Video can be a powerful communicator for your church or ministry, whether it’s a slickly-produced, expensive promotional piece or just a quick interview in the church lobby. Show your audience not just the facts, but the heart of your church, staff or event. Now more than ever, it’s widely accessible, even in today’s economy with limited budgets and resources.
You don’t have to be Supergeek. For less than $200 a Flip Video is small, easy to carry and will shoot up to 60 minutes of Web-quality video on a single charge. It easily connects to your computer’s USB port. Or invest a bit more in a consumer-level digital video camcorder — we have one we paid about $500 for and is more than adequate for our needs. (No, I do not receive any compensation from Flip. I’m just a satisfied user.)
Disclaimer: I’m not a video guru. This post will not provide highly specific technical information on video shooting, capture or editing. I’m just talking in general terms about how you can use it to complement other strategies.
Five Ways to Incorporate Video Into Your Church or Ministry’s Communications Strategy
- Cover and promote events.
Get an interview before the event with an involved volunteer who is passionate about the project. During the event, get closeup footage of your volunteers; ask them to talk about the activity’s impact. Specifics are nice — we served 100 meals, built a house, repaired a porch — but personal impressions and reactions are important as well. Edit to five minutes or less and show it in the service, upload to social media sites (YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo), run it on a loop in the lobby and stream it from the church Web site.
- Show Personality. Get to know the pastor and staff as human beings. Especially in a larger church, the congregation may feel disconnected from its leaders. Feature your senior pastor in a strictly fun video in a casual setting — the golf course, tennis court, playing with their kids, finishing the marathon — to let people get to know him/her as people.
- Highlight Community and Global Service. Grab a quick video of your pastor commenting on a current event, trend or news item. A minute or two on the economy, the swine flu, an important cause or event that is not directly church-related. Show your community that you are interested in things outside your four walls.
- Call to Action. Raise awareness and mission engagement. Video can stir the heart and motivate like no other medium. Want to mobilize your congregation against poverty? Show them. Even still images set to moving music can touch them and perhaps make a difference.
- Introduce Yourself. Include a short welcome message from your senior pastor with clips of events, interviews in your visitor and/or new member packet and upload it to your Web site, Facebook page and other social media sites.
You can also use content from other sources; link to a helpful, amusing or informative video; most Web-based video services make this easy with the html embed code on the same page as the video. Some sites, such as Oklahoma-based Lifechurch.tv’s Open area provide free creative resources for churches to use that include video.
The simplest, most cost-effective program for the money (free with purchase of a new Mac) is Apple’s iMovie. It comes bundled with the purchase of each new Mac, has a relatively small learning curve, includes transitions, titles and can export in any number of formats. As I’ve been a Mac user for many years, I will refer you to this article for a rundown on comparable Windows-based applications.
Distribute and Publicize
- Distribute widely. Always upload to YouYube for the broadest audience.
- Tag. Use tags that fit the content, but think creatively about terms that might lead a viewer to your video even if they aren’t looking for a specifically church-oriented content. For example, a video about a mission project in Memphis might include the words mission, church, Christ, God, Jesus, but also poor, poverty, Memphis, so that it can be discovered by someone who isn’t specifically looking for church-related videos.
- Embed on your Web site and Facebook page. You can upload video directly to Facebook, but if you prefer a cleaner interface than YouTube for the Web site, Vimeo and Blip.tv both have slightly higher quality and a less obtrusive interface than YouTube.
- Link love. if your church is on Twitter, tweet a link to the video, or put it in your e-newsletter and in the bulletin. You can also place a link in your email signature.
If you’re unfamiliar with the type of content, spend some time browsing social video sites with search terms similar to those you might use. You will quickly realize that video doesn’t have to be perfect to carry impact.
Now, go press the red button.