All posts in How-To

Five Media Tweaks To Make Immediately

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There are many aspects of Worship Media and a million ways to improve your presentation, but sometimes it’s the smallest steps that make the biggest difference. Here are five practical tweaks that you can make for Sunday that will make a noticeable impact in your projection.

1. Create A Template For All of Your Lyric Slides

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 12.21.02 AMConsistency is key for excellent presentation on Sunday mornings. Templates make it super easy to coordinate and keep all of your songs looking their best. Choose a dependable font and text size that are easily visible to everyone in your congregation.  (Here are my font recommendations.)

2. Retire Outdated Content

framed-hands copyIf your church has been using media for a while, you’ve probably accumulated quite a bit of content. Styles come and go, so it’s healthy to regularly comb through your library to remove some of the older stuff. It may be time to retire that one background you’ve used a million times or just delete the ones that don’t really work in your space. Keeping your media library tidy goes a long way.

3. Split Larger Lyric Slides

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 12.20.12 AMThis is a rookie mistake that can really throw everything off. I’ve seen slides so jam-packed with lyrics that it made my head ache. Keeping with the flow of the song, split larger chunks of lyrics into multiple slides. I recommend displaying 2-4 lines of text per slide. Use pauses and transitions (verse to chorus, etc.) as natural splits.

4. Coordinate Media Throughout Your Service

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It’s a must that your lyric backgrounds match in both color and style. But to add an additional level of intentionality to your presentation, coordinate the rest of your media elements. Start with your sermon slides and match your motions, countdown, and announcement slides from there. (Service Packs make this really easy and are available from all major media producers.)

5. Display All Scripture That’s Spoken From The Stage

Sermon_Slide_Template-Images.002It’s become pretty standard for churches to display their pastor’s sermon Scripture, but I recommend going a step further. It’s common for Bible passages to be read at other parts of your service such as openings, worship, and offering, too. Touch base with all of your on-stage leaders before service so that you’ll be prepared to project their Scripture. This little bit extra of planning will go a long way for your audience.

 
Do you have any other tweaks that you’d recommend?

6 Affordable Ways To Promote A Sermon Series

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One of the most practical ways to equip your congregation to invite their friends to church is a sermon series. It gives them a tangible event where they know the exact topic that will be discussed. This makes it a lot easier to explain to their neighbors and coworkers because it’s not just, “Hey, you look like you need Jesus. Do you want to come to church with me?” Instead, it’s something exciting that will only be happening for a few weeks and, if you’re doing it right, will have a topic that is appealing to the outside eye. A series gives outsiders an excuse to check out your church for the first time.

Here are six easy and affordable ways to get the word out about your sermon series and equip your church family to invite their friends:

1. Invite Cards

This is one of my favorite ways to spread the word about a series. You can get 1000 business cards printed with your series details for around $25 and put them in the hands of everyone in your congregation. I like to give everybody a bundle of five cards and encourage them to personally invite five people to come check it out. Be sure to include your series graphic, dates, times, address, and website. Printers that I use regularly for these cards are Overnight Prints and Next Day Flyers.

2. Shareable Social Media Graphics

Social media is one of the best ways to spread the word about events, but you can take it a step further than simply posting on your church’s profile. Provide downloadable square (612x612px) promo images with all of your series details on your website. This will allow people to share them with their friends on their own Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles. The potential for reaching people in your community is endless with this method.

3. Exterior Banners

It’s likely that numerous people drive by your church every single day. Take advantage of this by hanging a large banner that’s easily visible by drivers. Next Day Flyers has a 10’ x 5’ banner for only $140 that we’ve purchased several times for promoting events. When I was promoting for our movie theater church in Baltimore, the cinema manager even allowed us to display banners like this for movie-goers throughout the week.

4. Facebook/Twitter Ads

Facebook ads and promoted posts are super affordable and truly reach a lot of people. They are also really easy to target a very specific audience. These ads have been really effective for us. Also, Twitter has recently added some extremely powerful tools for advertising with graphics. Nothing stands out more on a feed full of 140 character tweets than a large photo.

5. Post Flyers Around Town

Take advantage of every community board within a 20 mile radius of your church. Print some flyers with your series graphics and post them at Starbucks, Panera Bread, and anywhere else that will allow it. These kind of places get a ton of traffic and require people to wait in line for their food. This is the perfect opportunity for them to read up about your upcoming event.

6. Email Current & Past Attenders

Have a database full of email addresses from people who have filled out your connection cards? Why not send out an email with the details of your series? Keep it quick and use images, rather than words, to do most of the communicating. Services like MailChimp are perfect for emails like this and have templates that make it easy to plug in your graphics.

 

Have you found any other affordable ways to promote a sermon series?

 

Eight #Awesome Social Media Tips For Churches

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Social media can be an incredible tool for ministry if it is used correctly. Sadly, most churches either “set it and forget it”, use it only for event announcements, or avoid it altogether.

In our efforts to spread the word about our new church plant, I’ve spent a lot of time researching and experimenting with social media. In the past few months, our social involvement has proven extremely successful as we’ve added several to our Launch Team and have met many individuals who have expressed interest in our church. Our Lead Pastor even encountered one lady while grocery shopping who recognized him from Twitter! Since we are seven months away from launching, I’d say it’s been a great first step for us.

Whether your church is new like ours or you’ve been around for 100 years, social media has a lot to offer your ministry. Here are eight tips to use it more effectively:

1. Get Involved On The Right Networks

It seems like a new social network pops up daily. It’s impossible to be active on all of them, but it’s easy to manage a few important ones. I recommend having your church active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – in that order. These are the big players in the social realm and you’ll want to invest your time on the networks with the highest potential for impact.

2. Choose Your Words Carefully

Churches are famous for using insider language that only Christians understand. Proofread your posts from the perspective of someone who has never attended church. Also keep in mind that while it may seem like a good idea, sharing bits of scripture can cause confusion since they’re out of context. Twitter’s 140 character limit doesn’t offer a lot of space to explain how they apply to the lives of your followers.

3. Post Content Worth Sharing

One of the best ways to build (and keep) an audience online is to post meaningful phrases, quotes, and information that people enjoy sharing. At Piedmont Chapel, we aim to post quick, encouraging thoughts that reflect the values of our church. We often focus on themes of love, life-change, dreaming for a better tomorrow, generosity, kindness, and making a difference in the lives of others. Our followers love to retweet and share these posts with their friends.

4. Follow People In Your Community

Because the culture of Twitter is built around connecting with people that you don’t know, “cold-call” following works great for reaching new people. Search for users in your area or hashtags from local events, then follow them from your church’s account. Expect follow-backs from only about 10% of these new connections, but it’s estimated that at least half will view your profile.

5. Ask Questions

Social media works best as a two-way street. Asking questions is a great way to spark conversation with your followers. Not only does it grab their attention, but their responses will often show up on their friends’ feeds. Ask questions related to pop culture, big events, or something associated with your current sermon series.

6. Encourage iPhoneography

Build a culture in your church that encourages people to snap photos on Sunday mornings, at their small groups, and during church events. This is a great way to spread the word about your ministry in your community as their friends see their posts. I’ve even seen churches offer small prizes like $5 Starbucks gift cards to the best photo of the week. (Using a hashtag is perfect for keeping track of these posts.)

7. Schedule Your Posts

Use a free program like Hootsuite or Buffer to pre-schedule your posts. This enables you to be consistent in your posting without being tied to a computer. We schedule daily posts about a month in advance and simply add on to these as new topics develop.

8. Make Your Profiles Pretty

A clean, professional look across all of your social profiles is extremely important. Keep a consistent theme and make sure that your bio communicates the necessities – website, lead pastor, and location. It’s also extremely helpful for your bio to include a link to your lead pastor’s social account.

Do you have any other tips that you’d add to the list?

Five Tricks To Click With Confidence

Five Tricks To Click With Confidence

Projecting worship lyrics on Sundays may not be the most exciting part of Church Media, but there’s no doubt that it’s important. It plays into what I consider one of the most essential responsibilities of the local church – going above and beyond to make it easy for people to get involved. When you provide lyrics to your worship songs, you put everyone in your auditorium on an equal playing field. Whether they’re in a pew every Sunday or haven’t darkened the doorway of a church in years, providing lyrics makes it easy for everyone to participate.

Because lyric projection is such an important part of the Sunday morning experience, I consider it the responsibility of those involved in Church Media to give it their all. You are just as crucial to that moment as those on stage! You have the potential to point people towards Christ or be a distraction.

Here are five tricks to help you stay on top of your lyric game and click with confidence:

1. Label Your Song Elements

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 4.38.42 PMThis is a small adjustment that will make your life easier for years to come. Labeling all of the components in your worship songs makes it super simple to follow along with your worship leader. When you’re in a pinch and need to display a verse or chorus quickly, you’ll be thankful for this simple labeling system.

2. Outline Your Lyrics As They’re Sung

pro5_song_groupingThis may not work in all churches, but it’s awesome for worship teams who sing their songs in a particular pattern each week. Outlining your lyrics in the exact order that they’re sung enables you to confidently click to the next slide. Not having to worry about displaying the wrong words makes a big difference when you’re making an effort to display the next line before it’s sung.

3. Listen To Your Worship Set All Week

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 4.53.12 PMThis is an easy habit that everyone involved in worship on Sundays should pick up. Have your worship leader create a shared Spotify playlist with your worship set for that week and listen to it as a part of your daily commute. By the time Sunday comes, you’ll already have the songs in your head.

4. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 4.57.04 PMFor congregation members, once they see a typo in your worship lyrics, it cannot be unseen. It will stick out like a sore thumb and distract for the remainder of the song. Avoid the chuckles by proofreading your lyrics before service. There’s nothing worse than a tap on the shoulder with the news that you’ve been projecting “How grate is our God” for the past five minutes.

5. Test Everything Before Service Begins

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 4.58.52 PMThis tip not only applies to lyrics, but every element in your service playlist. If your motion background is too fast or skips, you’ll want time to fix it before you have a crowd staring at your screens. Make sure your words are clearly visible over all of your motions. Confirm that your sermon slides are in the correct order. Ensure that your mini-movies play correctly. When you’re confident that everything is in tip-top shape, you’ll move through each service element without stress.

Have you tried these tricks before? Do you have any others that you’d add to the list?

Background Labeling In ProPresenter

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As your media library grows, it can become difficult to keep up with the characteristics of individual files. Normally this isn’t too much of a problem, but when you’re in a pinch and need to find content fast, organization goes a long way. I recently discovered a pretty cool way to keep motion backgrounds neat and easy to find in ProPresenter. It has really come in handy in times when I needed to find a motion on the fly and I’d recommend it to all ProP users.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 11.32.37 PMWhile working inside the Video/Image Bin, you can access Media Properties for each file by right-clicking on it. Inside, there is a nifty labeling tool where you can add descriptions. For me, the most important aspect of a motion besides its design is speed. No matter how good a background looks, if the speed doesn’t match the song, it throws everything off. Because you cannot determine the speed of a motion based on its thumbnail, I decided to label my backgrounds by their tempo. I created a four point scale that I would apply to each motion in my library – slow, medium-slow, medium-fast, and fast. While this was incredibly simple for me to pull off, it has made a big difference. It’s perfect for those times when your worship leader spontaneously changes course.

*Tip: After typing your description into the field, be sure to press enter to confirm your new label.

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Try it out and let us know how it works for you!