If there’s one program I can’t see myself without, it’s Evernote. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and I love it. So now you’re wondering what in the world is it.
Think of it like a digital filing cabinet. The drawers are called “Notebooks” and the individual folders are called “Notes”. This is where Evernote takes it a step further. You can also add “Tags” to your notes to help you categorize your notes and find them faster.
So what about preaching? I file my preaching this way. I go to Tags, the click .what —> .ministry —> .speaking. I used a period in front of them to help with searching the tags more easily. I don’t actually use these tags, they’re just to help with organizing.
Under .speaking I have three more tags: bible books, illustration, and message.
- “Bible books” is actually another category, and under that tag I literally have 66 other tags, one for each book of the bible.
- “Illustrations” is if there’s ever an article I read, story I hear of, joke I’m told, picture I find, etc. I save it to an Evernote note and then tag it with “illustration.”
- “Message” is for one of my sermons I’m creating. I only use it for mine, and I’ll use a different tag if I’m taking notes from another preacher.
When I’m creating a message I open a new note and then tag it with “message” and also from which book of the bible I’m preaching. This does a couple of things because if I ever want to look at messages I’ve done, I go to Tags, find “message”, double-click, and all the notes tagged with that tag appear. I can search through all my sermons instantly and quickly. But say I want to use a devotion I did from Romans? I just find the tag “romans” under “bible books” and Ta-Da! All my sermons from the book of Romans.
When crafting a sermon, I use a single note. I don’t have a refined process I use for preaching, but I go through phases. I’ll study the context of a passage, take notes from my own reading, take notes from different commentaries, etc. Each phase I work through get’s its own section in that note.
When I’ve made my outline in a separate word processor, I’ll save a PDF of that sermon in the note in Evernote. That way, I have all my research, notes, prep, and actual sermon in one place.