Church Presentation Software Must-Haves in 2021
Presentation software has come a long way since the early days of overhead projectors or PowerPoint just a few decades ago. The best modern solutions for the church incorporate rich media, including heavy video components. They also support dynamic content, live streaming, multiple simultaneous video inputs, and more. But most of all: they remain simple and volunteer-friendly enough that anyone can use them.
Notable Features of the Top Church Presentation Software in 2021
If you’re exploring the market, looking for a better solution, these are the must-have features and functions for church presentation software in 2021.
Easy To Use (for Volunteers and Staff, Not Just Techies and Experts)
The best presentation software for your church service is the software that your volunteers and staff can actually use and understand. If you’re going to introduce a brand-new solution to a team of volunteers and staff, you want it to be simple and intuitive.
Go for a PowerPoint alternative that’s intuitive for non-techies, but able to create presentations that look impressive. Point-and-click, and drag-and-drop editing should be standard, with easy, intuitive controls for adding media files at the last minute. You want to be able to find songs easily, pull in new songs from CCLI’s SongSelect quickly, and add Bible verses on the fly.
Feature-Rich Slide Editor
The 2000’s have come and gone, and a 2002-style PowerPoint presentation isn’t doing anything for your message (looking at you, WordArt). If you’re getting creative to convey a message, or just trying to stay looking clean and classy, you need a tool that goes beyond your basic Prezi presentation or Zoho show.
The feature-rich slide editor in ProPresenter 7 gives you powerful flexibility to create slides exactly how you want them to look. Transitions, bullet points, images, video, live video, and scrolling text all at the click of a button.
Multiple Display Outputs
The best modern presentation programs of 2021 offer the ability to customize multiple independent streams of content, such as ProPresenter’s Multiple Display Outputs.
With multiple displays in ProPresenter 7, only your computer’s hardware is the limit to how many screens you can present on at any given time. Display lyrics or scripture on the lower third output of your live stream, send content to an announcements screen in your lobby, and project motion backgrounds and lyrics to your main congregation screens all at the same time.
Confidence Monitor Output
Today’s church environments have multimedia complexity: the exact feed for the livestream may not be the same as what you want to show in the lobby or in other parts of your campus. But most crucially, what your platform personnel need to see is often different than what you want your congregation to see.
Microsoft PowerPoint attempts something like this functionality with its presenter view. But this solution is clearly designed for the conference room, not the sanctuary. And PowerPoint doesn’t allow you dynamic control of more than one stream, either.
Confidence Monitor Output gives you an easy way to output an entirely additional stream to your platform personnel, with text, graphics and videos the pastor, speaker, or leader can access for reminders of what comes next or presenter-specific notes.
This is a powerful feature for worship services of all sizes, and it takes a purpose-built solution to get it. You won’t get this kind of functionality from PowerPoint, in Keynote, or with your Prezi video files.
Live Streaming Integration
Today’s presentation solutions are capable of far more than putting slides on a screen. The good ones integrate smoothly with your existing live streaming solutions. But the best ones? They are the streaming solution.
ProPresenter can output live streams with RTMP for streaming to social media channels like Facebook, and video streaming sites like YouTube, but also offers resilient, high-quality streaming via Resi. Resi is a professional-grade video encoder designed for bulletproof streaming. This means you can go live directly from ProPresenter 7 — you don’t need a second computer or hardware encoder to stream. This is perfect for churches with a tight budget, who want to do everything from a single computer.
ProPresenter also allows you to record your presentation output, switch between multiple video inputs and cameras (including with transition effects), and all be done by a single volunteer.
Running a high-quality live stream can be complex, but your software solution doesn’t need to be. ProPresenter is a well-integrated one-stop platform both for creating your presentations and sharing them via live stream.
That said, if you already have a streaming solution in place and are happy with it, ProPresenter is compatible there, too.
Works Across Multiple Operating Systems
Both Microsoft and Apple (and to a lesser degree, Google Slides) compete in the presentation tool space, but they have a funny way of going about it. PowerPoint looks and works differently on Windows and MacOS, often with font incompatibilities and other quirks when you switch between the two. Keynote isn’t compatible natively with Windows at all.
The best presentation software solutions offer a high degree of cross-platform compatibility. They work as similar as possible on PC as they do on a Mac, and they can support devices of all types for various roles.
Can Export and Import Files, Presentations and Templates/Themes
Who among us hasn’t given a presentation with PowerPoint and faced the dreaded “broken media” curse? It’s almost a rite of passage in some college classrooms and even some business conference rooms.
If you’re not sure what we mean, here’s the setting: you’re giving a speech, presentation, or lecture, and you want to make it dynamic and engaging. You drop in a piece of audio or a video clip. It works when you test it—even on multiple devices to be sure. But when you’re actually at the front talking, you click on the media, and nothing happens.
It’s embarrassing when this happens in class. But when it happens in church? It’s awkward, distracting and unprofessional.
Presentation software in 2021 needs to have the ability to seamlessly import and export entire presentations made in that software, including the videos, pictures, music, bullet points, and slides you spent a lot of time on.
Rearrange Groups of Slides on the Fly
Screwing up the lyrics at the wrong moment can ruin a worship atmosphere. The band has prepped another stanza, but the screens bounce between the first 3 verses and chorus instead.
Fortunately, ProPresenter introduced Quick Edit, Reflow, and Arrangements to let your volunteers edit the song as quickly as possible. Quick Edit is great for fixing typos on the fly, Reflow lets you edit where the slide breaks are in a song, quickly, and Arrangements can move groups of slides like a chorus or bridge around within the song, fixing the lyric flow problem in seconds.
Professional Video Outputs
As churches are going online, many are investing in video switchers to increase their production, and not every presentation tool is keeping up.
If you end up investing in professional video gear that uses SDI or NDI outputs, PowerPoint and Keynote will shrug and say “good luck.” There’s no native support for these video outputs, so you have to use additional hardware or software to send your presentation into the rest of your video system.
ProPresenter has built-in support for professional video outputs, including SDI, NDI and Syphon. This means you don’t have to export your content to another video solution first; you can run everything directly in ProPresenter 7.
Remote Control from the App (via Tablet or Phone)
Today’s presenters have largely moved on from advancing presentations with a keyboard and mouse. This is definitely the case in church settings as well. Even the “PowerPoint clicker” that was ubiquitous in the 2000s is less and less common today.
More common today is having the AV team control the presentation, but many speakers still prefer to have control from the front. Whether the presenter or the AV team is controlling the presentation, having a mobile, app-based control is essential in 2021.
Controlling a presentation from the remote app on a tablet or phone is a seamless way to do it, and it allows control from the same network anywhere there is WiFi.
Integrations with 3rd Party Software
No matter how fully featured (or not) your chosen presentation software is, you may at times need more than what your chosen solution offers. For that reason, it’s important that modern presentation software providers offer integrations with the right third-party solutions.
ProPresenter integrates with two of the top church-oriented solutions on the market today. CCLI’s SongSelect allows you to easily import song lyrics, while Planning Center Online integration allows you to import pre-arranged service Shows.
Easy Inclusion of Copyright Notices
Yes, this process is annoying. But it’s a lot less annoying when your presentation software does this in an automated or semi-automated way. With PowerPoint, you’re manually typing notices and resizing fonts.
But not in ProPresenter. Tick the box to enable copyright, set it up once, then forget about it, ProPresenter will show the copyright information every place it should.
ProPresenter: Built for the Church, for 2021 and Beyond
If you’re looking for a church presentation software solution that checks all these boxes (and plenty more), ProPresenter 7 is it. We built ProPresenter for the church, and beyond. We’ve included support for countless unique use cases that show up specifically in houses of worship so you have the resources to run high-quality services.
ProPresenter is a purpose-built solution, one that will powerfully meet your worship presentation software needs. Want to learn more? Download the free trial and leave the limitations of free church presentation software behind.