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Capturing a year in the church through digital media

Don’t get so caught up with the holidays and the planning of the new year that you forget to celebrate your successes as a church and as a community. Create a video or slideshow summary of your church’s life and share it with the congregation to encourage them for the continued ministry ahead. 

Think about this same time last year. What goals did your church set for 2019? Did you meet those goals? Did you add new ones? Were there some goals that just did not align with your church’s vision? Whatever the case, use this opportune time to remind your church who they are and what their purpose in ministry is. Follow this outline to create a special memory for your church’s history.

Before getting started:

Identify the purpose of the video/slideshow. What is the message you are trying to communicate? Keep that thought in mind while planning, developing and sharing your video.

Keep it clean. Your video should be less than 3 minutes long. Focus on your message and support it with a few milestones that bring life to your message. Since you only have a limited amount of time, identify non-negotiables of events that must be included in the video. 

Know what you want to achieve. Do you want to share your church’s life this past year for the sake of remembering your history? Or do you want to use this opportunity to encourage ministry development for the new year? Would you like church members to share this video with their friends in hope that they will also attend church? Have a call to action and incorporate that throughout the recap.

Producing the video:

Intro – Include the basics such as your church’s name, the year and your message. Start with your message at the beginning. Your message can reflect overall church events or it can focus on crafting a message that’s short, simple and easy for viewers to remember as they watch the video/show. For example, if your church’s mission statement is to be “the friendliest church in town” focus on conveying that message. Or if your specific goal for 2019 was to organize five community events, share that at the beginning. 

Body – Think of the flow of your story and the different points you want to share. All good stories have action that rises and falls in a sort of rhythm. Don’t build up to one big event but rather weave subtle points with bolder highlights throughout the video. Include as many people as you can and avoid focusing on your most active leaders. People get excited when they are a part of something and will be more likely to engage with the video/slideshow. Use a media mix of photos, video footage and text in your video. If you do share text, make sure there is enough time for people to read and process it followed by a visual frame. Avoid using consecutive frames of text. Share moments of interaction and emotion. After all, the beautiful thing about memories is the human element we share by connecting with God and our neighbors. Conduct a quick interview and ask people to share something that supports your story in 10 seconds or less. If you do chose to do so, make sure the audio is clean and clear. Share church statistics such as baptism increases throughout the year, fundraising goals met or the amount of meals your church provided to the community. However, be selective in the text you share. You don’t want to overwhelm people with reading and information.

Outro – Offer a call to action based on your message. Often times, we get caught up in the latest trend or the most pressing ministry event that we forget to count our blessings or remember all the good work that the church is doing. With this video/slideshow you want people to look back in the year and remember events, friendships and impacts they had on the community. However, you might also want to encourage the congregation to continue its mission in the upcoming year. Use the momentum surrounding the festivities to think ahead and go from point A to point B in your church’s life. End the video or slideshow with a memorable message and a call to action. This message can be conveyed either by images, by video or text sharing the call to action.

Technical tips:

Most computers come with presentation programs and moviemaker programs such as PowerPoint, Keynote, Windows MovieMaker (PC) or iMovie (MAC). These programs are relatively user friendly.

If you would like to use a different program than what is already installed in your desktop, look over the following options for video/slideshow editing at no cost:

  1. Adobe Spark
  2. Wondershare Filmora9
  3. Freemake Video Converter
  4. Blender
  5. DaVinci Resolve

Most programs have tutorials available to walk you through each step of the way. Do not forget to mix media and add audio to your video/slideshow. It makes a difference! Use audio clips to bring your message together and remember to follow copyright laws. Consider using the YouTube Audio Library, Universal Production Music, Jamendo or Epidemic Sound.

If time allows, ask members of the leadership team and staff to review the video before sharing it with the full congregation. Once your video/slideshow is ready to be presented, make sure it’s available online so people can share it, look over the memories and be inspired for the upcoming year. Upload it on Youtube, share it on your church’s newsletter, post it on social media, etc. Remembering your church’s milestones in an engagement manner will help your family of faith stay focused on their ministry as we continue being Christ’s hands and feet.

Aileen Jimenez is the manager of Hispanic/Latino Leader Communications for United Methodist Communications. You can reach her at [email protected].