Faithlife Sermons (formerly Soundfaith) is a newly updated sermon editing, publishing, and podcast hosting service for pastors that aims at making Sunday morning preparations more fluid. With the addition of Faithlife Sermons to its repertoire, Faithlife now offers an end-to-end solution for sermon production.
The service joins its flagship software, Logos Bible Software, together with Proclaim Church Presentation Software and Faithlife Sermons. Pastors can prepare sermons inside Logos and then create a presentation for preaching or teaching the message using Proclaim. Since messages can be recorded and synced with the slides used in Proclaim, pastors can create a quality podcast with video or just audio using Faithlife Sermons. Faithlife will do all the hosting and even let churches put them on their own website with embedded links.
Let’s take a look at what subscribers get with Faithlife Sermons. Overall, this tool will help pastors create and share sermons on and beyond their weekend services.
What is Faithlife Sermons
Think of Faithlife Sermons as a service meant to aid pastors who preach the Word of God and use Logos Bible Software. For $20/month or $180/year [Note: you’ll need to call into Faithlife customer service to change to annual], pastors get access to a large collection of:
- Sermon illustrations
- Sermon graphics/media including PowerPoint templates, Photoshop files ready to edit, motion, and still backgrounds
- 50 GB of storage for all sermon files including audio/video and other attachments a church might upload
- Share the sermons preached and recorded with Proclaim to iTunes or Faithlife TV (its media streaming service)
- Sermon tone analyzer that takes a look at sermon and helps people interested in the message understand what kind of mood it offers
- Work with Logos Bible Software to create the sermons within the program and then publish them to the Faithlife Sermons website
This all fits into three offerings from the company including Logos Bible Software, Proclaim Church Presentation Software, and Faithlife Sermons hosting service.
Writing Sermons in Logos
When a preacher or teacher uses the Sermon Editor in Logos Bible Software to write their sermons, they benefit from the following:
- One integrated solution so users don’t need extra software like Microsoft Word or Apple Pages
- Saving sermons for future reference so they will show up the next time the user searches for content related to the passage or topic preached
- Content from the Sermon Editor will export to Proclaim when using the built-in export feature
- Export to other programs like PowerPoint, Word, or a PDF file
- Publish sermons to Faithlife Sermons for others to read
To get started with a sermon inside Logos, click on the Documents button on the toolbar at the top of the window. A popup of available document types shows up. Choose Sermon to create a new sermon in the Sermon Editor.
The document will open and the user can add data to help with finding the sermon at a later date. Add topics, passages, a description, and when/where the preacher delivered the sermon. There’s also a date included that shows when the software will automatically send the sermon document to Faithlife Sermons. You can change this if you prefer a date other than the default. This helps other preachers gain insight from your sermon.
When you write a sermon in the Sermon Editor, you can quickly add things to the editor like scripture verses, quotations and more. For example, type John 3:16 and the text of the verse in your top Bible translation will show up. The software also creates a slide to export to Proclaim or other presentation tools. Any Headings created in the editor will become a slide that can be exported to a PDF, PowerPoint, or Proclaim to name a few options. Preachers can also create slides from quotes or add images right in the editor. These all will export when the user chooses to do so.
Be sure to save your sermons in a Word document or a PDF file so you’re not stuck with all your sermons in Logos in case you decide to switch Bible software programs or worse something happens to Logos like it recently did with BibleWorks. Bibleworks suddenly shut down production and sales this summer shocking users. I doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon with Logos, but Bibleworks taught Bible software users to proceed with caution.
Faithlife offers a good video overview of how the Sermon Editor works with other tools at their Logos Pro training page. Below you’ll also find a video showing how to use it:
The slides that result from creating headings, Bible passages, and quotations from books in Logos will look generic at first with white text on a black background. Use Proclaim or other presentation tools to spruce them up. Click on the slide in the editor and choose Edit from the popup menu. This opens the slide in the Logos Media tool. There, users can add a slide style and background to make it look more attractive to the audience. I don’t like using this feature because I prefer using Proclaim for more attractive results.
When you finish editing the slide in the Media tool, click on the Send to button from the toolbar in that window. Select your sermon document. This closes the Media window and puts the slide in your Sermon Editor document. If it adds a new slide instead of changing the generic black slide with white words, just click that black slide and choose Delete.
In the image above, I haven’t titled the sermon yet so it says ‘Untitled Sermon.’ Make sure to give the sermon a title in the editor.
If you find a quote or image from a book in Logos, you can select it, right-click it, and choose Copy. Paste it into your sermon document. The right-click anywhere on the paragraph and a little popup window appears. There are two icons at the right end of the popup. Choose the second from the right and it will create a slide. There’s also a toolbar button on the top of the Sermon Editor window that does the same thing. This creates the same kind of generic black slide with white text. Edit it using the steps above.
The Sermon Editor lets users quickly create handouts and discussion questions. Head over to the Logos Pro training page to watch the video overview to learn more.
If you don’t already own Logos Bible Software, then take a look at their base packages. They offer a free Basic package to get started but it won’t include the Sermon Editor. You’ll need their Bronze package or higher, or subscribe to Faithlife Connect to get the Sermon Editor.
Presenting Sermons in Proclaim Worship Software
We published a more comprehensive review of Proclaim, which you should check out to see all that it can do. Churches subscribe to Proclaim and pay based on their attendance. It starts at $17/month for churches that pay annually or $20/month if you pay each month. The Proclaim software works on both Mac and PC, like Logos. Use it to create church-based presentations to display lyrics, images, videos, and sermon presentations.
If you use Logos to write the sermon, then you can quickly export the slides created in the Sermon Editor to Proclaim using the Export button in the upper right-hand corner. A window pops up. From there, choose ‘Send to Faithlife Proclaim.’ This transports all the slides to a Proclaim presentation. Notice you can also send to Faithlife Sermons directly or export to PowerPoint. Use the Print/Export feature to save sermons in other document formats, like Word or RTF.
I wrote a sermon in Logos and sent it to Proclaim. There I did the formatting. Formatting the sermon slides in the Sermon Editor is a little more awkward than doing it in Proclaim.
Some of the most useful benefits of a Proclaim subscription include:
- Use of the software on many different computers so that the pastor, the music minister, the media specialist, and others can add content during the week
- Attractive templates and graphics built-in plus access to better quality graphics with a higher subscription level
- 30-day free trial
- Cool features like polls, integration with their mobile apps, integration with others services like Song Select or Planning Center
- Decent online training for free
- A remote control app on a phone so that a pastor can run things from the stage if needed or a user can run them from her seat in the congregation
- Record audio and video from within the software
That last feature makes Proclaim a great fit for people who want to host their sermons on Faithlife Sermons.
Hosting Sermons with Faithlife Sermons
In addition to great hosting, there are additional benefits to consider. Faithlife Sermons includes professionally designed media, some thematic outlines to help inspire your creative juices, and sermon illustrations to make messages come alive. It’s much more than just a way to host sermons or sermon podcasts.
The Thematic Outlines will come with slides plus related scripture passages that you can use for a quick topical Bible study or sermon. For bi-vocational pastors or pastors who need help with sermon ideas and preparation, these thematic outlines can be very useful. For experienced pastors who come up with their own ideas and prefer to scout out their own topics and sermon series, this feature might not be as useful.
People who use Proclaim for their worship presentation can set up their computer to record the audio of the sermon or even video. This will then integrate the presentation images and Bible verses from Proclaim with the audio to create an attractive slideshow-based video of the sermon. The user can host it on Faithlife Sermons or record it locally to upload to YouTube, Facebook, or a church website. Faithlife would prefer to have you host it on their site and embed the links from their site to Facebook or your website. You could save the video and upload it to YouTube and host it on Faithlife Sermons.
To learn how the sermon recordings work, check out their support page. The video below also shows how to set up the audio recording. You will add a cue to the presentation that starts the recording. When you get to that point in the presentation, it will start the recording. Then a stop recording cue ends the recording. When the user stops the presentation, the software will combine this with the slides into a media file ready to upload. Then enter info about the sermon and publish it to the Faithlife site. It makes hosting audio with the slides for a video podcast incredibly easy.
The website hosts the sermons. The site lets you create an embeddable link to add it to your website. The use of Faithlife Sermons comes free with a Proclaim subscription.
To decide whether to use Faithlife Sermons, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- First, do you use Logos Bible Software? While you could use the service without it, I doubt many would want to.
- Second, do you run worship presentation software on Sunday that you’re happy with or do you already use Proclaim? Users of Proclaim and Logos should absolutely try out the one-month free subscription to the service. Test it out and see whether it fits into your church’s media strategy and your sermon preparation workflow.
My church already uses MediaShout and streams our services live on our Facebook page using Ecamm software, as we recommended in a previous post about streaming. So, I’m not planning to switch for now. However, if we didn’t already own MediaShout and didn’t just spend over $600 for hardware to stream live to Facebook, I’d start using the Faithlife trifecta of Logos, Proclaim, and Faithlife Sermons. They offer a simple end-to-end solution that works well for Logos users.
Let’s do some math. Faithlife Sermons costs $20/month after the free 30-day trial when you sign up for monthly auto-renewal; if you call customer support and switch to annual payments, the cost goes down to $180. So that’s at least $180. Now, add in the cost of Logos. You have two options: First, the Bronze package is the minimum level needed for the Sermon Editor. It costs $630 one time. You could subscribe to Faithlife Connect Essentials, a subscription to Logos, and get the Sermon Editor plus a great library of study tools. You’ll have to pay $20/month for $240/year.
Lastly, if you include Proclaim, I’d recommend upgrading from Faithlife Sermons to Faithlife Proclaim On Air + Pro Media and pay $30 a month or a reduced rate of $300 a year which includes both Proclaim and Sermons.
Add that up and it costs $930 to get started and $300 each year after the first for Faithlife Sermons and Proclaim–if you pay annually. If you already have Logos subtract the $630. If you don’t own Logos, then I’d advise against Faithlife Sermons or Proclaim.
Let’s assume you already own a great Bible software tool and word processor. You can buy another worship presentation software and as we recommended in a previous post and you will pay $400 for the software (MediaShout) and at least $600 for hardware, but more like $1000. That’s the first year. The second year, you pay nothing unless you upgrade to a newer version of MediaShout or other software. Over a three year period, you save a lot of money. You don’t get…
- New versions as they come out
- Useful media and sermon ideas available in Faithlife Sermons
- Installations on multiple computers so many team members can edit presentations
- Simple integration from sermon editing to presentation to podcast hosting all in one
People who are on a very tight budget and need a less expensive solution should not pick Faithlife’s end-to-end solution. People who want a powerful, easy-to-use comprehensive solution with all the bells and whistles should highly consider Faithlife’s suite of excellent church software for studying, preaching, and recording.