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3 Essential Elements of Video Announcements

Three Essential Elements of Video Announcements

Today’s post is from my friend, Brady Shearer. He is an extremely talented blogger, podcaster, and church media guru. I highly recommend following him on Twitter at @BradyShearer.

Video announcements for churches can be a toss-up. When they’re done well, they’re enjoyable to watch, informative, and brief. But when they’re done poorly, video announcements can be painful to endure.

In the last year alone I’ve produced more than 1000 different editions of video announcements. I’m the founder of and we create video announcements every single week for churches across North America.

We’re continuously refining how we approach and produce video announcements. Instead of simply making minor tweaks, I like to find easy changes that produce maximum benefits. For instance, rather than obsess over motion graphics or perfect lighting, I’ve identified what I think are the three most important elements of quality video announcements. If your church can focus on these three core values, your video announcements will be excellent.

3 Essential Elements of Video Announcements

1. Tell a story. Don’t tout information.

Observe the following two examples…

Announcement Example #1

“Men’s Retreat is next week. The cost is $85 per guy. Make sure you get your money in to Pastor Dan before Friday at noon. We’ll be meeting at the church at 5:00 PM and leaving from there. Don’t miss it!”

Announcement Example #2

“Men’s Retreat is next week. [Insert hilarious story from last year about the flag football game] Every detail you need is on the website. Don’t miss it!”

Despite popular belief, the purpose of video announcements is not to share details, specifics, and extensive information. The purpose of video announcements is to inform your church of the most important things happening, and compel them to get involved. The two examples above are very similar. But in Example #1, every possible detail is crammed into the announcement. The problem with this approach is that people don’t remember details!

Hoping your church remembers dates, times, phone numbers, or email addresses mentioned during video announcements is a losing approach. If you want men to attend your men’s retreat, share a story that connects with them. They can always find the details later on your website.

2. The perfect length is…

Using stories is a smart approach, but it won’t really matter if your video announcements are eight-minutes long. We’ve found that the perfect length for video announcements is three-minutes or less. Anywhere between two-minutes and three-minutes is the absolute sweet spot. This works out to approximately five announcements included each week.

Remember, the purpose of video announcements shouldn’t be to share an exhaustive itinerary of church life. The purpose is to share what’s most important, and compel your church to get involved.

3. Don’t put that person on camera

Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma produces some of the best video announcements around. They’re a church of more than 10,000 people, and can you guess how many video announcements presenters they have? Fewer than 5.

Presenting on camera is unlike any other type of presentation. I’ve seen the most dynamic pastors freeze in front of a camera as soon as it begins to record. Growing to be a quality on-camera presenter takes time – a considerable amount of time. Be conscious of whom you’re putting on the screen.


Of course, I think outsourcing your video announcements is a great idea. When I was the Media Director on staff at my church, I spent more than 10 hours per week coordinating, scripting, producing, and editing our weekly video announcements. I can help with that.

The best question to continuously ask yourself is – what are we trying to accomplish with this announcement? Share stories, keep it brief, use a quality presenter, and your video announcements will be excellent.

Five Creative Ministry Tips: 9/4/14

Five Creative Ministry Tips - September 4th, 2014

Every week, we’re excited to share a five-pack of useful tips for those serving in creative ministry! Each Thursday, we post practical advice on topics such as media, social networking, design, and marketing. While these tips may be simple, they have the potential to radically improve your church. These images are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ready, so help us spread the word by sharing them with your followers!

Lyrics should be displayed just before they're sung. Sermon points should be displayed just after they're spoken. Most people won't listen to a hour long sermon online. Consider creating five minute recap video or audio clips that highlight key points. When was the last time you learned a new tool in your design software? Make it a priority to explore new methods often. Posting flyers in local businesses and on community bulletin boards is extremely affordable and still works great for promoting events. Try hard. Pray hard. Everything else is just details.

Like these photos? Get them here: Photo 1Photo 2Photo 3Photo 4Photo 5

6 Game-Changing Tips For Multi-site Production

Six Game-Changing Tips For Multisite Production

When your church has multiple locations, there is an entirely new set of hurdles for your media and production team. It’s often difficult to duplicate the quality experience of the home campus at other locations. There can also be the challenge of keeping volunteers aligned with the same vision. Here are some simple tips that have made life easier for us and will make a big difference when you’re managing teams across multiple campuses.

1. Use Consistent Equipment

Keeping your equipment consistent across environments will make your life much easier. For example, at our church we have a Behringer X32 for audio, Jands Vista software for lighting, and use ProPresenter for on-screen content. Having the same hardware and software in each space makes it significantly easier to cross-train volunteers, roll out software/firmware upgrades, and diagnose any problems that may arise when preparing for a service.

2. Distribute Content And Share Files With Dropbox

One of the first hurdles that comes with multi-site ministry is figuring out how to distribute content. With the advent of the cloud, gone are the days of hand delivering flash drives (or dare I say, CDs) to all of your environments to distribute media. Dropbox is a file-syncing service that makes file distribution a breeze. Just create a free Dropbox account and install the Dropbox app on any computer you would like to distribute to. Then, simply put your media file in your Dropbox folder, and this service takes care of copying that file to all of your computers. Dropbox Basic plans provide a free 2GBs of space or a Dropbox Pro account provides a whopping 1TB of storage for just $10 a month. Check it out here.

3. Train Your Volunteers Well

The longer I serve in ministry, the more I realize my job is to train people to replace me. Training your volunteers well – not just about your equipment, but about your vision & philosophy for ministry – will really help to create a consistent experience at all of your campuses. If you only train your volunteers to be able to handle a service if everything goes smoothly, you’ll be slammed with messages the second anything goes wrong. Training your volunteers on how to handle unexpected situations can become the difference between leading and babysitting on a Sunday morning.

4. Schedule Volunteers With Planning Center

I’ve been using Planning Center for years now, and I don’t know what I’d do without it. We recently wrote about Planning Center in this article, and for good reason. Planning Center doesn’t just help you plan a service; you can use it to schedule and communicate with volunteers, distribute worship documents (e.g. lyric sheets & chord charts), and even plan your stage layout. Pricing varies depending on the size of your ministry, but rest assured, it’s worth twice what you pay. Check it out here.

5. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Communication will make or break your teams. Make sure you have open lines of communication during your services—with your band, your pastor, and your production team. Volunteers need to feel confident that they can reach out to you when they need help. Your worship team and pastor need to know they can reach out to you when there’s a last minute change. Make sure that you communicate your vision for the weekend service clearly and make yourself accessible for any questions that may come up. I recommend using GroupMe for keeping in touch with your team. You can have different message threads for different teams (band, production, church staff, etc.), which makes keeping everyone up to date during a service super easy. Check it out here.

6. Screen Share With TeamViewer

Often times, it’s difficult to diagnose a computer problem when you’re not in front of that specific computer. Remote Desktop allows you to log into and control a computer over the internet, just as if you were right in front of that computer. TeamViewer is one of many remote desktop tools out there, but it’s our favorite because of its cross-platform compatibility and ease of installation. When a volunteer calls with a ProPresenter problem, or if you just need to log in and grab a file you left on another computer, TeamViewer can save you a lot of time and hassle. Check it out here.

Final Thoughts

Multi-site ministry can be a challenging beast, but with the proper tools, you can keep a high bar of excellence across the board. Above all, always be sure to communicate well with your teams to really set them up for success. It can be the difference in dividing yourself and multiplying yourself in ministry.

Five Creative Ministry Tips: 8/28/14


Every week, we’re excited to share a five-pack of useful tips for those serving in creative ministry! Each Thursday, we post practical advice on topics such as media, social networking, design, and marketing. While these tips may be simple, they have the potential to radically improve your church. These images are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ready, so help us spread the word by sharing them with your followers!

Sans-serif fonts work best with sleek, modern backgrounds. Serif fonts work best with organic, rustic backgrounds. Both are great looks for lyrics. One of the best ways to share with the world what God is doing in your church is by posting photos on social media.Every design doesn't have to take hours to complete. Sometimes a simple, quick design will look great and do the job well. The cheapest and most effective way to get the word out about your church is to get your congregation excited about what's coming up. One of the best ways to keep your volunteers committed is repeatedly sharing stories of how they're making a difference in peoples' lives.

Like these photos? Get them here: Photo 1Photo 2Photo 3Photo 4Photo 5

5 Apps I Recommend For Every Creative Ministry

Five Apps I'd Recommend For Every Creative Ministry

I don’t know what I would do without my iPhone.

I use it in every area of my life and Creative Ministry is no different. Having powerful tools readily available in my pocket makes all the difference in productivity.

Of course, I use the obvious apps that many of you do. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for my social media. I listen to music with Spotify and Apple’s app for podcasts. I’ll even admit to being slightly addicted to the Roller Coaster Tycoon game.

Beyond the everyday downloads, there are few apps that are extremely helpful for Creative Ministry.

I use these tools both on Sunday mornings as I lead our Production Team and during the week for various creative tasks.

1. Planning Center Online

Planning Center OnlineLast week, I posted a tweet expressing my love for Planning Center along with the question “Do you use PCO?”

There was a massive response.

In fact, there was so much buzz happening on Twitter from my post that the PCO staff sent me a message thanking me for the publicity. A lot of churches use it.

While integrating this system into your church can be a little overwhelming, I don’t know where our church would be without it. I use the app throughout the week for planning our services and scheduling our volunteers. On Sunday mornings, I use it as a digital order of service to keep us on track.

With this app, you never have to go searching through emails to find who’s running ProPresenter this week or which songs your worship team singing. It’s all in one organized place.

2. GroupMe

GroupMeI was first introduced to this app when I trained with the production teams at Church of the Highlands and Elevation Church.

To be honest, I didn’t see the true value when they first recommended it to me. It took me using it at our church to fully understand.

Once I saw that I could keep all of our team’s communication in one place, I was hooked.

Our church’s staff uses a group message for all of our basic communications to each other, each ministry team (production, kids, connect) uses it to keep volunteers aware of what’s coming up on Sunday, and we’re able to communicate last-minute changes to each team during service.

This app has also been useful for our kid’s ministry to communicate nursery alerts to our ProPresenter operator.

3. Buffer

BufferMore than an app, Buffer is a total package for all things social media in our church. 

Rather than individually creating posts on all of our various social networks, we are able to use this one central app to get the word out.

Social media for your church doesn’t have to be difficult. This app gives professional results with ease.

I use Buffer to schedule all of our social posts for the month in advance, then simply maintain on the go with the app.

I made the switch from the similar app, HootSuite, a few months ago and haven’t looked back.

Plus, it also comes in handy that we’re able to post to networks like Google+ without actually having to have those apps on our devices. ;)

4. Latergramme

LatergrammeThe only downside to social media managers like Buffer is that they don’t include Instagram.

If I was granted three wishes from a magic genie, one of them would be for Instagram integration into Buffer.

Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.

The closest thing to scheduled Instagram posts is this awesome app, Latergramme. It allows you to pre-write your text and schedule your IG photos so that when it’s time to post, you’re notified on your phone. With just a few taps and mere seconds, you can move from this app into Instagram and post your image.

Would it be great if there was an easier way? Yes.

Is this the easiest thing currently available? Definitely.

5. Repost

RepostOne of the best ways to share with the world what God is doing in your church is by posting photos on social media. 

Unfortunately, not every church has professional photographers who are willing to volunteer on Sundays.

But, you do have a congregation full of people who have phones in their pockets with high-quality cameras.

Encourage your church family to take photos on Sunday mornings and share them on their social networks using your church’s hashtag.

Then, you can use the handy app, Repost, to share their photos on your church’s networks.

Not only does it allow your church to have great photos from your services, but it gets your congregation excited to share their Sunday experience with their friends.

What About You?

What are your favorite and most useful apps that you use in Creative Ministry?

Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter at @CreativePastor!