my APPS for life and ministry

Brian Christopher Coulter —  August 19, 2015

I have had a couple of conversations lately that started out with someone asking me something along the lines of: “What app do you use for [something]?” or “How can I do [insert your dilemma] with my phone?” So today, I thought I would simply offer up some of my favorite go-to apps that I use all the time in the hope that they might assist you in your ministry or life.


  • Dropbox … if you are not yet using this – you need to! It eliminates the need for USB flash drives and I no longer have to email myself updated versions of sermon from home to the office on a Sunday morning. All you do is download the program, install it on your computer/tablet/phone, and then you have instant access to all the folders and files that you store. It functions as another storage drive on your device and is simple to use. Dropbox offers pay versions with additional GB storage, but the free one is plenty to get started with and they offer many incentives to get additional space if desired.


  • Evernote … excellent filing system for all you scattered note-takers out there. Evernote offers a wonderful way to collect and sort notes, lists, pictures, and folders that are easy to search and accessible on multiple devices. I use it for my quotes collection, picture storage, listing of lists, and my “sermon bucket” with potential ideas.


  • Scannable … best phone scanner I have ever seen! Do not pay for one. Delete any other scanner you might already have on your phone. This is the easiest to use and the best quality scanner I have found. After scanning either a single-page or multiple pages into this app, you can save it to your camera roll, send it as a PDF, or upload it to your Evernote account (they are the creators of this app).


  • Image to Text … this app is so that you can take a picture of some text in a book, magazine, or on a paper on your phone and then turn it into editable text. It was developed by RICOH, it is free, and it works pretty well. I use it to collect large quotes from books, to save articles from magazines, and occasionally to make PDF back into WORD docs. You will have to check the accuracy of their conversion, but I have found it to be very helpful and time-saving tool.


  • WORDsearch … I now have the Feasting on the Word series electronically, and they have set it up through WORDsearch. A great tool for this and for other collections or series of biblical or theological study. If I find myself stuck someplace for a while, I can now pull out my phone do some sermon prep as I wait.


  • Waze … the Robert Thomas Quiring showed me this app the last time I was up in Chicago. It is an app for directions and it is extremely helpful when in large cities or going to unfamiliar places since it automatically reroutes quickly, instantly updates traffic information, shows the locations of accidents, and even estimates the amount of time you will be stuck if you find yourself in a traffic jam. It was developed by a very small group of people in Israel, won all sorts of awards in 2013, then was bought out by Google in the largest payout in the history of Israeli high tech world. Worth using.


  • Stocard … this is so I can keep all my loyalty cards in one place (not my keychain or wallet) and keep the church accounts or store IDs that I might need handy. It not only scans in your bar codes and translates the numbers, but it also offers options to store full pictures of the front and the back of the card! I used another app for this a while ago and it had a glitch that lost all my information, so when I was finding a new one I made sure it had a back-up system – Stocard has the ability to back all your information and save it in a separate place.


  • Lifetouch … next time you do a church directory, ask them about a mobile app. Most companies now offer one for the church employees to use that includes the phone number, address, and picture of all those listed in your hard copies. Helpful to have if you need to find a number or address on the go!


  • PC(USA) Daily Prayer … this is the only app on this list that costs money to download, but has an excellent interface and is easy to use. It follows the daily prayer guides for morning/midday/evening that is set up by our Book of Common Worship. I have seen people use it as their daily devotional and I have seen pastors use it to lead a bible study. Great tool! Keep ‘em coming PC(USA)!!


  • You Version Holy Bible … this is the mobile Bible app that I (and hundreds of thousands of others) choose to use. They offer many translations and most of them are downloadable to your device so that you do not have to rely on a network connection. There is no NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) option – I think this has to do with NRSV rules, not the preference of the app itself. But I will put in a plug for the CEB (Common English Bible) which combines the inclusive-language and scholarly insight of the NRSV with the readability of the NIV.


What else? What am I missing? I would love to hear some of your favorites and try out some new ones myself!

Brian Christopher Coulter

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Brian is currently serving at First Presbyterian Church in Aiken, South Carolina. Brian is a husband, father, pastor, author of BE HOLY, and a ping-pong champion.