All posts tagged cheap

Free Motion of the Month – July ’14

Free Motion of the Month - July '14

This month, we’ve partnered with our friends over at Playback Media and they’re hooking you up with an awesome motion that is going to look great in your services. Be sure to check out their memberships for more motions like these at an affordable price!

This freebie is only available for the month of July 2014.
This download includes HD, SD, and still versions.
This motion is free to download, but please do not redistribute. (Please link back to this page.)

To get this free motion, simply subscribe to receive our weekly email newsletter. You’ll receive your download link via email within the hour.


Free Motion of the Month – June ’14


This month, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Igniter Media and they’re hooking you up with an awesome motion that is going to look killer in your services. I first saw this motion in a live worship experience and it immediately stood out to me. I really love how it blends modern shapes with nature. Be sure to check out their website for more motions, stills, and mini-movies.

This freebie is only available for the month of June 2014.
This download includes HD, SD, and still versions.
This motion is free to download, but please do not redistribute. (Please link back to this page.)

To get this free motion, simply subscribe to receive our weekly email newsletter. You’ll receive your download link via email within the hour.

Subscribe Via Email

My “Secret Sauce” For Great Environments


As we work in the creative areas of ministry, we can get so wrapped up behind our computers that we ignore the atmosphere that we’re setting for our congregation. For both Sunday services and events throughout the week, environment plays a huge part in connecting with people. With some intentionality, you can create a space that takes guests’ minds off of the outside world, promotes focus on what’s important, and leaves them excited for what’s next. Here are a few secret tips that can make all the difference when creating engaging environments for your ministry:

1. Create Critical Mass

pipe-and-drapeNo environment screams boring louder than a half-empty room. If you want to create a “something big is happening here” buzz, allow just enough space in your room for a slightly crowded feel. The term for this has been coined as critical mass as your space always has just the right amount of crowd for a successful event. “Standing room only” is always a better experience than feeling like nobody else showed up. A great tool for creating small spaces in larger venues is simple pipe and drape.

2. Big or Small – Never Medium

For events, services, and everything in between, you should always avoid medium. When you go big, you pull out all the stops. The music is loud, you’re prepared for a large crowd, and you focus on the lights-camera-action side of things. Big communicates excitement. When you go small, you scale back the production to a minimum. The music is acoustic, you focus on one-on-one relationships, and scrap as much technology as possible. Small communicates intimacy. People love both big and small environments because they seem intentional. But, medium leaves people wondering if you’ve properly planned, are capable of doing either correctly, and generally communicates mediocrity.

3. Draw Eyes Away From Imperfections

Piedmont Chapel - Interest Hangout EventEven in the nicest spaces, there will always be spots that would go better unseen. Since it’s often outside of your budget to correct every imperfection, you can go a lot further by distracting from them. For example, we recently hosted a series of social events in a high school library. (You read that correctly.) Half of the room was filled with book cases that we were unable to cover. To draw eyes away from these, we intentionally placed a lot of eye-catching items within just enough distance to steal their show. This is also really easy to accomplish by projecting visually-compelling imagery on your screens or by strategically positioning stage lighting.

4. Avoid Awkward Silence

Whether big or small, every environment benefits from at least some light background music. This one simple step has the power to make or break your guest experience. For Sunday morning services, make sure you’re ready to go for pre and post service with a great playlist. (Here are some great playlists from Brady Shearer for Sundays.) I also recommend having music in your lobby, for outreach events, during the social times of your small groups, and in any other space filled with silence. (Here is a fun playlist we use for social gatherings at our church.)

5. Define Your Best Case Scenario For Guests

Elevation Church LobbyStart with the end in mind by compiling a list of what you want guests to walk away with from your environment. You may decide you want people to leave feeling excited, connected to new friends, and further committed to your church. To accomplish these goals, your environment might include bright colors and fun music to generate excitement. You could serve coffee and other refreshments that bring people together and strategically place outgoing hosts to spark conversations. Your environment might include booths that showcase photos or videos of what it looks like to get further involved and allow guests to sign up. By starting with the end in mind, you’re able to build your environment to foster those results.

Do you have any other tips that you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

My Personal Vendor List For Printing

While we may live in a digital age full of screens, physical printing is still a huge part of Creative Ministry. Just as we pour our energy into making our video look great, it’s super important that our printed materials are done in excellence as well. It speaks volumes when people can hold a well-designed printed piece in their hands and take it home with them.

While there are some cases where printing materials in-house will suffice, your best bet for great looking prints will come through using a professional printshop.

Here are the companies I use for all of my print work:

Paper Materials: – These guys are my #1 online vendor for printing. I’ve had over 100 orders with them and they’ve never let me down. I recommend their business cards, postcards, brochures, and posters. (Tip: Use their 2-4 day option for big savings.) Check them out here. – While I haven’t used them quite as much as Next Day Flyers, they’ve been good to us in the times we have used them. I recommend their booklets, mini-business cards, and postcards. (Tip: They offer Spot UV for free!) Check them out here. – These guys are awesome for custom orders. I’ve ordered custom sized visitor cards from them and everything I’ve ever done with perforated edges. (Tip: It’s easiest to give them a call for custom printing.) Check them out here.

The Printery – This is a local printer that is located less that 10 minutes from my house. We use them quite a bit at our church because it’s easy to drop by and dream up creative projects with their designers. I highly recommend developing a relationship with a printer that’s local to you. While they might cost a little more than online printers, there is great value in having someone close (especially for rush jobs).

Banners/Signs: – These guys have some of the cheapest banners that you’ll find online, while maintaining great quality. I recommend their large vinyl banners and their retractable banner stands. (Tip: You can get a 10×5 banner for only $137.95!) Check them out here. – We’ve been using this company for all of our signs and flags for our church plant. They have the best selection online and their prices are really great. They are also really good for general sign supplies. (Tip: Order in bulk for best prices.) Check them out here. – While they haven’t always had the best reputation, we’ve recently placed two orders of their yard signs and they’ve had great customer service. We use these signs for directional arrows at our events. They have the best price that I could find online and the quality is great. (Tip: Opt out of their cumbersome fiberglass stakes and order a set of these for the same price.) Check them out here.

Apparel: – This company is new to me, but they’ve been really great in my first few orders. These are A+ quality t-shirts with top of the line printing, so expect to pay a little more. But, you can be confident that you’re getting a shirt that will become one of your favorites. Check them out here. – I’ve ordered t-shirts from these guys almost 30 times. If you are looking for a super-affordable option for screen printing, this is the company for you. They are really great folks, but keep in mind that these are cheaper shirts. I always say this is my B+ option. They are perfect for large events and youth groups. (Tip: Give them a call for the best prices and ask for their church discount.) Check them out here.

Promotional Products: – I’ve used this company several times for items such as pens, Sharpies, tote bags, and mini-frisbees. They have some of the best prices online and have always given me great customer service. Check them out here. – This is a new company to me, but they have already gone out of their way to take care of our needs and given us excellent customer service. They have some of the cheapest wristbands that you’ll find online and will accept custom artwork when ordering over the phone. Check them out here.

For all of these vendors, always be sure to look online for discount codes or simply ask them for a discount. Out of all of these, we’ve only paid full price with Real Thread.

Need inspiration for printed materials at your church? Check out Church Print Ideas.

Who do you use for your printing? Let us know in the comments below!

Creative Ministry Toolbox: Media Subscriptions

I’ve been involved in church media for over ten years now. One of the best decisions I’ve made in my journey has been a shift from purchasing individual pieces of content to all-inclusive subscriptions.

Individual motions can cost up to $13 each now. Seriously? Ain’t nobody got the budget for that! And what about mini-movies? $20 videos add up fast when you use them as a regular part of your preaching.

If your church is going to use media each week, the most logical choice is to invest in a subscription service. While there are several producers offering programs like this, I personally use two of them – Centerline New Media’s Complete Subscription and Church Motion Graphics’ Monthly Mega Pack.

While both of these companies do advertise with TCP, this blog post is not a paid endorsement. These subscriptions are actually in my creative ministry toolbox and I legitimately love using these products. I can solidly say that I’d recommend these to any church.

Here are three reasons why I love these subscriptions:

1. You Save A Ton of Money

A full subscription to Centerline will only cost you $200/year for a virtually unlimited supply of mini-movies, countdowns, motions, and stills. (They’ve even recently started including Photoshop sermon slides.) CMG’s Monthly Mega Pack is only $10 per month or $99/year and includes a fresh pack of motions, stills, and a new countdown each month. You’ll have great content each week without breaking the bank.

2. Consistency In Your Services

If you’re projecting lyrics, scripture, and sermon points in your services, they need to follow a common theme, color palette, and style. These subscriptions make this easy by providing matching motions, countdowns, and stills. You can easily start your service with their stills for announcement slides, flow into a coordinating countdown, use their motions for worship lyrics, and finish up with their stills for sermon slides. This coordination communicates intentionality and professionalism.

3. The Variety Will Stretch You

Both of these producers release new content each month, so you’re able to grow a diverse media library very quickly. They’re both devoted to stretching themselves to create new content outside of the norms and that has stretched me, too. Before signing up for these subscriptions, I tended to use only one particular style of media. Looking back, this was a recipe for boredom. These subscriptions have allowed me to try new things and experiment with different kinds of looks in our services.


TCP Tip: As I’ve served in a creative ministry role under several lead pastors, I’ve learned that it’s always easier to present a larger one-time cost than multiple smaller expenses. Your leaders will feel much better about purchasing a subscription for the year than multiple random expenses throughout the year.

Find out more about Centerline’s subscription here and about CMG’s Monthly Mega Pack here.

Do you use either of these subscriptions? Let us know in the comments below!