What Software do you use for sermon prep and tracking?

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Posts 245
Pastor James | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Apr 18 2011 6:22 PM

What software do you use to:

(1) Prepare sermons (after LOGOS of course Wink

(2) Plan future messages

(3) Organize message series

(4) Track what you've preached, when and where

(5) etc

Thanks

Pastor James

Posts 5573
Forum MVP
Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 18 2011 7:32 PM

James Alexander:

What software do you use to:

(1) Prepare sermons (after LOGOS of course Wink

I use WordPerfect (like Word but less expensive and IMHO, a better word processor). I keep all my sermons in a directory, and store them, by age, in several sub-directories.

James Alexander:

(2) Plan future messages

(3) Organize message series

Also WordPerfect. I have a subdirectory under my "Messages" directory called "Notes and Planning." I use one file for each series.

James Alexander:
(4) Track what you've preached, when and where

I have a WordPerfect file, just for that purpose. I created a table that includes the date, message title, Scripture passage, and misc. notes. I also use this to do some message planning, as I look ahead at seasonal things (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, etc.), and let's me look back to find messages on a passage, and what I did for (e.g.) Thanksgiving for the years since I started tracking this.

The Sermon File Addin (for Libronix) had some other tracking/finding capabilities that I have often found helpful, but I haven't used it since I started using Logos4 (can't wait till it's released for L4!).

I have tried a few other ways of doing this, but, in the end simple and all in one place works best for me. Usually I can find what I'm looking for with just the above organizational methods. Sometimes Google Desktop search helps me find what I'm looking for.

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

Posts 8660
TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 18 2011 7:49 PM

James Alexander:
What software do you use to:

I use Openoffice.org Writer.  I have used a spreadsheet from time to time to organize long term plans but it's rarely kept up to date.  

I Open my Document and in the File -> Properties I include, title, passage and the date and location preached in the document notes. 

In My spreadsheet I've got the Weeks laid out with titles in another column, and I hot link them together to the wordpro documents.

 

I had been doing the tracking with sermon file addin in L3, but not since starting with L4 at all (and I've got a massive backlog to bring into L4 once sermon file makes it.

 

Beyond that all of my messages are saved in a rather robust directory and subdirectory structure.  

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

Posts 570
Rev Chris | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 18 2011 8:15 PM

Well, I have a mac, so this may be different for you if you have Windows.

But, for sermon tracking I simply store them in a folder and tag them in the "comments" section with the scripture and date reference on 'get info' for the file.  This way I can easily search by scripture or date and find the sermons I've preached.

For writing the sermons, I use Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, using a basic outline format

When I plan out series, I generally use Excel - but I prefer lectionary preaching over series preaching as I find it keeps me truer to the textual message

For sermon illustrations, I use "Books" - a free program for Macs.  It allows me to log books or files and add keywords, files, etc.  I use an RSS reader and anytime I find an article that could possibly be a sermon illustration, I email it to myself.  I then print the articles to pdf and attach them to the program.  This way when I prepare my sermon, I search by topic keyword (after doing my exegesis and figuring out my message) and get a list of all illustrations that match.  For more info on how I do this, send me a message.  Logos also has an option to give you illustrations based on suggested topics for a passage - but you have to have some illustration resources in your library to begin with.  I have 1 I think, so it's only marginally helpful at this point.  Also, remember that you can set up an RSS feed for any Google News search.  I have RSS feeds for anytime "miracle" and "answered prayer" show up in any news article anywhere in the world as long as it's online.

 

Pastor, seminary trustee, and app developer.  Check out my latest app for churches: The Church App

Posts 3741
Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 18 2011 8:23 PM

James:

Though I attended school 30 years ago, my experience in the pulpit has been much more recent that that.  Having said that, here are some answers to your questions:

(1) Prepare sermons (after LOGOS of course

I use a number of tools.  I use MS OneNote and David Michael's TheJournal to organize my LOGOS material.  I expect that LOGOS Notes will be up to it at some point, but I will have so much (time and energy) invested in these tools, I will not want to switch.

I use OpenOffice or LibreOffice (depending which machine I am using) to actually prepare my sermon outlines.  OpenOffice when through some changes last fall - at which point it started to be developed by two separate teams.  At this point, they are not too different, but who knows about the future.

(2) Plan future messages
(3) Organize message series
(4) Track what you've preached, when and where

I use google docs to to all three of these - I use the spread sheet function, one sheet per year - though I see no reason I could not use one sheet to track all my sermons, but started adding sheets for each year early on.  I suspect an MS Access database could do this, but I do not own Access.  

I also publish my sermon outlines on my blog - which allows me to archive my sermons.

Probably not as complete as others - but a place to start.

Blessings,
Floyd

Pastor-Patrick.blogspot.com

Posts 83
rksaw | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 18 2011 10:31 PM

After Logos, I use MS Word to write my sermons, MS PowerPoint to display my sermons, and MS Excel to track my sermons (because that is what I have and am familiar with).  Having read some of the above comments, I'm interested in looking up some of this other software and I'd really like to see the imput of those who are using some of the tools that Logos provides.

Rich

Posts 3
Dr. William T. Miller II | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 20 2011 7:57 AM

I use SermonBase Message Planning software to track all of my Series and Messages throughout the year. It also allows me to plan out individual messages elements like Intro, Conc, Mains, the Goals for my sermons, and associated Music, Illustrations, and testimonies.  

Posts 245
Pastor James | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 20 2011 8:16 AM

Thanks for all of the responses. I have tried most of them, but I'm still not satisfied. The Microsoft and related apps work but they don't allow me the planning and tracking that I'm looking for (maybe just a lack of knowledge on my part). The sermon base package is ok, but is too expensive for what you are getting (imho). If LOGOS would just come up with the perfect answer Wink

Posts 1814
Rick | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 20 2011 10:02 AM

James Alexander:
I have tried most of them, but I'm still not satisfied.

I'm not a minister but we do take turns giving devotions in meetings. I keep track of a lot of my devotions using "Sermon Library" from Legacy of Love. It includes a free trial to see if you like it or not. A lot of features as well.http://www.legacyoflove.net/

It also sounds as if Logos will be taking a new approach with their sermon file add-on.  http://www.logos.com/4/missingfeatures

Posts 83
rksaw | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 20 2011 12:00 PM

James,

You infer that you want to plan and track your sermons better, what specifically are you looking at doing? 

Let me explain where I am coming from:  I am a very relational person...I am not-at-all a detailed person, so it can be challenging for me to plan what I will be preaching on next.  To help me with that, I divide the Bible into three areas:  O.T., Gospels and Acts, and Epistles.  My plan is to preach through a gospel (or Acts), then an epistle (or two) and then an Old Testament book.  I also have the liberty to change the order of those three as I feel led by the Holy Spirit.  So in the two years that I've been at my present position I started with Colossians, preached through Jonah, and then the Gospel of Mark and now am doing selective Psalms (mainly ones not normally preached on).  After Memorial Day, I'll start Hebrews and that will take me up to the Advent, which I want to expound.  Come 2012, I'm praying about preaching through Judges and then the Gospel of Luke.  All this from a man who has a desk somewhere under all that paperwork!

I have never been a very organized person, but with the help of my wife and, of course, the Holy Spirit, I have a bit of a plan based on what my congregation needs to hear and learn, and I pray that I can do the best job possible to lead them the way God wants His flock to go.

I hope that this helps, and I know that there are many more shepherds out there who can help you and encourage you in this process.  If you would like to see my spreadsheets, feel free to contact me (I think people can send "personal messages" right?), and I'll send it to you. 

God bless brother,

Rich

Posts 245
Pastor James | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 20 2011 12:18 PM

rksaw

Let me try to explain myself better. I am currently working full time in a secular job for another 2 years. I am not the senior pastor at my church, but do preach there about 15 times a year. I have also done pulpit supply preaching at a variety of other churches (now that I'm done with seminary, I hope to expand in this area). I prefer expository preaching over topical, but my pastor is 100% topical. I have been able for the last several years to preach a 5 week series in the summer, but most of my preaching is one or two weeks at a time.

I am getting to the point that I get confused trying remember if I already spoke on a certain passage or topic and at what church. So, short-term I'm looking for something that will help me keep track of what I've preached, when  and where. Long-term, I want something more sophisticated that will meet these short-term goals and help me plan out sermon series, and be able to see what passages I've used (i.e. have I referenced John in 47 or my last 100 messages, but I've never used a Psalm etc)

Posts 245
Pastor James | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 20 2011 12:24 PM

Rick,

Program looks interesting, but I'm a MAC.

Does anyone have any insight into what the sermon addin will do?

Posts 83
rksaw | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 20 2011 12:30 PM

I like your parenthesis!  To know if a person has referenced a passage within a given period of time would be vitally helpful.  I know that I have run into that problem a couple times as I've prepared HOME Bible Study notes that accompany my sermons.

You have a much more difficult time tracking your sermons since it is topical and not expository, but I think a good spreadsheet would still be able to help you.  Currently I have the following columns in my spreadsheet:

Date     Text     Title     Topic or Key Ideas     Suggested Songs or Scritpure to be read     Type of Psalm (for current series only)

(Man, I've got to learn how to be "high speed" like some on this forum and post a picture of what I'm talking about!!!)

Something you might consider would be to set up a spreadsheet with the following columns:

Text (I'd list these in Biblical order)     Title     Topic     Date     Additional Scripture Used or Notes

This way the first thing you'd see would be if you had used a particular text or not, and then you could see when you had used it.  It would be more complicated to look at the final column and see what other texts you had referred to, but you would at least have it recorded.

Just something to think about,

Rich

Posts 83
rksaw | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 20 2011 12:31 PM

And I'm a PCStick out tongue

Posts 3
Dr. William T. Miller II | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 20 2011 12:43 PM

Here is a pic of my SermonBase records listing the Date, Message Title, Series Title, Speaker, also Drama, Music, Video and Testimony.

 

0574.MessageList.tiff

Posts 2744
Bohuslav Wojnar | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 20 2011 1:54 PM

I use MS Word for writing my sermons and also I preach from it (I do from my notebook).

I use PowerPoint to show visuals with my sermon.

I use OneNote to store my notes and ideas for the preparation, also Logos Notes and Clippings.

To track my sermons I see the Metadata of the doc files sufficient (you have a lot of information actually there).

I keep those sermons I preached abroad or in some other churches in a special folders.

I tried many possible ways in those 30 years I preach but this is what works best for me now.

Bohuslav

Posts 3731
BillS | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 20 2011 2:42 PM

James Alexander:
Thanks for all of the responses. I have tried most of them, but I'm still not satisfied. The Microsoft and related apps work but they don't allow me the planning and tracking that I'm looking for (maybe just a lack of knowledge on my part).

If you have Office Pro, have you thought about designing your own database in Access?

It's the only tool I know of that allows you unlimited flexibility for how you want to store / retrieve / report the info...

Grace & Peace,
Bill


MSI GF63 8RD, I-7 8850H, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 2TB HDD, NVIDIA GTX 1050Max
iPhone 12 Pro Max 512Gb
Fire 10HD 64GB 7th Gen

Posts 1416
Wes Saad | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 21 2011 5:50 AM

I use Apple Numbers, their version of Excel. Just lay out tables for AM/PM/Wednesday with columns for sermon text, sermon title, theme, brief notes, date notes (holidays, events, etc). Makes it easy to keep it all straight and easy to search to find where I may have preached something similar. I also keep a table of sermon ideas.

Posts 135
Gene Britton | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 21 2011 6:44 AM

I use OneNote to store my notes and ideas for the preparation, also Logos Notes and Clippings.

I have not found a consistent way to use OneNote and would be interested in how you use it.  

Posts 3741
Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 21 2011 10:09 AM

Gene Britton:
I have not found a consistent way to use OneNote and would be interested in how you use it.

Quick answer for now -

I use one notebook per series and one tab per sermon.  The first entry in each tab is the scripture - usually in Greek or Hebrew and several translations.  I will also include a stab at either structured English or a sentence diagram.  Having worked in Computer Science for most of my career, I feel more comfortable with structured English but enjoy playing with sentence diagrams even with no formal training in their use.

I then include one entry for each resource - though occasionally I may include multiple resources (e.g. if I am looking up the definitions of a word, I may include several dictionary entries in a single entry) in a single entry.  Sometimes I will print the resource to OneNote, sometimes I will copy and paste the resource into OneNote - the latter is preferred if I will be highlighting or commenting the text.  Since I use a tablet PC I often find myself making handwritten notes as I study.

The final entry is a working teaching outline before actually moving on to the writing of the sermon.  

The sermon, itself, is typed in OpenOffice (or, now, LibreOffice) - you can get an example of what the outlines look like by checking my blog, though I preach from a folded 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper printed on all four sections.  I only modify them into a single column when transferring them to the blog.  

I hope that gives you some idea of how I use OneNote - feel free to post questions.  Like most of us, I still have much to learn - and enjoy doing so.

Blessings,
Floyd

Pastor-Patrick.blogspot.com

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