Increasingly, I find myself pulling my phone out before, during and after worship gatherings to use apps for worship leaders. Here are 12 helpful apps that I am using consistently in worship ministry.
1. ESV Bible
As worship leaders, we need to keep the word of God close to us. The ESV is the version of the Bible my church uses, so I keep this app handy. This particular app is free, well designed and functional. Some traditions might discourage reading from a phone on the stage, but I have found that it’s nice to have an illuminated screen and reading from a device models a great use of technology. Additionally, it models what real life might look like.
2. Strong’s Concordance
Every word in the Bible has a foundation outside of English in either Greek or Hebrew. The Strong’s Concordance is one standard for referencing the meaning behind each word. You can click on highlighted text for the original Hebrew or Greek. I find it helpful to reference the original language in both worship songwriting and scripture used in worship services.
3. Daily Office Lectionary
Many Anglican and Episcopal traditions use the book of common prayer to guide their daily devotions. If you are leading worship on a day outside of Sunday, you can open this app to find scriptures that millions of Christians around the world are already reading that day. Many times these scriptures align with themes already recognized in the current Christian calendar (Advent, Lent etc..).
For example, if I am leading worship in a small group I might employ the assigned scriptures this way:
4. Sunday Lectionary
The Sunday Lectionary app is the service order taken from the book of common prayer. The previous app, Daily Office is for daily devotion, whereas the Sunday Lectionary is for gathered worship.
When planning weekend services, I will often add the Psalm or Gospel readings from the Lectionary.
5. FranPratt.com: Congregational Prayers and Responsive Readings (LINK)
My good friend Fran Pratt keeps an ongoing blog with prayers for corporate gatherings. Many of these litanies (congregational prayers) are in response to modern-day events and can be incredibly helpful in giving the church voice for current events. You can copy and paste these prayers into presentation software so the congregation can respond to the text in bold.
NOTE: This is technically not an app, but a shortcut to a website. On the iPhone, you can save a website to the desktop by going to the website and clicking the icon that looks like this:
Wunderlist is a popular “to-do list” app that I use to organize sermon notes, song lyric ideas, and make quick reminders. I have folders called “worship song ideas”, “lyric ideas”, “2017 goals” etc… Sometimes I just need to make a quick note after talking with a volunteer; this app is super user-friendly and customizable.
7. CCLI Top 100 (LINK)
No longer as relevant as it was 10 years ago, the CCLI top 100 list of most “popular” worship songs as reported by churches MIGHT give you an idea for a song in a pinch. Keep this list handy for reference.
My favorite administrative tool in my role as a worship leader is worshipteam.com. It is geared for musicians exclusively and works wonderfully for planning sets and finding songs.
9. Planning Center Online
Many houses of worship use Planning Center Online to oversee their volunteer systems. Although I prefer worshipteam.com to planning center for worship, I keep this app handy when I am a guest in other churches that use this popular system.
10. Boss Tuner
The Boss is my favorite tuning app because it looks just like the pedal tuner I have been using for years. It is very basic. Many times you might be handing this app to a newbie violin or mandolin player that does not have their own tuner. It’s quick and easy.
11. iMaschine 2
This is a highly customizable beat-making app that I use primarily for songwriting. It’s nice to have a beat looping as you craft lyrics and strum chords. You can also use this app to create beats for your drummer to utilize during rehearsal. If a drummer struggles to play with a click, they might do better playing with a more developed beat.
12. US Department of Transportation Musical Instrument Guidelines (LINK)
If like me, you travel via airplane, on occasion I have found it helpful to have the new law regarding instruments from the FAA handy. It used to be that if you wanted to carry on an instrument on a plane you were at the mercy of the flight attendants to allow you to store it in available space. Now there is a law that requires the staff to treat your instrument with the SAME standards as any other piece of luggage. In other words, if there is room for it in the overhead bins they cannot force you to gate check it. I have shown this web link to several airline employees to inform them of this rule.