The tools I use to create a message

Several people have asked lately what software and processes I use currently for creating a message. In this post I will not go into the “spiritual” aspects of study, prayer, etc. This is just about the tools.

First, the hardware: I use an 11″ MacBook Air to create the message and an iPad to present the message. When I bought the iPad, I wanted it to do it all, but it doesn’t…at least not well. It’s just easier to create on a Mac. I use the AIR rather than a MacBook Pro because it’s lighter and I don’t need the extra horsepower. I prefer the 11″ over the 13″ because it fits in tight spaces (think airplanes, such as when the person in front of you is leaning back rocking some serious Z’s).

The software: I use Pages for word processing, Quickverse for the Bible, Dropbox to store everything, and Goodreader on the iPad to present.

So here is the process:

1. On my MacAir I open Dropbox and click on a Pages “Sermon Template” file. I’ve created this so I don’t have to start from scratch every week. It is stored on Dropbox so I can access it from any computer I happen to be working on.

2. I save my new sermon document on Dropbox in a folder with the current series. Since it’s stored in the “cloud”, I can work on it thru out the week on whatever computer I happen to be close too, as long as it is a Mac with Pages installed. (You could do the same thing with Word, I just happen to prefer Pages.)

3. When I finish the message I make sure that I have saved it, then I save a PDF copy of it on Dropbox in the same folder. (To save a PDF, you have to access the PRINT menu, then Save as PDF.)

4. Next I open Goodreader on my iPad and tap on the Dropbox icon in the “Connect to Server” column. I then find the PDF copy of the message I have saved. This imports a copy into my iPad and links it to the Dropbox copy so any changes I make will show up both places.

5. I then use the “Markup” capabilities of Goodreader thru out the weekend to add the “good stuff” to the outline margins. Because it is linked to the Dropbox file, I will have all my spontanious notes to refer to in the future.

That’s about it for me. Just add some Red Bull, a little Mt. Dew, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and you’ve got yourself a message.

Is your process similar?
Share your good ideas in the comment section.

Greg is the founding pastor of Seacoast Church, one of the early adopters of the multi-site model. Located in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, Seacoast has been recognized by various media as an innovative and influential thought leader in future strategies for church growth and development.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

9 comments
Barry Whitlow
Barry Whitlow

Pastor Greg, would love to see a 2013 update to this post. Are you still using the same tools? If so, why/why not? Thanks for all you do! -bw

Kristofer Logsdon
Kristofer Logsdon

Greg- I was wondering if I might be able to get a copy of your sermon templates that you use? Thanks Kris Logsdon krislogsdon@me.com

Mike
Mike

Pastor Greg, Cool insight. Last sermon you had said something about "capturing" information, and I was one of those wondering your process - so this is very timely. I don't know if you have heard of or used a digital capturing software called evernote. It is right up your alley, I think. I started using it a month ago to capture all my stuff, and it really works well. Would go well with your existing process. Keep up the great work.

Kelly
Kelly

Greg, can you do a blog on how you structure your sermons? Like, explanation, application, illustration... that kind of stuff.

Rick Case
Rick Case

I was sitting there wondering this exact thing yesterday during the sermon as I saw you page through your iPad. Thanks for explaining.

Shane Coppock
Shane Coppock

Great Sharing. Thanks for being so open. Be blessed, keep building the kingdom. I would love to help you build one of those 200 churches. Shane

Chris G
Chris G

Great post! Very similar prep styles. I like how you use the Makup app. I use NoteTaker HD to do the same. Thanks!

Gregsur
Gregsur

Interesting question Kelly. I'm probably more narrative now than I used to be. I also make sure that I'm the oldest guy at the table when I'm planning a message. If my team doesn't get the illustrations, then chances are the congregation won't either.

Kelly
Kelly

How have the structure of your messages changed over the years as you have grown older and your congregation grows younger?