HomeSundaysAudiovisualIntense Debate: Is PC or Mac Better for Your Church?

Intense Debate: Is PC or Mac Better for Your Church?

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Six years ago I’ve switched from PC to Mac and then back again last year. The first jump came after a friend gave me a second generation MacBook Air. More recently, due to my disappointment with Apple’s latest update to their MacBook Pro line, I switched back to PC to get a fast seventh generation Intel Core processor and a touchscreen laptop. Apple offers neither as of early 2017.

apple macbook pro

The Mac v. PC debate gets people fired up, but I don’t think it should. Both platforms offer similar quality options in both hardware and the operating system. Smart users can run MacOS and Windows 10 safely and can install first-rate software for church and ministry. The reason to go with a Mac or a Windows PC has more to do with preference than quality. So let’s examine some important considerations and the availability of quality software commonly used in the ministry setting.

PC or Mac: 3 Considerations

The transition from PC to Mac for someone like me who never used a Mac regularly took some time and came with some frustration.

Consider a few issues when making the switch:

  • You will need to replace your software with Mac compatible version, which can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on what you’re using.
  • Everything you know about how to do certain tasks will change when making the switch. Little things like formatting a disk, finding files, or adding hardware peripherals work differently.
  • Generally, a Mac with similar power and features costs more money than a PC with the same specs, especially with the latest generation of MacBook Pros with the Touch Bar. Apple increased the base price for this new feature that a lot of reviewers don’t find that compelling. IBM disagrees. The organization that used to make the original PC, now uses Macs and claims that this switch saves them a lot of money.

lenovo yoga 910 windows pc

Going the other direction, from the Mac to the PC, also means replacing software and learning new tricks. However, most of the time going to the PC from Mac will save money. To illustrate, right after the current generation MacBook Pro came out, I bought a Lenovo Yoga 910 laptop. It has the latest generation Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. It doesn’t come with dedicated graphics processor like the MacBook Pros, but the MacBook Pros use the previous generation processor. The price difference was over $1,000 less for my system compared to the Mac of similar speed and capability. The Lenovo also adds a great touchscreen display and convertible design, something Apple doesn’t. I’m pleased with my choice to go PC again.

PC or Mac: Church and Bible Software

Churches use different kinds of software in different roles. Here’s a list of the categories that most churches or ministers use regularly.

  • Bible study software for sermon and Bible study preparation and staff development
  • Creative solutions for editing videos for worship, photos for worship and digital/print publications, and desktop publishing for fliers, newsletters and more
  • Worship presentation software
  • Church management solutions for keeping track of attendance, membership, and giving
  • Office suites for writing, creating presentations, number crunching and more

In each category, users can find and use great solutions on both Windows and Mac. It used to be hard to find good Bible study tools for a Mac or good creative apps for Windows. Now, you can have both. Most people can run office suites, church management solutions, or Bible software on either Mac or Windows without a problem. You won’t need to relearn everything to switch.

accordance 12 amplify button

Here’s a list of solutions that run on both platforms with few differences:

*I’m not sure if the Mac version of PC Study Bible runs directly on macOS or uses emulation. Biblesoft’s not been willing to cooperate with my requests to review their software.

PC or Mac: Creative & Worship Presentation Software

MediaShout 6 Dark Theme

Like Bible software, the worship presentation software companies make great Mac and Windows software. Here’s a list of the top options that run on both platforms equally well except for EasyWorship, which only comes on Windows:

openlp screenshot
OpenLP: Free open source worship presentation software runs on Mac and Windows equally well.

Check out our Worship software guide.

The Mac used to rule the realm of creative software, but not anymore. Adobe changed the creative software market with their Creative Suite subscription service. For $10 to $50 a month, churches and ministers can use the best software available and it runs on both Mac and PC with little differences between them.

adobe photoshop for windows
Apple no longer dominates the creative professional market thanks to Adobe’s accessible Creative Suite subscription.

Some creative types prefer Apple’s Final Cut Pro X for video editing or Logic Pro X or audio editing. Very few still use Aperture, which Apple quit developing recently. Apple doesn’t seem as committed to creative professionals. They limited the amount of RAM available in their laptops and haven’t updated the Mac Pro in four years. But the Adobe solutions work great on any of Apple’s computers and most Windows computers except the lowest price options.

Mac or PC: Which One to Buy

So after all of this, should you get a Mac or PC? It’s plain that neither platform dominates. It’s a matter of personal preference. If you want a Mac and can pay a little more, then go for it. If you prefer Windows, then you’ll enjoy any of the above software.

If you want a touchscreen that works like a laptop or a tablet, then you have to go with a Windows PC. Apple has a touch screen computer available. It’s called an iPad Pro. However, if you want a Mac with a touchscreen, you’re out of luck because it doesn’t exist.

How about for your ministry? What does your church use? I’d love to hear your feedback if you’ve switched from PC to Mac or back to help others along this journey. There’s certainly more than a few readers contemplating the same switch.

[Editor’s Note: This is a completely new article written by Kevin Purcell in April 2017 that has taken the place of an old article Lauren Hunter wrote back in 2010 about the debate of PC vs. Mac. Below you will find some older comments together with new reader comments.]

Kevin Purcell
Kevin Purcellhttp://www.kevinpurcell.org
Dr. Kevin Purcell is a pastor, writer, and tech enthusiast. He serves High Peak Baptist Church as pastor. He is passionate about digital Bible study and enjoys helping others delve into God's Word using tech tools. Kevin is married to Barb, an elementary school teacher, and is father to two college-age sons. Pastor Kevin blogs at https://www.kevinpurcell.org/

30 COMMENTS

  1. I think both have its own quality and benefits either you can use Mac or PC. PC is not portable while the mac is portable. Everything has its own pros and cons but you just want to buy according to your requirements.

  2. This decision creates a new challenge, as many corporations expected to deploy the new MBP, however, were amazed by the fact that Apple, introducing the most advanced notebook on the market, has left out a way to secure it. For more details visit:- MACBOOK SUPPORT

  3. Apple is not compatible with Christian fate. First the logo represent the original sin and second the first Apple computer the Apple 1 introductory price was $666.66 us in 1976

  4. Great article but was this an update of a very old one? If so it would be a good idea to delete the comments from 2010. Things have changed dramatically and readers might not realize the comments are not current.

    My own experience was challenged when a new pastor wanted his computer to be a MacBook. As a volunteer and technology coordinator at a small church, it was a challenge to help him and support. It was his first mac too. We also ran into some compatibility problems sometimes with file formats, usb drives etc. His computer did come with AppleCare which was a help and worth it.

    • Thanks for your comment. I wrote the original article in 2010, but had Kevin Purcell write this all-new article on the same topic. Yes, some of the comments are from the original article, but I find that it’s usually good to keep the conversation going in the same place. I did just add an editor’s note that this is a completely new article. Thanks for reading CTT!

  5. About 18 months ago I was in the position of needing to buy a new laptop, and since I was supporting some Macs and some PC’s at the church… I ultimately decided to buy a Macbook and would try to run both Windows and the Mac OS at the same time using Fusion or Parallels.

    And while it worked, I wasn’t really satisfied with either system (Windows Vista Ultimate and Snow Leopard). Then Windows 7 came out… and instead of using Fusion or Parallels I decided to give Boot Camp a try. So now I use Windows 7 at my office and the Snow Leopard at home. It’s an either or thing, but I get a great experience from both of them.

    The built-in Mac Apps now work with Exchange 2007 (Mail, Contacts, and Calendar) and they are not that bad. If you’re trying to connect to Exchange 2003 then you’re left with Entourage (you poor soul). Note: Outlook is coming to the Mac in Q1 2011. And if you want to throw in a wild card and you’re using Google Apps… Zimbra from Yahoo can sync all 3 (contacts, mail, and calendar) and you can use the same client on either Mac or PC (same look and feel).

    As far as office apps go, I’ve never been in love with any of the alternative office suites (like Open Office or Star office) except Lotus Symphony. And it too… works on both the Mac and PC. It’s built with Open Office source code. The interface is a little bit dumbed down, making it simpler to use, but I think it has everything you need and the learning curve isn’t that hard.

  6. About 18 months ago I was in the position of needing to buy a new laptop, and since I was supporting some Macs and some PC’s at the church… I ultimately decided to buy a Macbook and would try to run both Windows and the Mac OS at the same time using Fusion or Parallels.

    And while it worked, I wasn’t really satisfied with either system (Windows Vista Ultimate and Snow Leopard). Then Windows 7 came out… and instead of using Fusion or Parallels I decided to give Boot Camp a try. So now I use Windows 7 at my office and the Snow Leopard at home. It’s an either or thing, but I get a great experience from both of them.

    The built-in Mac Apps now work with Exchange 2007 (Mail, Contacts, and Calendar) and they are not that bad. If you’re trying to connect to Exchange 2003 then you’re left with Entourage (you poor soul). Note: Outlook is coming to the Mac in Q1 2011. And if you want to throw in a wild card and you’re using Google Apps… Zimbra from Yahoo can sync all 3 (contacts, mail, and calendar) and you can use the same client on either Mac or PC (same look and feel).

    As far as office apps go, I’ve never been in love with any of the alternative office suites (like Open Office or Star office) except Lotus Symphony. And it too… works on both the Mac and PC. It’s built with Open Office source code. The interface is a little bit dumbed down, making it simpler to use, but I think it has everything you need and the learning curve isn’t that hard.

  7. About 18 months ago I was in the position of needing to buy a new laptop, and since I was supporting some Macs and some PC’s at the church… I ultimately decided to buy a Macbook and would try to run both Windows and the Mac OS at the same time using Fusion or Parallels.

    And while it worked, I wasn’t really satisfied with either system (Windows Vista Ultimate and Snow Leopard). Then Windows 7 came out… and instead of using Fusion or Parallels I decided to give Boot Camp a try. So now I use Windows 7 at my office and the Snow Leopard at home. It’s an either or thing, but I get a great experience from both of them.

    The built-in Mac Apps now work with Exchange 2007 (Mail, Contacts, and Calendar) and they are not that bad. If you’re trying to connect to Exchange 2003 then you’re left with Entourage (you poor soul). Note: Outlook is coming to the Mac in Q1 2011. And if you want to throw in a wild card and you’re using Google Apps… Zimbra from Yahoo can sync all 3 (contacts, mail, and calendar) and you can use the same client on either Mac or PC (same look and feel).

    As far as office apps go, I’ve never been in love with any of the alternative office suites (like Open Office or Star office) except Lotus Symphony. And it too… works on both the Mac and PC. It’s built with Open Office source code. The interface is a little bit dumbed down, making it simpler to use, but I think it has everything you need and the learning curve isn’t that hard.

  8. As much as I love my Mac, dude make the Linux switch. I love Ubuntu much more then Mac, it has much better web development tools.

  9. As much as I love my Mac, dude make the Linux switch. I love Ubuntu much more then Mac, it has much better web development tools.

  10. As much as I love my Mac, dude make the Linux switch. I love Ubuntu much more then Mac, it has much better web development tools.

  11. It’s a no brainer really.

    I’m not pro or anti either but if you’re considering it then don’t let ‘what you think you know’ restrict your move.

    Word & Excell have long been available for the Mac and very soon Outlook for Mac will be with us so in fact you don’t need to move away from them at all. Personally I’d migrate my email acocunt(s) to google and utilise IMAP to access it from whatever app that supports it that you fancy.

    As Steve above says – Nike ….

  12. It’s a no brainer really.

    I’m not pro or anti either but if you’re considering it then don’t let ‘what you think you know’ restrict your move.

    Word & Excell have long been available for the Mac and very soon Outlook for Mac will be with us so in fact you don’t need to move away from them at all. Personally I’d migrate my email acocunt(s) to google and utilise IMAP to access it from whatever app that supports it that you fancy.

    As Steve above says – Nike ….

  13. It’s a no brainer really.

    I’m not pro or anti either but if you’re considering it then don’t let ‘what you think you know’ restrict your move.

    Word & Excell have long been available for the Mac and very soon Outlook for Mac will be with us so in fact you don’t need to move away from them at all. Personally I’d migrate my email acocunt(s) to google and utilise IMAP to access it from whatever app that supports it that you fancy.

    As Steve above says – Nike ….

  14. Instead of looking at PC or Mac, you would probably be better served asking first if its the applications that you need, or the content that you already have that you want to continue to have access towards. If you are using applications such as Outlook, which are only now starting to open up to 3rd party support, then you would be best at staying put, or using online services such as Exchange to abstract your content from the application.

    In terms of specific modes of use, such as you might liking the way an application notifies you or organizes your information, remember that you had to learn the application and platform for it to get to that place of comfort. You should expect nothing less from another application or platform when moving there. Yes, its painful, and usually has issues all it’s own, but this is the cost of moving somewhere else from where you are comfortable.

    I would also recommend looking at Google Apps for your domain, as it might offer a better long term solution for some types of the data that you are dealing with.

    Just imagine the fun I have when moving to a new mobile platform, it’s a lot worse 😉

  15. Instead of looking at PC or Mac, you would probably be better served asking first if its the applications that you need, or the content that you already have that you want to continue to have access towards. If you are using applications such as Outlook, which are only now starting to open up to 3rd party support, then you would be best at staying put, or using online services such as Exchange to abstract your content from the application.

    In terms of specific modes of use, such as you might liking the way an application notifies you or organizes your information, remember that you had to learn the application and platform for it to get to that place of comfort. You should expect nothing less from another application or platform when moving there. Yes, its painful, and usually has issues all it’s own, but this is the cost of moving somewhere else from where you are comfortable.

    I would also recommend looking at Google Apps for your domain, as it might offer a better long term solution for some types of the data that you are dealing with.

    Just imagine the fun I have when moving to a new mobile platform, it’s a lot worse 😉

  16. Instead of looking at PC or Mac, you would probably be better served asking first if its the applications that you need, or the content that you already have that you want to continue to have access towards. If you are using applications such as Outlook, which are only now starting to open up to 3rd party support, then you would be best at staying put, or using online services such as Exchange to abstract your content from the application.

    In terms of specific modes of use, such as you might liking the way an application notifies you or organizes your information, remember that you had to learn the application and platform for it to get to that place of comfort. You should expect nothing less from another application or platform when moving there. Yes, its painful, and usually has issues all it’s own, but this is the cost of moving somewhere else from where you are comfortable.

    I would also recommend looking at Google Apps for your domain, as it might offer a better long term solution for some types of the data that you are dealing with.

    Just imagine the fun I have when moving to a new mobile platform, it’s a lot worse 😉

  17. Lauren, I was in your shoes just two and a half short years ago but did not have the luxury of debating the topic. I joined the team at CCB, which is a “Mac Shop”. Therefore, I had to convert to Mac whether I wanted to or not.

    While I was a little apprehensive about the learning curve, I was also excited about finally diving in to the whole Mac culture and seeing if it was worthy of the hype. Without going into all of the detail, I can tell you that my entire family (immediate and extended) are now all Mac users!

    To echo Ben’s post, it all comes down to the user experience. The brain damage that I once thought was just a part of computer ownership is gone. Mac’s just work! Apple has de-mystified the computer ownership experience and made it what it should have been all along……..an added benefit to your life which helps you get things done and then gets the heck out of the way!

    I’m no IT guy so I can’t speak to all the geeky aspects of why Mac is superior or inferior to PC. However, I can tell you that I spend more time getting things done on my computer these days and almost no time dealing with headaches and infuriating technical issues.

    JUST DO IT!!

  18. Lauren, I was in your shoes just two and a half short years ago but did not have the luxury of debating the topic. I joined the team at CCB, which is a “Mac Shop”. Therefore, I had to convert to Mac whether I wanted to or not.

    While I was a little apprehensive about the learning curve, I was also excited about finally diving in to the whole Mac culture and seeing if it was worthy of the hype. Without going into all of the detail, I can tell you that my entire family (immediate and extended) are now all Mac users!

    To echo Ben’s post, it all comes down to the user experience. The brain damage that I once thought was just a part of computer ownership is gone. Mac’s just work! Apple has de-mystified the computer ownership experience and made it what it should have been all along……..an added benefit to your life which helps you get things done and then gets the heck out of the way!

    I’m no IT guy so I can’t speak to all the geeky aspects of why Mac is superior or inferior to PC. However, I can tell you that I spend more time getting things done on my computer these days and almost no time dealing with headaches and infuriating technical issues.

    JUST DO IT!!

  19. Lauren, I was in your shoes just two and a half short years ago but did not have the luxury of debating the topic. I joined the team at CCB, which is a “Mac Shop”. Therefore, I had to convert to Mac whether I wanted to or not.

    While I was a little apprehensive about the learning curve, I was also excited about finally diving in to the whole Mac culture and seeing if it was worthy of the hype. Without going into all of the detail, I can tell you that my entire family (immediate and extended) are now all Mac users!

    To echo Ben’s post, it all comes down to the user experience. The brain damage that I once thought was just a part of computer ownership is gone. Mac’s just work! Apple has de-mystified the computer ownership experience and made it what it should have been all along……..an added benefit to your life which helps you get things done and then gets the heck out of the way!

    I’m no IT guy so I can’t speak to all the geeky aspects of why Mac is superior or inferior to PC. However, I can tell you that I spend more time getting things done on my computer these days and almost no time dealing with headaches and infuriating technical issues.

    JUST DO IT!!

  20. I grew up in a PC house. I remember the first Tandy computer my Dad brought home from Radio Shack. I never thought I’d become a “Mac” guy, but I am.

    “Santa” brought me one for Christmas. With more and more of my work existing of Webinars, Web conferencing, and a multitude of audio/video platforms, it just made sense to make the switch. The Mac even feels as if it has been constructed with greater intentionality.

    I’m now a Mac enthusiast and waiting for my iPad which should be delivered in just a few short days. The Mac is more intuitive, more versatile, and more reliable than any PC I ever owned.

    Programs such as Keynote outpace any Microsoft product hands down. And functions like adding printers and connecting to wifi occur automatically rather than through a series of pop up boxes.

    I still interact with a lot of people in the PC world without any difficulty. I use iWork and OpenOffice for Mac. I never have any issues reading or sending files in a variety of formats.

    You really do get what you pay for. Mac is worth every penny. You won’t be disappointed.

  21. I grew up in a PC house. I remember the first Tandy computer my Dad brought home from Radio Shack. I never thought I’d become a “Mac” guy, but I am.

    “Santa” brought me one for Christmas. With more and more of my work existing of Webinars, Web conferencing, and a multitude of audio/video platforms, it just made sense to make the switch. The Mac even feels as if it has been constructed with greater intentionality.

    I’m now a Mac enthusiast and waiting for my iPad which should be delivered in just a few short days. The Mac is more intuitive, more versatile, and more reliable than any PC I ever owned.

    Programs such as Keynote outpace any Microsoft product hands down. And functions like adding printers and connecting to wifi occur automatically rather than through a series of pop up boxes.

    I still interact with a lot of people in the PC world without any difficulty. I use iWork and OpenOffice for Mac. I never have any issues reading or sending files in a variety of formats.

    You really do get what you pay for. Mac is worth every penny. You won’t be disappointed.

  22. I grew up in a PC house. I remember the first Tandy computer my Dad brought home from Radio Shack. I never thought I’d become a “Mac” guy, but I am.

    “Santa” brought me one for Christmas. With more and more of my work existing of Webinars, Web conferencing, and a multitude of audio/video platforms, it just made sense to make the switch. The Mac even feels as if it has been constructed with greater intentionality.

    I’m now a Mac enthusiast and waiting for my iPad which should be delivered in just a few short days. The Mac is more intuitive, more versatile, and more reliable than any PC I ever owned.

    Programs such as Keynote outpace any Microsoft product hands down. And functions like adding printers and connecting to wifi occur automatically rather than through a series of pop up boxes.

    I still interact with a lot of people in the PC world without any difficulty. I use iWork and OpenOffice for Mac. I never have any issues reading or sending files in a variety of formats.

    You really do get what you pay for. Mac is worth every penny. You won’t be disappointed.

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