Worship Software for Semi-Traditional Church?

Its a question . . . not a solution.

A church in Scotland wants to move from transparencies on the overhead to computer and projector. . Nothing fancy. Nothing too alternative/emerging. No worship karaoke or resident VJ’s mixing live feeds. Just choruses and words on a screen. Can someone recommend the way to go? Is MediaShout still a viable option or are churches still using powerpoint? Should they buy into a licensing scheme? Any open source resources out there for pre-emerging churches? Help!

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

21 Comments

  • We use PowerPoint, and it is still very workable. The plus side is, almost everybody knows how it works. The downside is…ummm, it still looks like PowerPoint.

  • I can’t say enough for MediaShout. I’ve taken a look at everything out there because my church just went through the process of looking for software. MediaShout’s more powerful (especially v3) than anything else.
    MediaShout automatically comes with two licenses, but if they need more, I think 2 extra licenses are $200 (in addition to purchase price) and a full site license is $500 (in addition to purchase price).
    MediaShout can play PowerPoint files.

  • Try OpenOffice.org, its basically an alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite. It doesn’t do anything much more fancy than Word/Excel/Powerpoint do, but its opensource software – so there are no licensing fees – and it too, can read all the Microsoft formats (powerpoint, excel, word).

  • We’re still using Powerpoint, again because most people know it.
    Another Open Source program that I looked at is OpenLP (http://www.openlp.org/) although I’m not sure when it will get to the long promised version 1.0.

  • We use Song Show Plus in our fairly traditional church. Sooo much better than powerpoint. I literally trained several people to run it in less than 5 minutes (and they had never used Power Point before) I don’t know how much it costs because we got it from Fowler bundled with our projector. They have demo disks. Also, if you do want to go cheap, Open Office works almost just as good as power point..

  • We use powerpoint (pp), first because it came with the computer (cheap) and second because it is easy to use. Couple of suggestions if you use pp:
    – create large images for text & pics (don’t use pp text). I use PaintShop Pro to create all images and then insert into pp.
    – if you are collaborating with others, you can use save as .html feature to put the slideshow on the web for review.
    – more info @ http://plchurch.org/techtues/pp.htm
    Kim

  • Easyworship is popular, so is PowerPoint… but remember: “Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.”
    OO.o has “Impress” which does basically all of what PowerPoint does, but for free.
    As far as open source / free…. I’m not really sure what’s wrong with html for this… don’t even need a webserver, just load it from a folder in a full-screen browser.
    Of course, I figured the ultimate would be a Zope server, where once configured, you could take worship song lyrics in basically any format, dump it in the database, and output whatever other format you want (e.g., html with a common stylesheet). Could be great for churches with multiple worship leaders.

  • We use “Words of Worship” It cost about £100 but is very easy to use and had a load of songs on it. Some one in our church went through and typed the whole of “Mission Praise” in, if any one wants a copy get in touch and I’ll forward it on.
    There is an open source solution, but I can’t seem to find it. I’ll have a look and let you know. We found it after we had paid for WOW otherwise we probably would have used that.

  • If you want to display songs Zion Works is very useable. It claims to be able to operate PowerPoint as well but we find it always crashes. The beauty of Zion Works is that it is free! We loaded all the songs from the CD’s that come with Songs of Fellowship. There are some backgrounds that come with it but you can easily add more. I also noticed that they have just upgraded so must go off and download it now. http://www.zionworx.org.uk/download.htm

  • I can’t rave enough about the abilities of Mediashout. Argueably the best software for worship purposes. I’ve used powerpoint and it’s more clumsy then mediashout. Other worship software seems to lack in comparison as well.

  • While I’m sure that I haven’t done all the cool stuff there is to do with PowerPoint, I think I’ve gotten pretty handy at it, and I’ve been able to do some pretty cool stuff.
    Even without using PaintShopPro, you can use WordArt and do some nice stuff. It does have it’s limitations, but I would say that in a “semi-emerging” church, PowerPoint can do all you need it to. I’ve used movie clips and all kinds of stuff in that software.

  • I recommend Easyworship – good price, powerful and flexible, can import Powerpoint (so we have liturgy on some Powerpoint slides) and with nice still or moving backgrounds. We use it in a ‘traditional’ as well as an alt. setting. Fr. S+

  • I wouldn’t use anything other than SundayPlus, http://www.sundayplus.com. They have an international download for a couple hundred quid (unlimited site license for churches), and it’s by far the easiest software for volunteers.
    Fletch
    Vancouver, BC

  • On open source, I don’t know that reaching 1.0 matters. In the commercial world, a 1.0 is the first time a product sees light, and it’s really a marketing decision.
    In the open source world, a product is “in the world” from its first 0.0.1 release. The 1.0 label is generally applied only when all the original objectives have been met. It’s a leadership decision, not a marketing decision.
    Release 1.0 is tender and scary in the commercial world, but there is very little fear of 0.8 or 0.9 open source products, since it’s been in users’ hands since probably 0.1 or 0.2 and has had many revisions on the way to 1.0.
    No guarantees: each product runs a little differently, but I’d not be too worried about open source software like OpenLP not being “1.0” right now.

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