Choosing the Right Worship Software

Written by  //  February 11, 2011  //  Church A/V  //  25 Comments

You might be ready to start using a worship software package that will allow you a greater deal of flexibility over PowerPoint.  There are a variety of software packages available, but the important question is how do you decide which one will best fit your church’s needs?

Easy Worship is one of the most commonly used software packages.  It provides both the King James and American Standard version.  This will allow you to chose scripture on the fly.  It features an easy to use interface, supports dual video outputs, and has a whole host of transitions to chose from.  It also allows for use of live video.

Another common software package used is Song Show Plus.  It has an even more extended feature-set.  This software also allows for dual monitors, video, and had a database of over 6,000 songs.  While simple, it offers more video control over Easy Worship.  Both packages allow you to overlay text over graphics and video.  This is an especially cool feature if you are looking to put either the words of a sermon or the words of a song over a special background, photos, or a video.  I have seen special videos used under lyrics during Easter and Christmas celebrations, and they can certainly enhance the service.

A third commonly used package is Presentation Manager.  While I have heard of this software being used less than the first two, this particular package is especially well-suited to smaller churches.  If you are a church on a tight budget, simply looking for a PowerPoint replacement, without many of the bells and whistles, this could be a good choice.  It provides a flexible format, with an easy-to-use interface.   Many of these church presentation software packages are available to try on a free trial basis.  I would suggest trying several of them before purchasing, just to make sure it is exactly what you are looking for.

Media Shout is also a great option and used by many churches. I also found a fairly comprehensive list of worship software companies listed here. If you’ve used one of these software packages at your church and can post a comment about your experiences to help others in a similar search here, we’d love to hear from you!

Jeffrey Miranda is President of NeoLogic Sound, a commercial audio integration firm based in Los Angeles.  He has over a decade of experience involved in audio, lighting, and video for worship.

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25 Comments on "Choosing the Right Worship Software"

  1. Lee February 11, 2011 at 11:20 pm · Reply

    Thanks for doing this- really helpful for many people and or responding to the question
    Much appreciated!

  2. Mike February 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm · Reply

    In my consulting, I’ve found that there are 3 main worship programs being used in most churches today.

    Propresenter seems to be the industry leader and what most larger chuches and conferences are using (http://www.renewedvision.com) They have traditionally been mac-only, but have recently come out with a windows version. Their feature set is extensive, and they seem to have a lot of momentum as a company right now.

    Easyworship is widely used as well because of it’s simplicity. It just works, and the training required is very minimal.

    Mediashout has lost a little ground, but is still a good program. They continue to add features and have recently added a mac version. They gained a reputation for having software that was buggy, but they seem to have that behind them with the current release.

    I have not seen songshow used in several years and I haven’t heard of presentation manager before this article. I’ll have to check into it. Also Proclaim is a newcomer that is about to release and looks promising. http://proclaimonline.com/

    Thanks for the article

    • Lauren Hunter February 14, 2011 at 6:32 pm · Reply

      Hi Mike, Thanks so much for your feedback! I’m sure CTT readers will find it very helpful. Thanks for your two cents!!

      Blessings, Lauren

    • Lauren Hunter February 14, 2011 at 6:43 pm · Reply

      From @erikmichael on Twitter: “Not including ProPresenter is a pretty big #fail”

      Sorry, Erik! We did our best to include some of the major players. If you use ProPresenter (http://propresenter.com/), would be be willing to write up a quick comment on what you like about it and how it works well for your church?

      Thanks!!
      Lauren

      • erikmichael February 26, 2011 at 1:57 am · Reply

        Sorry for the #fail.. that wasn’t very nice.

        It appears Mike (above) threw out ProPresenter as a solution in addition to the others here.
        I have used Media Shout, Song Show Plus (back in the day when it was terrible, so I can’t comment on its current software), and EasyWorship. I have always suggested that PC users go with Easyworship. It was exactly like they named it.. Easy, and powerful.
        Now that Renewed Vision has released a PC version of ProPresenter, I no longer suggest Easyworship solely, but rather to try out both ProP and EW.

        For Mac users, or churches that don’t have a mac, but might have the budget for it, I always will suggest ProPresenter on a Mac, for many reasons.
        You probably want the computer you are running lyrics, videos, and etc from to be pretty stable. For the most part, Macs are stable. (If you want the most foolproof way to have your Mac be completely stable, have that machine only have one purpose – ProPresenter, and nothing else. No web surfing, facebooking, downloading of anything.. Keep it clean, and you’ve got a better chance of a solid machine. Really, that goes for a PC too.)
        ProPresenter has all the basic features every other software does, and does them very well, but then has some extras.. It can use modules (that do cost extra) like the keying module or edge blending module.
        The keying module (Mac only) allows you to install a Blackmagic Decklink card and then you can key your output over another video signal in a professional way. (Think lyrics over live video.)
        The Edge Blending module (I believe Mac only) is pretty new and rocking! It allows you to take three projectors and blend them together, showing one output from ProPresenter. You can make one giant wide screen from it – with no other software required. Hardware to do edge blending is far more expensive than propresenter – so that module is so worth it.

        ProPresenter has many other features that make it stand out from the crowd. If you’re interested, you can download a free demo from renewedvision.com for Mac or PC.

        For any church looking into presentation software, give all the ones listed on this blog post a spin, I believe most give you free demos to try them out.

        • Lauren Hunter February 28, 2011 at 4:21 am · Reply

          Thanks for your informative comment, Erik. I appreciate you explaining your logic behind your comments and explicating why you use what you use. I know our readers will be well-informed by reading your comment. Thanks again, and no hard feelings about the #fail. Please feel free to shoot me any comments or suggestions for current or future posts – I’m very open to feedback! In Christ, Lauren

        • mkmcgregor June 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm · Reply

          Macs as stable? I’m curious as to what Apple hardware that we run at our church then. We have a new setup; less than 6 months old with Pros and a Mini 10.6.8. We have a standing rule; restart every Mac the morning before service. Typically it’s the software on the Mac that is the issue; of course that is true of Windows as well. I run my Windows development machine for days to weeks without a reboot; but that is a different workload. I will restart some software, but the machien stays up. I like ProPresenter, but it’s buggy in almost everything it does. I’m also not a big fan of the stock Apple mouse; difficult to use for mult-select drag/drop in ProP (Ok maybe for my hands). It obviously gets you through a day of services, but it can and has failed; much better if we reboot or atleast restart the software frequently. These machines are not over-taxed. They are running ProPresenter or PVP and that’s it. 2Gb memory and decent video. DMX support in PVP is poor to not usable. I’ve been a software developer for 25 years, so I’m not talking completely out of hat. Again, I agree that it’s one of the best around on features, and we are looking to 5.0 of ProPresenter as hopefully more stable and some nice new features; e.g. slide by slide transition timings. All in all thanks for the info and links. I always like to hear others opions and thoughts.

          • Mkmcgregor June 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm ·

            I will add that the latest 4.x version of ProPresenter is more stable and has provided less issues.

  3. Jeffrey Miranda February 14, 2011 at 10:15 pm · Reply

    Sorry for omitting some other common software packages. These were simply packages I have noticed are being used often. All churches are not the same in size, use of technology, so many of my customers (or people I know at other churches) may only be using certain software packages, and others that in other areas of the country might be more prevalent.

    Thanks,
    Jeffre

  4. Raoul Snyman February 18, 2011 at 6:51 am · Reply

    Hi, you also haven’t included some of the free options out there. Our church uses OpenLP, an open source presentation app, and there’s also Lyricue and OpenSong, both fairly large and comprehensive themselves.

  5. Tim Smith February 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm · Reply

    I used OpenSong while I was running the projector at my last church. The biggest limitation was the lack of modern Bible translations but apart from that it worked really well.
    Once the transition effect was disabled it was also undemanding on the hardware front and ran on a fairly elderly laptop
    Tim

  6. Chris Lai June 18, 2011 at 11:36 am · Reply

    Churches on a budget could also try the FREE software named EasySlides (www.EasySlides.com). It is ABSOLUTELY FREE, and it is capable of dual screen projection, and also duo-language projection. It was written by a Chinese for the Chinese Churches, but the built-in library of hymns is decent, and creating new ones are quite simple.

    • Lauren Hunter June 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm · Reply

      Thanks for suggesting this solution, Chris! I will check it out!

      Best,
      Lauren

  7. Pastoreric June 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm · Reply

    We have switched our Mac’s to Harmony – it has worked great. Very simple, clean, little training needed, no bells and whistles it just works well.

    http://sweeterrhythm.com/harmony/

    • Lauren Hunter June 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm · Reply

      Thanks for your comment! I will check out Harmony. Thanks for letting me know about this solution.

      Blessings,
      Lauren

  8. Nate August 25, 2012 at 7:02 am · Reply

    I have to agree the omission of propresenter is odd. I know most if the large churches use them as does the catalyst conference and passion.

    I also read they were just used by every venue at the Olympics. Pretty cool.

  9. Paul August 28, 2012 at 4:59 am · Reply

    I really appreciate the article. I do have one question for a particular group. Our church is using mediashout (just fine) and our new pastor mentioned that his last church was using Live Worship and that it worked well. He did not imply it was better, and he is not one to rock the boat. We are looking at upgrading to MS 4.5 soon so I was wondering if anyone out there has used both and has a technical recommendation (church of 2400, multi venue, 3 screen projection. Thanks

  10. Pam October 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm · Reply

    We have used Live Worship and are currently using EasyWorship. We found Easy Worship a much better software as we are running videos, DVD clips which EasyWorship does great, powerpoint and songs.
    However, we have been having some problems with the computer freezing up and have just discovered that our graphic cards are an issue with EasyWorship. Because we are using a laptop the graphic cards are attached with other components and can’t be changed. We are thinking of switching to MAC & EW doesn’t support that. We are looking at other software and that is what brought me here.

    Pam

  11. Greg November 16, 2012 at 11:51 am · Reply

    Yes, I do work for the company, but I would like to humbly submit ProPresenter as a great option for worship software

    http://www.RenewedVision.com

    its cross platform, under active development, features iOS apps, is used by 89 of the 100 largest churches in America, and was recently voted the Readers’ Choice in Worship Leader Magazine with 71% of the vote.

  12. Roman February 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm · Reply

    I have a small church and dont really have the money for even easy worship though it looks great! Any suggestions of something that will do moving video in the background for worship. This is all I need.

    • Lauren Hunter February 23, 2013 at 11:02 am · Reply

      Hi Roman, you might check out OpenLP free worship software. Here’s the link: http://openlp.org/

      Let me know if it works out for you!

  13. victor July 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm · Reply

    I love your article. you mentioned a number of s/wares which are so useful. but i think your article is rather too shallow for a person shopping for a good software. have you personally tried the s/wares? what was your experience? you didnt mension which one is for free and which one is not. some unique features and advantages over the rest. thanks for your efforts.

  14. Vivian August 3, 2013 at 5:33 am · Reply

    I am looking for a suitable software for our young church. All your comments are really helpful ,God bless you all.

  15. Schawn McLeod November 10, 2013 at 9:31 am · Reply

    We use Mediashout4.5 at our church and it is more difficult to use than older versions. We are going to finding something else to use in the near future.

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