By the Rev. David Keill, Rector, Christ Ascension, Richmond
A couple years ago, I stumbled across a free organizational program called Evernote, which has become a powerful tool in my ministry. Evernote is deceptively simple in its basic setup; it consists of individual “notes,” which can be organized into “notebooks.” Each note can contain text, such as a list of things to do, or it can contain files, such as pictures, sounds, video or documents. Because Evernote connects to the “cloud,” as you create notes and notebooks, they are uploaded to the Internet. If you have Evernote on your phone, tablet or laptop, you can access all of your notes if you are online. Not only that, each note and each notebook has a unique web address. So, if you have a note that contains pictures of your church picnic that you want to share, you can just copy the note link, paste it into an e-mail, and whoever clicks on the link will see all of the pictures, without having to attach them to an e-mail.
For clergy, Evernote is great way to keep track of all of the different aspects of church life. You can create notebooks for vestry minutes, worship bulletins, lectionary readings, financial reports and so on. For sermons, you can create a note for each sermon that contains observations on Scripture passages, idea, links to anecdotes that you might want to use, even the sermon itself. I like to use “tags” on my sermons, which allows me to see all the sermons I have preached on a particular topic such as stewardship. You can even write your sermon in Evernote, which has good word processing capabilities.
Evernote is a powerful tool for sharing information among church members. For instance, a church that is receiving bids for a roof repair can share that information easily. Once the bids are in, you can create a notebook called “Roofing Bids,” which contains a note for each bid that you receive. The link for the notebook can be sent by e-mail, and each bid will be displayed in an orderly fashion, making it easy for members of the committee to compare bids. Evernote is a great way to share vestry minutes, agendas and reports. If you can’t remember where you put a particular note, Evernote has powerful search functions that will help you find it.
You can even use Evernote to create a web page. One note can serve the main, or “index” page. You can then paste in links to other notes or to notebooks. In my work as the chair of the Committee on Congregational Missions, I have a committee web page, with links to notebooks that have information for each meeting that we have, as well as notebooks that contain resources to help our members and the mission churches we serve. There are even more powerful features in Evernote if you explore, and the company seems to be adding new features all of the time. (And, yes, I wrote this blog post in Evernote!)