I have passions for both media and ministry, and over the years I have taken every opportunity to combine the two. I have spent the bulk of my professional career producing television and video, and teaching others how to produce professional-quality visual media. I have produced produced commercials, sports, TV talk shows, infomercials, broadcast news, corporate and event video, instructional programs and video-driven Sunday School curriculum and worship resources. While some in our culture are hesitant to incorporate media into their ministries, I agree with Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of modern television. In 1956 Philo declared, “Television is a gift of God, and God will hold those who utilize His divine instrument accountable to Him.”
I believe that Mr. Farnsworth had great perspective. Media, video in particular, is a powerful tool for the church to use for teaching Biblical truths in ministry. Video is a uniquely powerful tool for engaging an audience and dispensing information; especially for communicating content and concepts to kids. Whether you create your own media, or use video components included with your curriculum, there are benefits that media can bring to your ministry.
1) Video Takes You to Places You Can’t Go – School teachers make a regular practice of taking kids on class trips to visit businesses and historical places that help solidify the lessons that the students are studying. This isn’t a practical option in most ministries. Video, however, allows ministry leaders to take kids anywhere in the world through the magic of media. This may be accomplished through professionally produced segments like those included in Lifeway’s Explore The Bible: Kids curriculum in which on-camera hosts take kids on hang gliding adventures, into deep, dark caverns and to all kinds of relevant and exciting locations to illustrate biblical truth. But virtual visits to remote locations can also be accomplished with home-grown videos that you can produce yourself around your own church or community.
2) Media Maintains Consistency of Presentation – Since no two teachers communicate exactly the same way, the experience of the children in a class will differ from one room to the next, even if the same lesson is facilitated. Some leaders may be more comfortable talking to kids. Others may be more knowledgeable of the content. Even the same teacher may add or omit portions of a lesson when teaching multiple classes at different times. Teaching delivered via video, however, consistently communicates a message with exactly the same quality, energy, and clarity every time, in every room. If you need to communicate the same message in multiple rooms during several services, media is an excellent option.
3) Preserves a Message – Moments are fleeting. We may often find ourselves in situations where we listen to a message and leave wishing we could hit rewind to play it back again. Media allow us to capture, preserve, and replay those messages again and again. It even allows the creation of an archive of multiple lessons that can be posted online where they can be accessed, enjoyed, and shared by multiple viewers long into the future. This benefit also comes with a caution, however. We must always remember that anything we commit to video has the potential to last longer than we will live and to be seen by people that we will never meet. Moments are indeed fleeting, but things recorded to media and posted online will last forever.
4) Video Engages Kids – One of the greatest benefits of using media in ministry is that it engages kids and holds their interest. For some perplexing reason as yet unknown to mankind, an adult standing before a group of children to teach a lesson may be met with all sorts of interruptions and experience a general lack of attentiveness from the kids in the classroom. But if that same teacher videotaped the same lesson in a unique location and played it back on a big screen, those same kids would listen more readily and become more connected with the content.
Because kids connect with media, we can leverage the use of media to connect kids to Christ.