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How to Pick the Right Worship Presentation Software – An Infographic

It’s 1998. You come to church early, turn on your gigantic Windows desktop, wait forever, open PowerPoint, and type out each slide for the new worship hit, “Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord.” Using a video meant turning on the VHS player, which took 5 minutes of the service to just set up. Thankfully, a few developers decided that there had to be a better way and created worship presentation software! Today there are a number of worship presentation software options. But how do you know which one will serve your church’s needs best? We’ve taken the top softwares and created this infographic to help answer those important questions.

software-comparison

*We define Multi Screen as being able to provide different projection content to separate screens.

I’ve included the links to order a copy of the software sold from WorshipHouseMedia. Plus if you order one of these from WorshipHouseMedia, there is a special offer to receive $600+ of free media!

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  • Robbo21

    Rachel, do you know if any of these applications will automatically display the start of the next slide at the bottom of the previous slide? I have never seen any song presentation software that does this by default. There is a big problem when it comes to using song presentation software in that it relies on the person operating it changing slides BEFORE you get to the start of the next slide. Too many operators wait until the next verse has already started before changing the slide, leaving everyone hanging and unable to join in. You may as well just remove the first line of each verse in the songs!
    I’d also like to see presentation software that tells you what verse you are on, or if this is the chorus or a bridge, and includes instructions (e.g. “repeat”) for when a part of a song is to be repeated, or if the ending of the song is different. The loss of hymn books has diminished the ability to fully comprehend the full story that a song is telling, especially when song leaders jump about (seemingly at random sometimes) from one part of the song to another.
    In my experience, congregational singing is being replaced by ‘follow along with the band’ singing and it is not a healthy development.

  • Hi Robbo21!

    I don’t know of any software that shows the next slide on the current slide (except on the Stage Display monitor). I agree that many people running the slides during a service need more training on when to switch over to the next lyrics.

    Both ProPresenter and MediaShout let you label the song parts. It’s super helpful at my church for whoever is operating the presentation software – especially if they are told which verses are being sung and any repeats or alternate endings in advance (we use Planning Center Online for song structure notes). Of course, if you’re wanting the congregation to see what part of the song they are singing, you could simply add that to the lyrics in the slide.

  • Gabe Harris

    Robbo21 – (Full disclosure: I work for EasyWorship.) It seems like this might be an operator training issue, not necessarily a software issue. I can see how the delayed slide change might be frustrating for your congregation. You might consider either a) including more words on each slide to give your operator more time to react, or b) training your operator to be ready to advance to the next slide BEFORE the last line of the slide is sung. It’s usually just an issue of timing — an easy fix.

    You said you’d also like software to tell you what verse you are on. I know EasyWorship shows the verse and chorus labels in the operator view, and I’m fairly certain that ProPresenter and MediaShout do as well. Your desire to “comprehend the full story” of the song is legitimate, and we encourage you that have a conversation with your worship leader if you are feeling lost. He or she is the best person to communicate this to the congregation. Once you guys figure out what the congregation should see, you can add whatever you want to the slides — regardless of your software choice.

    Hope this helps!

    Gabe Harris
    EasyWorship

  • Robbo21

    Hi Gabe, you’re right, operators should be trained – although to be honest I think using the term trained is going a bit far, they should really just need some basic instruction – but let’s be realistic, because it is viewed as a simple job, people are often asked to do it with little or no instruction, and there’s no way any of us can ensure that all computer operators in all churches are instructed properly. You’re doing well if all of the computer operators in 1 church are instructed properly! (Solution A that you suggest would, in my opinion, make no difference. Many operators wait until the song leader starts singing the next verse before changing slide.)

    I actually think the operating of the slides is a very important job, maybe even more important than the song leaders or musicians, but I don’t think it is often viewed that way.

    As you work for EasyWorship, perhaps you can consider my suggestion in a future upgrade to solve the ‘delayed slide change’ problem? (I love that description of it!) Not only does it solve the problem, you could argue it automatically trains the operator to change in time.

    I use Powerpoint for my youth group and put all the slides together for the songs we use. An example of what I have at the bottom of the slides is:
    NEXT SLIDE: In the silence You won’t let go…

    I love that you have verse and chorus labels. I also put numbers at the bottom of my slides (e.g. 4 of 7) so you know how far along in the song you are, which also stops those awkward moments, as happened at the church I was at on Sunday evening, when a musician starts slowing down because he thinks the song is ending, when there are more verses to go! It would be helpful if the word “repeat” could be added when needed too. Anything that helps the congregation know what to sing is good.

    There is a bigger issue, as I mentioned in my previous post, in that congregational singing in some churches is being replaced (to a degree) by a band singing (or putting on a performance), and the congregation just trying to follow along. This is sometimes highlighted by a computer operator who is just trying his/her best to follow what the song leader is singing, but because there has been no advance planning, the computer operator doesn’t know where the song is going, especially if the song leader has a tendency to randomly repeat sections and to jump about the song, leaving the computer operator and congregation struggling to keep up.

    I saw a friend on Facebook recently advertise a ‘guest worship leader’ at their church and that made me uncomfortable. Our praise and worship through song is all about bringing glory to God, and the focus should be on God and helping the congregation bring praise to God together as one voice. I find it interesting that in some older church buildings, the organist is hidden from view which is very different from modern church set-ups.

    Interested to hear other views on this. Sorry for the long post.

  • @Rachel, we use SSP at our church and it provides all of the features in your matrix. I’ll concur with @robbored21:disqus, the graphic needs to be updated!

  • Thanks Michael! Some of these softwares were easier to compile information for than others! We’ll get that updated!

  • Rachel A

    Thanks Michael! Some of these softwares were easier to compile information for than others! We’ll get that updated!

  • Adam

    Nice graphic! One correction: Worship Extreme runs on Mac and Windows. The mobile apps run on Android and iOS, but the software runs on a desktop machine.

  • Gabe Harris

    If you would like to see what other EasyWorship customers think of your idea, feel free to post your feature request on support.easyworship.com. (You’ll need to create an account first.) On that page, customers can vote for feature requests that others post, and vice versa. Before you post your suggestion, please request a free 30-day trial by sending an email to testdrive@easyworship.com. (I’m assuming you haven’t purchased EasyWorship.) This will let you experience the workflow firsthand, which might inform your suggestion. Does that make sense?

  • osborn4

    You need to update your chart.

    Songshow Plus integrates with Planning Center Online

    http://songshowplus.com/Formulate

    And has been multiscreen for a long time

    http://www.ssplash.com/Blog/tabid/62/EntryId/272/Feature-Preview-Secondary-Display-now-a-First-Class-Feature.aspx

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