I’ve blogged about preaching off an iPad before, but I feel like there is something that I need to be a little more specific about.
Swipe people, swipe. Don’t scroll. For the love of God, don’t scroll.
I will say that this post is the product of a brief Facebook conversation I had yesterday with a former seminary classmate of mine. I had posted yesterday about the new iPad Mini with Retina Display that Apple just announced; I was wondering if it would be a better size for preaching (I think it will be). She said that, in her experience, it always looked really awkward when people preached from iPads.
I assumed that she had just seen people preaching incorrectly off an iPad. And then in conversation with her, I realized what the problem was.
Scrolling…and not swiping.
Preaching off an iPad is great. I find it much easier than having a bunch of pages that I need to turn and shuffle. I lost my place once in a sermon a few years ago, had to shuffle the papers all around and figure out where I was…that was a little awkward. Now, I suppose if my iPad just froze or crashed mid-sermon, that could be even worse, but…that’s not the point.
But I have seen people preach and speak off an iPad and it does look awkward, and they do lose their place, and it has everything to do with whether you’re scrolling or swiping.
I don’t think you can give proper eye contact and focus to the congregation when you’re preaching, if your eyes have to constantly track where on the page you are, if you are scrolling down. It just doesn’t work well. I’ve seen it before…trust me. It doesn’t work.
And that’s what my friend was talking about too. She’d seen people scrolling and not swiping. And it’s even distracting for the folks in the congregation when they notice that the preacher has to constantly be looking down to make sure they have scrolled down too far, and lost their place.
So, when you’re going to preach, or speak, or teach or anything like that, off an iPad, you need to make sure that you’ll be swiping, and not scrolling.
When I preach, I am able to look down at the iPad, but have great eye contact with the congregation at the same time. When I get to the end of my page, I don’t even have to look at what I’m doing – I can just swipe my finger to the left, and the page will turn. I don’t have to make sure that I haven’t scrolled or swiped too far – it’s just a very natural motion.
Here’s what I’ve done to make swiping easy for me:
- Convert your document to a PDF. This has been the only way that I’ve figured it out that works really well for me. Opening up a document in Pages, or an Office-compatible app just doesn’t work.
- Open up your document in GoodReader. Once you have the PDF, it still matters what app you’re using. Opening a PDF up in Dropbox will still require you to scroll the PDF down. It doesn’t have the real “page-turning” capabilities. GoodReader is $4.99 and worth every penny. You should have that app anyway on your iPad.
- Swipe, don’t scroll. Once you open the app in GoodReader, all you have to do is swipe the pages, and make sure you don’t scroll.
Pretty easy, huh? Then why doesn’t everyone do it?
I think some people like to be able to edit their sermons on their iPads right up to the last minute, and then just open up that document in Pages and start preaching. I get that. That might be part of your workflow. But it doesn’t work. Scrolling just looks sloppy.
GoodReader has some editing capabilities so you can write on the PDF you’re viewing, or underline things, draw little symbols or pictures on the PDF…the few times when I’ve needed to make a last minute change, that’s worked perfectly.
At any rate – I think I’ve made my point clear. Swipe, don’t scroll.