Surf More, Plan Less: Easy Sermon Planning with Evernote pt1

evernote_logo_Vertical found on Church And Technology.caIf you’re anything like me, sermon ideas pop into your head all the time, but too often you get distracted before you get them written down. Or you run across great blog posts or articles on the internet that you might want to use for a future sermon, but forget where you found them, or exactly what they said by the time you finally write said sermon. One way I figured out to get around this was to email myself copies of articles I might want to use later. That sort of worked, but my inbox would get all cluttered up, and if I archived things I wouldn’t be able to find the right one unless I remembered exactly what the title was. I figured there had to be a better way, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

Enter Evernote. Sermon planning with Evernote is way simpler and more convenient than anything I’ve come across so far. Why is sermon planning with Evernote so great? Evernote was created as a digital notebook so is optimized for how we use the internet. This means not only that there are tons of easy ways to get things into Evernote; you also get the benefits of digital search and organization as well.

I’ve got so much I want to share about sermon planning with Evernote this post got way to long, so I’ve split it up into multiple posts. In this one, I’m going to focus on note taking.

Sermon Planning with Evernote pt 1: Taking Notes

Evernote Web Clipper, seen on Church And

Add an article to Evernote with “one click”

Basic note taking in Evernote is just like any word processing software you’re familiar with.  Create a note, enter a title, and type away. No big deal I know. Here’s where it gets cool though. Evernote has what it calls a ‘web clipper‘ available for all the major web browsers. The web clipper gives you one click saving into Evernote. You can save either just a link to the web page or just the contents of the page or both. This is great for keeping searchable copies of some of the interesting sermon related items you find on the web.

I should note that while it is possible to save things with one click, I don’t really recommend it. Depending on your browser the web clipper will give you different options about how to edit and save your note. I recommend putting the note in a notebook, and tagging it as well. These are features I’ll talk about later, but for now I just wanted to mention that it’s very much worth taking the time to organize things right when you save them. This can be super helpful later when you’re trying to get your sermon notes out of Evernote.

Evernote Web Clipper, more options, seen on Church And

Use the Web Clipper icon in the menu bar for more options when clipping.

Evernote Web Clipper in Action, seen on Church And

Use the Web Clipper to add an article to a notebook, plus add tags and comments.

When you clip something from the web, I also recommend adding your own personal thoughts above article. This makes life easier when you go back to an article and are trying to remember exactly what you were thinking and how you planned on using it. These notes also become searchable, which may bring an article to your attention when planning a whole different sermon or event.

Article in Evernote, seen on Church And

Your article in Evernote

Evernote also has a mobile app for all major platforms. This way if you’re reading something on your phone it’s easy to send it to Evernote, just share the item as you would anything else (like how you’d post it to Facebook say) and voila, you’ll have it in Evernote ready to be used when you get around to that sermon writing; which of course you don’t have to as often since you’re so well planned. : )

In the next post, I’ll talk about organizing your sermon notes in Evernote and some of the other cool features available like tagging.
How do you plan your sermons? What electronic tools do you use to help?

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