7 Steps to Make an Effective Pre-Service Video

Here's how to make effective pre-service church videos.
Here's how to make effective pre-service church videos. (Courtesy of Lifewaychurch.tv)

Like you, I'm always looking for new ideas that will make my church better.

When I got the idea from Rich Birch's podcast "5 Elements of Effective Pre-Service Videos" to make a countdown video for our services that shows our church in our city, I knew we had to do it.

It's brilliant: give guests a two-minute story of your church as they take their seats and they will likely be more predisposed to your church. And reinforce your church values with your congregation without a word, every week—that's brilliant too. Then see it spread across social media to attract the community? Priceless.

Watch our video here, then I'll break down how to make one of your own.

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Here are seven steps to make a pre-service video about your church:

1. Cover every step in prayer. "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans" (Prov. 16:3)

2. Think through the purpose and goals. Think through what is important about your church. What is your story for your city?

We wanted to show each of our campuses and their cities. We wanted to show what we value—our DNA. We decided to show the ministries of our church in the context of our DNA statements.

And importantly, we wanted to show that our church is more than a Sunday morning service. It's alive all week long, all across our region. It's a place to find meaning and value in Jesus.

Action: How do you want to tell the story of your church in your community?

3. Ask the person in your church who has experience making videos to do this project. We have a very capable music and video producer, Joe Tran, in our church. He brought his experience to the project and you can see his talent in the video.

Find the best person you can and don't be intimidated by others' expertise. Be authentic and do your best.

Action: Who should you ask to do this project?

4. Write a script. Plan the places, the shots, the services, the ministries, the people and the leaders you want to include. Plan to show your buildings but put the focus on the people using the buildings.

Watch our video, and the three on Rich Birch's post, to get ideas for points you want to make, the pictures you want to show and how to craft a meaningful flow.

Then plan the locations and the schedule.  Figure out where you need to go and what time you need to be there to get the footage you need.

Action: What is the script for your video?

5. Film and edit. Stake out the scene before you film it. Plan the crowd shot to catch people's faces. Set up staged conversations because they will seem more authentic than candid conversations that turn awkward when people realize they are being filmed.

Don't worry about not having expensive equipment; simple is satisfactory. Use your cellphone or an HD camcorder to film. Use iMovie or your preferred software to edit.

Keep the video as short as you can to accomplish your purpose. We went for 2 1/2 minutes of awesome. Each clip is just a few seconds long.

You may need to go back out to film a few more shots.

Action: What is your time frame for filming and editing?

6. Choose the music. The decision about what music to use comes before you begin editing and it is just as important as the video you've taken. If you have exceptional video but choose weak music, the result will be disappointing.

The mood of the music creates the mood of the video. Choose upbeat, inspiring music. We used theatrical trailer music rather than worship music. You're already running the race and winning the fight just by listening to our video.

If you can, try to sync up the beat of the music with the action of the clip, or the change of the scenes. This will increase your emotional impact of dramatic shots. Speed up or slow down the footage to connect with the music and make it more powerful.

Be sure to pay attention to licensing the music you use. Facebook will pull your video if you violate copyright, so here are two options:

Search for and download royalty-free instrumental music.

Ask one of your musicians to write your own underscore using GarageBand, Logic Pro or Ableton Live.

Action: What do you have in mind for the music for your video?

7. Plan for it to get shared. Your video will go beyond your worship services to spread across social media if you do two things:

  • Make it meaningful. We know that things that amuse, inspire or entertain are what gets shared, so be sure people connect to your video emotionally.
  • Ask people to share it. It's amazing how many more shares you will get if you just ask.

When your countdown video shows up in Facebook feeds and on Instagram and Pinterest, then you're spreading the story of your church, winning good attention and attracting people to church.

Action: Who is good at social media and will help promote your video?

Now What?

  • Go back and jot down your answer to the action steps.
  • Be the catalyst to get the video made.
  • Then share the video and your lessons learned in the comments below or to the PastorMentor Facebook page.

Hal Seed is the founding and lead pastor of New Song Community Church in Oceanside, California Hal mentors pastors to lead healthy, growing churches. He offers resources to help church leaders at pastormentor.com.

For the original article, visit pastormentor.com.

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