Though it may not be an overly emphasized element, pastors need a keen mind and a sharp wit. The need for wit is a bit obvious—ever sat through a boring sermon?—but the need for keen mind is a bit more subtle. Ministers are communicators, administrators, leaders, vision-casters, and so much more that requires continual intellectual development and maintenance.
The question, then, is how an iPad or tablet can help in that process. Let’s answer that question.* Also, as some have noted, this post series is, perhaps, needless restricted to iPads. The reasons for this notwithstanding, this post is probably the most inclusive. I hope you find it useful, Android users.
Learning: Targeted Viewing and Casual Reading
We covered reading in previous posts, but let’s not forget that we should also read for enjoyment. Whether you’ve got an RSS reader or a magazine, you need something to read for the sheer enjoyment of reading. That’s why I’m a subscriber to RELEVANT Magazine. I do occasionally thumb through the print copy, but I’m far more likely to scroll through their digital edition, which is amazing. Now, maybe you don’t care for that type of reading, but I’m sure there’s a magazine out there for you. At the very least, Time Magazine or something general like that would be good.
Now, if you’re looking for free methods of learning, I’ve got you covered. Firstly, let’s look at iTunes U.
iTunes U is a segment of the iTunes Store where universities, schools, and other educational organizations can upload video and audio material, most of which comes directly from their actual classes. I’ve used this a few times as a research source, but if you want to dig into a non-ministry related topic for fun, this would a great source. (And yes, Google has its own approximation of this, and I believe there is a way for Android users to access iTunes U as well.) Of course, you could just invest in some good podcasts. They’re universal. And speaking of universal, edX, another online course system, has both an iOS and Android app.
If magazines cost too much and a video college class is too organized, I’d suggest Pocket or a similar app/service that allows you to save potentially interesting articles for reading later. (I’ve been experimenting with Apple News, but then again, those are blog posts/online articles, which are written differently than print articles.) I’m not sure about other services, but I like Pocket because it’s got all of my bases covered: Mac app, iPad app, and a browser extension by which I can add articles most easily. Plus, I can tag each article so that it’s easier to read a bunch of articles on a particular topic at a given time.
Playing is a big part of staying mentally sharp but also relaxed. I feel like having come out of the video game generation that I’ve too easily forget about this. I’ve recently started playing a regular game on my phone when I have some down time, and I’m now looking at some actual thinking stimulation games with the iPad app (and Android) Elevate. Of course, any game that helps you to either sharpen your mind, process in the subconscious, or just flat out relax with something that isn’t work.
Now, if I can be so bold, I’d like to offer up a rule for iPad games: if a game begins to increasingly draw upon your time or causes you to be so invested that you stress about your success in the game, then it’s time to stop. This game is no longer helping you.
Conclusion (And a Non-Tech Note)
I’m going to flow right off of that game rule to say that, sometimes, the best thing for your intellect is to go offline and read a book or write in a journal. Every now and then, I take a break from YouVersion, which I love, and use my actual Bible. To be honest, it’s frustrating, but that’s why I do it: to keep myself in the real world and resist the pull of the digital.