I’ve spent some time over the past couple of years considering how a church could use video more effectively to build up their local congregation, as well as reach out to others.
My church is fairly modern, though located in a rural area, and attendance tends to be around 400-500. We’ve spent a substantial amount of time, money, and other resources on video, including planting a video venue church campus in another small town about 35 minutes away. We are currently working towards planting a second video venue campus in the other direction.
Video is such a great communications tool in the modern church that I’ve decided to compile this list of video ideas. My hope is to encourage and inspire others involved in church media to consider how they might use video more effectively as well.
Idea #1. Hold a Video Contest!
On the surface, this might seem like a lightweight idea, or maybe even a waste of time. There are three reasons, however, that I think holding a video contest is a great idea for a church.
The first reason is because making a video requires a lot of planning, thought, and careful execution. Teams taking part will learn a lot, not just about video, but about the content of their video. If the contest parameters are set well, this is a great opportunity for groups to learn about their faith together.
The second reason is that working together creates an opportunity for teamwork and bonding. There’s nothing like working all night on a last-minute editing project for making lasting memories.
Third, a video contest will illustrate who in the congregation has talent, creativity, and equipment. You might encourage a whole new set of eager video volunteers. And it could even be fun!
Idea #2. Video Bumpers
I’m not talking about a ride at the fair. Bumpers are videos that typically play just before the sermon. They are usually around 2-4 minutes long, and can be a great way to transition at that point in a service, letting musicians exit the stage and the pastor enter while the audience’s attention is held on the screen.
Bumpers are great in theory, but once you decide to use them, it becomes a whole new ballgame. How do you find bumper videos for every week of the year?
SermonSpice.com is probably the best online video site for church video. For $10-40/video, you can find a wide variety of content on nearly any topic.
Youtube is another place to look. Pick any big church pastor – they will have a plethora of short sermon clips or thought pieces on Youtube. There is a lot of great food for thought out there.
And then you can produce your own custom video bumpers. There’s a lot of potential power in creating your own, in-house custom video bumpers that goes beyond what can be found online.
Idea #3. Counseling Basics
If you’ve been a part of a church for any period of time, you know that churches aren’t made up of perfect people. Life is often difficult and confusing, and people need counseling sometimes. However, a sense of pride or fear can keep people from seeking out help. A series of bumper videos with a local counselor or pastor which speaks to some of these issues can help bridge that gap. This will enable some to start the healing process on their own, and also help others to feel more familiar with the process and know whom to seek out for help.
Idea #4. The Big Questions
Another clever way to use the bumper video space in a message is to address big questions, like ‘Did Jesus really rise from the dead?’, ‘How did we get the Bible?’, and ‘How can I know I’m saved?’ Even if these don’t directly relate to the sermon for that particular week, a steady diet of content like this will substantially bolster a person’s faith over time. If it’s presented by someone the congregation knows and trusts, all the better.
Idea #5. Mission Trip Reports
Missions trips often start with a flurry of excitement. Announcements, prayer, Facebook posts, and fundraising letters get the ball rolling. But when the team arrives home, they’re exhausted. It’s also a challenge to fit a missions trip report into a tight Sunday morning service. With a little skill, however, a short video can effectively communicate the purpose for the trip without sabotaging the service. If church members have been asked to donate funds towards the trip, a good video report will help them feel that their money was well spent.
In Ten Ideas for Video in Church, Part 2, I’ll cover 5 more ideas on how to effectively use video to build up a church body, as well as reach out to others.