I purchased the iPad in April of 2010. I was traveling full time evangelizing. One of the biggest problems for me when I traveled was not keeping a printer with me. I just didn’t have the room to haul a printer in the trunk of my car. So when it came time for me to print off sermon notes I was hoping and praying the Pastor’s study had a printer or that the church had an office printer. I want to give a shout out to those I emailed sermons and had you print them off for me and bring them to church. I hated hand written notes. My first sermons were typed and printed, so I became a creature of habit.
So when the iPad came out claiming to be able to read PDF files, and not only reading PDF’s but COLOR too!! The Kindle worked for me as a PDF reader for a few months, but it’s screen was too small and the plain black and white screen didn’t give me the emphasis points that I had typed. So I purchased the iPad with great hopes of being able to effectively preach from it. All of the other features of the iPad take a back seat to my being able to use it as a digital notebook. It’s been one of the greatest purchases for me in the last few years.
So I get asked many times on how I go about getting my sermon notes on my iPad. I have to say when I first got it, and I was trying to get my files from my laptop to the iPad I had a little difficulty based on instructions I read from the web and forums. But after finding several apps and using several key tips, I’ve found getting my sermon notes to my iPad very easy.
For this post I won’t cover how I prepare my sermon notes from my laptop, instead I’m going to focus on getting the sermon notes from laptop to iPad to which apps I use.
Step One-Preparing Your Document
After you have completed your sermon then it’s time to get it ready for transfer. I save my sermons into two peronal folders. As I’m typing out my message I save it into a “2011 Sermon” folder. I’ll explain how I organize my sermon folders in another post. The purpose behind two folders is that the first draft of my sermon is the one I’m saving to my laptop that will be for reference later. The reason for the second folder which is called “iPad Sermons” is that I have to adjust my sermon fonts, colors, and paragraphing to fit onto my iPad.
Now, I know some who don’t feel the need to do this, because you can enlarge your document on the iPad by just using the two finger enlarging trick. But my issue with that, is that once you turn the page of your document you have to enlarge again, and it can become quite difficult to turn the page once it’s enlarged, it’s not that great of a difficulty but when it comes to preaching I need my notes to be ready and quick to turn the page.
So after I save my document into my “2011 Sermon” folder I open it back up and then make my adjustments. I type out my message first in 12 point font. I just switched from Helvetica to Georgia font. It’s good to switch up fonts every once in awhile. When I’m preparing my document for the iPad transfer I go from a 12 point font to an 18 point font. As you can imagine this causes some paragraphing difficulties. So I have to go in and make those adjustments as well. I like to make sure each thought and point I have stays on one page. I don’t like my scriptures being split up from the end of a page and continued one to another, unless I have a really long scripture text then I’ll just adjust as needed.
Now that I’ve adjusted my fonts, changed some colors in the text for emphasis, adjusted the paragraphs due to font enlarging, I’m now ready to save my document. Since my first draft was already saved as a .doc in a personal folder, I now will save this adjusted document as a PDF file in my “iPad Sermon” folder. You don’t have to do two different folders you can save and move how ever you would like, I do this to keep organized and to see which sermons haven’t been saved as an iPad message. I’ll also add that some iPad reader apps will read .docs and PDF’s. So which ever app you decide to use to read your sermon with, may not need you to even save it as a PDF. More on that in Step Three!
So I’ve saved it in my “iPad Sermon” folder. Now let’s go to the next step of transfering from laptop to iPad.
Here are a few screen shots of how my folders are organized, what the first draft of the sermon looks like, and the sermon after the font enlarged, color changed and paragraphed.
Step Two-The Transfer
Once I have my sermon prepared it’s time to get it from my laptop to my iPad. There are several ways to get this task completed. I’ve tried many ways and the way I will explain suits me best. A quick and painless way is to email your notes to yourself as an attachment in the email, and to open your file from the email. My only problem with this is you can easily lose track of those emails, and not have a good file system on your iPad. Searching your inbox for that once used sermon may not be the easiest way to access it on the go.
For this process I use an app called Dropbox. You can download it from the iTunes app store. But the first thing you will need to do is download Dropbox to your computer. It’s a file sharing system that is priceless! Easily one of my favorite apps to use.
So what is it? When you download the Dropbox app to your laptop or desktop computer it sets up a folder in your documents. You can share this folder with other people if you would like. I share a couple folders with friends and we drop files into it to share every once in awhile. But I have one folder specifically for my iPad sermon notes. Once you download the app to your desktop or laptop, you then need to download it to your iPad from the iTunes store. Follow the steps from the Dropbox site to make sure you do everything correctly, and trust me it’s as easy as I’ve already explained.
Now that you’ve downloaded Dropbox to your computer and to your iPad you’re ready to start transferring sermons to your iPad.
When you’ve completed your sermon notes find where you’ve saved your sermon notes on your computer. I use a MacBook so I can just click and drag into this Dropbox folder. But if you’re using a Windows computer you can right click and copy and paste into your Dropbox folder.
It’s as easy as that! The Dropbox is basically the “cloud” digital storage that is quickly replacing thumb drives and things of that nature. It’s pretty cool. Dropbox is an unbelievable app. You can get more “cloud” storage as you refer friends and they download the product. I’ve had at least 10 friends do this with me.
Step Three-Opening Up Your Sermon
You’ve saved your document, you’ve put it in the Dropbox folder and now you are ready to open it up on your iPad.
On the top right hand side of the document in Dropbox, there will be a little arrow that you can push. When you push this “arrow” you will be able to open your document in any document reader app that you have downloaded to your iPad.
Step Four-Opening in Document Reader App
There are many document readers available in the App Store. Friends who use the iPad like I do for documents all differ in opinions on which app is best for this. I’ll give you my opinion and which I’ve found to be best for me and what I need.
iBooks- When Apple did the update for iBooks to be able to read PDF’s I jumped in! It is the main app I use to read my sermons from. The reason that I just can’t seem to go away from using iBooks is the little page selector on the bottom of the page.
How many times have you been preaching and you need that scripture text that is on the first page, and your currently on the last page? Well you don’t have to scroll back for three minutes looking for it, with iBook you can see each page number at the selector on the bottom of each page, you just click which page and you are where you need to be.
Readdledocs- Now I will occasionally use this app to read documents. The major upside to using this app opposed to iBooks is the filing system. iBooks lacks majorly a filing system for the PDF’s you have on the app. Readdledocs gives you the ability to organize folders into topics, programs, series, etc. I use Readdledocs to keep all my big files such as Bible studies, big PDF books, and church and school documents.
Another great tool for Readdledocs is while your sermon notes are up, you can put in little yellow notes, which is nice considering that you can’t edit PDF files.
How many times have you had a quick thought before you got up to preach and wanted to add that thought to your notes? Well Readdledocs gives you the ability. The downside is that once you’ve typed in your quick note, it goes to a thumbnail in your sermon and you have to tap it to bring it up.
Pages- When I first bought my iPad I immediately downloaded Pages. I love being able to type on Pages and to keep notes on Pages. But, scrolling and flowing through Pages while preaching will constantly keep queuing the keyboard. THAT DROVE ME CRAZY!!
I’ve found that I don’t use Pages quite as much as I thought I would.
Preaching from the iPad has been a lifesaver. I can’t imagine going back to typed out notes on paper ever again. It’s just too easy and simple.
I can remember as an evangelist having prepared a message for that evenings service, only to have the LORD quicken my spirit to preach something else. Well of course I panicked! A lot of the times it was something new that I had never preached before, or it would be something that I had already preached somewhere else. Without the iPad I would have had to go from memory or run to my car and scramble to find those notes. Which of course I never did go to my car I just had to go from memory. Now with the iPad I have all of my messages that I ever preached at my finger tips. And that is a precious commodity, you can glean from other messages, illustrations, texts and the like.
I hope you find this helpful. I know of course, everyone does things their own way. I just thought I would share with you how I go about preaching with the iPad.
I’m going to start working on a few posts on how I organize sermons on my computer, and how I prepare my sermon outline. Stay tuned!
Living the Dream,