Last Update 5th October, 2016.
For a long time I found myself preparing my sermon outlines on my iPad and then having to convert my notes into the traditional printed paper format.
One day I decided enough was enough and decided to take the leap of preaching with my iPad.
Although a little scary at first, I can tell you I’ve never looked back and I’ve been preaching with my iPad ever since.
Inspired by my Preaching Rocket training, I learned the best way to plan and prepare my sermons on my iPad but I couldn’t find a clear guide anywhere on how to actually use an iPad whilst preaching – so here we are.
You’ll probably find your own way of doing this, but for me the best and easiest way seems to be to use only two apps: Pages and GoodReader (or Word and GoodReader if you use a PC).
While I continue to use a full-size iPad, this system will work just as well with the Mini iPad or iPhone.
So, without further ado, here are my ten top tips on how to preach with an iPad:
1. Be Confident
“If you are going to preach from an iPad, you have got to do it boldly.” [Tweet this]
As I said earlier, preaching with an iPad was a little scary for me at first. But if you are going to preach with an iPad, you’ve got to so confidently, not nervously or thinking that something will go wrong.
Do whatever you have to do to be at ease with your iPad during your sermon; practice a few times before your first sermon with it.
You might want to take a paper backup with you if this helps calm your fears.
It always makes me laugh that if I lose a page or get them mixed up – it’s my fault.
But if something goes wrong with the iPad then it’s the iPad’s fault. I think it’s got something to with our mistrust of electronics.
The truth is, both have pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses.
With the iPad though, I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
2. Get a Case
This concern is quickly subsiding as iPads become more and more common, but for the time being, I find there is value in using a case that looks like a notebook.
This is not to hide the fact that you are preaching with an iPad, as much as it is to keep the fact from becoming a distraction.
3. Prepare Your Sermon Notes
I have found the best iPad apps to use when preaching are Pages and GoodReader.
Pages is excellent for preparing your sermon notes or outlines.
Using iCloud, you can write it up on your computer at home and have it automatically sync to your iPad.
When you’ve finished your sermon prep, change the font size to 16 or 18. It might look crazy big, but it’s easier to read at a glance.
The new version of Pages allows you to very easily add page numbers which can be helpful with your pacing.
Once your sermon is ready to go in pages, you’ll need to get your file to GoodReader.
To do this, tap the icon at the top right (the square with the arrow pointing up) and then “Open in Another App,” “PDF,” “Choose App” and “Open in GoodReader.” A couple of seconds later you’ll be ready to go.
Most preachers I know prefer to preach using GoodReader rather than Pages because it allows you to tap or swipe from one page to he next; with Pages you have to scroll between pages which makes it too easy to lose your place mid-flow.
If you’re using a PC for your sermon preparation, use a program like Word then save your sermon notes as a PDF file, email it to yourself, open it on your iPad and you’re good to go with GoodReader.
4. Charge Your iPad Before Preaching
Unlike paper, your iPad takes batteries!
The last thing you want to be worrying when you’re delivering a sermon is if your iPad’s going to shut down on you at any second.
A 45 minute sermon would only use about 10% battery life (and this is an older one), but just to be safe and give myself peace of mind, I always make sure my iPad is fully charged before heading up to the pulpit.
5. Invert Your Screen Colours
Every preacher I know inverts their iPad screen colours before preaching.
The reason for this is you don’t want the glowing white screen to illuminate your face, reflect off of your glasses or cause any other distraction during the sermon.
The easy way to stop this from happening is to use the ‘invert screen colours’ function which effectively reverses the colours on your screen from black to white and from white to black.
To use this, go to Settings, tap “General,” then “Accessibility,” and switch on “Invert Colours.”
Even better, go to Settings, tap “General,” then “Accessibility” and “Accessibility Shortcut.”
There you will see the option to set a triple-click of the home button to invert the colours.
Now, right before presenting your sermon, just triple tap the home button and you’ll have an inverted screen.
6. Switch Notifications Off
I’m sure your sermon note printouts never beeped or buzzed during your preaching, but when it comes to preaching with your iPad, you’ll need to remember to switch off your notifications beforehand to avoid any unnecessary distractions.
Probably the easiest way (there might be a better way but this is how I do it), is to set your iPad to airplane mode which takes you offline and stops any email or social media notifications from popping up.
One step further would be to select the iPad sleep mode to block any offline messages coming through.
The last thing you’ll want to see when your standing in front of your church congregation is a shopping list reminder or some other calendar event from popping up.
7. Lock The Orientation
Depending on the angle of your pulpit, without locking your orientation your iPad could keep switching from portrait to landscape and back again – trust me, this could prove to be a major irritation.
By simply using the switch on the side you can lock your screen orientation before preaching.
8. Turn Off Auto-Lock
Always turn off auto-lock before you preach.
Auto-lock will count the number of seconds since you last tapped the screen. When the time runs out it’ll turn off your screen, forcing you to re-enter your password again before coming back to life.
Though this is a great security feature, you could easily lose your flow if you keep having to re-enter your password to get to your next page of notes.
Steps 5, 6, 7 and 8 may seem like they combine to make a lot of work, but all together they will take just about 10 seconds and can be done just before you walk to the pulpit.
9. Add Last-Minute Notes
10. Read From Your Bible
Although the iPad has lots of great Bible apps, I always find it more beneficial to bring my black leather-bound Bible to the front with me.
Maybe it’s just psychology but I think there’s value to be found in but I believe it is far better to take your printed, leather-bound Bible to the pulpit with you.
There is value in demonstrating visually to your congregation that you are sourcing and basing your sermon on the authority of God’s Word.
With a Bible it’s clear for all to see, whereas with the iPad it’s not as apparent.
What are your top tips on preaching with an iPad? Let’s hear your stories below.