Church sermon preparation tools not only make preparing an impactful sermon a little easier, but gives pastors more time for other areas of their ministry.
If your budget is already tight, don’t worry. There are actually some incredibly helpful free tools available. Free always fits into budgets well.
While you don’t have to use all the tools on this list, you might find combining a few works best for your needs. Since they’re all free, give them all a try to see which you like best.
Table of contents
1. Ministry Voice Free Sermon Title Generator
If you’re struggling to come up with a sermon topic or even just a great title for your next sermon, try out Ministry Voice’s Free Sermon Title Generator. If you get a screen asking for an email that won’t go away, just refresh the page.
When you first arrive on the page, you have two options for titles – single sermon or a sermon series. You’re given seven titles at a time. Pick what you like. You can continue generating more and even save as many as you want to use later on. The great part is you’re free to tweak any title as much as you want. Sometimes, the hardest part of church sermon preparation is just figuring out where to start and these free titles work perfectly for inspiration when you’re stuck.
All you have to enter is an email address to get started. Most titles are actually pretty good, though there were some obvious duds here and there. There are also other free tools you can check out to help with your sermons, church graphics and more.
Having a hard time trying to outline your sermon and put your notes into some kind of order? Let MindMup help you out. The free cloud-based tool allows you to create unlimited mind maps for organizing your ideas. Mind maps are incredible brainstorming tools as well. Simply start with a central idea and continue to branch out. Each branch can serve as a main section for your sermon, while sub-branches could be areas you’d like to cover within each section.
Easily add notes about scripture or color-code items based on whether you need to do more research or not. You can even create mind maps for your members to serve as a study guide after your sermon is over. These work as wonderful free resources to add to your church’s website.
Not only can you create traditional mind maps, but you’re free to insert images, documents, videos and more. If you’re working with other pastors, collaboration is available through MindMup Cloud or simply upload to Google Drive for others to view.
The free version is limited to six months of storage and maps up to 100 KB. However, you’re free to export your maps to Google Drive at any time. Premium plans start at $2.99/month, but the free version works great for most sermon planning needs.
3. Bible Gateway
Bible Gateway is an incredible free church sermon preparation tool for studying and referencing different Bible versions. Easily look up passages based on keyword or topic. You can even search by passage. Everything is laid on in an easy to use web-based interface to make research easier. It’s also a great tool to let your members know about if they want to study the Bible at home. There’s also an app version. The customizable font size works great for eyes that may need a larger font.
In addition, you’ll find a variety of guides and study tools. There is a wealth of information on creating more engaging sermons as well. All basic tools are completely free to use. However, as with most free tools, a premium version is available for $3.99/month or $39.99/year.
4. Sermon Central
Struggling to craft the perfect sermon? Let other Christian leaders and pastors help you out. Sermon Central provides a library of free sermons and sermon series uploaded by other users. Obviously, you don’t have to use any of these word for word, but they make great church sermon preparation outlines and ideas for your own sermons. Easily search by denomination, keyword, scripture and more.
If you want to download or print to PDF, you’ll need the Pro version. However, you can view sermons online or use the Print feature to print them on paper for free. If you have a PDF printer, you can still print to PDF for free.
There are premium tools available to help pastors create more engaging sermons. Plus, you’ll gain access to all the premium sermons as well. A 14-day free trial is available and then it’s $12.50/month. However, you’ll likely find plenty of resources with the free version.
5. Bible Hub
Bible study is one of the most important aspects of planning a sermon. Instead of going from tool to tool or getting papercuts digging through physical books, try out Bible Hub. Everything is free to use and there aren’t even an premium plans.
Not only can you search the Bible, but also dive into dictionaries, devotionals, sermons and much more. There are a wide variety of study tools available, including searching for sources based on topics, such as marriage and anxiety. Multilingual resources are available too.
Don’t let the older looking site fool you. This is a powerful free resource. There are even guides on the homepage to help you learn how to make the most of the tools available. This is another great resource to consider linking to on your church website.
6. Google Docs
As popular and useful as Microsoft Office may be, it’s not cheap. Google Docs is not only free, but saves all changes automatically so you can work on your sermon without worrying about when you saved it last. If your church is part of the Google for Nonprofits program, you already get access to premium Google tools, G Suite, for free.
Google Docs is a cloud-based word processing tool. All documents are saved to Google Drive automatically or you’re free to download them. This also allows you to share sermons with others if you’re working with fellow pastors.
If Google isn’t right for you, there are several great free web-based alternatives, including:
Notion is a project and team management tool. At first glance, it might not seem like a great church sermon preparation tool, but it’s all in how you use it. First, the wiki-style editor allows you to easily outline and collaborate on sermon creation.
Plus, you can set up tasks and goals to help you stay on track throughout the week. Make notes of what you need to do each day to plan your sermon. Or, just divvy up other tasks so you have more time available for sermon planning.
Create notes and documents within this same tool. Did a member ask a thought-provoking question that you want to base a sermon around? Make a note of it. You can even create an entire list of notes just on questions members are asking you.
While it’s technically made for larger teams, the free version is ample for most churches. Add up to five team members for free and create unlimited pages and blocks.
Trello is a well-known project management tool, but it’s also idea for preparing church sermons. Every task or item you create is given it’s own card. Think of it like a Pinterest board, but far more detailed. Create different boards for each project or sermon topic. Add notes, things you still need to do, images, links to useful resources and more.
Naturally, it’s a collaborative platform, making it easier for your church staff to work together on tasks and projects. This also works well for managing volunteer projects, fundraisers and events.
The free version allows you to have up to 10 board at a time, each with unlimited cards. You also get unlimited storage, though file uploads are limited to 10 MB each.
Unlike other church sermon preparation tools on this list, you’ll need to install e-Sword. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac, iPhone and iPad. It’s a completely free Bible study app. The interface allows you to show multiple screens at once for more advanced research and study.
Explore the reference library, compare multiple Bibles, enjoy advanced search functions and keep notes with the built-in editor. There’s even a graphics viewer included. Since there’s so much you can do with this app, a user guide is included. Depending on what you’re doing, the screen can get cluttered quickly, but tabs make it easier to navigate. While donations are appreciated, everything is free, so there’s no real reason not to give this tool a try.
10. Open Resources
Open Resources isn’t just for planning church sermons. Instead, you’ll find a wide variety of free resources, such as art, sermon notes, sermon series ideas, social media posts and graphics, Everything is provided by fellow churches. You can even upload your own resources to help out other churches.
While you’ll need to create an account to download anything, accounts are free to create. Use the resources to create more engaging sermons, come up with ideas or even outline sermons.
11. Dropbox Paper
Dropbox Paper is offered free from Dropbox. You don’t need a premium plan to use it. However, you will need to create a free Dropbox account to use it. It’s a combination editor, collaboration tool and task manager all-in-one. Add images, checklists, outlines and even calendars. This is far more than just a basic word processing editor.
The great part is you’re able to link all your documents together. Want to reference a previous sermon? Link to it from your new one and highlight the portion you want to mention. Create notes and link them all together under a single topic. Most similar tools require a monthly fee, but you get it all for free here.
Since it works so well for handling projects, use it for other aspects of your church too. Use it for ministry management, planning events, keeping volunteers on track and much more.
12. Microsoft OneNote
While Evernote is often touted as a must-have for outlining and preparing projects, including sermons, the free version is incredibly limited. However, Microsoft OneNote offers similar functionality for free. It’s free both online and for desktop download. Files are stored in OneDrive, but you can also store them locally if you have the desktop version.
OneNote is a note-taking app. You create notebooks to better organize your thoughts. This is ideal for church sermon preparation. In fact, you can easily create a new notebook for a sermon series and lay out each sermon in different notes. Insert images, links, files and more into every new note. You’re also able to search through your notes and notebooks to quickly find what you need.
Your only real limit is storage. OneDrive gives all users 5 GB for free. You can upgrade to get 100 GB for $1.99/month or upgrade to a OneDrive plan with Office 365.
If you need something a little simpler, Simplenote might be the perfect church sermon preparation tool. It syncs between devices including Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux and browsers. So you can work from anywhere.
Everything saves automatically, making it easy to focus on work versus saving your work. You can even view previous versions in case you want to go back. Create lists, outlines, notes and even type out your entire sermon if you want. If you’re familiar with Markdown, you’re able to write in Markdown and link notes together that way. You can also just use tags to keep sermon notes more organized. While not quite as robust as some other options, it is completely free and easy to use.
14. Day One
Day One is an app for Mac and iOS. If you’re already using one or both of those platforms in your church, consider giving this app a try. While it’s a journaling app, it’s ideal for gather notes, thoughts, member questions and more. Create to-do lists to stay on track. Gather research together. Add study notes. Easily organize by tags and topics.
While the free version is limited, it’s more than enough for sermon planning. You’ll need to manually backup entries and you can’t sync between devices. However, you get unlimited journal entries. The premium version removes restrictions and only costs $2.92/month.
Further Reading On Church Sermon Preparation
After working so hard on planning your sermons, make sure they’re easy for members and non-members to find on your church website. Don’t have a website yet? Contact us today to learn how we can help get your church online quickly.