Worship & Technology: A Resource Roundup
This article was very popular, and the nature of it's content is that it is needing constant updating. Rather than repost a journal entry for every update, I have made this separate resource page for worship technology resources online.
I recently taught a session on technology and worship and found that a lot of people are looking for good resources in that area. To help with getting some good information out there, I wanted to post a summation of a good list of resources for folks interested in this area. This is a list that is compiled by me, but includes my personal favorites as well as those of some of my staff at Worshipmusic.com. I hope it is helpful.
SOUND & MEDIA/TECHNOLOGY FORUMS
- http://www.churchmedia.net/ (both free and paid forums available)
SOUND & MUSIC TRAINING
- Live Audio Basics -[*Kim's Editor's Pick] (church sound tech training DVD) - the absolute best training "in a box" on sound tech fundamentals in live settings. Nothing else comes close, except maybe a seminar with the creator of this resource, Ron Davis.
- http://www.lynda.com/ (online software training)
- http://www.howtosound.com/ (professional training)
VIDEO & GRAPHIC TECH INFORMATION/TRAINING
- http://www.churchvideoideas.com/ (great for churches and video)
- http://www.lynda.com/ (online professional training)
PUBLICATIONS/READING ON CHURCH/TECHNOLOGY
I know its gloriously old-fashioned, but you might find that actually reading some good articles or real paper books can help you learn a thing or two. Good content websites seem harder and harder to find these days. Some of the "web 2.0" jargon has us back to pretending web splash is more important than actual words and thought. Here is a couple of healthy content destinations that can have you reading and thinking both online and in magazine format.
I especially like the writings by Quentin Schultze and would encourage you to read any of this writings and articles on technology and the church. Such as follows:
This is a good opinion blog on Worship and media- http://www.leadingwithlight.com/
Lastly, I will mention our own publication, Digital Worship News, which is still the most update content from me (Kim Gentes) on what is happening in technology, worship, music and faith. A solid publication that you can get for free. No spam, just content from us.
VIDEO AND IMAGE CONTENT SITES
Many of you asked about image sites. I will be frank. I feel that a lot of Christian image/photo places are filled with predictable, or even cheesy images. Still there are some good collections that do have quality image and video collections. But regardless of that, every site will have its strong and weak images. And it will vary greatly on the type and artistic bent of your church.Here are some of the higher quality sites I use occasionally-
- https://www.danstevers.com/ - [*Kim's Editor's Pick of the Year] While the site is from one provider, it's quality is so strong, it is always my #1 pick when people ask me about video. Really, check out Dan's videos. All top quality, concept and execution. I never leave here without learning something or finding something that impresses me.
- http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/ - [*Kim's Editor's Pick] quickly becoming the largest premium quality faith-focused video site. Everything else seems to lack in quantity or quality after this site. Professional content only, and deep catalog. Worshiphouse seeks to be the large aggregator of excellent content (they don't produce all the content they house). They are (in the best sense of the word) a distributor with a quality bent.
- http://www.corbis.com/ (not Christian focused, but excellent quality image database)
- http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/ - the new top-quality standard for video producers for faith content. Work Of The People does clearly has their eye on being the best quality supplier. Their catalog is not as large as WorshipHouse Media (not even close), but it is very strong in quality.
- http://www.midnightoilproductions.com/ - top notch video, from one specific supplier.
- http://www.istockphoto.com/ (again, not Christian-centric site, but contains good selection of useful images)
- http://www.sermonspice.com/ - probably the largest site for faith-based content of media. Includes thousands of submissions from users. All the content is editor-approved, so there are some quality controls. The largest catalog of Christian media for sale online. While they are clearly not striving for the same level of overall quality of WorshipHouseMedia, they have a vastly larger selection.
Here's another source of interesting content: http://www.nooma.com/
Nooma is the creation of Rob Bell at Mars Hills Church in Michigan. Each Nooma (there are now 17) are bite-sized 10-12 minute multimedia sermonettes. They could be used for small group discussion, on a Sunday morning, whatever.
Along that line here are a few other concept/video sites that are quite good:
WORSHIP SPACE AND VISUAL ARCHITECTURE
Need an understanding on worship space and all things visual? Matt has an excellent article on humanizing worship space:
WEB SERVICES FOR CHURCHES/MINISTRIES
There are tons of things that a church can do to get a bonifide web and internet presence. I don't claim to list them all here, just the ones I have personally usedthat you may find of benefit. I have used these solutions in various capacities- business,ministry and personal.
- Blogger.com- a nice, free, easy to use service that lets you both build an online blog and some form of web presence. Not the most flexible and powerful tool in the world, but hey, it's free!
- Advanced Ministry 2.0 - a nice templatized solution that works well for most churches to get a complete website up and running quickly, with departmental access and segmentation, letting your own people keep their content updated. It costs money, but its worth it.
- Clover- another templatized solution, but with much higher end designs. Mostly Flash technology based on the GUI side, these sites are prestine view with an edge towards better multi-media presentation. The technology in the backend is good too, and if you looking for reasonable functionality at a great low cost, this is the ticket. If this company continues to expand its CMS and backend functionality, I am guessing it will become the #1 recommendation I make for churches wanting a fast, excellent new site.
- SquareSpace- a relatively new technology that is very, very nice. It is a professional level alternative to blogging sites, but with advanced tools that go way beyond blogging. We built KimGentes.com with this tool, and we like it :). It costs money, and it is really worth it!
- Yahoo Store- [*Kim's Editor's Pick] all in one ecommerce site/solution. For churches/ministries who want to develop a 100% robust, reliable and scalable solution. In almost 12 years of use, our store on this system has literally been down for less than 3 days (you do the math, but that is a proven 99.9%+ uptime). The best online shopping cart in the world, bar none. It costs real money, and it is worth it.
- Locktek- software and IT consulting. Complete web and software solutions with legendary consultant Lockley Gentes. He literally built the Worshipmusic.comwebsite from nothing into one of the largest online providers of worship resources in the world. Reasonable cost for great consulting.
- Atekie- high-end professional software programming and web development. They built Worshipteam.com with us. Pretty freaking awesome.If you want a programming/webdevelopmentservice this powerful, you better have some serious cash. Enough said.
UNIQUE TECHNOLOGY PRODUCTS/RESOURCES FOR CHURCHES
What I will list here are some products that I have recommended and/or use personally. Again, I am listing the URLs of the products to my company for simplicity sake. You could use this just as a reference for the product information and look around if you want to price shop. My hope is that you will find this list helpful and some of it may pertain to your local church.
- SermoNation! - media distribution kiosk software. FREE. That is so cool! Check it out. Download it for free! http://www.sanctussoft.com/It won't be for everyone. But if you can use this, it will totally revolutionize (fix)a long-standing painful problem that bugs a lot of churches! Really! Check it out!
- Transposer - (software download) Transposer 2.0 allows you to raise or lower the pitch of any MP3 song without changing the tempo. You can also change the tempo of an MP3 song without changing the pitch. The quality of the recording remains the same, within reasonable limits (pitch changes of 3 semitones higher or lower, and tempo changes of less than 25%). The good thing is, you can try out the software for free to see if it works for you before you ever buy it. http://www.worshipmusic.com/gen-trans-pc.html
- Sweetly Broken Video - (digital download) modern worship song with an example of a wonderfully Cross-centered theme, but with humanized video images. http://www.worshipmusic.com/sweetly-broken.html . Go down to the sub-section for video of this song in the right-middle of the page and choose the video format best suited for your church (there are online samples for each).
- MediaShout - (software) In my opinion, the best video display program for Windows computers. http://www.worshipmusic.com/17704.html
- MediaShout for Mac - (software) [*Kim's Editor's Pick] The absolute best video presentation software of them all. Using the excellent benefit of non-linear presentation from the MediaShout (Windows) software, this new presentation program encapsulates the best of the Mac and Apple environments to become the new "winner" in presentation software. I love it! http://mediashoutmac.com/
- ProPresenter - (software) Used to be the best video display program for Mac computers http://www.renewedvision.com/pp.php
- EasyWorship - (software) the video display software that is the easiest to learn and get up and running in your local church quickly. But has some important high-end limitations. Good for churches who want basic video support, but aren't wanting to tax it with extensive live video, compressed video files and running direct from DVD (all things EasyWorship does not do, or does poorly) http://www.easyworship.com/home.php
- God Songs - (book) a great book and resource for songwriters. I know its not exactly technology specific, but its an amazing resource for your worship and music people http://www.worshipmusic.com/1933150033.html
- Finale Music software - (software) the best music software for notation, in my opinion. http://www.worshipmusic.com/software-coda-music.html
- Praise.net - (website) a free online resource with discussion forum for worship leaders and worshipers. http://www.praise.net/
- WorshipMusic.com - (website) my online company that is specifically meant for equipping churches in worship, music, technology and tools that encourage and bless worship. http://www.worshipmusic.com/
- WorshipTeam.com - (website) a new online web service for weekly worship planning. (this is what I have been working on for the last 5 years :) ) This is a legal, authorized online service that brings a complete suite of tools into a single solution environment to meet the needs of local church worship leaders, ministries and their team members. This complete tool set includes scheduling, personnel, document mgt, communication, songs, and order of service/list development all within a unique "workspace" that integrates this for your team. Anyone can try it out free on their 30 day trial. http://www.worshipteam.com/. The ONLY legal worship planning site that includes songs, audio and content from multiple publishers.
- PlusDeck2c - (hardware) A computer device that actually plugs into your computer (Windows/PC) and lets you convert all those old sermon tapes and music library tapes to MP3 files (or CDs) directly on your computer. It's a great technology device for churches wondering how they are going to get their history of teaching and sermon tapes on to the web or mp3 disc or such. You can see an online review of it at http://churchvideoideas.com/2007/01/09/plusdeck2c-cassette-deck-for-converting-cassettes-to-mp3/ or you can look at it directly on our site at http://www.worshipmusic.com/plusdeck2c.html (be sure to watch the demo video online- page down to half way down the page to view it).
I hope this is some help to you.