All posts tagged youth

7 Foolproof Tips For More Creative Sermons

7 Foolproof Tips For More Creative Sermons

Lead pastors, preachers, and teaching pastors, your job does not come easy. There is an incredible amount of pressure to deliver excellent messages week after week. You spend a ton of time and energy preparing to deliver sermons that you just pray will connect with your audience. Then, you hear stats like 90% of unchurched people choose a church based on the pastor or preaching. (Thom Rainer) You have my respect.

Because of this high demand for engaging sermons, I set out to offer my most practical tips to add some creativity to your messages. My hope is that they will inspire you and help make your sermons fresh and unique for your audience.

1. Tell More Stories

People love a good story. From the dawn of time we have shared stories as a method of communication and that’s because they work. Audience members who have checked out in the first ten minutes will spring to life when you say, “Recently, when I took my family on a camping trip…” or “I was reading recently about Stephen Spielberg’s first days in the movie business…” If a story is well-chosen and told effectively, you’ll get your point across in a way a normal lecture never could.

2. Brainstorm With A Few Creative Friends

This works hand-in-hand with the previous tip. Have you ever attended a church so long that you learned all of the pastor’s go-to stories? I have. I’ve been the person sitting in the pew thinking, “Seriously? You’re telling this story again?” Keep this from happening by inviting a few trusted friends into your sermon prep. This immediately adds to your illustration arsenal. For example, your last point may be about integrity and your colleague may have the perfect story to really drive that idea home.

3. Include Movie, TV, or Audio Clips

Playing clips from popular movies, TV shows, or even songs can be a powerful way to enhance sermon points. It gets people excited about your message and creates memorable teaching moments. Not to mention you get to leverage the skills of Hollywood’s most talented storytellers. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to obtain the rights to play clips like this with a simple CCVI license and there are clip services like WingClips.

4. Show A Mini-Movie

Similar to playing a clip from a feature-length film, mini-movies are a great way to communicate ideas in a powerful way. What makes this option so effective is that these clips are specifically created to be used in churches. Far too often I see these videos only used by pastors on special occasions like holidays. I would encourage you to build these into your normal preaching schedule or aim for at least once a month. Take a regular visit to WorshipHouse to see what’s new or consider a subscription from Igniter or Centerline.

5. Incorporate A Prop

Several months ago, I visited a Sunday service to hear a pastor friend of mine speak. For full disclosure, I’ll admit that he is one of my all-time favorite preachers. One thing that he has always been amazing at is including a prop in his sermon. On this occasion, he brought out a simple umbrella for his illustration and, yes, he opened it! The moment that umbrella opened every eye in the auditorium was focused on him. He first used it to complement a story of his family stuck in the rain but then brought it back to illustrate the covering of God’s protection. I’ve seen everything from baseball gloves to pizza boxes to medieval swords used like this. Don’t be afraid to get creative to make a memorable moment.

6. Show A Testimony Video

I recently visited a church where the pastor communicated a fantastic sermon on giving. Weeks later I’m still feeling encouraged that my giving makes a difference in both my life and in the Kingdom. But as I look back, I cannot recall the pastor’s exact sermon points or give you a list of specific scriptures. What has stuck with me, however, is a 3 minute testimony video of one of their members sharing how tithing changed their life. It was an incredible video that validated everything the pastor had been preaching for 30 minutes. (Watch it here.)

7. Include More Photos

One of the best ways to make your sermon more alive is to display photos to accompany your words. For example, if you’re sharing a quote from C.S. Lewis, why not show a photo of him alongside your quoted text? Or if you’re telling a story of a snowstorm from a few years back, why not display a photo of just how deep it was. It can even be helpful to lighten the mood with a funny photo of your kids or something that you saw during the week. The key to all of these is to be intentional that it all has a purpose and that it adds to your message rather than distracting.


Have you tried any of these tips? Is there anything that you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!


Five Creative Ministry Tips: 7/3/14


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!

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 – 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.

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Free Motion of the Month – May ’14


This month, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Graceway Media and they’re hooking you up with an awesome motion that will look great in your services all year long. I really love how it has modern shapes, but also a subtle grungy look. Be sure to check out their website for more motions backgrounds and sermon graphics.

This freebie is only available for the month of May 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

Six Surefire Ways To Recruit Media Volunteers

Volunteers are such an important part of ministry. As leaders, we cannot do everything. (Even though we often think we can and try our hardest to make it happen alone.) It’s just a recipe for disaster. Here are a few tips to help you recruit volunteers for your media ministry:

1. Spend More Time Building Relationships

There are numerous people in your congregation with the potential to serve on your team. You often just need to step out from your media booth comfort zone on Sundays and get to know the people in your church. Sometimes people have gifts and skills that they’d love to use in ministry, but have simply never been asked. When getting to know people, I will often ask what they are passionate about. Not only is it great for conversation, but it makes it easy to make recommendations for volunteering.

2. Communicate Vision, Not Need

If pastors saying, “hey, we need people to help us do ______ next Sunday” from the pulpit was a successful way to recruit volunteers, we’d all be mega churches by now. People don’t give up their free time to a need. The way they see it, their lives are already full of taking care of needs—whether it’s their kids, home, or work. However, people will respond to opportunities to be a part of something exciting. Move away from “we need you” to “we’ve got this awesome ________ happening and it would be great if you got involved.”

3. Recruit From Your Youth Ministry

There is a goldmine of media-savvy volunteers in your church’s youth ministry. Getting them plugged in to your team is a great way to keep them interested on Sunday mornings. Also, parents love that their teens are participating. It’s a win-win. (This is what kept me coming to church as a teen. I’m telling you—it works!)

4. Get Newcomers Involved

Some people expect volunteers to practically have theology degrees before getting involved. That’s nonsense. I love getting newcomers plugged in on my media team because they get to be surrounded by worship and God’s Word as they serve. (Not to mention they are normally really excited to be a part of the team.) With some intentionality on your end, you can really use this relationship to begin discipling them and getting them closer to Jesus.

5. Offer A No-Strings-Attached Trial Period

One of the biggest reservations that people have about volunteering for things in church is the fear of being committed to it forever. By offering a short trial period to test the waters, you can take away some of this hesitation. These trials should last no longer than four to six weeks and I suggest being really intentional to invest in these newbies. Show them the ropes, explain why media is important, and communicate your vision for what’s next. At the conclusion of their trial, if it’s not for them, be okay with that. Express thanks for the time they gave. Be open to their ideas of how you can do things better and share a stories of how they made a difference in those few weeks.

6. Be Committed To Excellence

Excellence both honors God and inspires people. You know who wants to be a part of mediocrity? No one. As the leader of your media ministry, work hard to do things great. Strive to become better at what you do every Sunday. People naturally want to be a part of things that are done well. However, you should never let your pursuit of excellence keep you from allowing volunteers to get involved. You’ll have a great media ministry, but be doing everything by yourself.

Do you have any other ideas for recruiting volunteers? Let us know in the comments below!