The Best Digital Tools Right Now for Church Techs
What are the go-to applications and tools that are making lives easier right now? We asked church technical leaders across the country about their favorites and this is what they shared..PLANNING & PROJECT MANAGEMENT“Planning Center Online is the most important tool we use for planning services, capturing ideas for the future, communicating with volunteers and other staff teams, reviewing past services and previous years, keeping tabs on our other campuses, and keeping our weekend team up to date with service flows,” shares Kaleb Wilcox, Technical Arts Director of Willow Creek Community Church North Shore in Chicago, IL. @kalebwilcox“Planning Center Online allows us to plan the details of our services and schedule people with everyone having visibility into what’s happening when. We can load all the chord charts into the website and rehearsal MP3s for the band members to use. PCO will transpose chord charts AND the MP3s into new keys for you as needed. Not only that but the Music Stand app for Android and iOS gives you all the charts for a service. You just log in the first time you run it into PCO, and then select the service, and there are your charts. If an error is discovered and fixed via the website, you re-load that service and the new charts show up. Sweet! You can also upload background imagery for songs, etc. to the PCO website, and then the Projector app (iOS only) will create slides for the either service automagically. I can use my iPhone or iPad, connected to our sanctuary video system, to run the slides. Or even Apple TV wirelessly from a seat in the sanctuary. Way better than having re-create stuff in a third-party application. Plus, it’s really easy to use both for those needing to view service details as well as for people editing them” communicates Jim Kumorek, a videographer and freelance writer who volunteers at Green Level Baptist Church in Cary, NC."We are using Slack pretty heavily to project manage, collaborate and communicate on services,” answers Nate Busch, Production Director for Southside Church in Peachtree City, GA @natebuschAUDIO & VIDEO PRODUCTION“For applications, a tool I love (although it’s pricey) is iZotope’s RX3 audio repair and enhancement tool. Its ability to eliminate background noises and repair clipped audio is astounding, and leaves almost no artifacts. I had a shoot scheduled where it turned out the lawn maintenance people were there that day. I was able to remove most of the lawnmower noises. Also great at eliminating HVAC sounds. It’s rare I don’t use it in a project tin some way or another,” adds Kumorek.“My favorite digital world tool is definitely the digital mixer. The ability for me to come back the next morning after a rehearsal and really dig in a refine the mix through virtual sound check, then store that mix for service has not only been priceless, but essential in allowing me to raise the bar in my mixing. Virtual sound check is also a great tool for training volunteers. We can set a volunteer in a room, and let them go to town and learn by doing, without the fear of making a mistake in from of people,” reveals Eric Chancey, Audio Director, Victory Family Church in Cranberry Township, PA. @bigdaddydecibel “Lately my favorite has been my dB meter and Smaart rig. I've tried my best to make sure that my perception as a FOH and monitor engineer is aligned well with what is happening in the real world. I want to mix as accurately and as professionally as I can and it's been a learning experience for me to use those tools lately. They aren't intended to hold me to a specific standard or cookie cutter mold. It's more to make sure that how I'm perceiving things and how I'm translating those things is even and consistent week to week so that when I don't have or don't use those tools, I'm just as consistent,” shares Jason Castellente, Technical Director of National Community Church in Washington, DC. @jdcastellente.“I am really loving the Dante interface and what I can do as far as connecting sources and assigning outputs to different receivers like Aviom, Broadcasting, Webstreaming, Recording for archive, etc. It has really revolutionized how we send audio sources to several different devices,” says Beckie Campbell, Technical Consultant for Christ ByThe Sea United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church Vero Beach, and Central Assembly Vero Beach, FL. @techbexSOCIAL MEDIA & COMMUNICATION“My favorite digital world tool is still Hootsuite.com. It allows me to quickly search hashtags, mentions, and text on many social media outlets as well as scheduling future posts. It also gives me the ability to post to several different accounts at the same time,” says Will Chapman, Media Outreach Minister at Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church in Allen, TX. @will4president“I love to use Facebook to connect our Calvary Chapel Melbourne's Production teams to one another. I use it as a place to request prayer, prayer for the team’s needs, Offer special encouragement and post pictures of the team members serving in our various campuses and venues. Also a great place to encourage them. Facebook is just one of our tools we use but one of my favorites,” mentions Christina Jessup, Sr. Director of Production for Calvary Chapel Melbourne in Melbourne, FL. @christinajessup“We are using Mailchimp to send out our newsletter to keep people informed about what is going on. We do so much with volunteers. Mailchimp makes it easy for them to schedule information and to set it up in a way that is on brand and looks nice,” shares David Knight, Community Curator @david_knight One feature of Mailchimp is that it’s main focus is based on building lists. There are multiple tools and forms that make it easy for people to sign up—both separate web pages and widgets to be embedded on a website making it easy for churches to maintain multiple lists or segment a master list in order to tailor communication. “Of course one of the best parts,” Knight adds, “is the cost. It is a great tool for churches with tight budgets.”What are your favorite digital world tools right now? Leave your comments below!
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