Using the iPad in Ministry

Last week I got an iPad 2, which I really like. Now the question is, “What am I planning on doing with this?” Let me share some thoughts on how I’m planning to use the iPad in ministry

First, the iPad is going to be my default note-taking device. I really dislike taking notes on my iPhone, as I make far too many mistakes, and mind-mapping on the small screen is impossible. I also dislike taking notes during a meeting on my laptop. The screen gets in the way of participating with a conversation, especially when helping people plan a funeral or wedding. The iPad, by contrast, is not as “present” as my laptop (or even my phone, as I’m cut off when I type on the small screen). It’s there, and its useful, but it’s not in the way.

Second, I’m going to use this during worship as my complete information repository. As a pastor, the sheer amount of paper I have to carry into worship is staggering. I have a bulletin, all the inserts, my Bible, my lyrics or hymnal, and whatever last-minute added things people want to make sure I don’t miss. It’s insane. With my iPad, I’m down to one device (actually two, my iPod touch. Is my remote clicker) – it’s my Bible, my lyric sheet, my worship bulletin, my announcement sheet, my notebook for last minute information, and my prayer concern recorder. This is so much easier for me, with the added benefit that the information I take in when I’m with the community doesn’t end up in the recycle bin (after which I find I need to access it agin).

Third, I’m going to use it to create on the fly. If I’m out having a conversation with someone, it’s a lot easier to take my iPad with me than my laptop. If we come up with an idea, I can open pages, or another creative app, and get working on it immediately (with the aforementioned benefits of it being less present).

Fourth, what a wonderful “screen.” I write most of my documents in Google Docs (and now I’m using Evernote as well), so when I need to display information on more than one screen my iPad is right there (with the nice smart cover) to display the information on an easily viewable screen at an angle that makes it easy to see both screens simultaneously. When I’m using it conjunction with my laptop, the iPad becomes a cloud powered screen. It’s truly wonderful.

While my personal work-flow makes it currently difficult for me to use an iPad as my default computer, the reality is that an iPad and an external keyboard (for extended typing sessions) is all most pastors need. It’s intuitive, powerful, easy to transport, and inexpensive. A great tool to have.

2 Comments

  1. Here’s something to throw into your thinking: the iPad’s genius isn’t that it is a tablet, its that its a blank canvas.

    Who couldn’t do with that? Especially, when it just works.

  2. wezlo says:

    Yes, it is. For all the features it’s missing (no direct access to the filesystem, no usb port, no removable storage), people seem to have embraced the vision of it. Which is that it works in a way that seems to be mapped to the way people think, and it frees them to be creative.

    The guy who leads our worship-team, for example is not a geek even a little bit, but he has an iPad. He’s done things on it that have really helped him as a musician and as a Church musician because he’s been taught, “There’s an app for that.” He’s found apps, he’s gone to town… it’s pretty cool.

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