Paperless Church Office: Theotek Podcast #059
Want to go totally paperless in your church office. We share how you can go paperless in your church office, life or ministry. We’ve got recommendations for scanners, hardware, apps, and services that will help. Also listen or watch the podcast for strategies on how to make it happen simply and easily. You can save some trees if you care about that or same some cash.
How to Clear Up Paper Clutter with Scanners
We started by talking about clearing out the paper clutter with two scanner recommendations from Rick Mansfield.
Check out the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 document scanner. It’s not cheap at almost $500, but Rick scans entire books with his. He creates PDF files that he reads on a tablet.
For portable scanning Rick likes Fujitsu’s portable solution. Fujitsu doesn’t sell the one he owns, but you can get one like it. The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 portable scanner will do on the road. They both come with apps for your iPhone and do dual-sided scanning. Rick scans to PDF and then uses an app on his iPad to mark up documents or papers he grades in his teaching ministry.
I like Epson inkjet printers since they print great photos. The Epson Expression Premium XP-820 Small-in-One All-in-One Printer only costs $100, costing about a $2 per character in that name. An updated version costs $200. It’s a printer and scanner with dual-sided scanning. It scans to an SD card or to a computer, which I really like. It won’t handle the big jobs like scanning a whole book in one job, like the Fujitsu above, but it works great for small jobs. If you live in 1992 you can still use these as Fax machines.
Scanner Apps and Services
People who don’t want to spend a ton of money on a scanner or printer can enjoy scanning via their phone or tablet thanks to a couple of great apps.
Office Lens – this app works with iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. It scans documents or images right into Office apps like OneNote or Word. The app will automatically find the edges of your document or image and make the perfectly shaped file. It then saves it in OneDrive, Word, PowerPoint, as a PDF file, an image file in the phone’s image storage, or into OneNote. Scan documents, photos, whiteboards in classes or meetings, or business cards to name a few.
Evernote and Scannable – we all love the Scannable app for Evernote. It works like Office Lens only it’s attached to Evernote, the serve that lets you store notebooks of notes, audio files, to do lists, and documents among others. The app will also automatically recognize the edges of whatever you’re scanning and then let you import it into Evernote. Add tags and name it whatever you like.
Both of these apps work great. They let you attach multiple scans to a single note. If you don’t like either of them, search your app store for scanner and you’ll find dozens of mobile phone or tablet scanning apps.
Create Digital Documents
Adobe Comp is a simple layout app that works on an iPad or iPhone. It’s free but works best part of an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Add photos and text to create memes. I’ve used it to create announcement slides or ads posted to Facebook. Use it for digital signs in worship and as digital email fliers.
Microsoft created a digital publishing tool called Microsoft Sway. Use Sway to tell stories. Instead of printing photos, create a Sway that tells the story of a recent outing of the Senior adults or youth to post to your website or share via email or on Facebook. It works online in a browser, on Windows phone, iPad and iPhone. You can see examples from Microsoft to get the idea (see image above).
If you produce bulletins but want to save some money and paper, go with a digital alternative. You could produce a PDF version that you email before the service as a way to invite people to come. You could also use a service like the Live feature in the YouVersion Bible app. Their service lets you create an interactive bulletin that sits inside the app. Add announcements and prayer requests that members can see or even add their own. Put links to Bible passages you plant to use in your sermons. Add a link to your online giving site. Ask questions and take polls. Direct people to your website or social media sites. YouVersion plans to change the service so you may want to wait a few weeks before starting using it (as of early March 2016).
Faithlife includes a similar feature in their paid subscription service Proclaim. The Proclaim software and service handles your worship presentation needs but adds the ability to connect with the Logos or Faithlife Bible apps much like the YouVersion Bible app and their Live service.
Other suggestions in our episode included:
- Stop using new member cards and ask them to enter info on tablet or phone
- Consider an NFC tag that opens a link to an online presentation of announcements, videos about the church’s ministries or your website
Note Taking Apps
Take notes using a great note taking app on your tablet or phone. Here’s a list of our favorites:
- Notability for iOS
- OneNote for all platforms
- BibleNote Pro which imports a Bible into OneNote so you can take margin notes digitally
- Paper by Fiftythree
What do you use? Comment below.
Dealing with Digital Dissenters
We talked about the objection to using digital tools like Bible apps or note taking apps in public worship or a Bible study. Watch the video to hear how we would respond to the people who object.
Our Favorite Things
The Raspberry Pi is a mini computer that’s great for making your own projects. LaRosa suggested it for a game emulator to play GameBoy games and more. It’s a useful media server too.
Rick recommended the Automatic, a tool the plugs into the ODBII port on your car and tracks data about the car and how you drive. It’s $100 but use this link and get $20 off.
Antoine recommended the Amazon Echo and I piped in to also recommend the Amazon Echo Tap the mobile version. They’re the new versions of Amazon’s Siri-like tool that sits in your house and listens for you to ask it questions. It responds with all kinds of wonderful information. They aren’t out yet, but will be soon.