If you need an apt illustration for why we use digital media, think of a megaphone. Simple input, magnified output. The medium that is changing how the world communicates is video. Youtube announced that their users consume over 1 billion hours of video a day1 It’s also one of the world’s largest search engines, clocking over 3 billion searches a month, and over three quarters of people watch a videos weekly online.2,3
“Youtube announced that their users consume over 1 billion hours of video a day”
Why is video so popular? For one, it’s multi-sensory; video includes both auditory and visual content. This gains the traction with those who are primarily visual learners, which happens to be the majority of people. Visuals exponentially multiply the likelihood that the audience will retain the information after the presentation, so it’s actually a more effective communication tool than something that’s simply auditory. Some of these graphics are just simple text, others are event graphics, and others still consist of b-roll footage.
Studies show that one minute of video is worth about 1.8 million words.4
We hope you’ve quickly become convinced that video presents an unprecedented opportunity for churches to communicate and cultivate life. The question that remains is this, “How do we take advantage of it?” There are many ways we can amplify the message and voice of the church. We’ll look at them in terms of where they would be generally shown.
Video announcements are an easy way to shore up what needs to be communicated on a Sunday morning. They require a script and force the writer to clearly articulate all of the (and only) necessary information. It’s also a platform that allows for graphics to keep that information in the front of the church’s mind; they’re not just hearing it but seeing it as well. Prerecorded announcements in the middle of service also allow 2-4 minutes of time to rearrange the stage without any awkwardness.
Testimony videos help tell stories of God’s grace. The ideas are endless! Some videos we’ve seen have been about salvation, adoptions, the benefits of church membership, and involvement in ministry. These videos are re-playable and can be put in front of countless people if distributed on social media. Video also takes the public speaking pressure out of sharing on a Sunday morning.
“Testimony videos help tell stories of God’s grace.”
Welcome videos help visitors understand what’s happening on a Sunday morning. These are generally played before or at the very beginning of service to announce the order of service and help guests become acquainted with the experience. You can give clarity on where their kids go, how offering is done, and, of course, welcome them.
As a subset of the announcement videos mentioned above, we would encourage event promotional videos. It’s best to have footage from the same event the year before, but clips from a similar event are also helpful. This is a reason to think about having a photographer or videographer at your events – not just for now but for next year. It is easier to get people excited if they have those 1.8 million words telling them how worthy of an event it is.
Sermon intro videos, often called “bumpers,” can be helpful in getting people back into the mindset of the sermon series. They’re almost pre-introduction introductions. They can reflect the mood and tone of the sermon series and visually convey the main point of the study.
Most of the videos above are cross-platform and can be shown during the week as well as in service, but there are some that just don’t make sense for a Sunday morning. These are videos can be for the church’s website, operate as Q/A platform, and used to pastor and train people.
One way to engage visitors on your is to have a video. This could point them to the answers for their questions and give them a brief introduction to your church. These force you to boil down the mission and identity of a local church into a minute-long monologue. This still leaves room to tell the viewer what to expect on their first visit.
An easy way to engage with the community around your church is to answer the questions they’re asking. These can be recorded moments from an event or footage shot specifically for this purpose. Depending on where they’re hosted, there’s the option to have discussion and dialogue in the comment sections.
“Some teaching videos are more devotional and shared on platforms, like Facebook and Youtube, but others are instructive and used to train leaders.”
Teaching videos are incredible. They can be concise and to the point, catechism-like, or expanded and comprehensive, giving seminary-level content to anyone who sees it. Some teaching videos are more devotional and shared on platforms, like Facebook and Youtube, but others are instructive and used to train leaders. The possibilities are essentially endless, and they can be used to enhance anyone, regardless of where they are in their relationship to your church. We have personally benefited from video content created by churches and ministries on the other side of the country.
If your church has gone through the process of identifying your mission, vision, and values, that should be broadcast in every way imaginable. The more it’s discussed and heralded, the more it becomes the bedrock of your church’s culture.
Vision videos are best made in series, between four and six. This allows you to release one a week for several weeks, showing them on social media and in service, then to cycle back through at least once. These should contain a discussion on the vision as well as a call for individuals to get involved with it.
- 1. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/youtube-viewers-watch-more-than-1-billion-hours-a-day-2017-02-27
- 2. https://www.metricfox.com/blog/youtube-is-the-2nd-largest-search-engine-in-the-world-are-you-using-it-well-yet/
- 3. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/2017-year-of-video-marketing
- 4. http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/a-minute-of-video-is-worth-18-million-words-according-to-forrester-research-1900666.htm