Most people who know me know that I’m kind of a techno-geek. I like toys. I don’t like them just because they are toys but because the technology amazes me, and I want to use tech to serve the Lord and others. That being said, sometimes find the right combination of tech is a matter of trial and error. Tech ain’t cheap, so you better be sure going into stuff with an attitude of trial and error, because error can be costly. That said, I think I’ve settled into a groove I wanted to share with other ministry minded people.
It’s no secret that I’m an Apple fanboy. My first Mac was a Mac Plus, 2MB of RAM, an internal and an external 800k floppy drive. System 6.0.8 baby! A person’s tech combination really depends on the nature of the situation. So let me lay mine out so that some of this will make sense. I’m the pastor of a small church, and as I’ve mentioned I love tech in ministry. Websites, audio and video recording of Bible studies for podcasts and online archiving, all of that and I get to do it. I love doing it. We are of a size where I’m have enough time to do it all. The church meets at a school on Sundays which means our tech has to be portable and powerful enough to be multi-purpose. While we have a storefront office, I also like/need to be portable. It’s nice to get out while still being plugged in.
When I first got here I got a new (at the time) 15″ MacBook Pro in order to do all the audio/video production as well as my own study and church document production. After a while it became apparent that one computer for all of this wasn’t practical. If I had to go out of town for the weekend for ministry reasons, either I was out my computer or the Sunday service was. Not an option. When the MacMini Server came out we got one for the office that doubled as a server and my workstation, while the laptop was free to move as needed. Oh, I also got an iPhone.
Then, the iPad came out. I had pre-ordered and got mine Day 1. This device was (and still is) designed primarily for content consumption, not generation. I came to realize that after a year of having it. As much as I loved it, I couldn’t do all the creating I really wanted to do. It primarily became an ereader and sermon preaching platform, both of which I loved about it. By this time the MacMini Server became a dedicated multi-user station for volunteers to come in and work on their projects. I got an iMac for my desk, I had an iPhone 4, and an iPad, and the MacBook Pro in the bag next to my desk. I realized that my office looked like a display table at an Apple Store. On the one hand I felt kinda guilty knowing that there were many other pastors/church who would be happy to have just one of these devices. On the other hand, I knew I needed some of these devices, but not all of them.
It was about this time that another pastor friend of mine (Miles) told me that he was in a similar situation and what he was doing about it. He transitioned down to a MacBook Air (11-inch, but maxed out), and his iPhone. he still had the iPad but was working on how to phase it out at the time. When the MacBook Air came out I was kinda down on it from a bang-for-the-buck perspective. You could buy something much more powerful for the same price, no matter which model you were talking about. However, my goal now was simplification.
I sold the iMac to someone who was looking to buy one new. It worked out for both of us. I sold the iPad to another Pastor who wanted one, but didn’t want to spend a bunch on the new iPad 2 that had just been released. This took me down to the MacBook Pro and the iPhone. I still didn’t want to be the primary user of this machine so I got a MacBook Air 11″ fully ready to return it in the return window if I didn’t like it. The thing is, I loved it. I originally for the cheapest one and a week later traded it in for the maxed out 11″ version. I loved it even more than the first one. So, for my day-to-day use, this left me with MacBook Air and iPhone.
However, I quickly came to realize that I really missed the ereading and sermon preaching platform that was the iPad. The solution – a NOOK Color from Barnes & Noble. It’s half the price of a low-end iPad2, it’s smaller, and it can be rooted (jailbroken for my iOS friends). Out of the box it is a tremendous device. I was surprisingly impressed, especially by the 1.2 software update that came out the week I got mine. The primary reason I wanted to root it was because I wanted to install the Kindle Reader app so I could access the handful of Kindle books I had spent good money on. I know I can read them on my computer or iPhone, but I just found that to be very difficult. I was pleasantly surprised that some of my iBookstore purchases also work on the Nook. (I think it has something to do with the fact that I used the same username and password on the Nook as I did for iTunes.) Since rooting it I have also installed the YouVersion.com app, and it makes a great devotional Bible reading device. As I said, I’m very pleasantly surprised by this gizmo.
So now, I have in my sling-style shoulder bag (it’s not a purse!) a MacBook Air, a Nook Color, and my Bible (and iPhone in my pocket). And I’m good. Simple, portable, powerful, connected, ready for ministry action. I hope that helps other people who are looking to simplify.