If you are like me you work at a church where your media department is comprised of… well… you (and some wonderful volunteers). But you probably don’t have a technical director (full or part time), graphic designers, web designers, dedicated adobe gurus, or a plethora of other technically specific job titles on staff (full or part time). Do you want to know a secret? Neither did Lifechurch.tv, Granger Community Church, Church on the Move, Willowcreek, and others when they started. In fact I remember a conversation I had with one of the Video Producers at Granger who had been there since the beginning. He said he remembered a time when they used a coat hanger and a thick black fabric to black out the projectors (like a low budget puppet show – are there high budget puppet shows?) So what do you do when you desire the highest quality product but lack the time and major resources to pull it off? Here are 5 things to help you work smarter not harder to achieve that goal.
1. Set short term goals and do whatever you can within your budget to achieve them. So all you can afford is photoshop instead of the whole production suite. It’s a start. Remember rome wasn’t built in a day. Once progress has been made people should begin to notice and hopefully the next budget will be a little bigger and the next goal will be a little better. It may seem like a linear process at the start but trust me it’s exponential and before you know it your media department will be hopping.
2. Try before you buy and be budget conscious. Let’s face it Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Final Cut and many other high end programs have more capability built into them then you may ever be aware of. Luckily most of them let you try them first. You may find that you media team isn’t ready for after effects yet and that it would be bad stewardship to purchase it now. Maybe you can get by with Final Cut Express for the time being or a free online photo editor. Be smart with your resources and work your way up.
3. Get Training.. either pay for it through an online company like Lynda.com or utilize the many free tutorials you can find online. There is no wasted creativity. Even if you follow a tutorial you don’t think you’ll ever use, you will be suprised at what it will inspire later or the processes you will use later.
4. Utilize your volunteers. You will be surprised by the talent just sitting in the seats on Sundays. Get volunteers, have them utilize your training resources, get more volunteers, and get them trained and before you know it you will be inspired, challenged, and able to delegate larger projects because of them. Plus you may also find some people with programs you couldn’t afford. I have a theory in my music department that I think translates well to the technical and creative arts as well (remember we are understaffed so I do all the media, tech, and music…). The better the end product the better talent you will attract. When we produce great music we attract better musicians. When you put out better videos and print material people will notice and be attracted towards that thus widening your talent and volunteer base (it’s a slow process but it does work).
5. Work smarter not harder (can I actually title number 5 with the reason the list is being made?). Don’t be afraid of templates, prefabricated works, and more. They are your friend. Trust me. When you are understaffed time is money and spending 30 hours a week on an After Effects intro isn’t a wise way to spend your ministry and personal time. Yes it will look amazing but what are you neglecting to do so? An amazingly awesome graphics package and poster are in the end just graphics and a poster. Budget your time wisely. If a template looks great with an hour of tweaking then great use it!!!! And use the rest of your time accomplishing other ministry goals. Here are some great sites I use for templates (cheap to free), inspiration, and more. Use them!
Open | Lifechurch.tv
Seeds | Church on the move
What sites do you use? Let’s compile a great list of resources to help the smaller church media teams. Creativity can make God’s Word come alive and spread God’s Love in ways that other mediums cannot.