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iPad preaching is a growing trend. I have been using an iPad to preach since mid-2011. I just use a single page outline with only scripture references, the essential big ideas and any quotes/statistics that I need to reference. If anything doesn’t fit on the one page, it gets cut.

I have learned a few things from experience. So today I bring you ten lessons learned by experience.

1. Turn off notifications.

The only thing worse than a cell phone ringing in the middle of a prayer is the preacher’s iPad ringing in the middle of a prayer. Make sure to turn on the Do Not Disturb switch in Settings. I also turn on Airplane Mode just to make sure I don’t have anything popping up from Wi-Fi.

At one location where I preached, there was a very weak Wi-Fi signal that I didn’t have the password to. A Wi-Fi connection message kept popping up while I was preaching.

You don’t want any distractions from the message God has given you.

2. Turn off auto-lock.

I have forgotten to do this a few times. Five minutes into the message my iPad blacked out. It totally threw me off.

I had to pause what I was saying, open the iPad and swipe to unlock before resuming the message. This is even worse if your iPad is password protected.

Always make sure to open up Setting, tap General and set Auto-Lock to Never.

3. Lower the brightness.

If the stage is dark and the brightness is too high your iPad will make your notestand glow. In addition, your face will light up like you are telling scary stories around a campfire. If you wear glasses, the iPad can also reflect off your lenses.

Eliminate this distraction. Adjust brightness accordingly. The goal is easy readability for you while glowing low enough so the audience doesn’t notice.

A cool trick that many people don’t know is that you can invert the colors on the iPad to make the screen dark. In Setting, tap General, then Accessibility, and switch Invert Colors to On. (Update: A great tip is that you can set up a triple click of the home button to invert colors to save time. Setting > General > Accessibility > Triple Click.)

4. Do not draw attention to your iPad.

Don’t show off your new gadget. Don’t say, “Look at this amazingly awesome piece of technology. Don’t you wish you were as cool as me?”

You are not an Apple commercial. This is a tool to help you as you proclaim God’s message. Don’t let the iPad become a distraction from the main focus.

I recommend getting a case that covers the logo. I use this amazing case that looks like a vintage book. Yes, it is as awesome as it looks. I definitely recommend it.

5. Use a PDF reader app for notes.

I love having an editable Pages doc in case I want to make last second changes but hate preaching off the Pages App. One wrong tap and you deleted your notes and brought up the editing tools, keyboard, etc. It can be highly distracting. A PDF viewer eliminates distractions and keeps it simple.

You easily convert a Pages doc to a PDF. Tap the wrench-looking Tools icon in the upper right corner. Hit Share and Print, then Open in Another App. Choose PDF as a format, then Choose App. You will then have the option to select any App that handles PDFs.

Some people like using free apps like iBooks or Kindle. However, my favorite is GoodReader, because it lets me add notes, highlight text (I color code illustrations, scripture, videos, etc.) and crop the document to eliminate margins and make the text larger and more readable. Its worth the extra couple of bucks, in my opinion.

6. Still carry a Bible.

This is just a personal preference, but I still like to have a physical Bible on stage with me.

Yes, I read and study the Bible almost entirely online or in my iPad or iPhone, but I find that there is just something powerful about a preacher holding a physical Bible. It shows the audience that your authority comes from God, not Steve Jobs.

7. Make sure the iPad is fully charged.

Always make sure your iPad is fully charged. You do not want the battery dying mid-sermon. Have a charger with you just in case you need a last-minute power up before walking onto stage.

Fortunately, the iPad has such an incredibly long battery life that this has rarely been a problem for me.

8. Have a backup.

Always, always, always have a backup. Either a physical copy of your notes or a Dropbox/Evernote/Google Doc you can pull up with your phone. You never know when technology might fail you. The battery could die unexpectedly, you could accidentally spill coffee on it or it might freeze up for no reason on you.

Always be prepared just in case. I have had to pull out my backup a few times (more on that in #9).

9. Don't leave your iPad unattended.

I set my iPad down one time … just once! I forgot about it, walked away, and when I came back it was gone! Someone had the nerve to steal my iPad only two minutes before I stood up to preach!

I was upset, but not as upset as I would have been if I didn’t have a backup.

That is a $400 mistake I will never make again! Just because you are in church doesn’t mean that someone won’t give into the temptation to steal an easy target.

10. Don't have an open beverage next to your iPad.

I am all about baptism by full immersion—just not for my iPad!

If enough liquid spills on an iPad, it is game over. You don’t want an open water bottle on your notestand. You might get excited while preaching, swing your arms around and accidentally knock it over.

Not only will you lose your iPad, you will have to explain to the elders why you cussed on stage. (Just kidding.)

Brandon is the editor of Pro Preacher.com.

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Bill Stewart

commented on Jul 6, 2013

I use my iPad for teaching a men's Sunday School class. I use a Bible app that allows me to make all of my notes right next to my Bible text. I can also highlight text and jump back and forth between scriptures quickly and easily. What an amazing tool! I have told the men in advance that if I am ever in the middle of a lesson and I suddenly have a surprised, blank expression on my face, they will know my iPad died. :)

Brandon H

commented on Jul 6, 2013

Haha. Agreed. It's a great tool. Just curious Bill, what App is it that you use?

Chet Gladkowski

commented on Jul 6, 2013

I've used an iPad as the presentation platform in addition to holding my notes and other resources. It is a very unique resource, it can become something like a digital "flip chart" that I can interact with through handwriting that everyone can see. It can help engage (pull) people into God's truth as the Holy Spirit grips and changes lives.

Charles Wallis

commented on Jul 6, 2013

Really good helpful article. I guess this also raises a question, "Would Jesus use an IPAD (or any notes at all)?

Dan Needham

commented on Jul 6, 2013

I thank God for every tool at our disposal to deliver the word. I also use an IPad for that purpose but study and research is a given with this tool. Be aware of an App called "Notability". I store my data here and teach from it. The flexibility of this app is amazing.

Alan Bosmeny

commented on Jul 6, 2013

Thanks Brandon. Starting tomorrow morning I will have a backup plan.

Brandon H

commented on Jul 6, 2013

Your welcome Alan. Hopefully you will never have to use it, but you won't regre it if you ever do.

Brandon H

commented on Jul 6, 2013

Charles, that is a good question. The Bible makes reference to Jesus using scrolls, but that is the closest thing Jesus had like an iPad. Where I stand is that technology is just a tool like any other that can be redeemed and used for the glory of God. As long as the focus is on Jesus and not the tool, technology can be leveraged for good.

R Duane Gryder

commented on Jul 6, 2013

Great article. I use an iPad when preaching all the time. I use PDF Expert as the app when I preach. I use more than one page since I make my notes large enough that I have to noticeably look into them. With PDF Expert you just tap the screen on the right and the next page comes up instantly. As an AG US missionary, I preach on churches all over the country and have noticed the glare in pics taken of me when I am at the pulpit. I did not know the invert trick, I will have to give that a try. Thanks

Floyd Steverson

commented on Jul 6, 2013

I've been using an iPad while preaching for almost a year now. I absolutely love using it. All 10 points are very good advice.

Floyd Steverson

commented on Jul 6, 2013

I use the kindle app on my iPad for the finished sermon. I develop the sermon notes in pages (you can also use word), then convert the document to a pdf. I then open the pdf with kindle which allows me to easily control the document page by page with one finger while preaching

Paul Zeron

commented on Jul 6, 2013

I don't know what Jesus would use, but Paul would have used a Surface Pro ;) I like using the tablet for preaching, but I also like using One Note plugged into a projector while teaching a teen class. I can use it like a chalk or marker board and to share dictionary definitions, video clips, quick encyclopedia articles, etc.

William Lyne

commented on Jul 6, 2013

I have used an i-Pad mini for my preaching, but recently switched to a Samsung Note 8. On both platforms I have used an Office App called "Quick Office", using the Powerpoint part of the program. I can easily edit my message or add last minute thoughts, etc. (which I cannot do with a PDF). Then when I get up to speak I just tap "Play Slideshow," which allows me to easily flick one page at a time. It's great.

Samuel Jennings

commented on Jul 6, 2013

I use the iPad for preaching and this is a great article to help you prepare to convert to today's technology. I do not use any special apps. The only thing I do is convert my word document to a jpeg and I open my sermon up as a photo album. You can not change it without resending it. The main points are there and the Holy Spirit will guide you through the rest. Thanks for the article.

Ryan Akers

commented on Jul 6, 2013

It seems to me that if you have to go to all the trouble to follow these steps that simply having printed notes is still the best option. Less of a chance that something goes wrong. Not sure I see the benefit of the iPad over paper. At least for preaching. Especially since you're still advocating a printed back up.

Brandon H

commented on Jul 6, 2013

Ryan, I see what you are saying. Most of these steps only take seconds, but there is definitely nothing wrong with good old fashioned paper. But I use my iPad for more than just preaching. What I really love is the convenience of having all my sermons, meeting notes, books, commentaries, email and really everything else I need to do ministry with me at all times everywhere I go.

R Duane Gryder

commented on Jul 6, 2013

i agree Brandon. I use my iPad for a lot more than just preaching. I enjoying keeping all of my notes, teachings, commentaries, and even bible reading on one device. Plus I do daily devotionals that I post on Facebook. But I also have back ups. Everything in the cloud. I can access my sermons on my iPhone if necessary or my desktop or laptop. Jesus saves and so do I... well data anyway. PS: Using PDF Expert, I can easily add last minute annotations or highlighting just like I used to do with paper.

Keith B

commented on Jul 6, 2013

Tried it, but for me, i just prefer to have paper notes in front of me. It is nice though, to have your past sermons on Dropbox, google drive, whatever.....you never know when you might get asked to say a few words sometime and its nice to pull one out of reserve. In those events, ill gladly preach off of the ipad or phone.

Steve Miller

commented on Jul 7, 2013

Great article, but can I add a few practical ideas? I've been using the iPad for some time and it's been the most useful tool for several reasons. I make pretty intensive sermons presentations with 40-50 slides that include verses, quotes, maps... You name it. Moving from PPT to Keynote allowed me to use my iPad as both a preview monitor and I can swipe to change slides when my clicker goes out. Using Keynote and Keynote Remote have completely changed my style of preaching. I'm no longer tied to a set of notes; I never forget what's next; and, even when doing an expositional series like Romans, my sermons are no longer "lectures," but genuine teaching times that appeal too visual learners as much as auditory learners. Keynote Remote is the best preaching help app you'll buy!

John Beehler

commented on Jul 7, 2013

I love using my iPad for preaching. I like using a manuscript but found an app that eliminates having to swipe to the next page. I think it's called Prompter Pro and once you set it and hit go, it just scrolls along and you never have to touch it again. I love it and, as was mentioned, doesn't draw attention to the iPad.

Ted Zimmermann

commented on Jul 7, 2013

I have been using my iPad to preach from for some time as well. Brandon you point out several good point and several common sense points, but none the less all good points. However there is one that I notice that you did not point out, that being the auto rotate should also be lock to keep the screen from rotating while on stage. This has happened to me and it will also cause a distraction.

Jacobs Femi

commented on Jul 7, 2013

I use IPad but I think Keynote and Olive Tree Bible are the best. You can copy and paste your sermon in your sermon text note. All bible passages will be underscored and as you touch them it opens the bible passage ith your main sermon still there at the background

Gary Greene

commented on Jul 7, 2013

I don't have to remember to turn off the Lock Screen because I always have it off. You just have to get in the habit of locking your screen manually every time you put your iPad down.

Gary Greene

commented on Jul 7, 2013

Using the Teamviewer or LogMeIn App, you can control your PC and view its monitor from your iPad. This is how I run my PPTs during sermons. I have my notes in the Speaker's Notes section of the Powerpoint. Both these apps come in free and paid versions. You also need to have the same program (Teamviewer or LogMeIn) running on your PC.

Brandon H

commented on Jul 8, 2013

Thanks for all the great feedback everyone. I'm loving all the additional tips!

R Duane Gryder

commented on Jul 8, 2013

i agree Brandon. I use my iPad for a lot more than just preaching. I enjoying keeping all of my notes, teachings, commentaries, and even bible reading on one device. Plus I do daily devotionals that I post on Facebook. But I also have back ups. Everything in the cloud. I can access my sermons on my iPhone if necessary or my desktop or laptop. Jesus saves and so do I... well data anyway. PS: Using PDF Expert, I can easily add last minute annotations or highlighting just like I used to do with paper.

Dave Sautner

commented on Jul 9, 2013

Great stuff Brandon...keep up the good work!!!

Dave Sautner

commented on Jul 9, 2013

...we use Doceri drawing tool to add interest from the ipad at times, as well as the app Podium Pro which eliminates the concerns you express in points 1, 2, 3. Also, we use handcuffs attached to our wrists when using the ipad, which eliminates your concern about it being stolen :)

commented on Jul 11, 2013

I agree with the author but can I suggest not to rely on steve Job whereas we stiil have our Bibles? Carry A Bible.Carry A Bible.Carry A Bible.Carry A Bible. it is a weapon

John Sears

commented on Jul 14, 2013

@ 29....Unless you are talking about using the bible as a real physical weapon, it is the words of scripture that are the weapon, not the form the words are in. I agree that we should carry a Bible, but only because some in the congregation might not be high tech and it will help them to see you have the words to the Bible.

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