Got Video? Now What?
I have written in other posts of the importance of incorporating video in worship. Many churches, thankfully, have entered the video world in the last few years, but often aren’t sure what to do now that they have the equipment. Some may even be using their technology in ways that can harm worship or divide the congregation.
The use of video media can be a powerful communicator for the church, but we must realize that media is not the message–it is a tool to support the message of the gospel. It is important that we seek ways to utilize media that enhances the message and does not distract. One has to be sensitive to the context of the local church to determine what is appropriate.
As a church plans for its video media, they should consider what is on the screen from the time people enter the worship space until they depart. Every moment should be well planned to enhance the worship experience.
Here are seven uses for video in the church In no particular order:
- Announcements. Spoken announcements can be a worship killer, especially if they fall in the middle of a service. Move most announcements to projected slides/video as people enter the sanctuary. Also strongly utilize your church bulletin, newsletter, and social media. There are still a few that will need to be verbalized at appropriate times.
- Mission Videos. What a great way to highlight the missions that your church supports or provide informational support for upcoming missions offerings. Most missions organizations provide high quality free videos for your use.
- Mini Movies. There are many sources of great short videos that can be used to enhance the morning sermon or seasonal emphasis. There are many that make great calls to worship or mediations on scripture. Many can be used as transitional elements in the flow of worship. If you have people with video creation talent in your church–make your own.
- Testimony Videos. Help the church celebrate what God is doing in the lives of the members. Sometimes handing a person a microphone on Sunday morning to speak can produce unwanted consequences, but filming the testimony and doing some great editing can produce a powerful, succinct testimonial video that can be shown in worship. These can be especially powerful before baptisms.
- Lyric Displays of Congregational Songs. This is probably the first place a church entering the video world goes. Be careful not to make the mistake of many churches and only show the “contemporary” songs on screen and then sing the older songs from the hymnal. You may be inadvertently creating a division in your congregation by making the chasm even wider between differing styles of music. Show ALL lyrics on screen or none at all. You may still announce/print/display hymn numbers so that people may choose to use the book or the screen. In my experience, after a few months, very few people are using the books even though they first thought that was their preference. For a great resource on what to do with lyric displays, check out this resource and these previous posts.
- Sermon Support. Many pastors who use projected media only think of producing a PowerPoint presentation with an outline of the sermon, complete with flying bullet points, and such. While this may be helpful to some in following the message, think of ways to utilize images that capture the imagination to help drive home a point. The concept, “A picture is worth a thousand words” can be applied here. Mini-movies and movie clips can also be powerful. If you use movie clips, you do need to be aware of copyright issues and have the proper license.
- Images. At various times in the journey of the worship experience, consider using images to help guide the worshipper. If you have people with artistic skills in your church, they can create images that can be used in projection as well as other outlets in worship.