Preaching/Speaking from an iPad? 10 Rules

By Brandon Hilgemann:

Do you speak from an iPad? Any experiences? Any wisdom?

1. THOU SHALL TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS.
2. THOU SHALL TURN OFF AUTO-LOCK.
3. THOU SHALL LOWER THE BRIGHTNESS.
4. THOU SHALL NOT DRAW ATTENTION TO YOUR IPAD.
5. THOU SHALL USE A PDF READER APP FOR NOTES.
6. THOU SHALL STILL CARRY A BIBLE.
7. THOU SHALL MAKE SURE THE IPAD IS FULLY CHARGED.
8. THOU SHALL HAVE A BACKUP.
9. THOU SHALL NOT LEAVE YOUR IPAD UNATTENDED.
10. THOU SHALL NOT HAVE AN OPEN BEVERAGE NEXT TO YOUR IPAD.

CONCLUSION

Those are 10 things I have learned about preaching with an iPad, but I am always trying to learn more. What other tips you would suggest?

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Scott Eaton

    If you preach without notes you don’t need an iPad, just a Bible.

  • http://www.wheretoreach.us/ T Freeman

    Ha! I just did a wedding with an iPad for my notes, and I specifically followed all “commands” above but number 6! (And that was because–obviously!–my bible is on the iPad!) Also, the whole reason for using the iPad was so that I didn’t have a cumbersome bible with all kinds of papers hanging in it (or falling out of it); and I didn’t need to work from hand-scribbled notes in the margins or something. Worked great; especially for feeding the couple their vows. As long as the brightness is appropriately low; the battery lasts plenty long and it’s very discreet.

    Also: THOU SHALT MUTE THE IPAD.

  • http://www.wheretoreach.us/ T Freeman

    But Scott, if you have an iPad . . . you’ve got a Bible (or about 50 of them). :D

    But I agree, I generally try to teach without notes at all.

  • Phil Miller

    Yes, I read and study the Bible almost entirely online or in my iPad or
    iPhone, but I find that there is just something powerful about a
    preacher holding a physical bible. It shows the audience that your
    authority comes from God, not Steve Jobs.

    This is from the article for #6… Really? I don’t assume someone is speaking with any more authority simply because they’re carrying a big Bible. In the Anglican church we’ve been attending, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the rector use a Bible at all during his sermons. He does reference the Scripture readings in some way, of course, but he doesn’t seem to need to have a big Bible with him during the sermon.

  • Chris Thomas

    I use a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (Android tablet) and tend to follow all of these rules. I was a little skeptical at first, but now I love it. We have a relatively small pulpit, so it’s helpful to have the smaller tablet rather than the physical manuscript (I usually lay the manuscript out two sheets at a time to prevent too much paper shuffling).
    I think it’s important to have a physical Bible in the pulpit, mostly because it is still relatively taboo in my tradition (Baptist-CBF) to use notes of any kind, especially a manuscript, even though so many of us do. There’s an added sense of reverence if you actually read from the book rather than the tablet since (hopefully) that is what most of the congregation is doing.
    Also, I use the Kindle app when I preach from my tablet: it converts .doc/.docx files into an easy-to-read format, it’s easy to manipulate (adjust font, turn pages, etc.), and the Kindle app doesn’t allow the tablet to sleep (at least for a bit longer than say a word processing or pdf app).

  • http://redmarkedward.com/ Mark Edward

    I’m baffled at the Insane Troll Logic some Christians use, too. Saying that reading the Bible on an iPad means ‘your authority comes from Steve Jobs’ would be like saying reading the Bible in English means ‘your authority comes from King James’. Unless they’re reading from the absolute original manuscript in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, they need to stop acting like X is intrinsically better than Y when the content doesn’t change.

  • http://redmarkedward.com/ Mark Edward

    Some tablet apps can be used for the pastor to remote control the slideshows or a video illustration, rather than waiting for the guy at the computer in the back to maybe be in sync.

  • David Grant

    Make sure you have a screen protector that is reflection resistant. Especially if you’re setting has some bright lighting.

  • Chris Logan

    actually, I think it’s like saying that your authority comes from Gütenberg … but that’s more semantics ;)

  • Chris Logan

    11: thou shalt be very careful with app switching, for pro presenter remote will make you sign in again every time you switch apps …

  • craig cottongim

    I can’t afford an Ipad, guess I’ll see if I can’t apply some of these to my ink-pad…

  • http://www.djchuang.com/ djchuang

    Maybe someone will make an app, or Apple add a new mode, in addition to “Silent mode” we need a “Speaker mode” or “Presentation mode”

  • http://Relationalyouthministry.com/ Tim Ciccone

    Another option is to invert the color scheme. The brightness can really be an issue–sort of giving you that “holy glow” but if you invert the screen color it’s in some ways easier to read and no holy glow. Try it.

  • scotmcknight

    Esp with a “red ribbon bookmark”?

  • scotmcknight

    That’s a significant issue for me, David.

  • http://redmarkedward.com/ Mark Edward

    Of course, of course. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the touch-screen pocket computer, either. The claims just defer to the big names people will recognize!

  • http://redmarkedward.com/ Mark Edward

    Some Android devices have the option to adjust the ‘warmth’ of the glow. By default, most are on a ‘cool’ setting, so everything is more blue- and white-toned, giving it that classic TV glow. If the option is available, switch it to a strong ‘warm’ setting; it doesn’t remove the glow, but it’s not near as obvious on our warm-toned skin.

  • Stu McGregor

    I’LL go with the cool blue ‘cos it matches my wintery pasty skin. besides, cool blue is too ‘used’ in horror movies right? :)

  • Stu McGregor

    “remove ALL safai tabs before you preach…. y’know, coulda been hacked right? ;)

  • tdhero70

    Personally I couldn’t care less if the Bible is read from an ipad or real paper. But over the last 2 decades there has been a recovery of art/icons because they mean something to people and communicate in ways that other forms of communication cannot. Why then does it baffle us when the sight of a paper Bible moves some people in a way that an ipad does not? Seems like we should get this.

  • Phil Miller

    My comment had more to do with the author’s premise that a preacher’s authority comes from the fact that he’s holding a Bible. Scripture is authoritative regardless of what we’re reading it from, and the fact that a person is holding a Bible during a message doesn’t mean anything in regards to how “biblical” the sermon they’re preaching is.

  • David Grant

    Yep, I was doing announcement and the tech guys told me I had to put on a screen protector. I had no idea… Hope you’re good.

  • David C Woodard

    From recent experience…

    If you’re going to be using the iPad both for your notes AND for audio recording, “Kill” all other apps before taking it to the pulpit so that you don’t distract yourself by bringing up your last game of Risk while trying to swap to the recording app to stop tape…

  • David C Woodard

    T, I have done the last 3 or 4 weddings by tablet (the first was an Android tab before I got my iPad) but with my black (faux) leather case, no one who might’ve been offended probably noticed. (that fits in with #4)

  • David C Woodard

    @markedward:disqus makes a good point. as does @T_Freeman_II:disqus.
    My use of notes and technology is largely dictated by what type of lesson/sermon and the setting of such. Sometimes my scripture references are all memorized as well (if they are very familiar texts), but then sometimes even more than an outline or typical ‘notes’ I bring quotes from other than Bible which I usually don’t have memorized. These are never treated as scripture, but quoting an interesting line from a commentary, or more often a lyric from an ancient hymn can enhance the message so I read them from whatever medium is appropriate for that setting

  • Pastor Kevin

    I simply carry my iPad, not a paper Bible. Even through most of my congregation is 45-80 years old they use their “cowboy church” app on their own smart devices to follow along with the.


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