Friday, June 7, 2013

10 Free iPhone Apps For Pastors

I am not necessarily an Apple guy.  I am typing this on my Windows PC and have always been more of a Microsoft fan, but I don't think there is any question that the Apple iPhone is an incredible invention and an amazing tool for pastors.  The concept of apps is great and as a pastor my iPhone has become an invaluable tool.  With this one phone, I can get twice as much done anywhere I am from the moment I get up to the minute I lay down.

Below is a list of my 10 must have apps that I have used the most for pastoral ministry.  The following list only consists of free apps because I am a poor pastor that can't afford to buy a lot of apps.

Nonetheless, I hope this list is helpful especially for ministers of the gospel.  I hope it helps gain some insight into how we can utilize technology to further the Kingdom and to fulfill our calling.  Such apps and technology are not necessary in proclaiming the gospel, but they are tools that allow us to do more in less time.  As a pastor, I can't imagine doing as much as I do without some of these tools.

1.  ESV Bible and You Version- Every minister needs a Bible.  I carry one in every bag I may carry and in every car I drive.  It makes sense, then, to begin by downloading a helpful Bible app.  There are a number of good Bible apps available in the app store, but I find the ESV Bible application the easiest to use.  You can search, read, use red letter, highlight, and much more.  The downside is that you are limited to just one translation. That is where the very popular YouVersion app comes in. There is almost an ulimited number of translations available in a variety of languages. The downside here is that you must either be on wifi or 3G/4G. There is also the Logos App and others which I find more difficult to use. 

2.  Dropbox - This is one of the best kept secrets that is finally gaining some popularity.  At our house we have a desktop, two laptops, my iPad, and my iPhone.  If I need to open something on another computer or on my phone, I no longer have to email myself.  Dropbox allows you to save pictures, .pdf documents, and word documents into folders that you can carry with you.  So if I need to go over my sermon, for example, but can't print it out, I can save it on my Dropbox and read it anywhere I want to.  This has been one of the most practical apps I use regularly.

3.  MapQuest - I travel a lot as do all pastors.  Being a country pastor I am surrounded by hospitals in various towns, cities, and counties.  I did not grow up where I serve and so having a map app is crucial for getting from point A to point B.  The default map app is just as helpful as MapQuest and your going to win with either one.  I would also suggest when traveling you use the Take Me To My Car app.  This helps you remember where you parked your car.  This has been really helpful for me at large hospitals and conferences.

4.  Twitter and Facebook - Social media is a must anymore.  I am on both Twitter and Facebook.  I enjoy them both in their own unique way and with so many college and high school students, such applications are great.  I can keep up with what is going on in the lives of our members, interact with them, and contact them almost immediately.  At the same time, I can share what God is doing in my life.  You can set these two apps to alert you when someone posts on your wall, or mentions you giving you immediate assess to your friends, followers, and congregations.  Shortly after arriving here, I started a Facebook page of our church and update it fairly regularly.  Plus it allows me to message everyone at once.  All for free.

5.  Kindle and Google Books - I read a lot as do most pastors and one of the greatest inventions lately is the e-reader.  What makes these apps so great is that they are free on the iPhone and many books can be accessed, downloaded, and read for free.  In addition to these two I would recommend CBDReader, iBooks, and Nook among others.  Each have their own advantage and I would encourage you to try each of them and figure out which one you prefer.  I enjoy Kindle the most because I think it reads the best, is from Amazon which I use a lot, and there are a lot of free books available.  I like Google Books because it makes a lot of hard to find books available for free.  I have found old theology books absolutely free as well as writings from my ancestors.  The problem with Google Books is that it is slow, oftentimes frustrating and digital copies aren't the same as what Kindle and Nook offer.  Let me also say that for students, these apps and tools are great.  I can't afford many books and I find myself at the library a lot, but you will be surprised at how many books are available for free online.

6.  Amazon and Ebay - Though I do and am growing to love digital books, nothing beats a hard copy.  I have my own library and these are two of the best online stores to find cheap books.  I use Amazon the most, but if I can't find something cheap enough I'll give Ebay a try. I have ordered books for myself and the church as well as downloaded Kindle books right from my phone.  If you have WiFi or in a 3G/4G area it works well and finding books is simple.  There are some limitations, but you can still shop, browse, and purchase just the same.

7.  White and Yellow Pages - Do you need to call someone, find an address, locate a business, and get a map to them?  You can do it all with these apps.  I have a lot of numbers saved in my phone, but not all of them.  This app combines both the White Pages and the Yellow Pages and you can easily switched between searching for individuals and for businesses.  You can save the number into your phone once you find what your looking for, get addresses instantly, and find where something is on a map.  An invaluable tool.  My one complaint is that it is oftentimes slow and has kicked me out.  Other than that, it usually does what you need it to do.  I would also recommend the Where? app which searches for gas stations, restaurants, etc.  If your new to an area or want to know what is nearby, it is very helpful.

8.  Evernote - I'm a little late on this app, but I continue to use it more and more. Obviously the paid version is better, but the free version still allows you to take notes, save them into your dropbox, and many other benefits. This is all sync online, on your ipad, or other devices. This is become one of the must-have apps for pastors.

9. Voice Record - Want a simple voice recorder that allows you to record your sermons in high quality and then convert it to mp3? This is a great one.

10. Miscellaneus - Here are a few more I would recommend but won't say much about them:
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