84% of pastors use a standard word processing application for sermon writing.
Sermonary is working to change that.
Sermonary is a new online tool launching today that promises to help pastors build their sermon more efficiently by writing, presenting, and storing their sermons on a single platform
After launching on kickstarter a few months ago, Sermonary was fully funded in two hours.
Intrigued by the sudden success, I was fortunate to get access early.
Here are my takeaways after playing with it for the last month.
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$9 per month. But you can test drive it with a free trial today.
+ Podium Mode
I have wanted a dedicated application built for sermon notes for a long time. Podium mode allows to turn your manuscript or outline into a distraction-free, non-editable view that you can use present on your tablet, phone, or other devices.
If you use sermon notes, this is very helpful.
+ Countdown Timer
When you go into podium mode, a clock sticks to the top of your notes. So as you scroll down your notes, the clock stays at the top of the screen.
Even better, you can set the clock to a countdown timer. Simply add your allotted preaching time, and it will count down until you need to wrap up the message.
This is something I have been wanting for years! I hate having to rely on my watch, a tech volunteer to hold up fingers to signal how many minutes I have left (or am already over time), or a timer app on my phone.
If you don’t use a timer for your preaching, your people will love it if you make the switch. It keeps you honest, and your sermons from droning on and on.
I only wish it would keep counting after the timer hits zero, and turn red to indicate how over your time you are speaking.
+ Simple to Organize Your Sermons
Organizing your sermons is easy. You can group them together in a series or create individual, stand-alone messages.
In the sermon editor, the block format makes it simple to click and drag to reorganize entire sections of your message.
This comes in handy for those times when you have a great illustration, but can’t decide if it fits best in the middle or the end of the message.
+ Sermon Templates
You can use their selections or create your own.
I love being able to customize my own template. It’s a huge time-saver. I write about this in my book.
I could see this being used for your general sermon template. You could also use it for creating templates for things like announcements, giving, or communion talks.
+ Illustration Library
Sermonary includes a growing sermon illustration library for free.
Free resources like this are always a plus.
If you are working on your message and your computer battery dies or the internet goes down, your work is saved.
It’s an often overlooked, but life-saving feature.
– It Has Growing Pains
Sermonary is still a baby. There are a few bugs that I am certain that it will improve with more polish.
For example, I had a problem with being able to edit my series titles, but I told them about it, and it was fixed soon after.
I also encountered some bugs when adding sermon blocks. It occasionally froze and I had to refresh my window to go back instead of being able to close the options box. But as in the previous case, I’m confident that this will be fixed soon.
But as in the previous case, I’m confident that this will be fixed soon.
– Doesn’t Imported Bible Verses for You.
I know I’m being a little picky here, but you still have to copy and paste the text from a Bible verse like you probably already do in a word document.
It would be nice if Sermonary was able to automatically import the text for you from your favorite translation if you provide the address (like Logos does). It’s a huge time-saver.
To be fair, I talked to co-founder, Justin Trapp, and he said this is something they are looking into for the future.
So again, more good stuff will come in time.
– Only Web-Based
This could be a problem. If you don’t have internet access, or the internet goes down, you are dead in the water.
At the moment, Sermonary is only web-based. I wish there was an app for my tablet/phone that saved the files offline in case you don’t have internet access.
When I worked in a portable church, we met in a high school and didn’t have internet access. We tried some cell-phone hotspots, but even with that, the internet was spotty and unreliable. So the presentation mode would not work in that situation.
The only other option is to print a backup copy (which I always recommend anyway).
Again, one of the founders told me that they will consider an app in the future.
– Resources Are Still Being Added and Cost Extra
I’m interested to see what this will continue to look like. As of right now, Sermonary is creating their own resources.
At this point, if I use Sermonary for writing the message, saving my work, and holding my sermon notes, I would still use Logos for studying the text.
The podium mode, countdown timer, and a dedicated place to store all of my sermons is what makes Sermonary most promising for me.
The concept is brilliant, and based on my experience and the proof from their kickstarter, there is a need for an application like Sermonary.
That being said, I don’t know if it’s ready for me to make it my primary sermon writer and notes application just yet. But as the bugs are inevitably fixed and features are added, I will definitely be keeping my eye on this one.
It’s so close to what I hope it can become, and I think it will be there soon.
If you are interested, you can start your free trial today at Sermonary.co.
What do you think? Have you tried it yet?