This is the first of a four part series on strategies for developing a viable congregational media ministry. This series is designed for anyone who uses media in worship and/or the life of a local church. We have identified a number of ways to grow a local church media ministry that apply regardless if the ministry is long-established or simply the vision of a single, passionate individual.
Within this strategic directive there are five areas of emphasis. These are technology, creativity and design, team development, ministry leadership, and visioning. Each of the five, in our opinion, is equally important to a high quality ministry, so we are addressing them within each phase of development.
As there is enough to do here to warrant a full-time, salaried media minister, we have outlined in detail what is involved in getting the ministry off the ground. If your situation involves part-time or volunteer hours, adjust accordingly. Here are some action steps for phase one:
Phase 1: Getting Started
Have you ever shown a video in worship? Maybe you’ve seen a video used in worship, and liked it. Wittingly or not, either way you’ve engaged in media as ministry. One innocuous little video can open a wide door to the concept of developing digital media as a means to make disciples of Jesus Christ. But how, besides using video in the sermon, can one begin to create a fully functioning media ministry from scratch?
One obvious action step is to make sure you have a viable means to display images in worship. This question of Technology (one of our five categories) must be handled with aplomb. Some try to skim on the cost of the display, but this makes little sense. The image is the raison d’etre of media ministry.
Obviously, there is a technical language to the use of videos and computers that requires some degree of digital literacy. Thankfully this literacy rate is improving, due to greater ubiquity and better software. To get started, you don’t need much of anything beyond a DVD player, a video (not an overhead) projector and screen, and a film license from www.cvli.org can afford the opportunity to use Hollywood’s expertise in creating powerful stories of the gospel in worship.
But where do you get the ideas for these clips? Often they come from our own heads, or the heads of creative people around us. Find good film scenes with Creativity that captures the essence of a theme without trying to “preach” the theme. This takes practice. To find good examples, browse websites such as wingclips.com, screenvue.com or movieministry.com.
When finding a movie clip, avoid thinking doctrinally or propositionally. In other words, don’t look for something that tells the biblical solution to a life problem. What movies are good at is not exposition; movies are good at storytelling. Audiences empathize and are moved by stories that articulate their own life experiences. So look for movie clips that capture the human condition, to which the Gospel is the answer. For example, a clip of Shrek admitting to Donkey that he is lonely, from the original Shrek, captures the need for community to which the Church is the answer. Shrek doesn’t preach the sermon; he sets up the preacher to deliver the Word with powerful connection.