Evernote for the preacher
Ever wanted to simplify that semi organized or maybe never organized mess of a sermon illustration file?
I worked out a solution for more effective sermon prep that I have been seeing benefits from over the past year and decided to share them, may it bless you in the fight to be more productive.
Preaching doesn’t stress me out. I enjoy it! Preparing a sermon doesn’t stress me out. I enjoy that! Most preachers I know enjoy it. There is only one part of sermon preparation that I have wished would be easier. The search for that illustration or quote that I know I have somewhere.
I am the constant collector of stories, illustrations and anything that could ever be used in a sermon. I have an overwhelming amount of good content that I have amassed through a few years in ministry. But the stress has always been in locating the one illustration I needed to use for the particular sermon of the moment. Opening and closing tons of hanging files, digging through labeled manila folders…etc. It just never seemed like a good use of time. Especially with the negative thought in the back of my mind that I could potentially never find what I am seeking.
First let me tell you how I use Evernote. Although, it could be easier to tell you the ways I don’t use Evernote. I use it a lot!
Here is a list of the ways I use Evernote
- To Save important emails
- ToDo list tracking and reminders
- Manage projects I’m working on
- Keep a sermon log
- Storing files
- Saving memories, images, audio clips, and video clips
- I keep PDF books for reading and searching
- Anything that I receive on paper that needs to be kept gets put into Evernote
- I teach Bible studies from it
- Bible study slideshows
- I use it for collaboration on projects with other people
- I share notes, and notebooks with other people
- Example: I have two notebooks filled with articles on Leadership and Church Growth that I have shared with a number of friends
- When I preach or teach I use the Evernote app for iPad
- My personal Bible study highlights, and notes are backed up to Evernote
- I import all my highlights from e-books into Evernote
These just scratch the surface of how I use Evernote. The things I left off would require more detail than what a bullet list can provide.
To me the service is worth every bit of the price for the premium features. The extended search makes it incredibly powerful. With search you can look for text in pdf files, Microsoft office documents, and in images.
Because of my comfort with Evernote, it was natural for me to look at using it as a repository for all of the illustrations I had accumulated, and continue to collect. The result, I don’t find myself scrambling to find where that one sermon thought was written down, or asking “which book was that great story that would fit this sermon found in?”. Nor do I find myself digging through the mass of manila folders that I had been collecting over many years.
Over a few posts I am going to lay out for you how I use Evernote for my sermon preparation. I hope it will benefit you the way it has benefitted me.
First, let me tell you why I chose Evernote. These are the reasons I chose Evernote for my sermon preperation.
The Reasons I would choose Evernote
- There is no limit to how many notes you can have
- The Notebooks make organization intuitive
- There are unlimited tags
- The tags can be nested to create a structure
- Evernote has amazing search capabilities
All of these qualities add up to a really great way to store and access resources for sermon preparation.
If you have not taken a look at Evernote, you can get it by going to their website at HERE.
In the next post I am going to cover how I have organized my Evernote Sermon prep tools.