As a pastor, you do God's work in thousands of ways. In addition to leading services and explaining God's word to parishioners, you are called upon to provide loving counsel to parishioners in crisis and officiate at weddings and funerals — plus help keep the church doors open by participating in financial decision making and hiring congregational staff. It can be overwhelming to try to get everything done each week. Fortunately, in today's world, there are many mobile apps and online tools to help you.
Time Management Tools
Time management is key to your success as a pastor. You'll need to be able to keep track of all of your obligations to your church community, such as appointments with parishioners, wedding rehearsals, and interviews with potential new staff,
Our top choice for time management is Google Calendar.
Google Calendar has several advantages for a busy pastor:
- You can add new meetings or appointments on the go using Google Calendar for your phone. Just push a few buttons and you're all set!
- You can sync your calendar on your phone and computer. So if the church receptionist adds a new appointment for you on her computer, you can see it right away on your phone.
- You can color-code entries. Want to see at a glance what special events you're doing this month or how many counseling sessions with parishioners you have scheduled? Just look for the ones marked in a certain color.
- You can get notifications on your phone and in email. Set the calendar to notify you an hour or half an hour in advance so that you never miss an appointment.
Our runner-up time management choice is Unroll.me
Unroll.me is an email management application, but we consider it a time management tool because many pastors find that going through all of their emails takes a significant chunk of time out of each day.
Unroll.me filters email for you so that you only see high-priority messages (based on the filters you set up). It also sends you a daily digest of your emails so that if anything slipped through the cracks you can see and respond to it.
This tool helps cut down on time you spend going through email and helps ensure that you respond to high priority emails in a timely manner without wasting time on emails that are less important before you get to the most vital communications.
Sermon Writing Tools
Obviously, writing sermons is an important part of any pastor's job, and there's never going to be a tool that can do it for you. However, there are a couple of tools that can help make this important task easier.
Our top choice for sermon writing tools is Evernote.
Evernote is a web and phone app that, as the name implies, allows people to take notes. But this tool can also do quite a few other things.
- The note taking function is similar to a word processor. You can type an outline or your entire sermon in the app. You can also do voice dictation if that's more comfortable for you.
- The Evernote web clipper is an extension of the Evernote app that you can add to your browser. This tool allows you to save anything you find online to your Evernote app so that you can find it easily if you want to refer to it while writing your sermon.
- You can organize your sermons and associated notes using the notebook feature. Notebooks are like folders on a computer; you can create several notebooks and put sermons, notes, and other information into their own notebook.
- You can share notes with others, so if you need feedback on your sermon or you want to include an excerpt in a church newsletter, you can grant the relevant people access.
Another tool you might find helpful is Trello.
Trello is an organizational tool that replaces the old note card system. Using this tool, you can create lists and add cards to each list. For example, while planning your sermon you can create a list for each theme and create a card for each point you want to hit that is related to the theme.
Trello also has some associated tools that are helpful. You can assign a due date or a color code to each card, filter cards by color, or add a checklist to a card to help you keep track of things you need to do.
Financial Management Tools
As a pastor, you know how important financial management is to your church's operations. Collecting tithes, keeping track of expenses, and preparing financial reports are important behind-the-scenes stuff that you need to be involved in if your church is going to keep its doors open and provide valuable programming for parishioners!
Our top recommendation for financial management is Tithe.ly
Tithe.ly helps churches collect tithes more easily. It is a mobile app that allows parishioners to donate to the church on the go.
- You can customize your tithe.ly page to include a church logo or photos of your church.
- Parishioners can donate via the app using credit/debit card or wire transfer.
- You can set up a text-to-give option so that users can donate by sending a text to a five digit number.
- You can set up a mobile kiosk so that users can give without having to create an account on the app
- The app generates monthly financial reports for you so that you can see at a glance how much money your church is receiving through tithes.
This app helps encourage giving because users can give at their convenience and don't have to worry about whether or not they have enough cash on them on Sunday morning. It also ensures that parishioners give from the heart rather than giving because they don't want their fellow parishioners to see them skip the collection dish.
Our runner-up in this area is Quickbooks.
Quickbooks is an excellent tool for keeping track of church finances. You can sync it with church bank accounts so that it automatically captures transactions, categorize those transactions, and run expense vs. revenue reports and any other financial report you need.
Being a pastor is a big responsibility, but there are many tools you can use to help make it easier! Let us know how these tools work for you, and if there's another tool you find useful, make sure to send it our way.