How I File My Sermons in Evernote

The days of totting around large filing cabinets around with us every where we go are quickly disappearing.  With great companies like Evernote which creates a virtual locker, the need for paper files are diminishing.  As a young pastor who grew up in the age of technology, I've quickly have adapted to using software and services like Evernote.  Evernote has been extremely helpful in creating a digital depository and archive of all my sermons.  With Evernote, I have a digital filing cabinet of my sermons that I can carry around with me on my Macbook, iPad, or iPhone.  I wanted to write a post describing how I use Evernote to file my sermons and how you can too in 5 easy steps.

Step 1 -Create a Notebook in Evernote to Place All Your Sermons

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Create a separate notebook to place all your sermons.  Think of Notebooks like "Drawers" in your digital filing cabinet.  This way you can place every sermon you create into this notebook for easy scanning through later.

Step 2 - Scan Your Handwritten Notes to Evernote

Although I love technology, there is still nothing like the feel of pen and paper.  For most of my exegetical work in a text, I use pen and paper.  I usually print off a copy of my passage that is double space or triple space.  I will print off a copy in English and I will print off a copy in the Original Language.  Then I will mark up the passage and jot down my thoughts and observations.  Often times I will even write a rough outline on these documents as well.  Since I run a paperless life, I scan these notes into Evernote with our church copier by emailing them directly into Evernote with my Evernote email address.  This place a digital, scanned, and searchable copy of my handwritten notes plus my translation that I can later merge with other notes to create a individual note of my sermon.

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Step 3 - Add the Final Copy of Your Sermon to Evernote

Sometimes I write my sermon directly in the Evernote itself.  However, most times I write out a hybrid outline/manuscript in the mac app Pages.  When I finish my final copy of my sermon notes I place a PDF copy and the Pages document copy into evernote.  The PDF makes the document searchable within Evernote, and the Pages document allows me to open it up later in Pages to edit for the future if I decide to tweak the sermon.Screenshot_2_28_13_7_50_AM

Step 4 - Add Tags and Other Info

After you have compiled all the documents into a single note, I finish off by tagging the sermon note and adding other info.  My tagging system is very simple.  I simply tag the sermon based off of the book of the Bible the sermon is based on.  The sermon example I have been using in this blog is 1 Peter 2:1-12. . As a result, I use a tag called "1Peter".  This allows me to do a search for the tag "1Peter" and it pulls up every sermon I've ever written from the book of 1 Peter.  It makes for quick and easy searching later.  If the sermon teaches a major doctrine or theme occasionally I'll tag it with that.  For Example, last night I preaching on 1 Peter 1:1-2 concerning the doctrine of the trinity.  I tagged this note "1Peter" and "Trinity".

In addition to tagging, I also make jot down the occasion for the original prepartion for this sermon, then the location and times I preached this sermon.  This is what the top of my notes look like:

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Step 5 - Enjoy Your Digital, Easy to Access Sermon Archive!

After this you are done!  You know have a digital copy, with all your work, saved and easy to access wherever you go.  I can't tell you how thankful I am for having a digital easy to access archive of my sermons.  There have been several times where I have been asked to preach extemporaneously.  Thanks to Evernote and my iPad I have my whole sermon library and notes any time I need them.  These five steps might look a little intimidating and time consuming, but they are really note.  Once you get a hang of Evernote, it takes me about five minutes to go through these five steps.

How do you file and organize your sermons? How can I use Evernote better to file my sermons?  Any suggestions?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!