Flat screens and projectors displaying lyrics and Bible texts are more or less replacing printed material at churches and places of worship. Because of increasing competition in the church presentation software market, the software solutions for churches have gotten a lot better and more user friendly over the past few years.
Nevertheless, there are huge differences in how individual churches choose to apply technology in their services and therefore also some big differences in church presentation software – especially regarding features and learning curve, not to mention pricing.
Big churches with multiple projectors, lots of digital content and audio visual effects may need to resort to some of the paid and proven alternatives, like Easy Worship, while other smaller services are well off with a free or inexpensive solution.
If you’re a part of the last group, here’s a list of the best free church presentation software available:
As you can add almost any kind of presentation media available, seamlessly fade in and out between them and use the remote feature to control it via an iPad or smart phone, SlideDog fits nicely into the tool belt of many church technicians. Apart from many of the other church presentation solutions, SlideDog has a much easier and more intuitive user interface eliminating the need for hours of training and getting used to the software. Bible verses and songs can be displayed via PowerPoint slides, PDFs or any other media that SlideDog supports.
OpenLP is an open source alternative with lots of features for managing and displaying songs, Bible verses, images, videos and more. They support PowerPoint files, but no other slide format presentations. A nice feature is that it facilitates linking songs to audio files for use as backing tracks. It’s written in Python and you can download distributions for almost every popular (and unpopular) operating system.
VideoPsalm has the advantage of being translated into many different languages. It gives you access to more than 10,000 songs and over 90 Bibles. It’s compatible with song and Bible collections from other church presentation software which makes the transition from another product easier. The most important features of VidePsalm are it’s video playback and looping, live editing of lyrics, simultaneous bilingual display and extensive slide formatting options that provide total control over the look-and-feel of slides.
4. Free Worship
Free Worship is a Windows only presentation software rich in features. It allows for displaying of songs, images, videos, bible passages, notes and webcams/video cameras. It supports text overlay on videos as well as zoom and crossfade transitions. Currently there is no provision for playing audio in FreeWorship. However it is possible to trick FreeWorship into playing an audio file by adding it as a video. Other neat features include the ability to export words and service lists to PDF or RTF and a live spell checker.
Quelea is a cross platform (Windows and Linux) church presentation software. It has good support for importing songs from online libraries and support several bible formats. You have the ability to display songs, PowerPoint and videos, but it’s their latest Mobile Lyrics accessibility feature that sets them apart from the others. Quela enables you to push out the lyrics to a web page – the lyrics can then be displayed on a mobile device with whatever color combination the user chooses.
Zionworx unique feature is their fast integrated song database, letting you display any song in a few seconds (as long as you are connected to the web and BibleGateway.com’s servers are up and running). It offers support for running Microsoft PowerPoint 2000-2007 presentations and is fully compliant with CCLI licensing laws. As most of the other free tools, it uses a dual monitor configuration to display a control panel on one screen while the visuals and song texts on another.