Presentation software is an essential in today’s church. Making the choice to get presentation software for your church is an easy one. But selecting the right product that meets your church’s needs is becoming less and less straightforward with the multitude of great products available on the market today. But the good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.
Whether you are considering an upgrade or a new presentation software purchase, the selection process can be straightforward and quite easy if you are willing to put in a little bit of up-front effort. I have been using the four-step process below for several years now, and I believe it can help you too. So let’s dig in and take a look:
Step 1 – Document your service workflow activities.
If you have not gone through this exercise yet, you need to. Whether it’s on a Post-it note, a napkin or you do a full-blown visio diagram, take the time to understand what service workflow activities are occurring from one phase to the next in your church service. A simple example would look like this:
Pre-Service Phase (examples)
- 5:45 p.m. – Doors open – Worship DVD is playing on side screens and on campus TVs, announcement graphics are rotating on center screen.
- 5:55 p.m. – All three screens switch over to five-minute video countdown timer.
- 6 p.m. – Service begins.
Mid-Service Phase (examples)
- 6:01 p.m. to 6:35 p.m. – Worship service, iMag with lower-third song lyrics on side screens and campus TVs, motion backgrounds on center screen.
- 6:36 p.m. to 6:44 p.m. – Video announcements all three screens and campus TVs.
- 6:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – Pastor’s sermon, iMag with sermon lower-thirds side screens and campus TVs, themed sermon graphic center screen, confidence display has 45-minute countdown timer running.
Post-Service Phase (examples)
- 7:31 p.m. – Altar call, all screens and campus Ts change to settle cross background until congregation is released.
- 7:36 p.m. – After congregation is released by pastor, transition to slow worship DVD on all screens and campus TVs.
Step 2 – Evaluate the hardware the presentation software will be operated from.
If you plan to get a brand new system (Mac or PC), this is less of an issue. However, if you plan to use a system you already have, you need to ensure the minimum hardware requirements are met in order for the software to run seamlessly. Every manufacturer should have minimum requirements they recommend for their software. Take time to review them on the manufacturer’s website. Important things to take in consideration are: memory, processor speed, hard drive space, operating system versions.
Step 3 – Define a features and functionality list.
This list will be a combination of the features and functions you need to have based on the service workflow activities documented in step 1, and those features that would be “nice-to-haves.” Here is an example:
“Need to have” features and functions
- DVD/video file playback
- Paging calls
- PowerPoint file integration
- Bible Scripture lookup
“Nice-to-have” features and functions
- Social networking integration
- Cloud based planning services
Step 4 – Demo presentation software trial versions.
Compare the “need-to-have” and “nice-to-have” software features you defined in step 3 with those that exist in the software demo. When working with each demo, keep these things in mind; test it with your files! A lot of trial software comes with a library of “free goodies.” Don’t use their stuff, use yours! Test the heck out of it, run it through its paces, do your absolute best to try and break it so you can see how reliable it will be in a live production environment. Make sure the degree of user-friendliness the software offers is high. You don’t want complicated stressful software, even if it is the greatest product on the planet, especially if you run a volunteer team. So what are you waiting for? Start doing some Google searches and downloading some trial versions.
Here are a few links to get you started:
- ProPresenter by Renewed Vision – http://renewedvision.com/
- EasyWorship – http://easyworship.com/
- Proclaim – http://www.proclaimonline.com/
- Prezi – http://prezi.com/
- MediaShout – http://www.mediashout.com/
I am confident if you use this four-step process, your church will get the right software to serve their needs, your church staff/volunteers will be able to use it with ease and the worship experience and God’s word will be communicated in a powerful, fresh and effective way.
If you have a different selection process you go through at your church for choosing presentation software, please share it below!