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The Right Way To Handle Church Media Fumbles

The Right Way To Handle Church Media Fumbles

I’m one of those weird people who rarely dream at night. Seriously – we’re talking nearly once every six months here. I’ll often hear my friends telling funny stories of the silly circumstances that their subconscious cooked up in their dreams. Sometimes they’ll even share their eerie nightmares that followed a late dinner of Chinese takeout. But, that’s not me.

On the rare occasion that my subconscious constructs a story that plays out as I sleep, it’s usually about a church media fumble. That’s right. I have nightmares about things going wrong on Sunday morning with production.

It may be a video freezing in the middle of playback, a click track skipping, or accidentally pressing the Live Video button in ProPresenter (which then defaults to the webcam and shows my embarrassed face to the entire audience).

Chills…

As I examine these nightmares, one thing stands out to me about myself. I can get WAYYYY too focused on my media being flawless. Church media shouldn’t be about the pursuit of perfection, but about building a team that uses their talents to enhance Sunday services for others. Sure, it’s okay to strive for error-less services. But, when is the last time you kept your “scorecard” on your team’s wins, rather than how many mistakes you made in a service?

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to shadow the production team at the Auburn campus of Church of the Highlands. It was there that I first caught a glimpse of a healthy way to approach mistakes in live production. On this particular weekend, they were experiencing a lot of heavy rainfall and it was slowing down their internet connection quite a bit. A solid connection is vital to the flow of their services because they are an extension site that projects a live video feed from their main campus in Birmingham.

In the three services that I joined them for that Sunday, they experienced trouble with the live feed in each service. To make matters worse, the one safety net that they have established for this, a hard drive with a recording of the earlier service, was malfunctioning for the first time in campus history. Let me be clear here—I would have been freaking out.

In the midst of all of these chaotic circumstances, their team kept level heads. While they may not have been able to prevent some problems, they worked hard to make all of the areas that they could control right. In fact, to sit back and watch their team come together in those moments was really incredible. Rather than cussin’ and fussin’ as it’s easy to do in the heat of those moments, they communicated calmly and executed their tasks with precision. When mistakes were made, they quickly picked themselves up and encouraged each other to keep moving forward. In a day filled with stress, I even saw them highfiving each other when things would go right.

Have you ever celebrated what went right with your media on Sunday morning?

At the conclusion of my shadowing, I spent a few minutes with the team’s leader, Marc Johnson. He shared with me a very simple, but profound truth. Their production booth is located in a very visible area in the back of their auditorium. If their team was to outwardly express whenever things were going wrong, everyone in the room would take notice. Not only is the worship team and campus pastor looking directly to them, but the entire audience can see them. If they will keep a level head when things are going wrong, everyone else will, too.

He also shared with me a great silver lining of publicly making fumbles. When everything is going great with production, potential volunteers assume they aren’t needed. Sometimes the smallest mistakes on a Sunday morning will prompt newcomers that help is needed and they’ll make a move to start volunteering. While it’s never intentional that a mistake is made, this has inspired many people to get involved in his time there. (They have a current rotation of around 40 production volunteers.)

Overall, you must realize that perfection is impossible. What’s important is that you always work to nurture an atmosphere of excellence, while still providing the grace necessary to make fumbles and learn from them.

Learn from your mistakes. Be proud of your accomplishments. More than anything else, understand the importance of what you do for the Kingdom.

Free Motion of the Month – August ’14

Free Motion of the Month

This month, we’ve partnered with the awesome Church Motion Graphics to bring you a custom motion that’s going to look great in your services. I love this background because it stands out from a lot of the other motions that I’ve seen lately and can work in a number of environments.

This freebie is only available for the month of August 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 to our weekly email newsletter

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Five Creative Ministry Tips: 7/3/14

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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!

When running Sunday morning media, be present and pay attention. Don't publish your social media content and then disappear. Be available to participate in sparked conversations.Approach every design as an opportunity to learn. Even the best marketing campaign couldn't attract every demographic . Too often we focus on the latest tech gadgets while we haven't been good stewards of the equipment that God has already given us.

Which of these tips do you need to work on most? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

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Five Qualities of Great Sermon Slides

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For a lot of churches, you’ve moved beyond the conversation on how you can integrate sermon slides into your services. You’ve got a PowerPoint, Keynote, or your slides in ProPresenter covered. You’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. But, just because you have these components in your service doesn’t make them effective. Sermon slides are not foolproof. In fact, I would even say that sermon slides done wrong could even distract from your preaching.

Here are five qualities of all great sermon slides:

1. They Have Engaging Imagery

Son of God Sermon SlideWhen you step into Barnes & Noble, you’re greeted by captivating imagery on every shelf. As you walk down the New York Times Bestseller aisle, you see excellent design on every cover. Why is this? Publishers know that to get 1,000 pages of story to sell in this age, you must first sell engaging imagery. It’s the same for us on Sunday mornings. For people to spend 20-40 minutes listening to your story, you must give them an engaging “cover” to capture their attention. The best way to accomplish this is with a great title slide that sparks the curiosity of your listeners.

2. They Make It Easier To Follow Along

Scripture-2You know what Sundays are famous for other than church? Sleeping. You know what sermons are famous for? Putting people to sleep. Don’t be that church. Don’t be that preacher. What if I told you that great sermon slides would keep your audience more attentive during messages? By displaying all of your scriptures, quotes, and points, you’re more likely to keep listeners’ minds off of other things and their eyes from dozing. Also, by presenting your information in two ways (speech and text), you’ll make it easier to follow your train of thought.

3. They Illustrate Your Message

Dad_Photo_SlideAccording to the 3M Corporation, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. People have higher levels of attention, comprehension, and retention when teaching is presented in a visually rich form. God has clearly wired us to be a visual people. Beyond a great title slide, I recommend building images into your slides throughout your message. Telling a story from when you were a kid? Why not show a childhood photo? Speaking on fatherhood? Why not show a photo of a father and son together? People connect with images in a way that goes so much further than your words. When combined, you’ll leave a lasting impression.

4. They Make It Simple To Take Notes

Sermon_Slide_Template-Images.005One of the biggest things I learned from visiting Elevation Church, one of the fastest growing churches in America, is that taking notes is a big deal. When you walk into the super modern church, everyone is given a 8.5 x 5.5 note card and a pen. When I first saw this card was mostly for taking notes on the sermon, I honestly chuckled a little at the thought that people were going to take notes in that kind of environment. But, to my surprise, everyone around me was taking notes on the pastor’s sermon. They made it super simple to do this by including every major point, scripture, and quote on their screens. They even went a step further by including some fill-in-the-blank points. Each of these slides were kept concise and were displayed long enough for everyone to jot them down.

5. They Scream “Share This Information!”

Sermon SlideA few days ago, I had one of my most popular tweets ever. It read, “A retweet is basically a digital AMEN.” When something resonates with people in 2014, our natural response is wanting to share it with our friends and followers. I suggest building your sermon slides in a way that encourages your congregation to share it with their social media audience. I recommend displaying a “social bar” for the entire duration of your message. This sermon slide add-on paints a clear picture of exactly how they can share this content with their friends. Include hashtags and all of the social networks your church is on. I also recommend displaying tweetable points that fit in Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Do you have any other tips for great sermon slides?