Using the iPad for Preaching

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Author: Rob Westbrook
Updated: 12/8/2018
Using the iPad for Preaching


Back in October 2010, the awesome people of LifePointe Church gave me an iPad for Pastor Appreciation. Yep, they are a great bunch of Jesus followers!

I immediately set about finding a way to work the iPad into my sermon prep and preaching. I’ve always used sermon notes. Over the years, I’ve refined how I prepare and use them, but generally, I type them into WordPerfect (yeah, I know!). The notes have to fit on the front and back of one 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. I don’t like more than that because (a) the sermon will be too long, and (b) I will probably lose one of the pages. After printing, I review and mark them up using different colored highlighters. I usually add extra notes in the margins. Then I’m ready for Sunday.

The challenge is to incorporate the iPad into that workflow.

As of now, I haven’t found an iPad text editor I’m really comfortable with. So I’m still hanging on to WordPerfect and it’s 1990s technology. I type up my notes, still trying to keep them to the size limit of one page, front and back. When the notes are complete, I step up all font sizes to 18 pt. This destroys my page limit but is needed for the next step. I save the notes as a pdf file.

Next, I send the pdf to the iPad using the app GoodReader. I can upload from my PC to the iPad with GoodReader’s wifi transfer. (I also upload my notes to DropBox, which GoodReader connects to, as well.) Once I have the notes on my iPad, I use GoodReader to review and mark them up. This is where the larger font size helps. With a 10-12 point font, the text is just a little too small on the iPad screen. I’ve experimented and found 18 pt to be a good fit for my eyes. With GoodReader you can highlight pdf’s, underline words, and add notes, all in different colors. So my marked up notes are all there as they were with paper notes.

I take the iPad on stage with me, of course. On our stage, the iPad is much easier to read from than paper. Since I’m no longer concerned about the number of pages, I’ve started adding the Scripture passages to my notes. With GoodReader, you simply turn the page by touching either side of the screen.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this setup, with the exception of a text editor. I’ve got a few on my iPad but they’re all text only; no formatting. I may try Apple’s Pages and see how that works.

(Edited 12-08-2018)

© 2012-: Rob Westbrook - Busy Pastor Sermons