I remember being the gadget kid in middle school. I had a watch that functioned as a walkie-talkie, and it was huge. I also had a mini notepad. It was a two-inch screen connected to a keyboard that folded in half, and it only cost $30 from Wal-Mart. It was quite impressive but not functional. I wasn’t familiar with keyboarding at that age, and the keys themselves were too small. I’ll never know how they planned on marketing the device. I ended up putting it away, taking out a pencil, and taking notes that way.
That story illustrates a concept we have to live by in our day and age: technology for technology’s sake is counterproductive. We should only invest in tech and equipment that makes life easier or adds to the excellence that we serve with. With that said, are video announcements worth the investments? Let’s look at a few advantages.
“Technology for technology’s sake is counterproductive.”
Little is as valuable as having a message to share and sharing it exactly as imagined. Pastors rejoice in the days where they feel confident that they “nailed it.” The main strength of video announcements is guaranteed clarity. There is a script written and reviewed days before they’re presented in service. This process creates precision and accountability that aren’t present with on-the-spot announcements. Accuracy comes from the review process; once reviewed, it’s that very information that’s shared on Sunday morning. Prerecorded announcements prevent any anxiety, fumbling over words, and misinformation – that’s assurance.
If our goal in telling people about events or rhythms in our church is for them to remember them, then we must incorporate visual elements. Studies from the last few decades show the effectiveness of visual aids in memory recall. Four conditions were tested: spoken, written, spoken with visual aids, and participatory. The “illustrated lecture” condition was the most conducive to helping individuals recall information. This method was six and a half times more effective than information that was solely written and three times more effective than messages that were only spoken. Pearson has done research that shows visual learners make up 65% of the general population.
What elements can be used in video announcements? Simple text that reiterates the message being spoken is the most common. Event graphics are another way to visually communicate branded information. Some of the most engaging visual content is actual footage related to what the presenter is talking about. This last option is most common when leading up to an event and footage from the previous year is available, or right after the event, and you’re thanking people for coming. Video is the most versatile visual aid because of these options, and all you have to do is write a script and press play.
Some people love talking. Find a topic they enjoy, and they could talk for a really long time. Whether they enjoy discussions or not, not everyone is a skilled conversationalists, and that’s okay. I’m sure you know someone who doesn’t know how to follow the flow of conversation, so they get fixated on a single topic. It’s uncomfortable in regular conversation, and can be incredibly nerve-racking in a church service. Here’s the bottom line: not everyone needs to have the stage and to be given a microphone.
“Video is the most versatile visual aid because of these options, and all you have to do is write a script and press play”
Video announcements can remove one of the opportunities for that to happen. This is another benefit of the script! If you need to tell a story, writing it out helps narrow down the focus and trim the amount of time it takes to tell. Let’s face it: announcement time can be awkward. Someone’s standing there and talking, but it’s not a song, a sermon, or a prayer; and everyone’s eyes are on the stage, so it’s hard to re-set it while someone’s talking from it.
Prerecorded announcements help redeem the announcement lull in your service. Whether lights are dimmed or not, people are focused on screens, and it gives the Sunday morning crew the opportunity to do what they need to do without being the center of attention. I was at a church that used the announcements as a time to transition the stage from worship to preaching, which meant moving instruments and setting up preaching stands, and no one was distracted by it.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. These all actually apply to video announcements. Reviewing helps reduce the length of time they take up during a service. You can make them a consistent piece of your communication strategy because they’re mutli-format. These videos can find a permanent home on Youtube, be shared on Facebook and Twitter, and be linked to in your weekly church newsletter. The magic of social media means that they can actually be seen by countless people during the week, so you reach the people in service, plus the followers your church has on Facebook.
Wrap It Up
You have four of the great strengths of video announcements. They are clear and concise, visually engaging, time appropriate, and reusable. These traits are make video announcements more valuable than impromptu monologues on Sunday morning, but they’re only as valuable as the content you plug into them. Remember, the goal is to communicate and cultivate life within your church, so tell stories and promote events that are consistent with who God has called your ministry to be.
Bonus Bonus: Streamlined Presentation
If your church is involved in any regional, national, or international ministries that have their own promotional videos, those can easily be edited into the same video file as your regular announcements. A few examples are ministries like Operation Christmas Child and Compassion International. These organizations have branded videos to help inform and inspire people to support their cause, and having them embedded in your regular announcements helps communicate unity and preparedness. Testimony, campaign, and guest videos are also great candidates for this practice. If you’re already doing video announcements, these special presentations won’t seem out of place and will fit easily into your service.