workflow tools

Workflow Tools for a Creative Pastor

Efficiency.
This is one of the most important words in my workflow vocabulary and a borderline obsession of mine. In a creative pastoral role, there is always something to be doing. The challenge, as we discussed in a previous post, is effective time management.

When we make more effective use of our time, the whole church benefits. It’s so easy to get bogged down by administration when we could be spending that time building crucial relationships with team members. For those who lead creative teams in the church, here are some helpful tools to streamline your workflow and free up some precious minutes.

Planning Center Services

I couldn’t recommend Planning Center Services more enthusiastically. When I first started in this capacity, so much of my time was taken up with making chord charts and schedules. It was mind-numbing, slow stuff. With Planning Center Services, you can schedule your teams with ease, quickly put together set lists for your worship times and email them out all from right within the web application. Chord charts are imported from Song Select (for free) or Praise Charts (with extra purchases) and transposed automatically. Volunteers can listen to the songs from within the website or mobile app, and can “block out” dates that they can or can’t serve (which greatly helps the scheduling process).

There is a subscription fee, but I would suggest that it’s worth it. I’d also add that it’s worth taking the time to set up properly from the start…the short-term pain is so worth the long-term gain!

Pro Presenter 6

I’ve worked with a lot of lyric presentation software: Easy Worship, Mediashout, and Powerpoint, to name a few. But for me (as of 2017), nothing has come close to Renewed Vision’s “ProPresenter 6“. I could tell you how great it looks visually, etc. But that’s not the focus of the discussion right now. It is fantastically efficient.

Pro Presenter can import songs directly from the CCLI Song Select database, which saves so much time typing in every. single. song! Not only that, but you can create visual templates that quickly adjust the look of a song which, along with it’s fantastic “reflow” capability, can make editing a process that is outrageously quick. Its arrangement feature makes it a breeze to reorder songs too.

But it gets better.

Pro Presenter can import Planning Center setlists instantly as well as adjusting the structures of the songs accordingly. This is huge, and as a result, my workflow has changed considerably.

One more thing:

I’ve connected ProPresenter’s database to a shared Dropbox folder. This means that I can edit the songs on the media Mac from anywhere there’s an internet connection. When I’ve finished, I go to the “sync” button in preferences, and it’s good to go. It’s amazing how even a simple process like that can save valuable minutes.

Canva / Adobe Spark

If you’re in a creative role, it’s likely you will need to do some promotional stuff too. I recommend Canva and Adobe Spark. They are both a similar sort of web app – the idea is that they create great visuals fast. Are they better than having a professional graphic designer? No. But they create good quality stuff in a hurry. For example, say you have a men’s ministry event happening in a few days and you need to put something out on social media quickly. Rather than spend a bunch of time on Photoshop trying to make something unique, go with Canva or Adobe Spark. Free up that extra half an hour and use it more effectively elsewhere.

In Conclusion

I recognize that these are incredibly specific. However, I’ve had enough conversations with people in similar roles to know that they are hugely effective. What tips or tools would you add to this workflow conversation?

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