Scrivener for Sermons - or Other Important Writing that is Critical for Your Life

June 11, 2018

Scrivener for Sermons - or Other Important Writing that is Critical for Your Life

I love technology, especially when it comes in the form of productivity tools that really make a difference in my life. Though I'm a big proponent of the benefits of technology I can remember only a handful of times when I gushed with excitement over a product.

I recall feeling especially giddy with my first Blackberry, back in a time before smartphones and apps. Or the time I was introduced to the opening tutorial of Bibleworks and found a brand new world for doing theological research. And I will never forget my first interactions with the iPad 2.

From the day that model was released it's been my primary tool for presenting sermons, lectures, tutorials, you name it. These products did not just make life easier, they increased my productivity and the value of my work. They soon became an integral part of the way I was able to function in my role.

I've discarded lots of toys over the years because they did little to help me in the demands of being a pastor and professor. Which brings me to a tool I have grown to love more over time. A program called Scrivener. A friend turned me onto to it when I was writing my first book. From the moment I starting using it it became evident that this was not just another writing program.

The people at Literature and Latte (the makers of Scrivener) understand what writers need and give it to them in one of the most intuitive and powerful programs I've come across in a long time. But recently I've started using it in a different way. Because of the way it is structured it lends itself to being a one-stop source for your sermons, illustrations, quotes, research, web sites, and any other resource you use for preparing your messages.

If you're like me, you have countless Word documents where all of this is stored. Granted, I've been able to put them into folders and build a nice hierarchy within my file system, but the number of windows I found that I was opening was getting unruly. If you're like me, you make it a habit of collecting quotes and illustrations as you come across them because the right quote or insight can make the difference between a memorable message and a dud.

I have a Word file for "illustrations" that is 215 pages long. Even with the file open, I have to go page by page to find an illustration that fits. But Scrivener does away with all that. You can now build a file system of categories where you can store your resources all together in one central work space.

No more multiple windows and searching through countless pages. With Scrivener you can build an extensive library that is neatly organized and at your fingertips. I've included a screenshot to give you an idea of how I'm starting to use Scrivener for my messages.

If you are doing a series, you can have all your messages, illustrations, and quotes in one place, without opening a myriad of windows and files. And the potential is endless. I'm presently doing a ten part series at our church and I'm working on the seventh message in the series.

You can see from the screenshot the way I've begun to structure Scrivener as a workspace for my sermons. The left hand column is what is known as the binder. Its the heart of the filing system and is where the proverbial magic happens. At least in terms of creating a one-stop store for all your resources.

The top section in the file structure is for my messages while the bottom part is the research section which contains all my quotes, illustrations, and anything else I may want to catalog. I've begun using Scrivener in this way just recently, having used it for writing my books (I wish I knew about it when I was writing my doctorate!). My hope is to give updates in the future as I use the program more and more in this context.

But what I can say is this: my experience so far has been nothing short of amazing. The versatility of Scrivener is what makes it one of the best productivity tools on the market as it relates to any kind of writing discipline. Be it books, theses, scripts, sermons, you name it.

I can't recommend it enough, so if you want to check it out here is the link to their website www.literatureandlatte.com  What makes this program even more enticing beyond its power and versatility is its price. The program retails for just $45 for the Mac and $45 for Windows. There is also a version for iPhone and iPad that retails for $19.99.

Hope to update you soon on my progress in using this tool for my sermons. I would love to hear from other Scrivener users on unique ways you are using the program.




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