Presentation software - worship at the click of a mouse : Friday, Aug. 12, 2005
August 12 2005 by Jeremy Watson

Presentation software - worship at the click of a mouse : Friday, Aug. 12, 2005
Friday, Aug. 12, 2005

Presentation software - worship at the click of a mouse

By Jeremy Watson
BR Intern

The sound of pages rapidly turning before a prayer ends is less common now that many congregations look up, not down, when they sing hymns and recite passages.

With presentation software, an adequate projector and trained technicians, churches can display everything from lyrics and announcements to sermon notes and pictures on screens or walls instead of hymnals or bulletin inserts. Some software can even enhance services with media that hymnals and bulletin inserts could never produce.

"It provides much more flexibility and creativity in presentation and in song selection," says Chad Hall, pastor of Connection Church in Hickory and "new generation pastors" coach at the Baptist State Convention.

Software options for churches vary from programs designed for business presentations, like PowerPoint, to those explicitly developed for worship, such as SongShow Plus.

Here is an overview of four of the most used presentation programs in worship.

PowerPoint 2003

Developer: Microsoft

Price: $229 for new users; $109 as an upgrade from the 1997-2002 PowerPoint versions or any version of Microsoft XP, Microsoft Office 2000, Microsoft Office 97 and Microsoft Works; comes pre-installed on some newer computers

Compatibility: Windows or Mac

According to LifeWay, "Statistics show that around 90 percent of churches that show multimedia during worship use Microsoft PowerPoint."

One reason for PowerPoint's popularity is its ease of use. Users can create slide shows by simply choosing a template and entering text and images on each new slide.

In addition, PowerPoint 2003 offers audio and video capability and the option to make non-linear presentations, features that previous versions were lacking.

MediaShout 3

Developer: MediaComplete

Price: $429

Compatibility: Windows only, but a Mac version is in the works

The newly released MediaShout 3 includes unique features, such as a database of 52 versions of the Bible, the ability to play DVD clips and a live editing feature that lets users create and preview slides instantly during worship.

A useful component MediaShout shares with the other two worship programs reviewed is dual-monitor support. This option, which requires two graphics cards, allows worship planners to show an audience only what they want them to see when editing presentations.

Other features these three programs have in common are the ability to import and edit PowerPoint slides and song lyrics from CCLI-created SongSelect's U.S. database of 6,000 worship songs and support for a variety of audio and video formats.

EasyWorship 2.3

Developer: Softouch

Price: $399

Compatibility: Windows only

EasyWorship 2.3 is lauded for its intuitive interface. Trial users say it is simple to use.

Other advantages of EasyWorship are that it enables users to import songs from SongSelect in one click and to type anti-aliased text (text without ragged edges), including lyrics, over video.

The software also has more than 100 video transitions and cross fades.

SongShow Plus 5.5

Developer: Fowler

Price: $499.95

Compatibility: Windows only

With the latest version of SongShow Plus and SmartChurch, an add-on module sold separately, worship planners can control CD and DVD players, switch projectors on and off, and lower or raise screens, all without leaving their seats.

SmartChurch, a "black box," connects electronic equipment to computers and SongShow Plus 5.5 allows users to operate these devices with a mouse. Churches need to find out if their electronics are SmartChurch certified before making a purchase (visit for details).

Another option that sets SongShow Plus apart is its advanced search engine for finding songs stored from SongSelect.

There are dozens of presentation programs on the market and most offer free trial versions on their websites. Churches should experiment with different programs to discover which is best for them.

8/12/2005 12:00:00 AM by Jeremy Watson | with 0 comments

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