The pastor at play on an iPad

All work and no play makes Pastor Jack a dull boy. Sometimes even (or especially!) pastors need to unwind a bit, relieving some of the stress that inevitably builds up from the ministry. For that reason, I don’t have a problem talking about entertainment apps and games on a blog that claims to give justification for purchasing an iPad for serious use in the pastoral ministry. I rolled my eyes at my wife’s suggestion that the iPad was just a toy to play with, but the truth is there’s a lot of fun to be had on an iPad — when you can find some spare time.

  • Games. If you’ve played and liked Angry Birds, you might like other physics-based games like Cut the Rope or World of Goo. I’ve looked at these, but I prefer apps that emulate some of my favorite board games like Carcassonne, Catan, Scrabble, and Ticket to Ride. The iPad is also a great medium for sudoku and crossword puzzles.
  • Leisure reading. We’ve already talked about storing your pastor’s library on the iPad, but it obviously works just as well for personal reading.
  • TV/movies. Sometimes you just want to veg during your downtime and be passively entertained. Or maybe you want to set up a video to watch while you work off some of your “friar’s fat” on the treadmill at the gym. For a monthly fee, apps from Netflix and Hulu offer a never-ending stream of Hollywood fare. Or, if you prefer to watch a BluRay on your family room’s plasma TV, the IMdb (Internet Movie Database) app is perfect for finding reviews and behind-the-scenes information about celebrities you see on the screen.
  • Music and audio books. An iPod may be easier to cart around, and you sure won’t be jogging around the park with an iPad in your pants. But you can easily connect your iPad to your car speakers to listen to an audiobook or podcast while you’re driving to visits. Try the iTunes U store for university-level lectures from a wide spectrum of disciplines (including Biblical Studies & Theology).
  • Sports. This year I began managing my fantasy football team on Yahoo Sports’ dedicated iPad app. It didn’t keep my starting quarterback from injury, but I was able to make some last minute changes to my roster without having to turn on the desktop computer. For keeping tabs on all the latest scores and highlights, I recommend the free SportsTap app.
  • Hobbies and fun. One of Apple’s recent commercials for the iPad highlight the versatility of the iPad for learning. No matter what your personal interests or hobbies are, you’re sure to find apps to enrich your experience. Hiking. Cooking. Astronomy. Learning to play an instrument or a language. I haven’t looked, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were a woodworking app.

Hopefully I haven’t contributed to the delinquency of a minister by suggesting these time-wasting recreational apps. Now back to work!