Six years ago my current pastor lamented about the fact that soon, paper would be replaced with pixels and people who preach would rely on flat panel tablets. I do not think he nor many others predicted that the “soon” would come to reality so quickly.
Ever since I preached my first sermon in my early teen years, I have used paper. I tucked my sermon into my bible and used this method for many years. This was the case until the iPad came to light.
I was always infatuated with the thought of having hundreds of my sermons that I usually typed out and then printed — to be readily available for me at the tap of a finger. This was my primary motivator for desiring this magical device.
The iPad2 that I currently use was a gift to me from my wife when I finished seminary this year. This device was absolutely everything that I thought it would be and much more. I know it is not for everyone. But, I would recommend this device to anyone who does any type of public speaking.
I know some people will say that they price is steep. You can actually pick up the iPad1 for a pretty good price from someone who has grown tired of it. Most likely, the iPad2 will quickly fall in price as soon as the third one will come out. I have had experience with both devices. The only difference that I noticed is the weight. The iPad2 is a bit lighter but not by much. Either device is a great tool for preaching.
In addition, some people spend the amount of money they could buy an iPad for to buy books and other things. What would make you do that when you can get books much cheaper on the iPad? When I bought my wife the bulky ESV study bible, I had to pay over $40 for it. The same study bible is available as an app for the iPad for less than $15. It is much cheaper to build a library for yourself by using the iPad rather than physically buying books. It all depends on your preference and how you function. I am merely speaking from my own experience.
I am not going to do a review of the iPad here, that is for sure. I will leave that to my über techy friend Serg Borodin who will most likely become the editor for Wired magazine here shortly.
I am writing this not only to people who preach. I believe that every single person who publicly speaks in any capacity would benefit from this device. Whether you lead a small group, teach a sunday school class, do presentations in school or simply love to read and consume content in the most convenient way known to mankind. The amount of money you would spend on stand alone things you need will most likely equal to or be more than the price of the iPad.
Here are four observations about preaching from the iPad:
1. The convenience factor. I usually prepare all of my sermons on a program called Evernote. I then transfer all of the text from Evernote into an app called Pages on my iPad. Pages is basically like MSWord but the Apple version. In Pages, I am able to highlight, underline, bold-out and italicize anything I want — up to maybe a few hours or minutes before I begin to preach. I do not have to constantly scribble stuff out with a pen. I do not have to spend time highlighting sentences with a highlighter. If I do not like something, I simply delete it. I color coat the text I am preaching, my illustrations, my conclusions and my introductions. I can do this quickly, conveniently and effortlessly. There is no noise made when I swipe from one page to the next. All I have to make sure is that it is at least 85% charged when I get up to preach and I am good to go.
2. The virtual moleskin. If I am out somewhere and a thought or idea or a paradigm comes to mind, I can whip out the iPad and instantly put the thought into the sequence of the sermon. It is that easy. No longer do I need to look for pens to write with, napkins to scribble or on or moleskin journals to chase after just to write down that one thought. If I want to put into the flow a text that just came to mind, I simply copy and paste it from the many bible apps that are available. I do not have to wait to get home to get on my desktop, to boot it up, to open the Word Doc, to open biblegateway.com, to copy and paste and then only for it to appear where I want it.
3. Easy Access. Wherever I am, I have access to all of my sermons that I preached. I can pull them out at any time. I do not have to carry with me a huge briefcase with notes, paper and paperclips. I do not have to fumble around with papers or order of papers or page numbers as I did when I used actual paper to preach from. If someone asks me a question about a particular topic, I can email them a pdf of the actual sermon that I preached — where I went to great lengths explaining a particular truth. If someone is in need of a resource, I simply pop onto the iPad, click on the sermon file and email whatever the person is asking for. It is that easy. I can do this from anywhere there is a wifi connection. And I am not aware of where in our culture right now there is one lacking. I am not saying this is the ultimate way. But it is my preferred way. The goal here is not methodology but functionality.
Here are some common myths that I would like to dismantle:
4. Some common myths. Some people think that anyone who preaches from an iPad is doing this because they are trying to be cool, trendy, hip, hipster or uber-techy. While there is little truth to this, here is what I will say. The only reason I preach using the iPad is because it is a convenient device to proclaim God’s truth from in a very simple and effective way. I thank God for this common grace that allows me to preach about Jesus. I know many people have different ways they approach this. Keep in mind, the iPad for me serves much more a preparation device rather than a screen I stare into while I preach. My goal is to communicate gospel content in a way that is understood and quickly applied to life. The iPad is simply something that aids me in doing this. Am I saying that this is what I always will use? For now, this works for me. We will see what else Apple comes out with in the near future. I do miss though grabbing the bible and waving it around in the air, because it is just not the same feeling when using the convenient bible app.
Question: Have you used the iPad? What do you think about it? What are your thoughts about people who preach using the iPad? What are some of your reservations about it?