Church software and equipment

I’ve been using Planning Center to plan our church services for a few years now. It’s currently going through a bit of a face lift but it’s been a great tool to help organise what we’re doing on Sunday evenings. It makes service planning simpler by being able to drag and drop songs into the schedule and filter songs by theme, key and tempo amongst other features. I had hoped that we would be able to use Planning Center for all our scheduling needs too but email (which is the way accounts are set up) is a pretty unreliable means of communication with young people so we use Facebook for that instead at the moment. 

We have a private Facebook group set up for the bands and are using group events to communicate the rota and track availability. We also use the group for sharing upcoming set lists, new song suggestions and any band-related news. It’s worked well so far and it helps when you know who has seen your posts. However, I’m aware that app preferences move on quickly so will keep reviewing the most effective way of coomunicating with the bands.

We use the Planning Center Music Stand app for displaying song lyrics and chord sheets for the band and this integration works great. I’ve been creating my own chord sheets but we’re currently exploring integration with SongSelect and plan to introduce that later this year. The main reason for looking at this integration is that our bands in the morning are planning to start using Planning Center (until now it’s only been used for the evening services) and this means a lot of songs needing to be added as well as options required for some basic sheet music.

I use an iPad using the Music Stand app when I’m leading. I have an AirTurn Digit BT-105 for turning pages and this can in also turn the pages for the musicians in the band if I’ve created a session within the app and we’re all on the same network. I use the Olive Tree Bible app on my iPad and PC at home.

My church uses EasyWorship for projecting lyrics, presentations and videos during services. We’ve been using EasyWorship for a lot longer than we’ve been using Planning Center and if we were starting from scratch my vote would probably be for ProPresenter so that we could use a cloud database and have integration with the planning software. However, as a standalone application, it’s fairly easy to use and has been pretty reliable so can’t complain.

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