This year I started taking classes at a Bible school (thankfully online) and that has lead to me starting to preach at church. As I prepared my first sermon, I wanted to establish a system to help me with tracking sermons and collect useful notes and examples for future sermons. I also wanted a system that would incorporate my own private Bible study notes. Around the same time, I had started hearing more and more about the app Notion.
Notion seemed like a really powerful but overwhelming tool. With starting study and preaching, I realised that this could be a good, chance to get familiar with Notion.
So I created my own system that you might find useful, or adapt.
What is Notion?
Notion is a data organising application that can do basic functions such as creating and saving notes as well as more complex systems such as kanban boards, calendars, wikis, and other project management systems.
Notion’s flexible system allows you to combine elements and create different layouts so that notes aren’t just a file but can be connected to projects, status and more.
What do you need in a Sermon Tracking system?
While every preacher is different and I’m sure there are some needs I haven’t thought of or am not aware of yet. I believe there are two common aspects you need in a system.
- A catalog of resources to draw upon including your sermon notes, outline etc.
- A system to help prioritize your preparation, highlighting progress.
You can use separate applications and systems for this such as a a task management tools or Trello board for planning and tracking sermon preparation along with a note taking application like Evernote or Google Docs to save your notes and sermons. Alternatively, you can use Notion and keep everything together rather than switching systems.
My Sermon Tracking Notion boards and template
I use the PARA system for a unified database that contains all my data and notes and works with the methodology in Do More Better (since this experiment started, I’ve actually moved away from a pure PARA system as I’ve added more into Notion). In theory, this should allow me to access any item from any other item.
This means that my sermon notes and plans are within the “church” and “study” areas of my system. They’ll be presented on a separate page which has linked databases with filters to reveal just the pages I want.
If that sounds like Klingon then basically, I have a location where I only see my sermons, but I could access that data from any other system. That means I can take personal bible study notes or notes from academic study and they are right there in my Sermon data base.
Tracking Sermon views
For Tracking sermons, there are two views that are the most important for me.
- Board (or Kanban)
Although I generally live in a kanban view as I don’t have many sermons to plan, switching to a calendar is useful when there are multiple events you need to check and deadlines you need to be ready for.
Underneath my main sermon planning view, I have a section for resources. This includes my personal study notes, academic course notes, illustration ideas I’ve saved, and more.
From here I can search or find the notes I need and then add them as links or embeds into my sermon page.
The only issue here is there’s no easy way to embed just the text from another note, and copying in Notion isn’t the best.
Are you tracking sermons using Notion?
This is my current iteration but by using the PARA system and a centralized database, I can easily adapt and change the system while keeping all my data. If you’ve come up with a different system, I’d love to know more so I can adapt mine. Let me know by leaving a comment below.