Online Church Software Review: Top Church Software for 2023
Church Tools and Software to Consider in 2023
The tools you use for your digital ministry don't just affect the worship experience for those attending your virtual church. Instead, these tools impact how your ministry team and church leaders can engage and connect with the community.
Choosing the right online church software makes a big difference. It directly impacts the effectiveness of your time, finances, and follow-up.
Without the proper tools, the quantity (your reach, your time) and the quality (the connection and relationships you are building with the congregation) of your community may suffer the consequences.
At Altar Live, our focus and passion is online engagement for virtual church and faith communities. There are a wide variety of tools and software for online church services. Today, we will focus on three critical areas of engagement:
- Building relationships - Church Management Software
- Building Support - Church Giving Tools
- Building community - Church Live Streaming Software
Our team has worked with over a thousand online faith communities. We've seen how churches have used and integrated a wide variety of these tools. We've researched and witnessed the effective and innovative ways online church software can be used. We've also seen what it looks like when things could be more effective.
Here's what our experts think about software for church services in 2023:
The Leading Online Church Software For 2023
Top Church ChMS Software 2023 (Online Church Management Software)
Church management software (ChMS) is a tool that helps churches organize and manage their data, operations, and communication. Using an online church management software can streamline processes, improve communication, enhance data management, and be a tool that helps faith communities work more efficiently. By choosing the right ChMS, churches can improve their effectiveness and better manage operations and serve their community. Here are a few top options for 2023:
However, not all churches may choose to use a ChMS for their community. Certain tools and apps have metrics, analytics features, and reports available to help you track online church attendance, follow up with new comers and nurture your congregation.
Top Church Giving Tools 2023
Finding a solution to meet the financial needs of your church may be tricky. But in 2023, digital giving tools should be essential to any church's fundraising efforts.
Whether your church uses a giving app or mobile giving platform, tools make it easy to donate online and help track and organize giving. This ease of giving can also increase the number of donations received. Knowing this, finding a tool well-suited for your church's needs is essential.
With the variety of church giving tools available in 2023, the best option for your ministry will depend on your specific needs and budget. Some popular options include:
You can find a full article on the Top Giving Tools for Churches in 2023.
Be sure to carefully research and compare the features and fees of different church giving platforms. This will help you determine the best church giving solution for your community. Discuss with your church leaders and financial staff. Be attentive to community members to get a sense of which platform would be most beneficial for your church.
💡 Tip: You can use announcements in your live broadcast virtual church services to easily integrate any of these giving tools.
Top Church Streaming Services and Software 2023
- Altar Live
Altar Live is an online platform that allows faith communities to host interactive events and services, such as worship and prayer. The platform brings people together online in watch parties and offers opportunities for socializing and private prayer. Created by tech-savvy faith entrepreneurs, Altar Live offers a variety of features in one convenient package. Both browser-based and mobile-app supported.
- Ecamm Live
Ecamm Live is a popular live streaming and video production software designed for Macs. It provides users with a range of features and controls for live stream church services. It also supports RTMP streaming, allowing users to live stream on any streaming service that uses this protocol.
BoxCast is a live-streaming platform that is suitable for churches and other organizations. It allows users to stream high-definition video to a variety of platforms, including Facebook Live and YouTube. It offers features such as chat and moderation tools and is suitable for both web and mobile devices.
Dacast is a live-streaming platform specifically designed for churches. This platform allows users to customize their streams, play back recorded streams, and enables users to accept tithes in-stream. Like many live streaming services, it also includes the ability to embed videos and supports mobile streaming.
Resi is a live-streaming platform that is suitable for a variety of industries, including churches. It offers high-quality live stream video and audio feeds, automation capabilities, and the ability to stream to multiple providers.
Vimeo is commonly known as an alternative to YouTube, but it also offers its own live-streaming solution. While not specifically built with virtual churches in mind, Vimeo still offers features worth considering. These include simulcast, a mobile and web-friendly interface, chat with moderation tools, and basic webinar analytics.
Be sure to take a look at our full list of the best live-stream software for church in 2023. Research and compare the features and fees of different church live streaming software. Assess the needs of your community. This will help you choose the best broadcast software for your church's needs.
Dedicated Software for Church Services or Virtual Church Events
Some examples of software designed for church services or virtual events include:
- Altar Live
Altar Live is an online platform that helps faith communities host interactive and engaging events and services. Its user-friendly interface allows communities to gather together online. Attendees can worship together in watch parties, freely socialize at virtual tables, or pray more privately together in meeting rooms.
EasyWorship is church presentation software made for worship services. If you're looking for an online church presentation software, this tool allows churches to create high-quality presentations with lyrics, Bible verses, and other multimedia content. These presentations enable easy integration of virtual church and in-person services.
ProPresenter is another popular presentation tool and worship application, allowing you to display songs and other media in real time. This worship presentation software allows users to manage presentations from a central screen and display content on one or more outputs.
- Church Online Platform
Church Online is a popular free virtual church platform that allows churches to create and host their own online church services. It has the ability to stream live video, chat in real time, and send resources to attendees.
📖 Read more: Compare Altar Live and Church Online - Online Church Software
Unfortunately, not all software for church services have the ability to integrate these aspects of relationship, giving and community efficiently. Even popular virtual church platforms such as the Church Online Platform does not have RTMP capabilities.
Some online church software allows you to integrate both your giving tools and Church ChMS. We understand the importance of both building financial support and building relationship as essential to building community.
It's crucial that the tools you choose offer the integrations you need to effectively build relationship, build support, and build community.
While not all platforms have this capability, software like Altar Live was designed to do just that. Learn how Altar Live can integrate with your ChMS and church live streaming platforms.
How To Choose Software For Church Services
Choosing church software can be a significant decision-making process. What goes into that decision, and how do they know if they are making the right choice?
Choosing software for a church is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. There are several factors that a church should consider when selecting software, including:
It is essential to consider the cost of the software and whether it fits within the church's budget. This may include one-time fees for purchasing the software or a subscription. Ultimately, however, you'll have to calculate the return you'll accomplish by making this investment and see if your team is willing to take that step.
The software you choose must include features your church needs to accomplish its goals. What specific features will your community need to engage more deeply in services?
- For example, if you're looking to host an interactive service, you may want polls, announcements, and chat features.
- If you are hoping for a more personal live stream experience, consider features that allow members to video conference while streaming.
- If your church has multiple services or meetings, look for software that can streamline these events on the same interface.
- For many churches, it's important to have features that help track online church attendance or follow up with visitors.
- For larger churches, integration with ChMS may be key to effectively connect with your community.
Ease of Use
The software should be easy for church staff and volunteers to use and understand.
Support and Training
Getting up and running with implementing the software can be challenging. The software provider must offer technical support and training. This will likely impact you long-term, as proper technical support and training can help support and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
Integration with Existing Systems
It is essential to consider whether the software will integrate with systems already in place. This includes church management software, platforms for church streaming services, accounting software, or other software for church services.
What does the implementation of this online church software look like long term? How sustainable would it be in building up your community in the right direction? The software should accommodate the church's current and future needs.
Ultimately, the right software for a church will depend on the specific needs and goals of the organization. Talk to staff and leaders, do research, and consider a few different options. Further, your team may want to consult with experts about a church online engagement plan before making a decision.
What Does Interactive Mean In Online Church?
What does interactive mean when implementing your online church software? Can church streaming services really be interactive?
There's a big difference between watching church online and actually engaging with church online.
Whether your community hosts hybrid or virtual church services, there is a range of options for maximizing interaction and engagement.
What does interactive mean when it comes to doing online church? How can online church services be interactive? Some ways that virtual churches can encourage interaction include:
Many live streaming platforms offer a live chat feature. This allows attendees to ask questions, participate in discussions, and interact with each other in real time.
Offering Q&A sessions during online church services or events can invite attendees to engage in the message. Have hosts or hospitality team members ready to answer questions in real-time through live chat. Or, after the service, follow up with Q&A in a video meeting. This allows attendees to ask questions and participate in further reflection and discussions.
Try this: Transitions in virtual church services and online events can be awkward. Many Q&A or discussions take place on Zoom after the service. Instead of jumping to another platform for your face-to-face interactions, certain platforms allow you to streamline your worship experience.
What does this look like? Programs like Altar Live allow attendees to watch live-stream services together, connect at virtual tables, and even create meeting rooms for further discussion. Compare Altar's features or try them out for yourself.
Many churches use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to connect with their congregation and the broader community. This builds awareness for your church and helps keep your congregation up to speed throughout the week. This can include posting updates, engaging with comments, and hosting live events.
Online Small Groups
Some churches offer online small groups that meet virtually to discuss the sermon or other topics. This can be an excellent way for attendees to connect and personally engage with the material.
📖 Read More: Rethinking Online Small Groups in 2022 with Allen White
Using Interactive Features
Some churches use interactive elements, such as polls or announcements, to engage attendees during online services and events. This fun and simple gesture invites attendees to easily interact, participate, and feel involved in the service.
Overall, there are many different ways that virtual churches can foster an interactive and engaging environment in their communities. Be intentional about creating opportunities for interaction and connection. Through this, you'll discover what works best for your church community.
The Difference Between Virtual Church And Church Streaming Services
How can your church think ahead to the future?
Today, the virtual church does more than just stream services.
Take a moment to consider how churches are forming in VR and other ways in the digital world. The way in which digital community and online fellowship is taking shape is shifting.
We know for some churches, implementing a live stream ministry is taking a big step.
But the ones working to futureproof their churches are taking time to think about their engagement model as a whole. Carrying your digital ministry into the future requires understanding online engagement in its entirety. It means seeing it from a fresh and innovative perspective – not just focusing on one singular aspect.
Church involves fellowship and authentic engagement. It shouldn't be confined to a broadcast model of watching a sermon and worship through church streaming services.
Looking ahead, how will you be rethinking the way you do church?
📖 Read More: Learn about the broadcast vs. engagement models of online church.
Engaging in church online requires a strategic implementation of the right tools and software. Doing this will help you build relationships, build support, and build community. Optimizing your time, finances, and interactions can help you serve your church to the best of your ability.
At Altar Live, online engagement is what we are all about. So if you're ready to take the next step to explore what this could mean for your church, let's talk. We're happy to consult with you and help you make the best decision for your community.
We're ready to help you integrate online church software and take the right steps to meet your engagement goals.
💡 Tip: Get in touch with Altar's online church engagement consultant today to get a free personalized analysis plan for your church.