Apps for Worship
This week I went to the Apple Store and bought a gigantic 12.9" iPad for Evident Church. I may have a problem. When I walk in the Apple Store, the employees recognize me! Needless to say, I am a huge fan of using technology to its fullest when it comes to leading worship. When the iPad was first released, I was skeptical. I didn't see why I would need one if I had a computer and an iPhone. The advantage of having a tablet has been a game changer for me. The reason: developers have created apps for specific purposes of my life. Because of my iPad, I no longer have to carry additional books or chord charts along... and I have every single one with me!
Here's a few of the apps I use specifically for leading worship. Without these apps, life would be much more difficult!
OnSong - Chord Chart Management App
When I purchased this app several years ago it was only a few bucks. Now, it's closer to $20. Although it comes with a pretty hefty price tag, for me it's totally worth it. This app is essentially my chart book. It's able to handle chord pro style, or you can download pdfs right into it. I store all of my music charts and I'm able to create set lists each week. I play through the first song and swipe to the right and the next song is in order for me. If we need to change a key or add a capo, it's just a click away. No need to ever print out music again! I use a looptimus foot pedal connected with a USB cable to control my iPad through midi signals. This let's me control the iPad hands free. I can add sticky notes, rearrange charts and even sync the iPad with others on the stage. This app continues to improve and become more stable. I can't imagine trying to go back to sheet music.
Planning Center - Church Management Software
If you are living under a rock, planning center is a mega organization these days. More than just an app, this service allows you to schedule musicians and set lists, store content, check in your kids, send emails and much more. This app easily allows me to communicate with my team leaving notes for the service order and pretty much anything else I can think of. Most churches I work with these days use planning center. There is a subscription fee for the service but this app is free. This is the industry standard when it comes to church service organization.
YouVersion Bible App
You can't list apps to lead worship without mentioning a bible app. The YouVersion Bible app is a great tool with pretty much any version you like. You can take notes, highlight, find reading plans and more. Our church actually has a YouVersion event you can even follow along with the sermon notes. I love always having the Bible with me, no matter where I am. The best part, it's free! Everyone should have this app on their phone. Everyone.
Loop Community Prime MultiTracks App
For the past several years we have been using loops/tracks in worship with a click track (metronome). We've tried many different apps to run our loops and tracks, and have recently landed on using Loop Community's Prime App. The beauty of this app is the simplicity. We can store all of our loops in the app and when there's no loop, we can load just a click track. Ableton Live is our preference, but when it comes to simplicity, this app is hard to beat to run our loops. You can upload your own loops, or purchase loops from a community base online at loopcommunity.com. They usually have a free app of the month, so make sure to check that out!
GarageBand Music Creation app
Don't write this one off because it's a free app from Apple. This app is very powerful. Loaded with great sounds and loops, we've used this app live and for recording parts we need to add to our sound. We've even plugged the iPad into a midi controller and used this to run keyboard synths and pads. I've used this app with my looptimus pedal as well. This one is free, download it, play around and have fun with it. If you are going to use your app for live performance I suggest you get an interface that works with iOS devices and a USB cable adaptor. Someday I will discuss this in detail.
Novation LaunchPad Music Creation App
I use this one for a few things. This is an EDM style music creation app. There's a grid of squares and each grid is a different sample. you can play one square in each column making an unlimited amount of different sounds. I use this app to create backing tracks, music for worship videos, or just to hype up the atmosphere in the room. You can buy different packs and they have a few different ones. You can make your own pack by uploading new samples or combining samples from different packs. You can even play along with these samples if you can find some that aren't so hardcore. This is a fun app with lots of possibilities for music creation. You can also use this app to fire off loops you've created as well. They've had some great updates over the years making this a powerful app.
In a pinch, this app has saved me. I have a polytune tuner on my electric guitar pedal board and a Polytune clip in my acoustic case. As far as tuners, they don't get much better. On occasion, like in Guitar Center, and I am fighting a stubborn guitar, or just need to get the root E tuned in cause it's so messed up from some 12 year old playing it, I always have a guitar tuner with me. This is basically all this app does, but it does it well.
ProRemote ProPresenter Controller
If you use ProPresenter, you can leave your computer plugged in near the projector in a portable situation and control your presentation software from an app. I was leading worship up in Northern Michigan and this was the exact situation. The computer and projector were in the middle of the room and it was very annoying to have to wire the laptop across the room so we set the laptop on the projector crate and used this app to control the lyrics and fire off slides. Very useful. I would highly recommend this to anyone using ProPresenter in a portable situation.
The beauty of an iPad is you always have your work and thoughts with you. Productivity apps are great tools to help you stay organized and keep you on track with what needs to get done. I use a mixture of Apple Notes, Reminders and email to stay on top of what needs to get done. Having a dropbox account lets me share and sync documents with others. All of my books are now digital, always with me. I lose the smell of the freshly printed pages, but having every book I read with me at all times, being able to search words or phrases in every book all at once, taking notes within the books... and then being able to search the notes, it amazes me enough to get over having to lug around a stack of books I need to read. Find a system that works for you an pump out work on your iPad. I have a mac and an iPhone and all of of devices are completely synced. It's a beautiful thing.
At the end of the day, are any of these apps necessary to live? Nope, but they make life easier for me, especially in worship. After using an iPad and these apps for years now, it would be hard to imagine doing ministry without them. It's not impossible, but I am blessed with the right tools to equip me to do my job the best I can.
What apps do you love??