Sermonary Review

Logos

I recently tried Sermonary for a few weeks. I love technology. There are many ways our lives could be easier if we learned how to effectively implement tech. Proper sermon prep typically takes a lot of time. It’s also easy to become disorganized in the process.

Tablets and smartphones weren’t around when I began preaching. Paper was your best tool. Even a laptop seemed cumbersome to a traditional yellow pad. My typical sermon prep began in the library. I would drive to the local Christian University with my yellow pad and pen. Then I would go through their catalog and find every relevant book and commentary. Next, I would find an empty table for me and the stack of books. Finally, my work would begin. I would make copies (10 cents apiece) of anything I needed and I would leave with my research. The rest of the week would be spent crafting the information into a digestible format for my listeners to understand.

Later I was introduced to some amazing digital resources like Logos. Soon many websites began giving other amazing tools for cheap or free. These days I can find almost anything I need from the comfort of my desk. However, I still enjoy a good day at the library.

Keeping the research, prep, planning, sermons, and their format organized can still be a challenge. Then you have to convert all of that into a printable format or a format you can easily read from your tablet. The good news is that there are several options to help with all of this. One of those options is Sermonary.

I came across this on an online Wesleyan message board. I had a church camp I was preparing to speak at and decided it was the perfect time to try out this new tool.

The Good

Here are some good things about Sermonary. First, it keeps things separate. If you’re like me, you have several notes in your Google Docs, Evernote, and Notion files. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to look at. Other times it’s one big distraction. I may go in looking for a note on a sermon and then I’ll see a note about my volunteers. Then I think, “I can take care of that real quick.” An hour later, I forget why I went into the labyrinth to begin with. Sermonary allows you to keep everything sermon-related in one place and keep it free from all other distractions.

Another good feature is the structure of the site. Because it’s geared specifically for sermon prep it allows you to view sermons individually, by series, or you can simply look at the ideas that haven’t been finished yet. There are also side tabs for resources like commentaries and illustrations.

The layout for presenting your sermon is also really good. I’ve seen pastors get lost in their black and white, 12 point font, basic outlines, or transcripts. Sermonary uses different labels, sizes, and colors to help your eyes easily follow the flow of the sermon when you’re preaching. There’s also a timer you can put at the top. This could be helpful if you’re preaching from the tablet or laptop.

The Not So Good

While there are many benefits, it’s not a perfect solution. I found the outlines and illustrations seemed a little lacking. You have to pay extra for many of the good resources. This isn’t terrible, but it might be a barrier for some users.

Sermonary doesn’t really offer anything that you can’t get with any other note-taking software. I like to use Google Keep for simple notes and Evernote or Notion for more professional and detailed notes. I actually found myself reverting to some of these tools even in prepping with Sermonary. That may have simply been because of the habits and workflows I have previously established.

I believe the biggest benefit to me was keeping everything separate. Having a separate system for my sermons was actually a really nice benefit. It just seemed less cluttered to me. At least in my mind. Having a good system that keeps everything separate might actually be worth paying for.

*Update*

Previously Sermonary didn’t offer a free base package.  So my ultimate review was that it wasn’t worth the price. However, the base package is now free! With this change, I would definitely recommend this as a useful way to prepare and organize your sermons. If you want to upgrade for more features you absolutely can do that. Or use other prep software in conjunction with this as a tool.