so switching could be expensive. Also, could you discuss what options there are with Logos, and what would be best for a Pastor to purchase.

    Thank you again for the list. May God continue to use you and your writing.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  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. 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… 🙂

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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