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Posted on Sep 7, 2013 in Tools, Worship Ministry | 6 comments

Why You Can’t Afford to Neglect Your Presentation Anymore, Part 1

Presentation matters. Sometimes all that separates a cheap meal from an expensive, gourmet meal is it’s presentation. People pay for it, people are wowed by it, people are drawn to it.

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I’ve seen a lot of worship ministries that strive for excellence in their musical presentation but the lyric presentation is AWFUL! Words unreadable, images blurry with copyright info all over it, off-centered, gawdy video loops, ugly fonts…all this communicates, “we don’t care if you sing along or not, we’re just here for us.”

If you truly value and prioritize the church’s song, prove it! Invest in an excellent presentation that will draw people to participate. If you use hymnals, provide nice ones. And if you use screen projection, project excellence. How? That’s the million-dollar question and I’m going to break this into 2 posts:  This one discusses software choices. The next will give tips for creating an excellent presentation.

When it comes to presentation software, you have 5 viable options. Which you choose does matter. Some make it easy to project excellence and others do not. I’ll countdown to what I like best:

#5 Easy Worship (Price Tag: $399

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I’ve talked with several churches that use this and like it. But this company’s still selling their 2009 version and for the same price as MediaShout and ProPresenter who are constantly working to stay cutting-edge and up-to-date. I’m skeptical + the name just bugs me :) I want excellent worship rather than just easy.

 

#4 MediaShout (Price Tag: $399)

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This was my first foray into the church presentation software world beyond PowerPoint. I hated it. The interface was ugly, unpleasant to use, and hard to learn. Most importantly, I felt it was built poorly for formatting (a.k.a. making slides look good).

 

#3 Proclaim (Price Tag: $200+/yr)

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Honestly, I have no personal reference or experience with this one but their website looks nice so that’s always a good start! They offer a few unique interfacing features so, if you rely heavily on Planning Center and other techie services, you should check it out.

 

#2 PowerPoint (Price Tag: $109.99)

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Are you surprised I ranked it so high? Plain ol’ PowerPoint, really??? PowerPoint is 100% designed around formatting excellent presentations. If they would’ve incorporated background video, I doubt I ever would’ve left. And, honestly, finding quality still images is a lot less work (+ free) than tracking down great background videos.  You can do more to extract excellence out of each element than you can in any other presentation software.  That being said, it’s still geared to the business-world, not the church-world.

 

#1 ProPresenter (Price Tag: $399)

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Pro-Presenter was like a breath of fresh air compared to my previous experience with MediaShout. It’s as powerful as you could want but as simple as you and your team need.  It contains tools I’ll never need in my blue collar ministry setting.  But there are also some I never thought I’d use but now love.  The initial cost was a hard pill for our small budget to swallow but everyone involved would tell you it’s been worth it.  Here are a few of my favorite things about ProPresenter:

  • I actually enjoy using it. Kudos to companies who make software that’s fun to use (Cloversites.com, here’s looking at you!).
  • I can run it remotely from my iPhone or iPad. That means I can now run both our sound board and computer remotely…crazy times we’re living in!
  • Stage Display allows me to post both the current and next slide’s lyrics on the back wall for my vocalists (you can also stream that to your iDevice).
  • I can easily create my own countdowns.
  • My videos, images and audio files are super-easy to organize and access.
  • Last-minute edits on Sunday morning are a breeze.
  • Our new recruits have learned to use it really fast.

What presentation software do you use? And if you have any questions specific to ProPresenter or PowerPoint, I can take a stab at answering!

Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

6 Comments

  1. I’ve used MediaShout since version 2. I now have version 4.5 and have been testing MediaShout 5 Beta. Honestly, version 5 hasn’t got me sold on it yet. I’ve never had any issues with MediaShout, but I really don’t think we’ll be upgrading to version 5.

    I downloaded the free demo version of ProPresenter 5 a couple of weeks ago. I plan to ‘play’ with it for the next few weeks before I make a decision, but it looks like we may be switching! :-)

    Thanks for the reviews on the various presentation software we have available.
    Jeff

    • Thanks for sharing, Jeff! That’s what we did at first, too. Also, I found a lot of the ProPresenter Video Tutorials on their website to really be helpful. I sat down with another guy that was going to be using it and we just invested some time viewing the main ones. Helped shorten the learning curve timeline!

      The initial switchover to any new system is a little time-consuming but can certainly be worth it in the long-run. Good luck!

  2. When I came to my current church, they were using MediaShout. We made the switch to ProPresenter probably a month later, and I haven’t regretted it for a minute.

    I’m a stickler for a smooth, seamless presentation. I don’t want any weird breaks or jarring cuts – I want the presentation to enhance, not distract, and ProPresenter has features that allow me to do that – even on the fly during the service, if I have to.

    That said, I’m looking forward to the next post in this series!

    • Awesome, I agree with you 100%. Thanks Bryan!

  3. We have been using EasyWorship for years but has been giving us trouble so we are now switching to ProPresenter. I have a trial installed now. It’s up and running with three displays. My question has to do with the Stage Display. For worship songs it’s nice to choose the option Text Only. However, our Pastor uses PowerPoint for his messages and with Text Only set, nothing shows up on the Stage Display when PowerPoint is running slides on the main output. If I turn off Text Only, they show up on the Stage Display. I want Text Only for songs and full PowerPoint slides… Is this possible?

    Thanks
    Rich

    • Sure, Rich, we ran into the same problem. The best solution seems to be this simple piece of hardware: A VGA Switch. You run your stage display monitor/projector to this box and run signal from the computer for both the front-of-house screen that everyone sees and the stage display for the worship team. Then you just switch that back screen back and forth as needed. Does this make sense?

      http://www.amazon.com/Manual-VGA-Switch-Model-MT-15-2C/dp/B000I9B2KK

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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