Seems like everywhere you turn someone is talking about the new iPad from Apple. Some people argue that it doesn't serve a purpose while others argue that it's the future of computers. The one thing you can't argue though is that this is a completely new type of device that opens the door to new possibilities. I am especially excited about what this means for churches. Lets take a look at a few ways churches could possibly use the iPad.
Digital Music Stands for the Worship Team
Imagine if the Worship leader could simply select the song list for the service from a complete library of your church's worship music. His iPad would wirelessly send the set-list to the rest of the band's displays. You could change the key of the song and instantly everyone's sheet music is updated. The soundman or pastor could also communicate with the worship team by sending them text messages that are displayed on their screens. The pastor could request a particular song or the soundman could let the guitarist know he needs to tune his guitar. All without distracting the congregation.
Sermon Notes and Projector Control for the Pastor
The pastor could load his outline for the sermon into an app on the iPad that also allowed him to control slides and videos being displayed on the video projector. All he would need to do is touch the slide or video he wants to show. Each section of his notes can also be assigned a certain amount of time helping him keep on schedule.
Interactive Resources for the Congregation
Eventually many church members will be using iPads (or similar devices) as their Bible and to take notes. The church could use this as an opportunity to get live feedback allowing the pastor to ask a question and immediately get a live poll. In reverse the congregation could also submit questions that the pastor could view and address. Once devices like the iPad are as standard as cell-phones churches could even ask visitors to fill out a visitor form by making it available to them on their device. All of the data would immediately go into the database.
Digital Audio Mixer Control for the Soundman
Using an iPad and a wifi connection and the right software a soundman could control a complete sound system wireless from his iPad. This would allow you to leave the mixer up on stage and eliminate a bunch of cables. The soundman would be free to move around the sanctuary and mix from any location. Systems like this already exist, but the iPad coupled with a digital mixer like the Presonus StudioLive would be the first time a system like this was affordable to your average church.
Encouraging Members to Check Out New Books and Music
Most churches are limited in the number of books or CD's they can stock and offer to their members due to space and budget constraints. With the iPad members can read preview chapters of a book and can listen to song samples. This frees the church up to be able to recommend a broader range of resources to its members. And since members can preview resources before purchasing them they won't be afraid of getting a book or music they don't like.
These are just a few of the ideas that came to mind as I was thinking about how the iPad could possibly be used in churches. I'm sure there will be many more creative ideas that will surface over the coming months and years. It's not going to happen overnight, but the possibilities look exciting for churches. What are your thoughts? How do you see the iPad (and similar tablets) being used in the church?