Being a worship leader today is immensely different than it was 15 years ago. Gone are the days of overhead projectors, filing cabinets full of sheet music, song tempo guessing, and music stands. Today is the day of iPads, smartphones, and cloud storage – a mobile and entirely digital life. As worship leaders, it’s important that we keep up with the technology so we can focus more attention on what is important – making disciples, leading people, and glorifying God.
So I wanted to outline a handful of apps that you could use as a worship leader. Some are paid, some are free. But I asked hundreds of worship leaders what were their “go-to” apps and these are what rose to the surface:
Top 10 iOS and Android Apps for Worship Leaders and Pastors
Evernote – (Ideas/Filing) – I know that Evernote is all the rage these days. It’s just trendy to talk about, even if you don’t use it. But I have to say, I love it for how intuitive it is for me. It’s where I store everything that goes on in my head. I have notes/voice memos of songwriting ideas, new song ideas I want to introduce, devotional thoughts, worship leader scheduling charts, and so much more. It has become an indispensable tool for my organization as a worship leader. I also love how it syncs across all my devices. I can write a teaching for my worship team on my laptop and immediately use a note on my iPad to deliver it. iOS | Android
Planning Center – (Scheduling) – Where Evernote is my creative work station, Planning Center is my communication workstation. It is incredible. It has become the de facto tool for keeping your teams organized. We have all of our services across all of our campuses on here. We also use it for communicating arrangement ideas, sharing loops with drummers, and sending out email updates. ALL of our teams use planning center, not just worship. It’s not perfect, but it really is a brilliant, robust app. As for the iOS app, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used it to review set lists, schedule musicians on the go, and send emails. Essential stuff, my friends.
iOS | Android
Dropbox – (Large File Storage) – I don’t use Dropbox for everything, but I do use it for makes it worth it. Dropbox is great for storing large files. When we do a songwriting retreat, we store all the song idea mp3s on dropbox for the team to refer to. I also create and upload clicks and loops for our other campus. After creating the set in Ableton Live, I simply export and upload it to dropbox for our campus pastor to download. Basically, anything that is too big to send via email, use Dropbox.
iOS | Android
Tempo – (Click Tracks) – Many worship leaders think you need a massive, expensive, elaborate setup to start using click tracks. Hardly. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve simply used the tempo app in our services. It’s the BEST metronome app on the market. I feel it was made for worship leaders. Simply for the fact that you can create set lists. For the worship leader needing a click track on a budget, an iPad or iPhone with Tempo is your ticket.
iOS | Android
Bible– (Bible Reading/Sharing). I know. Everyone has it. But allow me to approach this from a different perspective. Sure, the Bible app is great for sharing Scriptures on stage or for your team devos. But more importantly, I would have the Bible app front and center on your iPhone as a constant reminder of where your source is as a worship leader. It’s easy for us to become so professional that worship just because a performance and execution of systems. Go ahead – clear your home screen and just keep the Bible there. See how it changes your daily perspective and focus.
iOS | Android
OnSong– (Sheet music/live performance). For storing song charts, I haven’t seen anything better than OnSong. It’s just a great app and interface. I’ve also used Planning Center music stand, which I like, expect for the $10/month charge. OnSong is a one time fee and ends up being much cheaper. Or, you could have all your musicians memorize their music and not worry about apps like this 😉
iOS | Android Alternate
Rdio/Spotify – (Learning new music). I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding Rdio/Spotify and other streaming music sites as it relates to the payout for artists. I know it’s terrible. But I also know that buying a bunch of new music is expensive. Here’s how I approach it. I use Rdio to discover new music, plain and simple. It helps me listen to songs and artists I would never purchase. But I still purchase records I love to support those who make the music. I believe in that. I don’t believe it’s one or the other. So use an app like this to discover new worship songs – no shame!
iOS – rdio, Spotify | Android rdio, Spotify
Song Suggest – (Finding New Songs) – Sometimes you just don’t know what song to use in a specific situation. Maybe your pastor is requesting a song on a specific topic. Song Suggest is an incredibly useful app for finding this out. You can search for songs according to theme, key, and tempo. Very useful!
iOS | Android N/A
Any.do/Cal (For Scheduling/Task Management) – if you’re like me, you like to get things done, but don’t like to worry about too many details and a confusing interface. Any.Do is the prettiest, cleanest, most fun app I’ve ever used for task management. My only critique is I’d love to see a Desktop app and an iPad version. But the chrome extension and iPhone work just fine. I also want to mention how it syncs with Cal, the calendar from the same company. Keeping a calendar is essential for any creative – to not miss appointments and to get important stuff done. Any.Do and Cal is my top choice. iOS Any.do, Cal | Android Any.do, Cal
Garageband– As you know, creative ideas can strike at the most random times. It’s nice to have some sort of tool to capture those ideas. The Garageband app is incredible for this. Plug in a midi controller, a guitar, or just use the on board instruments to capture sounds for new songs, arrangement ideas for Christmas/Easter, and just about anything.
iOS | Android N/A
So there you have it, my Top 10 Essential Apps for Worship Leaders. We’d love to know what you think of these apps or if there are any that you would add to the list of essential apps.
David is a Worship Pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, PA. He is also a blogger on his website content on worship, leadership, songwriting, music, creativity, and social media. He typically posts 5-6 times a week, so stop by or subscribe via RSS or email.