Church Video Announcements: 5 Tips to Help You Get Started

churchvideo

Church video announcements are becoming more and more popular.  It’s a great way to be creative with the announcement time.  It gives you control on the exact amount of time they take each service.  It allows the youth pastor to do other things on Sunday morning as oppose to awkwardly pacing on stage while stumbling through announcements someone just handed them.  It also allows you to communicate those same announcements outside of service by posting them to Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook and more.  So how do you get started outside of identifying that youth who looks like he knows how to run a camera and computer and letting him loose?  How do you improve the video announcements you are already producing?  Here are 5 easy things to do to help get you started down the path towards video announcements. (in future posts we will look at tougher techniques to continue to step it up) Continue reading…

Inspiration: Made Alive

Made Alive by Citizens who are a band from Mars Hill in Seattle.

I heard Church on the Move cover it.

I loved it.

We’ve added it to our rotation.

No that is not how I pictured the lead singer.

enjoy.

So You Want To Be a Worship Leader

worshipleader

It wasn’t too many years ago when the worship leader was a rare position in the church.  Now you can get a formal education specifically to be a worship leader.  It is becoming very popular and the opportunities are rapidly growing for worship leaders today.  I have been doing this professionally for about 7 years now and absolutely love what I do but that being said there are some things I wish I was told before jumped in.  So if you are looking to become a worship leader here are some helpful thing every worship leader should know as they think about entering that ministry.  Granted I don’t have the most experience but so far in my ministry career these are some things that I have found helpful.

10. Learn to play your instrument.  No REALLY learn to play your instrument. You should never stop improving your craft.  4 chords and a capo wont cut it. (if you play guitar obviously).  Take piano lessons, guitar lessons, voice lessons, and more.  This is a gift God has given you, don’t be lazy with it. Continue reading…

Interviewing Movie Stars

We do a summer sermon series every year called At the Movies.  It’s not the most original but is very effective.  It’s a series Lifechurch.tv started maybe 12 years ago and hundreds of churches have done similar if not exactly the same thing ever since.  It’s a way of mashing up Pop culture and God’s truths.  It is a great series and always a lot of fun.  This year (kind of last min) we had the idea to interview stars from our first weekend movie – The Avengers, starting this coming weekend.  We had the idea to basically find some interviews from the movie online somewhere, film ourselves into the interview asking our own questions and making the interviewees say things they never actually said.  This was just an innocuous way to promo the upcoming sermon series and have some fun at the same time.  This was a concept to product situation in 3 days.  Kinda rushed but we loved the idea so much we made it happen.

Enjoy our Youth Intern interviewing Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo from the Avengers.

Oh, and apparently I need to fire the video editor… nano pants…

Inspiration: Let it Be Known

If the first single to the upcoming WorshipCentral release is any gauge of the upcoming music – I am encouraged and excited.  Yes it’s basically a dance worship track… But for some reason I can’t stop listening to it.

Thoughts…

Inspiration: Hacking Education

This is worth your time today.
This is worth 11:00 min of your schedule.
There is wisdom in these 13 years.
What if we approached life like this?
What if we approached church like this?

Church A/V Rent or Buy?

avclub

I need your help and thoughts.  As churches we should be good stewards with our resources.  We should do our best to spend wisely and not abuse what we are given.  That leads me to the question of the day.  Should churches rent (long term) A/V equipment or purchase it to own?  Is long term rental more cost effective in the long run when you consider maintenance, care, and technology update speed? Should we buy the large items to effectively own them because of the constant outflow of cash with renting? Does the flexibility of renting make more sense for changing looks? How does budget play into the matter?  Small or large budget what do you think the best bet is?

Here is the article that has spurred on the questions – Production Gear: Rent or Buy?

What are your thoughts?  I’m curious.  Join the conversation below.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Worship Services

worshiptips

As worship leaders we should always be looking for ways to improve our services.  There is no magic formula for doing so.  In fact there is no measure by which we can, across the board, judge success or betterment when it comes to our worship services.  But each of us know when we have a weekend is better or more successful than others.  So what can we do to improve?  There are any number of ways but here are five easy ways I have found very useful.

1. Pray
I know that seems simple.  You probably already do so on your own, with your team, or with a prayer group.  But it is something that can’t be missed or overlooked.  It’s more than just circling up before you take the platform.  It’s prayer over what songs are being picked.  What service elements are being implemented.  It’s prayer over each detail that goes into a weekend.  As the great amateur theologian M.C. Hammer once pontificated, “That’s word, we pray, pray, ah yeah, we pray, pray. We got to pray just to make it today.”

2. Watch Yourself
In my  head I picture how I think I’m coming across when I move, or speak, or lead.  Having watched myself back consistently I discovered… I was wrong.  Thinking I was coming across one way and discovering it wasn’t as I had pictured made me think about each and every movement I made.  It’s humbling to do so. At times it’s hard to do so.  But watching yourself and your team can only help you identify things that hinder and benefit a service.  It’s as simple as setting up a static camera in the back with just the room mic on it.  If you multi track or record your services in a different manner, try to get as raw of a sound or as much natural feel you can.  I can sound as good as I want with the right plug-ins and tweaks but that doesn’t help me improve my stage presence, singing, or much else.  I suggest a room mic just to get a feel for the liveness.

3. Watch Others
Just as watching yourself helps you identify things about you on the platform, so does watching other churches.  I spend a portion of my mondays first watching back the service from yesterday and also watching the worship services from a few other churches.  It’s what we naturally do when we go to another church or attend a conference; picking up on little things here and there that seem effective, that you like, or you think would benefit your services.  So take some time each week and check out what other churches are doing.  I suggest checking out a church much larger than yours, a church smaller than yours and maybe one similar in size to see how each are using their resources to create their particular worship environment.  Check out Worship Set Ideas for a good place to start.

4. Transitions, Transitions, Transitions
Nothing is more distracting than awkward transitions.  And let’s face it even the best slip up from time to time and things happen.  But with some planning and thinking ahead you can help minimize them.  How does one song flow into another?  Do you need a hard stop and some talking? Can you start the next song with some rhythmic drums or a keys pad?  How do you transition from you last song to the message? Is a bumper needed? A greeting time?  All of these things can help keep the flow of service smooth.  If you take time when planning each service to think through your transitions your quickly find that things gel quicker and seem so much smoother.  Any way we can remove distractions only improves our worship services.

5. Communicate
There’s nothing worse than lack of communication.  So many things can be taken care of, prepared better, or just simply fixed ahead of time if communication takes place.  Being able to send a guitar player parts to look at for rehearsal ahead of rehearsal.  Being able to talk with your pastor about the direction he is heading helps plan songs, moments, or elements that connect on a deeper level.  Telling the keyboard player when to lay out ahead of time rather than in the heat of rehearsal right before service alleviates potential tension.  We all think communication happens and we do pretty well with it.  But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t get better.  The first step I took at communicating better was, while planning the services I would listen through each song an jot down notes for my players.  I would then email them out ahead of time so we could talk about them before we even got to rehearsal.  The result has been smoother rehearsals, overall happier players cause they aren’t spending time practicing one thing then I let them know the day before I want something else.  The result has been better moments in service that seem to connect on a deeper level than before.  Communication can’t be overlooked.  A good rule of thumb is over communication is better than a lack there of.

None of the ideas mentioned above are tremendously difficult to employ.  In fact they are super easy to do no matter where you are in your ministry.  Hopefully these help you achieve what only you can determine as better worship services.