The iPad was clearly designed with media in mind.
Let me qualify that: The tablet’s strength seems to lie in the area of media consumption rather than production. The average user is much more likely to use it to watch, listen or display previously recorded media than to make his/her own audio-visual works of art. Public perception might be changing and more creative media uses are being seen, however, with the addition of cameras to the iPad 2 and with highly versatile apps like Apple’s own GarageBand and iMovie (only on iPad 2).
The screen resolution and the audio quality are comparable to what you might find in your average laptop, but what sets the iPad apart is its superior portability. Picking up an iPad for the first time can feel like you’re holding in your hand a portable window into a whole different world. There’s something about being able to simply pass a video or slide show around the room or across the table, to put a PowerPoint presentation right into somebody’s hand.
Here are some ways to use the media features of your iPad in ministry settings:
- Create a slideshow of pictures (or a video) of your church’s activities. You can take italong on visits to prospects and show them what your church is like. Show them faces of the people that they will meet, or maybe a video clip of your worship service, so it will feel more comfortable when they visit on Sunday morning.
- Prepare a simple law and gospel presentation to share with prospects. Although nothing can take the place of one-on-one personable conversation, you might prepare a slideshow of Bible passages as an outline for your message when making evangelism calls.
- Use external speakers to play music for an event. Whether it’s instrumental accompaniment for a worship service or small gathering, or simply background music for a youth group gathering, you can potentially keep up to 64 gigs of music on your iPad — ready at a moment’s notice.
- Connect to a projector for classroom presentations. After purchasing the optional dongle, you can even send video out to a television screen or computer monitor. Apple’s presentation app, Keynote, will even show you your notes on the iPad while it outputs the slide to the external display.
- Create and play your own music. There are a number of apps that mimic a wide range of musical instruments, including the above-mentioned GarageBand. With the iPad connected to external speakers, it’s even possible for a musician to accompany a choir or small gathering on apps that pass for a piano or acoustic guitar. (Watch this awesome example!) I often pull out a piano app when I’m planning worship services and can’t remember how a certain hymn from the hymnal sounds.
These are just some basic ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Modern-day tablet computers like the iPad really are limited only by our imagination. Please add your own ideas in the comments below.