As a busy pastor it can be overwhelming to search for the perfect tool to accomplish the tasks you need to get done. This may be simply keeping up with your schedule, communicating with staff and church members, or managing your to-do list. While the tools in this collection may not meet every need, below you will find a few apps and web services that have saved us time (and frustration) and can hopefully do the same for you.
Digital tools for pastors
My life was changed after reading David Allen's Getting Things Done, which provides a helpful conceptual framework for organizing your life. One quote that has stuck with me over the years is "Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them." The place where I hold my ideas (or projects and tasks to complete) is OmniFocus. This app works on Mac, iPad, and iPhone and has become an indispensable tool for me. If you are looking for a universal app that has a web interface that you can use on Windows or the Mac I would suggest checking out Todoist.
There are a plethora of writing apps out there but some standout more than others. My favorite is Ulysses because it provides a great writing environment that allows you to focus on your writing. It is also provides great search and tagging capabilities so you have easy access to your documents. And, one of my favorite features, is its customizable export options to all different formats such as Word docs, PDFs, and if your writing for the internet then HTML and Markdown.
Everyday there are all types of tasks that are too simple for a task manager but still too easily forgettable. Some examples might include, "pick up rice for dinner after work," "text your friend on Monday morning to wish them happy birthday," "pick up the kids tomorrow at 3" and so forth. For these sorts of tasks I suggest the Due app.
File management on iOS can be difficult with the stock applications. Documents 5 by Readdle is an app that can sync with your Dropbox, Google Drive, One Note accounts (and more), unzip/zip files, edit, markup, and sign PDFs, and more.
If you're anything like me then you are constantly in your calendar whether it be adding appointments, checking the schedule, or other tasks you need a calendar that can do the job well. Personally, I recommend only using your calendar for events that you have to attend. Everything else in your life should be delegated to reminders and your task manager. Fantastical is a fantastic app that has natural language processing and excellent at-a-glance view at your schedule.
Throughout the day I find myself always needing a way to quickly capture information. This could be a phone number, book title, or other random pieces of content. Drafts is a great app to keep on your home screen for this purpose. The best thing about this app is that after capturing information, you can do with it what you want—create an event on your calendar, send a message, post on social media, and much more.
Do you ever find yourself writing the same email on a daily or weekly basis? Or having to repeatedly look up an address? TextExpander is a great way to avoid this problem. I use this tool for responses to common questions, addresses, dates, commonly misspelled words, and more. There is a bit of a learning curve but once you get it down it can save you a ton of time.
Most pastors are managing church and personal accounts across multiple platforms. Rather than switching back-and-forth constantly, Buffer allows you to schedule posts in advance, post to multiple platforms, and it even optimizes the posting times for you. This is a great tool that makes what can be a daunting task—managing social media—much easier.
Formerly known as Google Apps, G-Suite is a collection of applications that includes Gmail, Drive, Docs, Calendar, and more. While these tools are great for personal productivity, they can be a game-changer for your staff team thanks to collaboration and sharing features. G-Suite is also available for free to nonprofits.