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How to Choose the Best Church Presentation Software

Selecting and implementing the best church presentation software for your ministry is a big job.

Both knowing what you need and learning what’s out there on the market can take significant time and even technical skills. Then combining the two, figuring out which solutions offer which features, can be downright overwhelming.

If you’re not quite sure how to get started on choosing the best church presentation software, one that’s designed to meet the needs of ministries like yours, this guide will help.

The first step? Compiling a list of your must-have features.

Start by Compiling a List of Must-Have Features

The first step in choosing the best church presentation software for your ministry is to know what you need. This may sound obvious, but it’s a crucial step that often gets skipped. It’s also a more complex step than it may sound, encompassing several different categories that you’ll want to think through:

  • Current functionality
  • Pain points with current solution
  • Edge cases (special events with more intricate AV needs)
  • Future capabilities

First, current functionality. Think through your current AV approach to a typical service. What features and functions do you regularly rely on in your current presentation tool? Add those to your list, since a solution that can’t match your current one certainly isn’t the right move to make.

Next, what are the pain points with your current solution, the things that you regularly wish you could do but can’t, or that are more difficult or time-consuming than you want them to be? Add those to your list as well.

You’re on the right track now, but don’t stop just yet. Next is thinking through edge cases. 

Think back to your last few bigger or special events (Christmas, Easter, special conferences or concerts). What roadblocks did you encounter in terms of presentations? These aren’t everyday problems, but your ideal worship presentation software would accommodate them.

Last up is future capabilities. If your church is growing or if you’re likely to implement some specific technology changes in the next few years, you’ll want to think through what capabilities you’ll need soon — even if you don’t need them yet.

screenshot of ProPresenter worship software

Not Sure Which Features You Need?

If you’ve been running church AV for a while, you probably have a good idea already about your presentation software needs. But if you’re new to the role or are making the decision in a volunteer capacity, we understand that formulating a list from scratch might seem a little daunting.

To get you started, here are some features you’ll likely want to explore. Make sure your chosen solution offers the level of support you need.

Editing Features

First up is a robust set of slide editing features. Creating beautiful, easy-to-read presentations is still priority number one, and doing this requires the right tools. Look for a solution with an advanced, pro-grade slide editor with support for professional-quality images and video, drag and drop editing features, and so on.

Ideally, you want a solution that’s intuitive enough that beginners can start working quickly, yet powerful enough to create beautiful, immersive content for your Sunday morning church services.

The best presentation software for your church will also contain quality of life improvements, like automatic text scaling and intuitive, automatic support for a variety of display sizes, from the big screen to the lobby to your stage displays.

Screenshot of ProPresenter worship software

Support for Multiple Displays and Customized Content

Speaking of the big screen (or any other screens), most churches need a modern presentation solution that can support multiple displays and display types. This is fairly common among paid church-oriented products, though you’ll certainly encounter technical limits with free church presentation software.

Supporting an appropriate number of outputs and display types is a good first step, but you also want to make sure you can send the right content to those displays. You might not want to send the exact same content to every connected display.

For example, many churches display the main presentation feed on the primary screen or screens in the auditorium but show something different in the lobby or overflow rooms (like a video or livestream feed). You might also want a separate announcement feed going to a kiosk. And, of course, your stage displays need their own version of the content (perhaps containing information for the musicians or even sermon notes).

The best solutions can support multiple independent content streams, allowing you to achieve the scenario we just described — or something even more complicated than that — from within a single presentation file.

ProPresenter supports multiple video inputs and display outputs within a single show, and thanks to seven eight distinct layers of content, it’s easy to customize what content feeds to which displays.

Credit to @iizrra on Instagram for the phone.

Cross-Platform Compatibility

Obviously, you’ll need a solution that supports your operating system of choice, whether Windows or macOS. But for best results, don’t settle for a solution that’s limited to one or the other. You never know when a guest speaker might show up with a MacBook Pro (or a sturdy Lenovo) and be dead set on using it.

Make sure to notice whether there’s support for mobile devices as well, perhaps for use as a remote control.

Song Database, Copyright, and Bible Version Integration

Next up, consider what level of integration you want your software solution to have in terms of lyrics and Bible translations. If you regularly display lyrics or Scripture texts during the worship service, better integration will save you huge amounts of time compared to manually typing or copying, pasting, and formatting this content.

Look for a solution that can automatically import songs from CCLI SongSelect or Planning Center — and automatically place appropriate copyright information, too. And be sure to note which Bible translations are included with your purchase. (ProPresenter includes 125 translations across 36 languages.)

ProPresenter has smart automated tools that allow you to import songs (with copyright lines) and Scripture texts. You’ll be quickly and beautifully displaying lyrics and Scripture texts in far less time than if you choose a tool like PowerPoint or Google Slides.

ProPresenter even includes the ability to import two Bible translations simultaneously, perfect if you’re preparing presentations for a multilingual congregation.

Control Methods

Next up, make sure to think about how your tech team (and/or your pastors and speakers) will want to control presentations. Do you want everything to be centrally controlled from the booth? Or will you need other, more flexible arrangements (even if only every once in a while)?

Some solutions (including ProPresenter) offer remote control via a remote app for tablets or smartphones. Using an app-based remote opens up a world of options: someone can control the show from anywhere in the building, or the speaker can control it directly without relying on an outdated clicker or a tech team volunteer.

Media Support and Live Streaming Capabilities

Many churches are moving beyond static text-on-background slides and need more robust media support. Make sure you choose a solution that supports the use of video files, whether they’re embedded into a slide or being used as a background across multiple slides or an entire show.

Support for live streaming is another consideration. Yes, you can run your live stream through external software, but in some situations, it makes more sense to keep everything in a central software location. ProPresenter is powerful enough that you can run your livestream from within your presentation software, pushing content out to your streaming platform of choice.

What Happens During the Show

When you’re building new shows week by week — sometimes multiple shows within a single week—mistakes are bound to happen. But what happens with your current solution when you notice a mistake mid-show?

Do you have a way to correct that mistake? Or would doing so require exiting the running presentation and hastily making a fix, hoping that the show can get pushed back into presentation mode before the song falls apart or the speaker gets lost?

This scenario happens countless times, every weekend. And yet many presentation solutions don’t have any elegant solutions to the problem. Because they’re based on separate “edit” and “present” modes, once you hit “present,” you’re stuck.

ProPresenter is different. With no separate edit and present modes, you can make edits on the fly, fixing current or future slides without stopping or disrupting what’s happening in the moment. This is a huge advantage that saves our customers plenty of embarrassment and keeps audiences immersed in the worship service.

Evaluate the Competition and Consider Pricing Options

Once you’ve developed your (hopefully lengthy) list of priorities, it’s time to start evaluating the available options.

This can take a ton of time, though, so we’ll save you the trouble: ProPresenter includes every single one of the features and functions mentioned above. None of the competition hits every point.

Pricing options are the next consideration, and these can vary pretty widely both in actual cost and pricing structure. ProPresenter is priced transparently, with both seat licenses and campuswide (up to 20 seats) licenses available.

The ProPresenter Difference

Given how comprehensive ProPresenter is compared to the competition, we believe the choice is clear. ProPresenter will take your church presentations to the next level and can support even the most complex of church environments—yet it’s easy enough to use that volunteers and smaller ministries love it, too.

Curious how ProPresenter compares to another solution you’re considering or currently using? Great question! See our competitor posts, which outline the differences between ProPresenter and other solutions on the market:

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