I’ve had the opportunity to prep services for large venues and small venues. I’ve dealt with large production teams and one man shows. All of them require you to be ready when the service starts. I use the same tricks no matter where I’m projecting lyrics and media. Here are six simple features you can use to leverage the power and simplicity of EasyWorship every week.
Build your service with LIVE turned off
Many of you never notice LIVE button up there in the top right corner of your screen blinking, as if it’s a needy child wanting attention. This button does two things. It toggles the output that would normally go to the projectors, TV or video mixer on and off. But there is a hidden feature that you may not have known about. When you toggle this button off, EasyWorship is in build mode instead of present mode. This means there is a slight behavior change in EasyWorship. For example, if you double-click an item in the resource bin at the bottom, it will go to the schedule instead of going live like you’re used to. Why is this helpful? I’m glad you asked, because it makes building your service so much faster. I receive my order of service from the music minister every week in pdf form. I move the pdf and EasyWorship side by side on my screen then I start searching for songs in the search box. When I find the song, all I have to do is hit enter or double-click. No drag and drop, just hit enter. My fingers almost never have to leave the keyboard. As long as I have the songs in my song database, I can load the songs into the schedule in a minute or two. This brings me to the next simple but powerful feature I use each week. It’s the notes area under each song in the schedule.
Use the schedule notes
In the pdf that I receive each week, I also receive the verse, chorus order with each song. Under each song in the schedule you’ll see notation that looks like this; V1, C, V2, C 2x, B 20 x, C, T. All of those mean something and help me arrange my song later. Once I’ve taken a couple of minutes to type these in, I can close the PDF and work full screen with EasyWorship, laying out each song as the music minister wants it. As I’m editing each song in the schedule I make sure I can see the notes so I can quickly drag and drop slides into the order they need to be sung. If you want to make sure these are saved for the next time you sing this song, you can use the check for changes function to update the song in the database, and you’ll have them next time.
We lay our songs out in the order we sing them, because we use Foldback, and the band relies on the next line information heavily. This means that we have a lot of duplicate slides, like choruses, or the bridge that never seems to stop repeating. The next simple feature helps me handle duplicating slides with ease.
As I said, we have a lot of duplicate slides, so I was over the moon when the amazing EasyWorship developers added the duplicate slide feature. When I’m editing a song, I’ll look at how many times I need a chorus and I’ll right-click it and click duplicate slide as many times as I need it, then I just drag and drop them in between each verse or wherever I need them. This has saved me a lot of time and frustration. Speaking of frustrations, nobody likes doing anything twice, and formatting songs or presentations every week is a pain, that’s why I try to use themes as often as I can, especially when I’m building sermon series outlines.
Use Themes as much as possible
My pastor is always doing a sermon series. They can be short, 3 or 4 sermons, or they can be long, 78 sermons. No, really it was a great two-year series, and I learned a lot. Either way, I’m not setting up a sermon more than once. I want to build it once, apply formatting and then just make changes each week. The first step to that is creating a presentation theme to set up the formatting that I want to use for scripture, titles, subtitles, content and so on. This creates continuity between each week, and makes my life so much easier. Here’s the other little hack I employ each week. I use the same sermon presentation each week. I add it to the schedule and edit it in the schedule, only changing and adding where I need to. The cool thing about using a theme with this presentation is if I decide I need to make a formatting change, I don’t have to go to each slide and change it. I just modify the theme, and the schedule item takes those changes. It’s so easy it feels like it’s wrong. I’m not sure if it’s computer code or sorcery. Speaking of sorcery, there are those items that need only be used once, like that one picture of the guest speaker. You’re only going to use it the one time, why clutter up your media bin with this person’s face?
Drag items directly to the schedule
So you receive the publicity packet from the guest speaker, and you need to put their picture on the screen, or display their notes through EasyWorship. I don’t add them to my resource bin. I drag them into the schedule and save the schedule. I pack my schedules, so these items are in the schedule when you load it up at the church. Dragging items directly to the schedule from windows explorer also makes updating my announcement loop super quick, because I can combine multiple items into on presentation, or add items to an existing presentation.
Combine schedule items
There are many apps available to help you quickly create free, stylish announcements to use on social media and announcement loops each week. We use Dropbox to collaborate, so one person builds the images, another posts to the website and social media, and another loads them into EasyWorship for use in the Sunday announcement loop. This means that we have a lot of images that get rotated in and out of the announcement loop. I can create a complete announcement loop without importing any content into resources. I drag all of my images, and the video I used to tell people to silence their cellphones, into the schedule. I select all of the items I added except the top one, and hold down the ctrl key as I drag them into the top item. Now, I have a presentation I can edit. I right-click the presentation and edit it. In inspector I set slide timings for the images and click apply to theme to apply to all of the images. On the video, I set the advance slide option to delayed. This allows the video to play all the way through and advanced to the next slide. And, of course, since this is an announcement loop, I click the option to loop presentation in the presentation area of the inspector. I click OK and now have a looping presentation that I built entirely in the schedule without adding anything to the resource area. I usually use the check for changes option to import the presentation into the resource bin, so I can reuse it each week, adding and removing as needed.
As you can see, there are several simple things that you can do to save yourself some time, yet have powerful results when it comes time to do your thing in the media booth. These are the things I use the most. I hope they find their way into your work flow and, hopefully save you some time.