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5 out-of-the-box ways to use video to promote your church

Video is an essential part of any church marketing plan. Some churches live broadcast their service or do video announcements, but there are many other ways to use video to help promote your church.

1. Give people a tour before they arrive.

Many people mistakenly think the front door of the church is the entry way, but recent research shows that far more often the front door is your church website. Before visitors come to your church building, they will log onto your website and check out your service times and what other ministries are offered.

One of the hard things about coming to church for the first time is understanding how to navigate the church property. What if you use a video to give people a virtual tour of your church so that they will know where to go and what to do. When you do this, take a moment to think through what a visitor might need to know (hint: it's not the year that each of your buildings was built). Maybe you offer VIP parking for visitors. Some newcomers will want to hit the coffee station first thing. Others may need to check their kids in and know how to make it back to the sanctuary.

2. Create 15-second commercials.

People watch a lot of video online, but they don't spend a lot of time on each one. Generally speaking, you have 10 seconds to grab someone's attention, and you can expect to lose 1/3 of the audience at the 30-second mark. Instead of trying to get people to stick with you through a longer commercial, create short videos that give positive, personal descriptions of what people experience.

After church, use your smartphone to record church members' responses to questions such as why do you come to church or what do you like most about our church. Then, use a video editing app on your phone to add text or your church logo at the beginning and end. Once you have the finished videos, create an individual post for each one and schedule them to release one a day or a couple per week for a month on social media. Before you do your recordings, don't forget to look over our five tips for shooting compelling video.

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3. Use Facebook Live to broadcast special events and services.

Facebook Live is garnering a lot of buzz in the social media world as many live feeds have garnered hundreds of thousands of simultaneous viewers. Because of its ubiquitous presence on Facebook, it can be a simple way to bring events to those who are unable to attend.

All that is required is a smartphone, a Facebook account and appropriate permissions before you go live. Once the event starts, give people a reminder to find the live stream on Facebook and share it with their friends. Here are several ideas for how churches can use Facebook Live to get you thinking about all the possibilities.

4. Video volunteer appreciation.

Thanking volunteers is essential, but because of the rush of Sunday mornings, many people don't get the chance (or remember) to thank the volunteers that make a huge impact on their lives or the lives of their family members.

This is where video comes in. Send an email or announce in person that this week you are wanting to thank as many volunteers as possible. Ask everyone to thank one volunteer at the church by taking a selfie video of their thank you, posting it online and tagging the church and the volunteer.

5. Speed it up.

Whether it's a painting being created or a sketch artist thinking through the design of your next sermon series, it can be a lot of fun to see a process that takes several hours happen in 30 seconds. You can do this by speeding up the video in an editing app or by using the popular time-lapse feature available in many photo apps on smartphones.

To take that to the next level, you can have the person painting your church building or drawing your church logo record a description to use as the audio track for the drawing. Then post it all online for your church members to share.

We hope you can use some of these inventive ways to promote your church using video.

Jeremy Steele

When Jeremy and his wife are not playing with their four children, he oversees youth and college ministries and leads the evening worship service at Christ UMC in Mobile, Ala. Jeremy is an author of several books and resources that you can find at or follow him on Twitter!

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