People have asked me about what tools do I use to prepare and manage my sermons. I remember writing and trying to file a sermon under a specific topic folder (for example, faith), but sometimes, that same sermon could also be used to talk about courage, action, adversity, etc. The question was: how do I file my sermons and sort them in a way that I can easily label and find them?
Here comes EVERNOTE, which is a free application that “lets you capture, nurture, and share your ideas across any device”. When an idea or inspiration strikes, I take out my phone and start writing things out. Then I’ll go back to my office and start preparing my sermon.
After I’m done with my outline, I use Google Drive to edit and store my final sermon. Let me tell you, Evernote and google Drive have saved my life. So this is What I do:
1- WRITE A FIRST DRAFT
Say I’m reading the Bible or walking around the neighborhood and God leads me to prepare a sermon on a certain topic. I pull out my phone and start typing. Anything that comes to mind, I put down. Things won’t make perfect sense at that point, so I remind myself that this is only a draft. The important thing is to get your ideas flowing.
2- ADD TAGS
If you teach, lead a bible study or preach, you know that one sermon can have one main subject, but small different topics. Say that you will be talking about leadership; that’s your main subject, but you could probably include topics about courage, determination, vision, teamwork, etc. Therefore, I use TAGS. I don’t file that sermon under a folder named leadership, but leave in one of the notebooks and add tags that point to those topics. So, in the future, if I want to search my notes on teamwork, that message on Leadership will appear.
3- CLEAN UP
Drafts are always a mess so the next step would be to clean up and shape an OUTLINE. I will get rid of bible verses or any other thoughts that don’t necessarily apply to that sermon but helped me get the big picture. A sermon should be kept organized and simple in order for it to be effective. Talking too much about too many things will make it difficult for the people to understand and remember.
4- COPY THE OUTLINE TO GOOGLE DRIVE (google docs)
Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service created by Google. It allows users to store files in the cloud, synchronize files across devices, and share files.
I store, almost everything, on Google Drive and Dropbox. Google docs is the google version of the Microsoft’s suite, however, it is free and does a very good job compared to word, excel and power point.
I copy the outline to google docs and Edit it to my taste. I use my iPad to preach, so I make sure the font is big and easy to read. I highlight important information so I emphasize it during my presentation.
5- ADD Google Docs LINK TO EVERNOTE
Once I have edited and completed my sermon in google docs, I go back to Evernote to add the link to the document to my original draft (which contains my tags).
6- LIST OF ALL MY SERMONS
I became a Pastor just a little over a year ago, so I decided to keep track of my sermons. I created a list in EVERNOTE with links to the final versions of my sermons so I can just click and open them, in case I need to go over them again.
So, there it is. Evernote lets me capture my thoughts, organize and keep track of my sermons and Google Drive lets me store, edit and SHARE my sermons. I highly recommend both of them.
What app or method do you use to capture your thoughts and ideas?