Compare The Best Presentation Software for Churches: Free & Paid Versions
Comparing The Best Worship Presentation Software in 2023
Are you looking to enhance how your church produces and displays content during worship services?
There are a ton of options available in the church presentation software market. Each offering a unique mix of features, strengths, weaknesses, and some natural overlap in capabilities.
Researching the available worship software options is time and resource-intensive, so we created this guide to help you better understand and choose church worship software that best meets your needs.
Questions to Ask When Considering Presentation Software for Churches
When considering new worship software, several important questions should be addressed to ensure the selected software aligns with your church’s current needs, future growth, and technological infrastructure.
Here are some questions to consider.
Functionality & Features
- What are our primary needs in worship software?
- Does the software support seamless integration of video, images, and text?
- Can it handle multiple screen displays and stage outputs?
- Are there advanced features for managing lower thirds, broadcast output, or live streaming?
Ease of Use
- How user-friendly is the software interface?
- Is there a steep learning curve for our volunteers and staff?
- Are training materials and tutorials readily available?
- Is the software compatible with our current hardware and operating system?
- Can it integrate with other software or platforms we currently use?
Scalability & Flexibility
- Will the software be able to accommodate our growth over the next several years?
- Is it customizable to fit our church’s unique needs and presentation style?
Cost & Licensing
- What is the total cost of ownership, including initial purchase, potential add-ons, and upgrades?
- Are there recurring fees? If so, how often and how much?
- How does the licensing work? Is it per device, per user, or something else?
Support & Community
- What kind of customer support does the software company provide? Is it responsive and helpful?
- Is there an active community of users who can provide peer support, share templates, or give advice?
Live Streaming & Recording Capabilities
- If we’re broadcasting our services online, does the software have built-in live streaming tools?
- Can it handle recording services for later playback or distribution?
- How reliable is the software? Are there known bugs or issues?
- How often is the software updated, and are these updates smooth or disruptive?
Integrations & Extensions
- Does the software support integration with other tools, like Planning Center, CCLI SongSelect ProContent, or church management software?
- Are there third-party plugins or extensions available to enhance its functionality?
Backup & Recovery
- Does the software provide features for backing up presentations?
- How easy is it to recover or restore data if something goes wrong?
Testimonials & Reviews
- What do other churches, especially ones similar in size and style to ours, say about the software?
- Are there any red flags or recurring issues mentioned in reviews?
- Is there a mobile app or remote control functionality for the software?
- Can our team make last-minute changes or control aspects of the presentation from a tablet or phone?
Below, we’ve compiled brief reviews of 11 top solutions in our worship presentation software comparison.
We’ve done our best to take a fair look at each app’s capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses as relates to churches.
We’ve included a healthy mix of solutions: you’ll find free, freemium, and paid products in this guide.
Some of these are aimed at general markets, while the majority are church-specific or at least church-focused.
Let’s get started with the free church presentation software solutions available today.
Free Church Presentation Software Comparison
Churches looking for a free worship presentation solution have a few options to consider. Some of these are general-market solutions, while others are designed specifically for the church.
Unfortunately, several church-oriented free options are severely lacking in features or are no longer being updated. For those reasons, we aren’t including solutions like Quela, Songs of Songs, VideoPsalm, or OpenSong in the list below.
For being free, OpenLP is a surprisingly well-rounded presentation solution.
It’s built specifically for churches, which means it supports importing songs and Scripture from numerous sources.
It also offers Android and iOS remote control apps, supports network-connected stage monitors (confidence monitors), and custom slides (supporting sermon notes, liturgy, announcements, and more). It’s also a true cross-platform solution, including Linux operating system and FreeBSD support.
Compatibility is wide-ranging, with support for PowerPoint, PDF and Impress files, plus a video/audio integration using VLC.
OpenLP is an open-source, volunteer-driven project, and it’s not perfect.
While there’s plenty of documentation, live support is a bit thin since you’re reaching out to the volunteers who create and maintain the app.
There are still plenty of features missing here compared to higher-end paid solutions, too.
Still, if you’re committed to sticking with free solutions for your presentation software solution, OpenLP is likely your best bet.
For most ministries, using software for churches rather than something built for the conference room just makes sense.
Google Slides is Google’s answer to PowerPoint. It’s designed for the classroom and the conference room, not for church services. Still, it’s lightweight and easy to use, and just about everyone can access the platform since it’s free.
Lightweight isn’t always a bad thing. But in this case, it almost seems easier to list what you can’t do in Google Slides than what you can.
You can throw a presentation up on the big screen and edit slides with the drag and drop slide editor. But you won’t be able to run a confidence monitor output.
There’s no Scripture database and no easy way to import lyrics and Bible verses. There’s no remote control support and no robust support for video files (like looping them underneath other content).
Google Slides is a great tool in certain contexts, like board rooms. But for use in your worship service, it’s not a great solution.
Prezi is a new-school alternative to PowerPoint and Google Slides, with a heavy emphasis on educational use. The product’s most recent iteration (thanks to COVID) dove heavily into videoconferencing.
Most of the criticisms mentioned for Google Slides apply here, too: the tool can do a lot, including some really cool animations. But it just isn’t designed for churches, and it’s missing a wealth of functionality you’d use every week.
Like other general market solutions, these are things you won’t find in Prezi:
- Ability to import lyrics and Bible verses
- Support for stage displays
- Remote apps
- Ability to send different parts of content to different display feeds
- Integration with SongSelect or Planning Center
Keynote is technically a free solution — but only if you’ve bought a new Mac in the last few years. It’s another general-market solution roughly on par with PowerPoint, Prezi, and Google Slides regarding church capabilities.
We’re not saying those three apps are equal in general-market contexts. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. But for the church market, all those distinctions are less relevant because the flaws are the same: no support for the sorts of things church AV teams need to do every Sunday.
Keynote has an edge in terms of visuals: the prebuilt themes are crisp and engaging, leveraging images and videos and allowing you to create more attractive content. On the other hand, it’s severely hampered by Apple’s exclusivity.
The Keynote app runs only on Macs and iOS devices, and its files don’t enjoy broad support in most other tools.
Keynote might make sense for a small church with a single Mac and projector. But in larger environments, the limitations and exclusivity make Keynote a tough sell.
Paid Worship Presentation Software Comparison
Churches and houses of worship turn to paid worship presentation software for numerous reasons: many need to do more than what free solutions can accomplish, or they want more quality, flexibility, and intuitiveness.
These are seven of the best and most popular options for which you’ll have to pay to use.
ProPresenter is the industry standard for a reason.
Designed first for churches and houses of worship, ProPresenter now serves customers in all live presentation and broadcast contexts, from micro churches and home groups, to the 100 biggest churches in the USA to Congress and the Olympics.
It’s a professional caliber, fully-featured, top-tier worship presentation software solution that’s simple enough for volunteers to learn quickly but with powerful features and integrations capable of meeting the needs of the most complex presentation environments.
ProPresenter also doesn’t have to delineate between edit and display modes, so you can edit typos on the fly without disrupting a service in progress.
It also has integrations with ProContent, MultiTracks.com, Planning Center Online, and CCLI’s SongSelect, so you can import new song lyrics instantly.
Users can distribute lyrics, slides, images, and videos across seven layers, and configure which layers get sent to which displays and feeds.
ProPresenter has many other features, including professional outputs, live streaming, dynamic text scaling, linked text boxes, text fields driven by external data sources, conditional element visibility, and live video and camera support.
To sum up, ProPresenter is a church presentation solution that outpaces and outperforms the competition.
Worship Extreme (Presenter)
Presenter by WE, which until recently was known as Worship Extreme, describes itself as a “sleek and lightweight” church presentation solution.
One of the big differentiators for this product is its cloud integration: users create content locally, which is automatically synced to the cloud, and available from any licensed device.
Presenter supports Google Slides integration and can convert PowerPoint slides to its own format. There’s song lyric importing from numerous formats, plus separate apps for remote and stage display.
Presenter is a freemium product with tiered levels of features and service. The free version doesn’t include a stage display, support for multiple outputs, or mobile remotes. There are also some added costs, for things like some Bible translations.
Presenter includes a few unique functions not replicated the same elsewhere, like audience polling and LiveSwap integration.
A subscription to WE includes Presenter, Planning, and Music Stand, which are WE’s proprietary worship apps, and work together quite nicely.
It’s the presentation app you’ve known for years. PowerPoint has grown since it was released in the 90s, and can do more than ever today while still maintaining the same core feature set everyone’s familiar with.
But PowerPoint is only PowerPoint: it’s not trying to be church presentation software. You won’t find Bibles, lyric integrations, or support for multiple outputs, automation, or scheduling. You can use it to display lyrics to worship songs — you’ll just be doing a lot of copying, pasting, and formatting.
If you’re deeply integrated with Microsoft 365, PowerPoint may look convenient. But when you consider everything it can’t do, it’s a weak choice among paid solutions.
EasyWorship seeks to find the balance between power and simplicity, and it does so fairly well (with a few notable limitations).
The focus here is definitely on slide design, with different tabs for songs, scripture, media, presentations, and themes. Media integration includes content from several providers, which is a nice touch.
There’s a remote app for Android and iOS, allowing you to send alerts to the stage or audience. There’s support for a stage view or confidence monitor as well. Overall, in terms of design and capabilities, EasyWorship seems more limited than some other options.
EasyWorship is one of only a few solutions to include broadcasting support, which is a big plus. If you’re looking for a solution that supports Alpha Channel, Blackmagic, NewTek NDI and Tricaster AirSend, EasyWorship can do the job.
EasyWorship does have a few limitations you should be aware of. First, it’s Windows-only, and the app includes native support for English alone.
Proclaim is available as part of the Faithlife suite of products, and you might recognize them as the creators of the well-known Logos Bible Software.
Proclaim is a cloud-based app that allows multiple users to collaborate in real-time. It has a great set of integrations, including SongSelect, CCLI, Logos, and the higher-level subscription come with an extensive media library of motion graphics and video clips.
The slide editor is adequate, though a bit different than others. It’s easy to use, but it’s not revolutionary. In some ways, the Faithlife ecosystem is like Microsoft 365 for churches. The power isn’t in any single app or service; it’s in the deep integrations.
However, of all the ones listed here, Proclaim is the most expensive option. The software is only a subscription, which, depending on church size and features, ranges between $200 to $1175 per year. The website suggests the most popular option for the average small church is $300/year.
At $399 per year, MediaShout is a higher-tier paid worship presentation software that used to be more popular, and still deserves mention.
The slide editor is powerful, even supporting advanced features like scrolling text. There’s support for stage screens with limited customization, audio and props layers, and audio playlists.
Strangely, MediaShout used to be cross-platform but went Windows-only in its latest release (sorry, Mac users!), while its remote app is iOS-only.
Unique capabilities here include a sermon builder, and support for an announcements layer or rotating mode. Volunteer Mode turns MediaShout’s settings and edit functions off and simplifies the control interface so that anyone can run a show with minimal training.
MediaShout doesn’t include a media store or any free databases, which is a surprising omission. There’s also no support for live streaming, SDI, or NDI.
SongShow Plus is a bit of a dark horse, less well-known than others on this list. It’s Windows-only (and Android-only as far as remote apps), but otherwise it’s a pretty impressive application. It can display pretty much any media type, including web pages, and supports YouTube and Vimeo playback. The slide editor is deeper than most, with support for advanced functions like image masking, reflections, colorization, and more.
Integration with Shift Worship pulls in numerous motions, videos, and still backgrounds, helping users make their worship presentations more vibrant and engaging.
As the tool’s name suggests, SongShow Plus is all about the slideshow itself. There’s no support for advanced functions like live streaming, multiple content streams, and so forth. But for a mid-tier solution, SongShow Plus produces high-quality presentations and offers robust editing tools.
Worship Presentation Software Comparison At a Glance
Want to see how the various tools we’ve included in our worship presentation software comparison list stack up, feature for feature?
Click on our interactive comparison chart below!