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Xmind: How Mind-Mapping Can Help Your Ministry/Teaching

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It all started a few weeks ago. On a whim, I began jotting down my morning devotions/thoughts in a spider-web form rather than point form. I really enjoyed the new freedom this way of writing brought, so I took a picture and posted it on Facebook, asking my friends if anyone knew of a program that did something like this.

My professor/friend David Guretzki passed the question on to a techie student and soon I had my answer. The software I was speaking of was known as “mind-mapping” software. I searched for both iPhone and MacBook apps and soon had more than enough to begin sifting through and comparing.

My final result was this: I use the free MindJet app for my iPhone. The app is fast and convent and allows me to jot down my ideas at a café, a park-bench, or during a boring sermon. When I am ready, I can e-mail myself or friends a file that looks something like this. (It’s also possible to create more aesthetically pleasing files also! This one was a little boring, I’m afraid.)

MENTAL PURITY.mmap

This file I can then import seamlessly into x-mind. After some work and tweaking, I can produce a file looking like this.

PURITY OF HEART%0A(Matthew 5:28)

(See brief demonstration of the program here)

I have become quite excited about the possibilities of the program for several reasons:

1) Especially on the iPhone with Mindjet, it is a real pleasure to jot down ideas for future sermons

2) Xmind works well to use for more advanced sermons preparations. I can zoom in to add huge numbers of sub-points, then zoom out to  see the big picture again.

3) The program can be used in place of a power-point, to connect with a visually-oriented (and non-linear minded) audience

There is built-in feature to optimize it for power-point which is only unlockable by purchasing the full program ($80 or $100, depending on the package). However, it is quite possible to use the free program for power-point. I do not think it is worth buying the full version unless one is very serious about creating slick presentations.

4) Most excitingly, after preaching one’s research and notes are not lost, but remain as a part of an easily-accessible file

5) Because it is possible to link to both files and websites, it will be possible to create an ever-expanding web of knowledge. In sermon-prep, counselling, teaching or writing it will become easier and easier to access your important files and notes with this handy program!

6) It is also possible to share and modify files, so as to collaborate with friends and colleagues

For all these reasons, I am quite excited about the possibilities of Xmind and hope it will greatly aid my teaching/preaching ministry in years to come! 🙂

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