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5 Thoughts: Preaching with an iPad

iPad 2
Some time ago I posted my First Impressions of my brand new iPad 2. Since then I have been using the iPad for many purposes, including preaching. During this time I have had several opportunities to experiment with different ways of implementing the iPad for this purpose. Along the way I’ve accumulated several (hopefully) helpful thoughts for anyone who might be considering the iPad as a preaching tool. Here are five of those thoughts…


1. It’s NOT about the iPad.

If your reason for using an iPad while preaching is to look ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ you’re using an iPad for the wrong reason. In fact, you are preaching for the wrong reason! Preaching should never be about the preacher or tools he uses. Preaching is about Christ. “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord…” 2 Corinthians 4:4 NKJV.

As a preacher your ‘job’ is to get out of the way so people can see Him. If you or your tools obscure the person of Christ in any way you should not be preaching.


2. Is the iPad a Bible or a notebook?

When I first started preaching with an iPad I quickly discovered that I could not simultaneously use it for my message notes and as my Bible. Switching between a Bible app and a PDF reader was much too distracting for me.

When speaking publically I make every attempt to keep my notes to an absolute minimum… simply listing the message’s key points and verse references on one side of a single sheet of paper. Because I use a minimal amount of paper I can easily tuck my notes inside the iPad’s cover. So, I use the iPad as my Bible… but that’s me.

Ultimately the way in which you use your iPad will be unique to your own personal style. You’ll need to experiment to find the best fit for your style.

[see an update to this post for a solution]


3. iPad 2 PowerPoint Presentations

Yes, with iOS 5 an iPad 2 can present a PowerPoint slideshow. In fact you can ‘mirror’ whatever appears on your iPad 2’s screen to many other video devices including projectors, TVs. I have heard many people say that it can’t be done, this is not true. Not only can it be done, it is simple to do.

Depending on the video hardware you will be using there are a few different routes you can take to accomplish. First, you will need an adapter to export the video signal. You can choose from Apple’s own VGA Adapter or Apple’s Digital AV Adapter. Next, you will need an app to show your PowerPoint presentation. While there are several different options to choose from, I use QuickOffice Pro HD for iPad. There are other apps to choose from, and Microsoft is even rumored to be releasing their own Microsoft Office app sometime this year.

Remember, if you can display it on the iPad you can project the same image to a larger screen. You are not limited to PowerPoint. Use your imagination, the possibilities are endless.


4. Some Practical iPad Preaching Tips

  • Charge it… fully charge the iPad ahead of time
  • Lock it… lock the screen rotation
  • Mute it… mute the iPad
  • Disable it… notifications that is (iOS 4 had a simple toggle switch to disable notifications under Settings > Notification. With iOS 5 it’s not so easy… you must disable notifications manually for every app or turn off wi-fi and cellular data)
  • Wake it… almost as bad as your audience falling asleep is your iPad going to sleep! Set Auto-Lock to ‘15 minutes’ or ‘never’. To do this navigate to Settings > General > Auto-Lock


5. Practice, Practice, Practice

No matter how well you think you know your iPad, actually using the iPad in front of a group of people can pose unanticipated problems. And if you are like me, solving a problem with a group of people watching your every move is infinitely harder than solving the problem in the privacy of your office. Therefore it’s best to practice preaching with the iPad in the privacy of your home or office ahead of time.


Your Turn…

Do you use an iPad as a preaching aid? Do you have any tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments.



Don’t miss: 2 newer posts regarding preaching with an iPad




  1. Mike Stoudt

    Thanks, Scott. Very helpful. I have been able to use my iPad as both Bibke and notes, I use ThinkBook for my simple notes and find it easy to toggle between the two. I also use the bookmark feature of my iPad Bible to create a mi I outline. Each person will have different techniques, and as you pointed out, the iPad is merely a tools, like paper and pen, use it for the glory of the Lord (alone).

    Is anyone aware of a way to wireless project images from the iPad to a digital projector?

  2. As for wireless projection: if you have AppleTV and Airplay you can send what’s on your iPad screen to the bigger screen. I don’t know of any airplay compatible projectors, though.

    For Digital Sojourner readers, a couple of internal links for further reading:

    Make sure to check how you plan to use the iPad before buying it, and know your options.

  3. Thanks Mike, I’m glad you found the post to be helpful. I was also going to suggest looking into Apple’s Airplay, but like Rey, I am not aware of any Airplay compatible projectors.

    Though it’s not much of a help now, I would suspect that Apple has already thought about this and is working on a solution. I would imagine that there would be (is?) a large market for such a product.