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you might try, a website/blog of the communications director of Grainger Community Church. You also might try


Keith McKenzie on March 11, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I could certainly see a connection with the Calvin Institute of Worship's website and some of their resources, blogs and such.

Certainly a good post with lots of good questions for each ministry to ask itself. That said, I take a little exception to one of your sentences.

"What are the pros and cons in what I consider a better toy in the toy box?"

I do know exactly what you mean, but the use of the term 'toy' implies frivolous or unnecesarry. What we're talking about here are tools. And different tools are going to be required for different ministry situations. Not every ministry is going to want, need or even value every tool available but that does not negate the value of that same tool in a different ministry context. 

Do you have a facility large enough to require audio amplification, if so then you'll need the following tools: amps, mixing board, mics, speakers.

Do you value the quality of that sound, if so then you'll probably need upgraded audio equipment, signal processors, etc.

Do you value singing new songs prior to their availability in print form for the congregation, if so then you need the ability to project words: computer, software, projector(s), screen(s).

Do you have a congregation that values the use of handheld devices for scripture, notes, twittering questions, if so you need wifi and other infrascruture. 


and so on and so on...


it's all about what a congregation values and what tools are available to them to put in their toolboxes.

The church I'm on staff at has a very vibrant orphan/adoption ministry ( On Mother's and Father's Day, instead of handing out flowers or trinkets that are forgotten by the next day... we take the money we would have spent on those things and direct it straight to that ministry by way of a presentation of a large cardboard check. We share to the congregation that this money is better spent to enabling families to adopt children that might not ever feel the love of a mother or father. It helps us take a 'Hallmark" holiday and refocus it into a ministry opportunity.

We also use Planning Center. Have been for a little over a year. I would also highly recommend it. We currently subscribe to the 'lite' version ($15 a month). I'd love to upgrade to a higher lever but just don't have the budget for it right now.

Joyce, one other very similar type of application is available at I don't know much about it other than I've seen their ads in Worship Leader magazine. Another is

We also subscribe to CCLI Song Select and get at least 75% of our sheet music/lead sheets from them. We then project using SongShowPlus. I love Song Select...  their transposing tools are a life saver. SongShowPlus is alright. It's functional but if I had the budget I'd probably start looking at some of the alternatives.


I'm not currently serving in Canada but have in the past. If ACF Inc (I had not heard of them before reading your post) is saying that CVLI is not valid in Canada, I would seriously question them. Here is a link to CVLI's  Canadian page.  I would suggest that ACF is trying to 'shakedown' Canadian churches into paying more because they are a "Canadian" company versus CVLI that is setup and operates in all of North America (and around the world for that matter). 

That said, check the specifics of each licenser. See if there is overlap in what studios they cover and if that makes a difference in which one you would choose.



We use a couple of types of headsets. We do have one E6 that we like quite a bit but they are pricey. On Sundays, I use a headset mic purchased from Jireh Supplies called the Provider Series PSM1  . They aren't quite quite as expensive as the E6 and they do have replacement cables. We've had ours for about three years now and have had to replace the cable just once. Otherwise it's held together quite well and provided a pretty decent sound for the price.

We currently use SongShowPlus. I find it functional but not great. There are certainly a number of other choices:

EasyWorship and MediaShout are the two 'big ones' right now.
There's also LiveWorship, PresentationManager, and SundayPlus as well as ProPresenter if you use Mac.

There are also open source options available as well: OpenSong, DreamBeam, OpenLP, and others.

If you are in a church still using PowerPoint I would encourage you to explore some of these other options as they will give you much more flexability in your worship media. And with the open source options, cost does not need to be a factor in what you choose (although you do get what you pay for and user-friendliness is much higher in the choices like EasyWorship, MediaShout or SongShowPlus).

Keith McKenzie on February 23, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I've not used any of the open source options so I can't say whether they are cross platform or not. That said, if ease of importing keynote slides (or other file types for that matter) is of importance I'm not sure open source would be a great choice. The open source programs generally don't have as friendly of user-interfaces.

I know it's expensive but I'm sure that ProPresenter would be great at importing keynote as well as quicktime.

We run a four year old Dell system for our projection. It's not top of the line but it does work for us. We limit who uses it and what it's used for to eliminate much of the 'stuff' that might otherwise slow it down. Past that, I've found that making sure video card drivers are up to date is the best thing we can do to maintain the system.

We currently use It's a subscription based system so it's not free, but we've found it an invaluable asset for our planning, scheduling and administration. It has made the administration of the worship ministries of my church so much easier. I highly recommend it if you can find the budget for it.

Planning Center has many search options/criteria, many of which I've never looked at. I use some of their search functions for how often a song is done, and then use CCLI SongSelect for more thematic searches. Rich mentions that there's a free option (which I did not know about) so you can try it out and see if it works for you before you invest too much time and effort into creating something new.

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