Evernote makes work easier, more efficient, and way more organized. It’s available across devices so you always have it with you no matter what you are doing.
How many times have you been doing something totally random and an idea comes to your mind? It’s this great illustration related to this Sunday’s sermon or maybe it’s related to a sermon that hasn’t even been planned yet. What do you do?
Well, if you’re anything like me, you either write it down or you forget about it.
Luckily for me (and the rest of the staff at The Crossing), Evernote is always available to write that idea down, take a picture of something that relates, leave a voice memo, or anything else that relates to the idea.
I love Evernote.
Getting started with it, though, may seem kind of daunting.
In this article, I want to give you 3 notebooks that every pastor needs (that includes you). Plus, I have put together a couple template downloads you can plug into your Evernote today and begin using.
3 Evernote Notebooks Every Pastor Needs
Real quick. Evernote is made up of Notebook Stacks, Notebooks, and Notes. Notebook Stacks are a grouping of Notebooks. Many of the things you’ll find below are Notebook Stacks that have different Notebooks within them. See the graphic below and to the right for a better idea of what I mean.
1. Productivity Notebook (Stack)
In any given week you probably have a number of things you need to accomplish. You’ll probably have a number of meetings scheduled, a number of projects to complete, and a teaching or two to prepare.
How do you keep track of all this? I do this through Evernote and, specifically, through using my Productivity Notebook Stack. Here’s what you’ll find in this stack:
- Meeting Notes – Any time I have a meeting, I take notes and plug them into this notebook.
Sometimes I use my laptop, sometimes I use my iPad, and sometimes I use a regular notebook. When I use a regular notebook, I take a picture of the page of notes I have created and attach it to my designated note for that meeting. It displays where there would normally be typed text within the note editor. If you really want to remember what is said in a meeting, you can use the voice recorder that can be found within the note editor. When you’re done, it will create an mp3 file that is embedded within the note so you can listen whenever you want to.
- Projects – I utilize this notebook for large projects I am leading or organizing. I can set reminders for specific projects so that I am on top of deadlines. Right now, just to give you an idea of what I am using this notebook for, a project I am working on is a small book that explains the Gospel within a narrative structure that we’ll eventually use to give first time guests to our church. I have the outline of the book in the project note and as I come up with illustrations or other ideas, I add them to the note.
- Week to Week To-Do – I oversee three different areas within The Crossing and contribute a lot toward another main area, then fill in wherever else my help is needed. In order to stay on top of things, I utilize a note for every week of ministry. Every day I have specific tasks that I write down and set out to accomplish. If I have a meeting scheduled, this is also added to my daily task list. *See the Free Bonus section below for the template I use to plan out my week.*
2. Preaching/Teaching Notebook (Stack)
Depending on your context, you may have more or less notebooks in this stack than I do.
- Teaching – I oversee Crossing U which is our Sunday elective classes we offer at The Crossing. Within this notebook I have our yearly schedule of classes, notes on the classes I teach, and a few other things related to leading this area. For you, this may be your Sunday School notebook or something different.
- Sermons/Sermon Series – I preach around 10-12 times a year, serve on the sermon planning team, and help with research on weeks I am not preaching. I love Evernote for planning out an entire sermon series. I use a template that allows me to lay out the entire series and to add notes for each week in one place. *I’ve included this template for you to download free. See the free bonus section below.*
- Ideas – I’m sure you’re always thinking of new sermon series ideas, right? Use this notebook to compile a list of possible sermon series to preach on that way when you begin putting together your plans for next year (or next month if you want to be stressed out), you already have a number of great ideas.
3. Research Notebook (Stack)
One task of any preacher/teacher is to research and compile:
that will further your sermon or class. A great tool that helps in this endeavor is the Evernote Web Clipper.
Did you read a great story that would really relate to some Biblical truth? Did you watch a video that would be perfect for showing a real life example of some Biblical truth? Clip them and add them to your Illustrations Notebook.
Did you read a great article (maybe even this one) that you want to save so you can consult it later? Clip it and add it to your Articles Notebook.
Find an interesting statistic? Was the Census data for your community updated lately? Clip them and add them to your Statistics Notebook.
Reading a great book where you’re highlighting a lot and underlining a lot? Compile those quotes in your Quotes Notebook. Are you reading on a Kindle now and highlighting a ton? Did you know you can take those highlights and copy and paste them into Evernote? I talk about this more here.
I hope that this article has been extra helpful to you. In an effort to go above and beyond, I am including a free download of two things you can use in Evernote that will help you get more productive and more focused on what you are teaching.
Included in this free download is:
- Sermon Series Overview Template
- Weekly Productivity Template
All you have to do is click the button below, fill in your information and you’ll also receive our other free resource, 56 Weeks of Preaching Topics.
What else do you use Evernote for? Let us know in the comments below.