Ministry Toolbox: Evernote
Several years ago, while studying at Toccoa Falls College, my Creative Bible Teaching professor had us create a card file that he intended us to keep stocked with quotes, stories, newspaper clippings, and illustrations for use as needed. While I found the idea to be a good one, I must admit that the card file didn’t make it past the class that I built it for. Why? Mostly because I found it to be clunky, hard to search, and a whole lot of work to create and maintain.
Though lacking in quality of execution, the idea behind the card file is a good one: having a centralized location for resources that you can use as you create sermons and lesson plans could be a huge help, as long as it was easy to use, maintain, and search.
Evernote combines all the best parts of a card file, but it is easy to use, maintain, and search… oh, did I mention it’s free (for a basic account). Over the past two years I have found Evernote to be an incredibly powerful tool as I go about my day to day, and I find myself using it to keep track of documents, articles, blog posts, pictures, recordings, and recipes. While the storage is helpful, there are three features that have really set Evernote apart for me:
- Accessible: Evernote allows me to sync my information across all my platforms: on my Kindle, laptop, smartphone, and it even has web access. If I need to refer to am important document in a meeting, I easily pull it up on my phone. If I need an application to take notes in on the fly, Evernote is good to go.
- Searchable: Every afternoon at 3:00 pm I share three articles for church leaders called the #3at3. The reason I am able to do this is because of the search feature built into Evernote. Any note, article, or anything else that you save can be searched using tags, or a search box (the upgraded version allows you to even search within PDF files, super helpful). Looking for that blog post you read eight months ago about church planting on the moon? Type it in the search box, and viola!
- Shareable: If you are developing a file that you need to share with your team, no problem! Evernote allows you to designate folders as private or shared, which gives your team the ability to access and add to the file you are building. This has been helpful for me when sharing resources with clients, or recipes with my family.
Here is the official description of what Evernote is all about:
Seriously, it really is that cool. Interested in trying out Evernote for yourself? You may want to check out these two resources (affiliate links):
- Brett Kelly has a great resource called Evernote Essentials, it will help you get started (or restarted).
- Ron Edmondson wrote an eBook called A Guide to Evernote for Pastors, an excellent resource aimed at our particular needs.
How are YOU tracking YOUR ideas, reference material, illustrations, and recipes?