The main things that all of these various softwares have in common are these following features; if they don’t have them, they are really not worth using.
- CCLI/SongSelect integration – This means you can access all of the lyric content via the church’s Christian Copyright License right inside the program. No having to type out all of the lyrics. 95% of the songs you would likely use will have their lyrics posted with CCLI.
- Powerpoint/Keynote integration – You can import and use Powerpoint and Keynote presentations within the larger presentation software. Most support Powerpoint, a few support Keynote.
- Media integration – This is one of the biggest features that these programs have. You are able to place your video, audio, website, even use live video feeds right in the program. With some of them you are able to cue up a specific section on a DVD, and have it play just that section.
- Moving video backgrounds – This is one of the cool features of these various programs; you are able to use looping video backgrounds with your song lyrics instead of a static background.
- Bible integration – Again, most of these programs come standard with a set of Bibles, so you can search for a verse, and have it up on the screen in seconds. There is generally an option to purchase other Bible versions as well.
- The bottom line feature for these programs is the ability to change things on the fly without having to blank the screen or some other such thing. Forgot to put one of the songs in the schedule, or a video illustration for the sermon? It’s just a click away and nobody knew that there was an issue
Most of these programs have demo versions, so you can try them out before purchasing; the demo period can be from 7 to 30 days depending on the software.
EasyWorship – http://www.easyworship.com/
This software is, in my opinion, the best choice on the market, not because it has all the bells and whistles, but because it is the most straight forward in terms of it’s use. The only issue is that it is not cross-platform, although they are in process of making a Mac version, but that has been in development for several years, so who knows when it will come out. This comes with a site license, so you can install it on any computer in the church at no extra cost. (currently windows only)
Media Shout – http://www.mediashout.com/
I have only used a demo of Media Shout, and that was several years ago. I wasn’t super-impressed, but I was used to using Easyworship. It has changed a lot since then, so I assume it is greatly improved. It comes with a 3-computer license, and to be honest, you wouldn’t likely need it for more than that. (cross-platform)
ProPresenter – http://www.renewedvision.com/
ProPresenter is the big up and comer in church presentation software. They have more features than anything on the market; it has modules you can add for more features. I have never used this software, but have seen it in action. (cross-platform)
Live Worship – http://www.liveworship.com/
I used the demo of this several years ago. It looked like it could be a good alternative. (cross-platform)
SongShow Plus – http://songshowplus.com/
This was one of the first church presentation programs. Still going strong. (windows only)
OpenLP – http://openlp.org/
OpenLP is a free, open source alternative for presentation software. It’s pretty good for a free product, and is supported on Mac, Windows and Linux platforms. (cross-platform)
Proclaim – http://www.proclaimonline.com/
Proclaim is cloud-based, and is a product of Logos Bible Software, which means it could be a really good product. They have a sliding pricing scale dependent on the size of the church. (cross-platform)
This list is not definitive; there are a few more programs out there, but these are most widely used. With a little research, you can find the solution that works best for your church.