“Must be nice to work only one day a week, eh Pastor?” If you lead a church, this comment will elicit a weak smile at best. You know the truth: pastors are busy all week. It’s not just the amount of work; it’s the diversity of tasks you’re required to do. A minister is a speaker, scholar, counselor, event planner, community leader, business manager, and conflict resolution specialist—all rolled into one. Leading a church is a big job. The tools below won’t make your ministry a breeze, but they should make it a little easier for you to breathe.
- EvernoteYou’re listening to the radio and hear the perfect sermon illustration. You’re browsing the web and stumble upon an article you want to share with your staff. Each of these incidents illustrate why you need Evernote. It enables you to record and categorize content you come across or dream up. Quite simply the best note-taking app out there.
- A WhiteboardNo, I’m not talking about some new, cool app named “Whiteboard.” I’m talking about a literal whiteboard. The kind with a stand and dry-erase makers. But don’t let the low-tech fool you. A whiteboard is still one of the best weapons in your arsenal. Whether you use it to outline a sermon, work through an idea, or explain one to others, few tools are handier.
- Sermon Writing ToolkitAvoid the Saturday night sermon scramble. Or—heaven forbid—the super early Sunday morning one. This tool breaks down sermon prep into discrete steps (“Choose Passage/Text … Formulate the Big Idea … Write Illustrations”) and spreads them evenly over the seven days of the week. You have to give Ministry Pass your email to get it and then suffer through some in-product ads, but it’s well worth it.
- SlackRecently dubbed the “Email Killer” by Fast Company, this collaborative software allows teams to have real-time conversations in open or private channels or have individuals send direct messages to each other. Slack will reduce the number of meetings you need to have with your staff and likely chop your in-house emails in half. Particularly useful if you have off-site staff members.
- CaptioAn iTunes app that lets you e-mail yourself a note with one tap. It’s not near the service Evernote provides, but if you live-and-die by your email, this on-the-go app will ensure you don’t lose that key thought. As one reviewer put it: “Perfect for what it is.”
- Self Control AppTackle the biggest obstacle to productivity: you. If you’re putting off important work to scan Facebook or play Tetris, this app is for you. It cuts you off from the Internet. Completely. No email, no news, no social media, no birds with anger issues. And not even shutting off your computer or deleting the app will give you access until the timer expires. Extreme measures, sure, but a sure way to help you focus.
- Planning CenterA productivity tool for your whole church. Planning Center includes software to help manage volunteers, giving, membership, small groups, and your worship services. Starter plans are available for free, and then go up in price depending on the size of your congregation.
- TrelloBilled as “everything you need to organize projects of any size,” Trello is basically a big “board” with several columns or “lists.” You create cards on these lists, representing different projects. As projects move through stages of development, you move them to the next list until they are complete and archived. It’s a powerful and intuitive online management tool. If you work with a team, it will save a lot of running between offices and needless meetings.
- Logos SoftwareIt has a cult-like devotion among users and the moment you try Logos, you see why. How is this a productivity tool? Because it means no more lugging around heavy commentaries or digging through library stacks (although that’s kind of fun, isn’t it?). Logos allows you to access thousands of Bible-study tools instantly and it’s all searchable.