Yesterday was the first day I preached off my iPad. I got the iPad this past summer and had always thought about preaching off it. I currently use a manuscript for my sermons. It’s the style that was reinforced at Princeton Seminary, and I haven’t quite been able to shake it yet. I feel like it’s still a pretty conversational style, and I do feel the freedom to move away from the manuscript, but at this point in my preaching career, I like having the manuscript there. When I print it out, it’s normally about 5 pages, but seemed like saving paper would be a good thing.
I know there have been quite a few folks who have already blogged about preaching off an iPad, and I don’t know that I have too much to add to the discussion, but I thought I’d briefly share how it worked for me, since some folks on Twitter asked that I write a review after preaching from it.
Normally when I write my sermons, I print them out with a font size of 14. However, when preparing the sermon for the iPad, I had it set to about 18-20 for it to look right. I also decreased the margins a bit to get more on the screen. I heard some folks just opened up a document with the Pages app, but that didn’t appeal to me. In Pages, you have to be constantly scrolling down (like on the web) and I wanted to just be able to tap the screen and advance onto the next page.
As far as I understand it, that meant I would need a PDF reader. I heard that some folks use iBooks, but the app I used was GoodReader. It’s a great app, and made it really easy to just flick to advance to the next page. As Steve Lindsley mentioned, because you can fit less on an iPad screen than a full 8.5×11 sheet of paper, it does mean that you’ll be flicking more often than you’d be turning pages. And as another blogger mentioned, you can only see one page at a time, versus seeing two side-by-side.
But I actually really enjoyed the experience. I had to start numbering my pages, because I got them mixed up a couple times, and while our congregation is very gracious, it was a little annoying to do that. With the iPad, I didn’t have any of those problems and it was very easy to read off of as well.
I didn’t receive any negative comments from anyone, and a few folks who realized that I was using an iPad, thought it was pretty cool. Naturally, pastors preaching off iPads made it into the Stuff Christians Like website; the iPad is the newest gadget folks are interested in and of course pastors will find ways to use it. Some have even found even more uses for an iPad for pastors, and others are really getting into preaching off it.
If you’re going to preach off your iPad, there are a few basic tips you should remember:
- Turn the Mute switch off: you don’t want your alarms or other alerts go off while you’re preaching
- Lock the Orientation in Portrait Mode (unless you want to try using it in Landscape mode, though I don’t know why you would): Not an issue if you’re just setting your iPad on a stand or a pulpit, but if you’re walking around with it, you don’t want the orientation to change mid-sentence
- Set the Screen Auto-Lock to 10 Minutes or longer: this way the screen doesn’t turn off on you while you’re preaching (especially awkward if you are preaching from a manuscript)
- Put your iPad in a case: obviously, you’re cool if you’re preaching from an iPad, but you don’t need everyone to know that you’re that cool. I personally love the basic Apple iPad Case, it keeps the iPad very slim and makes it just look like a black notepad
- Check out this article that offers some really good tips, as well as downloadable iPad templates for both Microsoft Word and iWork’s Pages
It’s certainly not perfect and some have commented on issues of feeling bad about preaching off a gadget that is so expensive. But if you have one, why not give it a shot. I liked it – and I’ll probably try it again next time I preach. Has anyone else tried preaching off an iPad? What did you think?