How Removing Hymnals Removes Barriers: 5 Reasons to Go Paperless

Confession: I have a soft spot for paper hymnals.

They keep everyone on the same page, show the lyrics and music, and give you a look at what’s next. Plus, flipping pages can be fun. (Maybe that’s just me?)

But I can’t tell you the last time I used a paper hymnal, even before COVID.

Onscreen lyrics let me see the worship leader much more easily. They keep my eyes forward and my neck straight. And I don’t have to worry about who touched this hymnal last and whether they washed their hands after grabbing a doughnut before the service.

Why might your church want to do the same and give precedence to onscreen lyrics?

I’ll get to that in just a second, but first, I’ll dispel a myth: you’re not limited to showing only lyrics onscreen. If you want to, you can display both lyrics and music.

Now for 5 reasons to go paperless with your hymnal.

1. Increased participation in live stream church services

Have you ever tried singing along when you don’t know the words? It’s awkward, to say the least.

If those watching your church live stream don’t know the words, they can’t sing along. Even if they know verses one, three, and five of “Amazing Grace” by heart, when you reach the often-skipped verse four, they’ve made the switch from cheerful participant to silent viewer.

Add worship song lyrics to your church live stream so that no matter which songs and verses you sing, all those watching can worship with you.

2. Opportunity to share your church

Just like someone’s favorite songs tell you about who they are, a church’s worship songs tell you about what they’re like. Joining you for one service will give visitors a taste of your music, but there’s a simple way to give them an even better idea.

When you include your songs in a digital bulletin available on your church website, people can see this service’s songs at a glance—and look back to see what songs you’ve sung in previous weeks.

3. Cost savings

It’s inevitable. At some point, you’re going to have to replace paper hymnals. They’ll get dog-eared, outdated, ruined by gum smooshed in the spine or toddler art adorning its pages, or even “borrowed” forever.

It’s easy to spend $100s, and in a few years, it’ll be time to buy more.

When you put hymn lyrics onscreen, you’ll have an initial investment of screens—but they won’t have just one job. You can use before, during, and after your service to draw attention to the Word, the music, the message, and upcoming events.

Proclaim 4: Create Excellent Presentations Every Week. Click to see what's new in Proclaim church presentation software.

4. Time savings

Paper hymnals easily contain at least 400 songs, often 600+. It can take hours for a worship leader to prayerfully search through songs and choose the right ones for the next service.

When you use onscreen lyrics, worship leaders don’t have to consider hundreds of songs. They can start with their own curated list of only the songs your church usually sings. Plus, they can easily look through past services to see if all the song selections can be reused instead of compiling a brand-new setlist.

And if they’re feeling stuck in a rut, your presentation software may suggest other songs that are similar to your church’s favorites. (Faithlife Music does!)

5. Another way to say “You’re welcome here!”

Some people have used a hymnal since before they could actually read it.

But others have never seen one.

Visiting a new church already has so many unknowns. When people don’t know how to use a hymnal during the song service, it adds one more—and can make them feel unsure of whether they belong at your church.

Showing lyrics onscreen helps give visitors a way to find their place in the service without feeling lost.


Even if you still keep paper hymnals, incorporating onscreen worship lyrics helps ensure your church isn’t missing out on their benefits.

So how do you start?

It’s so easy, you can do it today with Proclaim church presentation software. Since we have worship leaders, pastors, A/V team volunteers, and ministry heads on our team, we know what you need. When you open Proclaim, you’ll find presentation software that’s built for the Church, simple to set up, and ready to use from day one—from showing the Bible onscreen to eliminating the need to ever type in lyrics.

Proclaim is both powerful and intuitive. I’m a volunteer with a day job, and Proclaim allows us to “compete” with the big churches while only requiring minimal time investment each week.

—Proclaim user John L.

See how Proclaim works in your church! Try it free.


Related Support

How to show lyrics + sheet music on screen

Proclaim 4: Create Excellent Presentations Every Week. Click to see what's new in Proclaim church presentation software.

Written by
Mary Jahnke

Mary Jahnke has a background in marketing, especially for Christian education, and serves as a content marketing strategist for Faithlife. She has experience in church communications and is always looking for helpful knowledge to share.

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Written by Mary Jahnke
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