An audio visual system is nothing without content and will greatly benefit from proper Worship Presentation Software as a means to communicate the message more effectively. PowerPoint presentations do go some way to offer this but are by no means ideal, or versatile enough for a church’s requirements. It is all too easy to be caught in the ‘PowerPoint trap’ where the usual bullet points, backgrounds, graphics and animations become tiresome and can even undermine the effectiveness of a sermon, talk, presentation, whether in a meeting, conference or indeed in a church service.
Dedicated Worship Presentation Software will enable the display and manipulation of song words, liturgy, photography, bible translations, video, music, imagery, animation, websites and much more besides.
However when it comes to choosing the right software for your church it’s worth considering more than just its listed capabilities. A major consideration is how versatile and, most importantly, how easy is it to use ie. pre-service preparation and set-up and then live use on a Sunday.
Remember, things can change rapidly before and during a morning service to affect its order and content! Your software and its users need to be able to adapt when required, often on-the-fly.
It is also worth considering how many people you wish to be able to use the software. Church presentation software is usually purchased with either a site licence or multi-user licences as standard – this allows for anyone on the team to use the software on their own computer to prepare ahead of main presentation at church on a Sunday for example. Single licence versions of the software can be available at a reduced cost but are usually not practical for most churches.
PROs & CONs
Enhance & improve services
Engage younger generations
As the saying goes ‘a picture can speak a 1000 words’
Large content & versatility
Free product trials available
Initial learning curve with software
Costs can be around £300+
Usually requires preparation
Presentation can be bad as well as good
Requires some computer skills
We’re often asked the question, “Which church presentation software should our church choose?”
It’s difficult to give an answer to this – and often not helpful to suggest one. What we can say, however, is that comparing ‘feature lists’ does not tell the whole story. By far the best solution is to suggest that a short-listed few are tried, usually by downloading a demonstration version from the respective website (see below). This way each piece of software can be assessed on its own merits and evaluated for the features they offer, ‘ease-of-use’ and the ‘training of new users’ for example.
It is only really by doing this that you can be sure of your decision.
Another factor to consider, that often requires a step back, and sometimes hasn’t been thought about at all, is content.
This could be at its most basic; song words, liturgy, bible passages and PowerPoint. And then on from this; video, websites, DVD photography etc. All of these can have an influence on your choice of software… but content could be much more than this…
Content need not be just an ‘aid to worship’ but it could also be an expression of worship. Visuals, photography, moving imagery and film can be used very powerfully, even more so if they are produced or inspired by your own congregation. Perhaps your church would like to consider forming a creative group to develop and encourage content creation that inspires, engages, and is itself an expression of worship.
Presentation Software examples:
Below are the more popular examples of Church Presentation Software – but there are others out there.
Paid for, licenced software:
- MediaShout – mediashout.com (Windows & Mac versions)
- ProPresenter – propresenter.com (Windows & Mac versions)
- EasyWorship – easyworship.com (Windows)
Open Source, free to use software:
- OpenLP – openlp.org (Windows, Mac & Linux versions)
DM Music currently supply MediaShout directly to UK Churches – more details here