I love my Android smart phone and tablet, but in order to get them to really help my productivity, I had to find the right apps. There are a handful of apps for pastors that have completely changed the way I operate on a daily basis, and I thought I would share them you:
1. Evernote (free)
Evernote is truly one of the best apps for pastors! It is the app that you need whenever you want to jot something down. I know what skeptics say… “why don’t you just use pen and paper to jot things down like we have always done it before?” Well, Evernote does things that no origamist (urban for person who performs origami) could begin to imagine. Evernote is a simple to use, yet very powerful personal organizer.
I use Evernote for all sorts of things. I track exegetical work as I prepare sermons, I track who is in the hospital and their room numbers, and I track prayer requests all with this easy to use system. You can use your Evernote account to have your notes with you where ever you have access to the internet (and sync to devices for when you do not have internet). The Evernote servers give you plenty of space.
In addition to taking and filing notes, Evernote handles to-do lists and reminders, too! See something that you want to remember? Open up Evernote and take a picture… or video. It has lots of great features, and you do not have to study a manual to figure out how to use them.
Tired of all the papers we get at meetings? Just use your phone to take a picture of a document, and Evernote turns it into a scanned document. That’s right… Evernote turns the camera on your phone into a scanner! Very cool.
There is much more that Evernote can do to help you, and it is free (there are premium accounts available, but the free is good enough for me)! This app is a must have. For more information, here is the Evernote website.
2. Dropbox (free)
Getting files from one computer to another can be a pain. You could email it to yourself, or copy the file to a flash drive, but I tend to exceed email file size limits, and I lose flash drives. The perfect solution for me is Dropbox. Dropbox installs a file folder on your computer or mobile device that allows you to save files right to the folder just like you would save to your hard drive. Any file saved in the folder is synced with your Dropbox account so you can access these files anywhere. You can also sync your dropbox folder with other computers, so that you will have the file wherever you go. Change a file on your desktop and it will automatically sync to your laptop. It is very easy to use and it is great to have my files at my fingertips wherever I am.
I also have my phone automatically upload any pictures I take to my dropbox folder. When I get home, there are my pictures, already on my desktop. Very Cool.
You can also share Dropbox folders with other people. Need to pass a PowerPoint file back and forth with your music minister? Just save it to a shared Dropbox folder
Dropbox is free, although you will quickly be tempted to pay the reasonable fee for more storage space. For more information, here is the Dropbox website.
3. Mileage Tracker (paid)
Every pastor needs to log mileage, and this program will do it! Enter your odometer reading at the beginning and end of your trip, along with as much or little information you want to add, and this will keep track of your mileage in a way that would please the most stringent auditor. You can track all of your travel expenses, including meals and lodging.
It has options to track mileage by gps, but that technology is not quite reliable enough for me yet, so I would stick with entering your odometer readings manually for now. Mileage Tracker will even send expense reports out by email for simple reimbursement. The bottom line is that this app makes it easy to track and report your travel expenses. At the time of this printing, Mileage Tracker is $2.99. Be sure to check out Mileage Tracker.
4. LastPass (Free)
Strong passwords are all the rage right now. Almost every website wants you to have a username and password, and they all have different rules about what kind of letters, numbers, and symbols you can and can’t use. Wouldn’t be great if there was a secure way to remember all your passwords? Enter LastPass. Your LastPass password is the last password you will have to remember. It integrates with your web browser to generate and remember strong passwords. Then, when you launch the site from the list of saved sites on the LastPass menu bar, it enters your information for you and logs you on to the site. Your passwords go everywhere you go as the LastPass Vault synchronizes between computers and mobile devices ($12 annual fee for mobile devices).
It takes a little getting used to, and it takes some time to set up with all of your sites, but I am finding LastPass well worth the effort. Gone are the days that I have to rely on the “Forgot User Name or Password” button to shop or pay bills! Thank you, Lastpass!
Lastpass is free for your PC ($12 per year for mobile devices).
Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation or request for reviewing or endorsing these applications