At our church, one of our core values is to "Live lean to give more." But the truth is, we're cheap. We rent our facilities and still use PowerPoint. Church presentation software has had about as much chance of passing our budget as the pastor's "Ferrari Fund."
Then we discovered Proclaim, church presentation software from Logos. After a trial run, here's what we've learned:
Proclaim is $20 a month for 1-99 people (or $200 a year), going up relative to the size of your congregation. If you're in a small church, like ours, it's nice to have this size-scaled pricing. Refreshing for small churches to be able to afford software that may be too pricey for the mega church down the road.
With the optional month-by-month pricing, if you don't like the program, you can just cancel it. A far better option than feeling guilty for the big bucks you talked the board into spending for that program you are no longer using.
Old guy friendly
Since all presentations and media are stored in the cloud, I had Proclaim downloaded and running in a couple minutes. It took a bit longer to figure it out, but if you've been running PowerPoint, you could do this. You can drop in PowerPoint presentations, add countdowns, a welcome message, song lyrics, live surveys, and videos.
Proclaim connects to Logos, CCLI SongSelect, Graceway Media, and Planning Center Online. My worship guy liked that. Perhaps the best thing about the software is that it allows multiple people, from remote locations, to add updates.
I detest long training videos. But these were mercifully brief, one-two minutes each. And the videos were excellent, professional and, best of all, concise.
This might be the best breakthrough in church technology since video projectors replaced overheads. With each slide, Proclaim can send information out to the smart phones in your congregation. This enables you to link your congregation to calendar events, mobile donations, Bible verses, websites—even Leadership Journal articles.
Everyone you invite to join in the process can work on the service anywhere. All you need is an Internet connection. This is helpful for getting input from others—and useful to me when working out-of-town. Just keep the login code from the youth group.
Most other presenters offer more design and change-on-the-fly options. If you are currently using a bells and whistles program, this might not be for you. Your A/V team will check it out and say, "What?! No eye-scan to automatically adjust the text for our dyslectic parishioners? This is sooo 2012."
One other drawback: the long-term price can be high. Other worship software packages (all that I've seen) are one-time purchases, so you're done with costs until you upgrade. With Proclaim, you are paying a minimum $200 a year for as long as you use it. But you get new features as they are developed. I gave up trying to figure what was cheaper for us in the end. Proclaim worked best for our budget and allowed us to experiment with worship presentation software. Our church is trying Proclaim for a few months. So far, so good. If the board will loosen up on worship software, who knows, they may yet find room in the budget for the pastor's "Ferrari Fund." For more information go to ProclaimOnline.com.
Dan Cooley is pastor of Cottonwood Church in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Copyright © 2013 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
Click here for reprint information on Leadership Journal.