This just in … iPads are useful.

My printer behaved badly last Saturday night — just as I started to print my sermon notes for Sunday morning.  My troubled history with computers, printers, routers, and mouse pads is the stuff of myth and legend.  A boring legend, but still …

I was forced to make a decision.  Do I go from memory or do I handwrite my notes?

In this i-age of ours, I knew for sure there must be a better solution.  A quick search turned up an app for my iPad called Notability (I am in no way affiliated with this product — this is not a commercial).  I am something of a lagger when it comes to technology, so I might assume that everyone on the planet already uses this app.  This is just one man’s story.

The app allowed me to open a PDF of my sermon notes so I could preach from the iPad on Sunday morning.  I anticipated the good-natured flack I might get from my congregation, so I explained my situation in the opening of the sermon.

I’m not sure if I’m completely “sold” on this method, but let me share some advantages I found in using this app for my notes.

1)  Annotations:  Every saturday night I sit down with a pen and my freshly-printed sermon notes (unless thwarted by my printer.  Nemesis!).  This is my favourite step in sermon preparation.  I read the passage slowly and I pray through every point.  My pen rounds up the elusive insights which had fled from me during the week, only to surrender in this quiet moment.  Previously, the “saved” version of my sermon notes lacked annotations (which were usually some of the most thoughtful components of the message).  This app allowed me to highlight and “hand write” annotations and save them.  Various colours, pen size, etc.  I liked that.

True, I could have saved my annotated notes in the past using a scanner.  But what am I?  A Visigoth?  Talk about lagging. Hmph.

2) No Fumbling:  Turning pages in the pulpit is not a big deal, but it can be a little cumbersome at times.   Having a PDF in front of me (with my annotations) made my materials “cleaner” and no breeze can render me noteless.

3) A Cue:  Strangely, I did not feel as “tied” to my notes as I have in the past.  The enlarged font and the highlighter made the material spring from the screen and it felt very natural.

4) Storage:  I mentioned this above, but being able to send and store my fully annotated notes is a blessing.  Saving them to a cloud-type source also protects their safety should I misplace my mobile device.

I grant you, this post will not save the world.  But I was helped by this discovery and thought some fellow preachers might be as well.

By the way, Colin Adams uses an inkwell and parchment.  But he can totally pull it off.

One thought on “This just in … iPads are useful.

  1. Also useful are Kindles (other e-readers are available, so I hear!) I’ve been using mine for a few months now and I have found it to be a real help! Saves on paper too.

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