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Creative Ministry Toolbox: ProPresenter 5

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Creative Ministry Toolbox is a new, weekly segment that highlights one of our favorite tools that we use in the creative department of our church. Have a resource worth sharing? Let us know in the comments below!

One of the most frequent questions that we get at TCP is also one of the easiest to answer.

What presentation software do you use?

PowerPoint all the way. If it was good enough for Jesus in the 90’s, surely it’s good enough for him today.

Of course, I’m kidding.

pro5_overviewChurch presentation software (CPS) has come so much further than PowerPoint would ever allow. And if there is one that outshines them all, it’s ProPresenter.

I’ve had the privilege of working with every CPS available. Whether you’re projecting song lyrics, displaying sermon points, or playing videos, ProP is going to do it better than any other piece of software. I’ve used it in small venues like youth groups, Sunday morning services of all sizes, and even large conferences of up to 20,000 attendees. It’s worked great for me everywhere.

Here’s three reasons why we’d recommend it for any church:

IT’S RELIABLE. You can be confident that ProPresenter is going to work as hard as you do to make Sunday morning great. In fact, it’s one of the most dependable pieces of software that I’ve ever used.

IT’S POWERFUL. I put ProPresenter through the ringer on Sundays and it’s fully capable of keeping up. It has seamless transitions, plays just about any format of media, and has the smoothest playback you’ll find.

IT’S SIMPLE. While it performs like a professional product, it’s very easy to use. I’ve trained volunteers to run a service in a matter of minutes and to create high-quality presentations in less than 30 minutes.

Check out all of the ProPresenter 5 features here.

Version 5, their latest release, is available on the Renewed Vision website for $399 for a single license or $799 for a site license. Keep in mind that you’ll only need the site license if you plan on running ProP on multiple computers at the same time.

For example, you could legally install it on both your pastor’s laptop and the church’s presentation computer with the single license. But, if you wanted to use ProP in the main auditorium and your kid’s ministry at the same time on Sundays, you’d need the site license.

TCP Tip: All of my ProPresenter enthusiasm is strictly directed towards the Mac-based software. If you’ve got an Apple Computer and ProP, you can take on the world. However, in my opinion, you will not get the same experience with the Windows-based version. For PC’s, I’d recommend something like MediaShout, though this will nowhere compare to the performance of the ProPresenter/Mac combo.

What church presentation software do you use?

8 Things To Remember As You Prepare For Easter

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Easter Sunday is less than a week away and it’s likely that your church will experience your highest attendance numbers for the year. We all understand that making a good impression on visitors is crucial and that it’s important to communicate the Resurrection message in a fresh way to your regulars. But I’ve been in ministry long enough to know that this week can be really rough on the people working behind the scenes. Because there’s so much emphasis placed on this one Sunday, there’s a lot of pressure to strive for perfection and do extraordinary things, all while still finding time to do all of your normal, weekly duties. It can be downright exhausting.

Here are eight things to keep in mind during this hectic season:

1. Your hard work is worth it.

The hours that you’re pouring into making this service special are so important. Easter Sunday matters because people matter. Each individual who walks through those doors on Sunday was created by God with a purpose. Your hard work and dedication are leading the way for them to connect with the risen Savior.

2. Going the extra mile can make all the difference.

No matter your role in Sunday’s service, give it all you’ve got. When we give our best, we can have confidence that we’ve done our part and that the rest is up to God. Remember that even the smallest detail of a service could be the one thing that stands out to someone; the thing that keeps them coming back to hear more about Jesus.

3. Easter Sunday is important, but so is your family.

This is where it gets tricky. Yes, it’s important to work hard and give our best to make Sunday great. But, we have a responsibility to our family that should always come before the church. In the midst of the craziness, make sure that you’re connecting with them. Be intentional to show love to your spouse. Spend some quality time with your kids. Be careful that this doesn’t become the most dreaded week of the year for them.

4. Two is better than one.

The more people that you can get involved in your Easter service, the better. Not only will it take some of the pressure off of you, but it also helps to get more people to attend your big service. Experts say that you can expect four additional people in attendance for every person involved in an event. For example, if you have 25 people involved, you can expect them to attract 100 friends and family members. Even if it’s a small task, get people plugged in.

5. Everything cannot be perfect.

This is always a tough one for me. I’m all about striving for excellence in everything that we do, but you just can’t do it all. Rather than stretching yourself thin with a long list of projects, focus on a few things and give them all you’ve got. Place your emphasis on the projects that will make the biggest impact on your crowd and are the most noticeable.

6. No matter how hard you try, something is still going to go wrong.

Expect problems to occur – that’s simply the nature of Sunday morning. No matter how many times you rehearse, proofread, or practice, mistakes are going to happen. This is especially true when you’re working with technology. ProPresenter may crash in the middle of service. A microphone may malfunction mid-song. Stuff happens and it’s out of your control. Expect it and prepare for a quick comeback.

7. The power of God is not limited by your budget.

No matter the size of your church, you have to work within a budget. Some budgets are smaller than others, but we all wish we could spend more than they allow. This is a good thing – our dreams should always exceed our budgets. Keep in mind that the power of God far exceeds anything that you could purchase to make your service great. Use what He’s given you to its fullest potential and let Him cover the rest.

8. Jesus wants to connect with you.

In the midst of all of this work for God, we often forget to connect with God. You’re at your best when you’re in communion with Him and you need Him in this season. Be intentional about seeking Jesus in this week leading up to Easter. Remember that this is all about Him. This Resurrection Sunday, let us lead the way in having an authentic relationship with the risen Savior.

 

Twelve Awesome Easter Freebies

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Easter Sunday is almost here and it’s likely that your church will experience your highest attendance numbers for the year. Making a good impression on visitors is crucial and communicating the Resurrection message in a fresh way to your regulars makes a huge difference. To keep you lookin’ good for your big service, we searched all over the web for the latest and greatest free resources for the holiday. Check them out below and spread the word!

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Have you found any other cool Easter freebies? Share them with us in the comments below!

Five Media Tweaks To Make Immediately

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There are many aspects of Worship Media and a million ways to improve your presentation, but sometimes it’s the smallest steps that make the biggest difference. Here are five practical tweaks that you can make for Sunday that will make a noticeable impact in your projection.

1. Create A Template For All of Your Lyric Slides

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 12.21.02 AMConsistency is key for excellent presentation on Sunday mornings. Templates make it super easy to coordinate and keep all of your songs looking their best. Choose a dependable font and text size that are easily visible to everyone in your congregation.  (Here are my font recommendations.)

2. Retire Outdated Content

framed-hands copyIf your church has been using media for a while, you’ve probably accumulated quite a bit of content. Styles come and go, so it’s healthy to regularly comb through your library to remove some of the older stuff. It may be time to retire that one background you’ve used a million times or just delete the ones that don’t really work in your space. Keeping your media library tidy goes a long way.

3. Split Larger Lyric Slides

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 12.20.12 AMThis is a rookie mistake that can really throw everything off. I’ve seen slides so jam-packed with lyrics that it made my head ache. Keeping with the flow of the song, split larger chunks of lyrics into multiple slides. I recommend displaying 2-4 lines of text per slide. Use pauses and transitions (verse to chorus, etc.) as natural splits.

4. Coordinate Media Throughout Your Service

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It’s a must that your lyric backgrounds match in both color and style. But to add an additional level of intentionality to your presentation, coordinate the rest of your media elements. Start with your sermon slides and match your motions, countdown, and announcement slides from there. (Service Packs make this really easy and are available from all major media producers.)

5. Display All Scripture That’s Spoken From The Stage

Sermon_Slide_Template-Images.002It’s become pretty standard for churches to display their pastor’s sermon Scripture, but I recommend going a step further. It’s common for Bible passages to be read at other parts of your service such as openings, worship, and offering, too. Touch base with all of your on-stage leaders before service so that you’ll be prepared to project their Scripture. This little bit extra of planning will go a long way for your audience.

 
Do you have any other tweaks that you’d recommend?

6 Affordable Ways To Promote A Sermon Series

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One of the most practical ways to equip your congregation to invite their friends to church is a sermon series. It gives them a tangible event where they know the exact topic that will be discussed. This makes it a lot easier to explain to their neighbors and coworkers because it’s not just, “Hey, you look like you need Jesus. Do you want to come to church with me?” Instead, it’s something exciting that will only be happening for a few weeks and, if you’re doing it right, will have a topic that is appealing to the outside eye. A series gives outsiders an excuse to check out your church for the first time.

Here are six easy and affordable ways to get the word out about your sermon series and equip your church family to invite their friends:

1. Invite Cards

This is one of my favorite ways to spread the word about a series. You can get 1000 business cards printed with your series details for around $25 and put them in the hands of everyone in your congregation. I like to give everybody a bundle of five cards and encourage them to personally invite five people to come check it out. Be sure to include your series graphic, dates, times, address, and website. Printers that I use regularly for these cards are Overnight Prints and Next Day Flyers.

2. Shareable Social Media Graphics

Social media is one of the best ways to spread the word about events, but you can take it a step further than simply posting on your church’s profile. Provide downloadable square (612x612px) promo images with all of your series details on your website. This will allow people to share them with their friends on their own Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles. The potential for reaching people in your community is endless with this method.

3. Exterior Banners

It’s likely that numerous people drive by your church every single day. Take advantage of this by hanging a large banner that’s easily visible by drivers. Next Day Flyers has a 10’ x 5’ banner for only $140 that we’ve purchased several times for promoting events. When I was promoting for our movie theater church in Baltimore, the cinema manager even allowed us to display banners like this for movie-goers throughout the week.

4. Facebook/Twitter Ads

Facebook ads and promoted posts are super affordable and truly reach a lot of people. They are also really easy to target a very specific audience. These ads have been really effective for us. Also, Twitter has recently added some extremely powerful tools for advertising with graphics. Nothing stands out more on a feed full of 140 character tweets than a large photo.

5. Post Flyers Around Town

Take advantage of every community board within a 20 mile radius of your church. Print some flyers with your series graphics and post them at Starbucks, Panera Bread, and anywhere else that will allow it. These kind of places get a ton of traffic and require people to wait in line for their food. This is the perfect opportunity for them to read up about your upcoming event.

6. Email Current & Past Attenders

Have a database full of email addresses from people who have filled out your connection cards? Why not send out an email with the details of your series? Keep it quick and use images, rather than words, to do most of the communicating. Services like MailChimp are perfect for emails like this and have templates that make it easy to plug in your graphics.

 

Have you found any other affordable ways to promote a sermon series?