Not too long ago, a filmmaker friend of mine, who had just wrapped on a large budget, 10-part video series for a mega church in the D.C. area, was driving when his cell phone rang. He answered and on the other end of the line was a senior leader of that church. The voice on the line said to him, “Fred, I am not sure about this whole video thing. Sell me on video for the church.” His heart sank and in a panic he began doing the best he could to not sound totally caught off guard. Fortunately for him, he really believed in the power of video communication for the church and was able to expertly field the question after his initial shock.
How many of us find ourselves in that very predicament? We know video is great. But why? Not to mention there are many different applications for video. Here are ten reasons (of probably hundreds) why churches should seriously consider video this upcoming year.
1. Improved SEO
Paul writes in Romans 10:14, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” I could ask the same questions about our churches. How will they hear the Word if no one told them about your church? Have you Googled your church lately? Is it on the first page of the search results? It is common knowledge that video on your website boosts your search engine results. When I teach at conferences I often ask people attending my workshops if they know what page two of Google is. After a moment I answer, “Where webpages go to die.” Are you optimizing your webpage for google? Besides Google, YouTube is the #2 search engine. Are you optimizing your video content for YouTube? Here is some info that may help get you noticed easier on the internet.
2. Better Information Retention
Most of our communication in the church is classified as oral. This means that someone talks and we all listen, and listen, and listen. However, the majority of people learn best through visual communication. Utilizing sermon bumpers, video sermon illustrations and even images in your sermons can increase the amount your congregants can retain. Check out this article I wrote on leveraging learning styles in your preaching.
3. Online Video Builds Trust
A well made video on your church website that introduces potential guests to the pastor, the environment and the style of your church can be a major relationship building catalyst. When people can see your face, hear the music you play and catch a glimpse of all the happy kids in the kids wing, they feel like they are building a relationship with you before they even step foot in the door. Your front door is no longer your website. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and other social networks are great places to upload well crafted videos that help people get to know you.
4. Connect Beyond Barriers
How much does it cost to fly a missionary in? How much does it cost to Skype with him or her while they are on the mission field. Several months ago, we successfully completed a video Skype call with a missionary from China during our Sunday morning service. The impact it had was invaluable. The congregation felt connected on a deeper level by seeing the missionary in the field and it certainly compelled people to a new level of missions giving that Sunday. Video allows us to connect beyond physical borders and and limitations.
5. Video Is Financially Accessible
When I first started shooting video professionally, the cameras I operated cost about $120,000. Today, the same quality of camera is about $12,000. The dramatic drop in the price of technology has allowed high-quality technology to be in the hands of virtually anyone. Today you can grab a 4K camera or a laptop for video editing for under $1000. Cost is no longer a barrier to entering the video arena.
6. More Tools In Your Belt
Public speaking is an incredibly effective means of communication. However, it relies primarily on one mode, speech. Video allows us to tap into a wide variety of tools for communicating. Video opens the door to animation, text, visuals and especially music. Adding music to our visual communication allows the message to connect effectively and deeply.
7. Multiply Time & Ability
How many times have you taught the baptism class? How often does your pastor have to teach the membership course? Imagine we could free up his schedule by filming his portion and playing it back during the class? Even better, why not film your theology, leadership training and other classes and offer them online for people to view at their own pace. Take a cue from successful online learning institutions, put training online and save people from having to go to one more meeting at the church building.
8. Video Is A Creative Outlet
Video gives people, especially young folks, the opportunity to express their creativity. Video could be a great way to attract more of the youth to get involved in serving.
9. Keep Personal Testimonies Under Control
No more grabbing the microphone back from a long winded brother who insists on relaying every detail of his mission trip from the moment he got to the airport up and through his experience of puking his guts out upon returning. Didn’t someone tell him to drink the bottled water. Nothing is better than having the ability to edit the video of his testimony into a clear, concise and powerful message that could inspire others to join the next mission trip.
10. Help Your Teams Grow
Use video to record your speakers, preachers, worship team, greeters or whomever. Then gather them together to critique themselves and create an improvement plan. One of the most torturous exercises is to watch ourselves on camera. But it will help your teams grow by leaps and bounds.
There are many more reasons, but you get the idea. If you are finishing your 2016 budgets, make room for the strategic use of video.
How are you using video in your church? Leave a comment?