Music notation software can do wonders for your music ministry. And while there is a learning curve, you don't need a degree in music to learn how to use it.
What software do I get?
There are two main versions of music notation software available: 1) Finale, and 2) Sibelius. I've used both, but for my current purposes, I prefer Sibelius. There are many, though, who prefer Finale. It's kind of like the Android vs. Apple debate only in the geeky world of music. Each software has a trial version available. Download them both and play around with them. Both companies also offer video tutorials to get you started.
I will say this about Finale: It is a very powerful piece of software. But it's interface is akin to Photoshop (i.e. Not so easy to use without training). Sibelius, on the other hand, is built like a word processor. It is more than powerful enough (I headed a team that used it to do an entire church hymnal) to meet your ministry needs, but it is also simple enough that anyone with basic computer skills can learn to use it.
Whichever software you choose, neither is cheap. Either one will run you around $300. But, as I used to tell my students when I taught a class on Sibelius, "If you can't get your money's worth out of this software, you're not using it right."
What are some practical uses?
Transposition — This is probably the most practical use for a church music ministry. You can take music that you already have, input it into the software, and with a few clicks, raise or lower the key. This is especially great if you have a choir piece that is to high, or if you have a soloist who wants to sing a special but the pianist cannot play it by ear in a different key.
Part Writing — I've often been in situations where I wanted a group of guys to form a quartet and sing together. Often, groups try this by ear, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. Sometimes it helps if you can get the parts down on paper so they can see their notes. You can also tweak choral arrangements that might otherwise be to high at the end for your choir.
Special Handouts —There have been times when we wanted to sing a song that wasn't in our hymnal (like a special song for Thanksgiving). So we typed up the music, printed it on a half-sheet of paper and stuffed it in the bulletin.
Advanced uses include:
Custom choral arrangements
Creating a chorus book
Creating your own hymnal...not exactly something I recommend ; )
What's the moral of the story?
I'm an avid composer and arranger so of course I use music notation software. But if you're not, don't let that keep you from giving it a try. It really can open up some new opportunities for your ministry. Who knows? It may even inspire you to start writing and arranging yourself.