HomeSundaysAudiovisualWorship Software Guide: Options for Every Church From Small to Mega

Worship Software Guide: Options for Every Church From Small to Mega

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There are many software options available to make sure Sunday morning is a success. While most of us have a soft spot in our hearts for PowerPoint, it is far from the best option for churches for a number of reasons. With various other software applications used by church techs such as Planning Center Online, Google products, and other church software solutions related to management and workflow, there’s a wide world of worship software options that can find a place in any church budget – from small to mega.

We’ve sifted through many of the options out there, taking into account budgets, sizes of churches, training for volunteers and staff, ease of use, and a few special needs that you might encounter. This is not a comprehensive guide, but a helpful article that presents some of the best options out there for churches to use. As with all technology, taking time to weigh all your options and prayerfully consider what will best work for your team and your church is important.

Also note that a lot of other complexities come into play when we are talking about worship software, including CCLI licenses. None of the worship software options address licensing and so you will need to be proactive to make sure you’re using song licenses for charts, lead sheets, and lyrics in your bulletin or on the screen correctly. At the same time, if you use worship planning software like Planning Center Online, know that you are not legally allows to share music with other people unless they own the music as well. This can get your church into very hot water fast, so do not play fast and loose with these rules.

Lastly, be careful about borrowing software that you do not own the rights to. Just because your cousin works at a church in a different town does not mean you can borrow his software licence. Be forthright with your staff, save for what you need, and always do the right thing to best represent the Lord whom we all serve.

Now let’s look at the different options out there for churches with different budgets:

Small Churches

Smaller church often have smaller budget. They might not have made a large investment into worship software, and might still be using PowerPoint. There are some really wonderful open source solutions available that far exceed what was ever possible in the past. Being a small church with a tighter budget is less of a challenge now than it used to be for sure.

Small Budgets

  • OpenSong (Free, PC/Mac) – OpenSong is a free, open-source software application created to manage lyrics, chords, lead sheets, overheads, computer projection, and more. OpenSong releases are available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux operating systems. Many languages are available as well thanks to their amazing community. This software has several little features that no other free software has like Chord Sheets. Linux lovers will swarm this option for sure.
  • OpenLP (Free, PC/Mac) – OpenLP is a free, open-source software application that many users swear by. With a long feature list including display management, screen management, service management, alerts, song features, Bible plugin, images and more, users will not be disappointed.
  • PowerPoint ($4.50 user/month, PC/Mac) – If you already have Office on your computer you have PowerPoint already. If not, you can opt in to the nonprofit version of all Office programs for a low monthly rate. This should not be the final goal of worship software as it is not designed for worship, but instead designed for classrooms and business presentations.
  • ShareFaith Presenter ($17/month, PC Only) – For existing ShareFaith media members, this presentation software is free for churches. Instead of creating yet another presentation software, ShareFaith decided to re-invent PowerPoint through a powerful worship software plugin. Sharefaith Presenter lets you add text over any video, build custom countdown timers, access the largest worship lyric database, create your own custom worship set and directly insert over 60,000 worship media and videos straight from Sharefaith. You can also directly add Scripture from the built-in NLT and ESV database.

Large Budgets

  • EasyWorship ($499, PC/Mac) – Now with a full Presentation Designer, with EasyWorship you can customize fonts and themes, loop slides, and run spell check. Other features like NewTek TriCaster integration and Alpha Channel support make EasyWorship 6 a great solution for HD broadcast environments. The software has a recently redesigned interface that still offers quick, intuitive access to Bibles, worship lyrics, and background videos.
  • ProPresenter ($399 single license, PC/Mac) – ProPresenter is a cross-platform (Mac and Windows) lyric and media presentation package built specifically to make high-quality live productions easy – including worship gatherings, sporting events, conferences, or studio broadcasts. Highly stable with robust features, this is a great solution.
  • MediaShout ($379-399 single license, PC/Mac) – MediaShout is a feature-rich option with multiple levels of software to meet the needs of medium to mega churches. It offers integrated song libraries, CCLI sync, PCO sync, Quicktime support, and many more features. Site wide licenses are available for churches with multiple computers running the software.

Medium to Large-Sized Churches

It’s hard to pin down what size church has what sized budget. There, I’ve said it. There are great options at every price point. Just because you may have a larger budget, this doesn’t mean you must spend more on your software. Preference, user-interface, intuitiveness, and design can make or break a church tech’s relationship with his or her worship software.

Small Budgets

  • EasyWorship ($499, PC/Mac) – Good option, simple, straightforward design.
  • ProPresenter ($399 single license, PC/Mac) – Comes very recommended by many worship leaders.
  • MediaShout ($379-399 single license, PC/Mac) – Another great choice.

Large Budgets

  • Planning Center Online (Varying Monthly Rates, PC/Mac/iOS) – This software does things differently. Long term, this option may actually cost more than any of the other options available. But it also gives you something that none of the others can, Projector and Music Stand (though know that these also are each an extra monthly fee). People that have bought into this simply cannot go back.
  • Proclaim (Varying Monthly and Annual Rates based on church size, PC/Mac) – For churches with pastors that love the Logos Bible Software, you probably already know about Proclaim. It easily integrates and is well worth your time to consider as a companion software to Logos.
  • ProPresenter ($799 campus license, PC/Mac) – This price changes when you begin to look at churches with multiple sites. This would include if you simply stream your service but use the software to stream. Yet, I still highly recommend it.

Mega Churches

It is assumed at this point that you are putting the needs of your worship experience up front. Having a healthy-sized budget is vitally important when you reach this size and level of church.

Large Budgets

  • Planning Center Online (Varying Monthly Rates, PC/Mac/iOS) – Note that monthly cost of this software option increases based on the size of your church, you might also want to incorporate some of their newer features that provide a smooth user-experience.
  • ProPresenter ($399 single license, $799 site license, PC, Mac) – Some mega churches only have services in one sanctuary, others have multiple. Make sure you have the appropriate license for the right use case.
  • Proclaim (Varying Monthly Rates based on church size, PC/Mac) – For churches with pastors that love the Logos Bible Software, you probably already know about Proclaim. It easily integrates and is well worth your time to consider as a companion software to Logos.

Additional Software Options

Here are a few additional options that we don’t necessarily recommend as the best choices, but they’re out there and worth reviewing if you’re going to do a comprehensive search for church presentation software:

  • SongShowPlus.com ($199-$549 depending on needs, PC Only) – Communication, editing, live-video options, content features, and PCO integration.
  • Prezi.com ($4.92-$13.25/month, PC/Mac) – Somewhat of a fad, this site is cumbersome and somewhat hard to use. It is fun for the occasional youth group night or special event.
  • PresentationManager ($200-$375, PC Only) – A lower-end product with design and user-interface that could use some upgrades, this product is an option, but only for the smaller church.

So how is your church doing with its presentation needs? Are you considering switching to another option?

[updated October 2015]

Lauren Hunter
Lauren Hunterhttps://laurenhunter.net
Lauren Hunter is a writer who loves the big picture of God’s journey we are all on together. In 2007, she founded ChurchTechToday, a website for pastors and church leaders to harness technology to improve ministry. Married to her high school sweetheart, Lauren lives in Northern California with her husband and their four children. Her latest book is Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ. She can be found online at https://laurenhunter.net.

95 COMMENTS

  1. Frank, I had a similar request from members of a church I served in 20 years ago. As Lauren alluded to the most significant issue was size. We considered some options for it but getting the notes and text large enough to read meant you could only have 2-4 measures on the screen at a time. It was a great idea but in practice it was not practical at all. Given the decreasing number of music readers I’m not sure it’s worth the effort it would take to make it potentially viable.

    • Hi Frank, To clarify, you are looking for worship software that will display hymnal music up on the screen? I’ve never heard of anyone trying to do this. To get the text large enough to read, most likely you’d need to pull from a digital hymnal or scan in hymns then cut up into chunks and insert into a PowerPoint/Worship software as graphics. It sounds tedious. You could use a lead sheet that is already digital and try to go that route. Clarify what you’re trying to do so I can better help. Blessings, Lauren

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  6. I would certainly appreciate help with a situation that I can’t find an answer for. I have a small church 20 people and we are stuck singing the same worship music that we have been doing for 3 yrs! I am looking for a resource that allows us to pay a fee and have access to videos music with words and singers so we can have something different. Any suggestions??

    • Hi Rodney, Thanks for writing. I’m curious – do you have a worship director to handle worship for your church? There are many different ways to handle this role. Singing the same songs for three years could get old. Do you use hymnals? Do you have a band-led worship style? There are so many factors involved. Let me know how I can help. Sincerely, Lauren

  7. VideoPsalm is an awesome piece of software. As a fledgling church, we were looking for presentation software that was free since we had no budget. I tried a few different ones but ended up with VideoPsalm. There is a learning curve to get started but once you get the hang of it, it’s incredibly easy to use. I can’t think of a feature I’ve needed that it couldn’t do. Video background, song imports, multiple import formats (PPT, PDF, etc), and more. Support is also great. I’ve emailed the author a few times and always get a prompt response. If you’re looking for church presentation software, even if you have a huge budget, check out VideoPsalm and you’ll love it.

  8. Looking for some advice on computers. We currently run Easyworship on a HP laptop. We are looking to possibly upgrade due to the age of the computer (4 years old) and also possibly receiving simulcasts. Wondering if anyone has had any experience with simulcasts not performing well with a laptop vs. a desktop? Also what type of computer works well with Easyworship, SSD vs HDD? Hard Drive size?

  9. Have you tried Melodie Pro? (melodiepro.com). We’ve used it in our church for years and it works great. It’s a small budget software — not too many frills but it’s stable.

  10. Has anyone used Quelea for their software – Using Media Shout right now, but don’t really need it. Looking to save a few bucks

  11. After downloading Opensong on the church’s new computer, which has windows 10, the duel screen part does not work. Does anyone else have the same issue? If so how do you fix it and/or can it be fixed.

    • Thanks for the link to the article with more free options. Since our article offered options from “small to mega” we couldn’t cover every free worship software option. It is good to know that there are quite a few free choices for church plants or churches on very tight budgets. Blessings on your ministry! -Lauren

  12. Honestly – just started using Pro Presenter 5 at Church since this is their standard. Not hard to figure out and yeah it’s powerful BUT after going deep into Videopsalm I can safely assert that Videopsalm is around 85% as powerful as Pro Presenter yet TOTALLY free. Pro Presenter seems to all about money and upsell-marketing. With Videopsalm you can access all the bibles and translations you want for free. Huge songbook collections – free again. Even free backgrounds and videos are available. Videopsalm can display to multiple screens. After using it extensively I can only find 2 faults – 1. Transitions from/to videos are a tad jumpy (for a split second) and as yet the author hasn’t enabled the program to display the verses with chords on a separate screen to the main running verses/vids only, though he’s devving it atm. Thats it! Seriously the author is talented – obviously using his God given ability to benefit all Churches + Missions throughout the world and doing it for FREE. This guy is incredible, an absolute soldier for the Lord and doing it out of the purest motives. Videopsalm deserves to be known, cause it’s truly a gift from the Lord. The Church needs more soldiers like that dev, not motivated by profit & using his gift to benefit all.

    • I agree with this. Have been trailing Videopsalm for sometime now. A little tricky in setting the defaults but otherwise an excellent software.

  13. OpenLP can also be used on most varieties of Linux and even BSD. I’m using it on Ubuntu, importing songs and Bibles has worked without a hitch, no crashes here.

    OpenLP is obviously the go-to Free & Open Source software solution these days. It uses open standards, and encourages participation. The Body of Christ in action, I would say!

    As a missionary in Asia, I would love churches to not waste money on expensive software as they are starting to use projectors in worship services.

  14. We’ve been using OpenLP since our Church started November of 2013. Used it in Windows 8, 8.1, 10 – experienced almost no problems. The only actual issue I had was when I reformatted my computer and forgot to back up the data files – loosing tons of encoded songs (learned the lesson, data files is now automatically sync’d to the cloud using onedrive).

    OpenLP is such a great blessing for us.

  15. At the risk of boring everyone to death, I am another very happy OpenLP user. Using it now for over 3 years and while I have seen an occasional error – usually when saving a service where some external video or presentation seems to upset it, I haven’t had it fall over catastrophically once. Combined with VLC it has coped brilliantly with some pretty weird video formats. I am also a ‘song collector’ and have probably more than 10k songs in my database. OLP is still very quick to keyword search. Seriously, it wipes the floor with the previous version of Easyworship which we had been using (haven’t felt the need to try the latest release). Its not perfect. Smooth transitions between slides / verses would still be nice to see. But for Open Source Software it is first class. Forums are also active and the developers are quick to join in and offer their assistance ( done so twice for me personally) .
    I’ll stop before I come across as too much of a fanboi. Just give it a whirl for yourself and don’t take any one persons views on board without the pinch of salt.

  16. We have run OpenLP on Windows 8.1 for over 2 years and find it very stable. We can run videos in the service, cope with worship leaders who jump around the songs and even control via smartphone, so operators aren’t hunched over a laptop.

  17. Check the compatibility of your python installed, check the compatibility of the Office installed in your computer,
    it may have conflict, i experience it in ubuntu with the latest version of libreoffice and openlp. others may be cause driver issues and libraries that are missing.

  18. Like many others we use OpenLP without any reliability problems (Windows 8 was a whole different story).
    We have a team of people preparing worship on their own computers and saving services to dropbox for the church laptop to project. We have users on many versions of windows, on linux and on macs – all reliable and all free.

    We have not gone for a sophisticated means of sharing resources but maintain a central master set of hymns on dropbox and have a standard starting point for custom slides.

    We love it. Very fast to put together a service, simple to use and reliable.

  19. I’ve been using OpenLP for probably near a decade and never had it crash. I’ve used in small settings, general worship, and for large events. It’s never crashed once. What instances did you have where you found it to be crashing?

  20. I’m a long time Open LP user as well and though I’ve had a few hiccups over the years it’s definitely not crashed for me all the time, as the author describes, or been any worse than issues I’ve seen others have with the more expensive programs being used on either Mac or PC. OpenLP is constantly being improved and is well supported the developers and users. I’m happy to use it on a regular basis and recommend it to others as worth a look before spending big money for a similar tool. That’s all these programs are at the end of the day, tools to be used to do what you need them to do. One big benefit to me of the free and open source nature of OpenLP compared to the licensed programs is I can legally use it anywhere I minister (homes, summer camps, other churches, mission trips, etc.) and not just at the single location that paid the license.

  21. Granted, it appears this article is a bit out of date but I can personally recommend Quelea Lyric Projection Software as another completely free piece of software… Though I am biased!

    • Hey Ben, I’ve updated the article, which I realize now was slightly out of date. Jeremy has opted out of the discussion, so we’ve taken his point of view out of the article. I’m personally interested in checking out OpenLP now that so many “fans” have weighed in! – Blessings, Lauren

  22. I have not experienced any issues with OpenLP. I also got involved in developing a custom plugin to it, and now I have real-time HTML chords on an iPad or phablet, which is very rare in other free software. In my opinion opensource is always the best choice.

  23. I have used Open LP for about 4 years at our small church and have no problems with the software crashing. I love this program and wouldn’t switch to something else even if somebody paid for a “buy it” only program. Thank you to the Open LP developers for making this possible (and free).

  24. We’re a small church and we started using OpenLP in 2012. In spite of sporadically hitting the crash issues mentioned when importing corrupted content (songs, Bibles) when we first started using it, it was an immediate upgrade over the paid software we used prior that seemed to have hit end-of-life. Issues have largely gone away now and I can’t remember the last time I hit a crash at this point. Ever since desktop version 2.1 came out things seem really stable. I fully endorse OpenLP if you’re looking for a cost-effective solution.

  25. Having tried as many of the options that I could (paid and free) and led workshops for churches on visual technology in worship, I am a big fan of OpenLP. As an app it is solid (unlike stated in your article) but also feature rich in all the standard requirements plus more. And it is super easy for somebody to learn to operate. The level of customisation alone puts it streets ahead of most of the alternative options. And it plays any video format I throw at it without complaining (glares at the expensive options who so often fail miserably). Service leaders can easily assemble the service offsite, and changes on the fly can happen so easily (even adding songs to the playlist from my phone interface). I do not understand why churches are shelling out big dollars when the free options are so good.

  26. I’ve been using OpenLP on Macs for several years and never experienced a crash. Not sure where you’ve gotten that impression from.

  27. I can’t understand why Jeremy says that OpenLP crashes. We’ve used it here for over 5 years flawlessly. It replaced Songpro, which was expensive and awkward to use. In my previous church, we used Easy Worship, which was excellent, but no better than OpenLP – and cost quite a bit. OpenLP is very simple to set up and use.

    • Jeremy stated in a previous comment that he now uses OpenLP and doesn’t have the same crashing issues he used to. So that’s great that no one is having issues with the software anymore!

      • Actually in previous comments Jeremy said he had never personally experienced crashing issues with Open LP but he was sharing the concerns of others he knew of that had experienced issues.

        I think at least some of the strong reactions to the article as originally written over a year ago and now re-posted today is that many Open LP users have never or very rarely experienced any crashing issues in multiple years of regular use in live environments. It’s not fair to single out Open LP as the only one that might disrupt a worship experience when that’s not been the case for so many people and other programs are just as likely to experience occasional problems as well.

        The article also seems to suggest that Open LP is only an option for those who are in a small church, don’t have a larger budget or are willing to risk major problems during a worship service. I consider it a good option to for any size church with any budget to look into using. It may not be the right program for everyone though.

        I hope neither you nor Jeremy consider any of these comments in support of Open LP to be against either of you personally. I appreciate the information your site provides and your willingness to listen to and respond to concerns raised by readers when we have a different opinion. I think we all share the same goal of helping people to find good resources for ministry.

  28. I pastor a small missions work and we do not have a budget or enough money that would sustain a budget. As a former multimedia pastor i am used to the big name software and features they offer however it is not an option for us to buy them for this work. I was shown open lp from a friend of mine and have been a avid user for 3 years now. Only issue i ever had with is was from a microsoft upgrade that changes my sttings. Easy fix and has always run smooth for us. I use it to show 4-5 videos and power point slides each week. Its deffinitly worth the price!!!!!!

  29. Hey there! Just wanted to weigh in and say that we are a small church and have been using OpenLP for years without issues. The only time we had trouble was when we were using an underpowered laptop to run it, which wasn’t the fault of the software. I love having the remote and stage displays served on IP addresses, allowing any wifi-enabled device to work as a stage monitor or remote. Videos play smoothly and my sermon PowerPoints integrate easily. There have been some great features added in 2.2, and I will certainly continue to recommend it.

    I have used MediaShout at previous churches and actually had more trouble with it than with OpenLP, fwiw.

  30. We’re running OpenLP on an 8 year old Windows laptop and we’ve been using it for 7 years in every Sunday service (both morning and evening), and I don’t recall it ever crashing during a service. We’ve used all of the features during that time, whether video, powerpoint, web remote, backing tracks, etc without any trouble. I think the author may have been unlucky or just had a bad install! I’ve also recommended it to other churches who also to my knowledge run it without issues. I wholeheartedly recommend it!

  31. We have been using OpenLP for the last year and half and only had it crash once. This was caused by the old Windows XP computer we use and not OpenLP. When we can afford a new Notebook PC we will certainly continue to use OPENLP. The Android app along with the Apple app has made remote controlling OpenLP super easy. I have my Android Phone in my Choir folder and control the service projection for both regular church services and for Special Choir concerts. Can’t say enough about OpenLP being great for our uses.

  32. We’re a small church. I’ve run OpenLP on a Win7 laptop and a 64bit Win8 desktop over the last 2 years and it has only crashed when trying to import corrupted song backups. I set everything up in the morning and use the web remote on my android phone so I can join my wife in the pew. I’m also able to add custom HTML to slides and customized the web based stage view.

  33. I use open LP regularly at our small church – and have found it really useful. Its easy to use , easy to teach, and deals with media clips really effectively. (and I haven’t had it crash in 2 years!)

  34. I have been using open LP for the last 3 years, and find it to be rock solid reliable. Even after upgrading my OS to Windows 7, and then to 10, it is holding up very well. There are a couple of minor features I wish they could add, but you can’t argue about the price. And in my church, the media budget is whatever happens to be in my pocket at the time.

  35. Seems like this is a rehash blog, but anyway concerning OpenLP, I am a user and have never had that type of behavior using it. I don’t think it is fair saying something crashes all the time when it appears that may have just been a one time experience with no telling what could have been going on around the OpenLP install.

    • The blog post did run previously, however, it’s one of our top posts, and we know more people could appreciate helpful guidelines to help them choose worship software. Thanks for reading, Lauren

      • I don’t think it’s “helpful” when you repost exactly the same blog post from more than a year ago without updating it to reflect the facts. In the previous blog post, the original blogger admitted that he was incorrect in saying that he had personal experience of OpenLP crashing. There were a few people who commented on that post and said that OpenLP hadn’t crashed on them, so why repost the same false information again now?

        See the original comment admitting that he didn’t have personal experience with OpenLP crashing: https://churchtechtoday.com/2014/07/10/worship-guide/#comment-68472

      • Like the others, no problem going on 5 years maybe with OpenLP. Windows crashes more than OpenLP does. I understand this is a popular article, but you do your readers a disservice when you have limited info on the options that are free, and what you have is erroneous. And unless you’re in a rigid church setting, Powerpoint is far from a reasonable suggestion. OPenLP and OpenSong are far superior to it, because true worship is rarely linear. PPT has no flexibility, not good one.

  36. We subscribed to Share Faith which includes Share Faith Presenter. It’s basically a powerpoint plug in. It’s small scale and a good introductory solution for those seeking a more stable but cheap software to Open LP (which we currently use) The Song Select integration is great, however some creature comfort features are lacking, so maybe the more people who use it, the better the product will become. Can you offer any input on it?

    • Hey Tom, Thanks for chiming in! I keep seeing ShareFaith’s ads in magazines and online, but haven’t used them or talked to any churches using them. I’m going to reach out to them via email now to see if they can participate in this conversation. Cheers, Lauren

  37. We’ve been using OpenLP since launched over three years ago and we’ve never experienced a crash. I can’t imagine why your own personal experience with it suggests otherwise. It’s simply never happened for us after nearly 200 worship services. OpenLP is, in our experience, extremely stable, easy to use, and a great blessing to the church.

  38. We have been using VideoPsalm (Free, PC only) since 2012, to project songs, Bible verses and PowerPoints. VideoPsalm gives access to many songs and Bibles in several languages, and I particularly appreciate its instant full text search feature that doesn’t care about punctuation, accents and casing. One has to get used to it, but overall I find it very easy to use, more than other free or paid alternatives that I have tried before.

  39. We have been using OpenLP also for years. I’m not for sure what you have going on there but I have never had a crashy experience. I have a feeling if you would check with the devs they would help you out. At a minimum you should explore that opportunity before trashing the work of the developers. Also, its not just free, it is open source so those guys are doing it as a ministry.

  40. From George Lawson at Maranatha Community Church via email:

    I didn’t see ExaltNow (newest version is called ShareFaith Presenter) from ShareFaith.com listed, but this is an excellent program for small churches. It is a PowerPoint add-in program which adds basic worship features (insert Bible text, works directly with SongSelect CCLI, easy countdown timers, plays any video format) to the interface we are already so used to. ($99, PC Only)

    Thanks for the comment, George!

    • I’ve never heard of them before, I’ll have to look into it. That being said, PowerPoint may not be your ultimate goal in worship presentation software if you want to go further with your software.

  41. I guess my church would be considered a small church. We’ve only recently started projecting and we started with PowerPoint. We reviewed EasyWorship but we just didn’t have the $400 budget ($44,000 Jamaican dollars). So we’ve started using OpenLP. It is unstable. But I actually have not had any issues during a service. All my instability problems seem to happen while preparing a service. Somehow I have not managed to crash it while presenting. Based on your review above, it would imply that it’s only a matter of time before it does crash in a service. Have I interpreted you correctly?

    Have to say so far I haven’t complained. Given the cost, I’d say I’ve received value!