A few words about short films

May 8, 2006 — Leave a comment

Last month, since I was going to be out of state, Eli (worship minister) and I planned a sermon short film on prayer–“Discovering Prayer”.

We talked about it for a couple of months, prepared the message, set up the shoot, shot the video, and edited the dvd.

It was a ton of work, but well worth it. Eli and I were overwhelmed by the congregation’s response. Here’s a sample of what we heard:

You were missed “in person” today, but what a wonderful message on prayer! The whole presentation was professionally done. Great job!!!
I wanted to let you both know that the video today was excellent! Very well done . . . it was well thought out, interesting, unique, and much more than just a “talking head” that many of these videos tend to be.
Comments in our small-group this afternoon were also all in agreement… if we can’t have Arron in person, this is a great alternative! High-Five to you both! (and to anyone else that was involved)
What a surprise when you were on screen today. It was very effective and wonderful to watch. I would like to have a copy of the dvd if possible. I heard nothing but kudos about it. It was funny because everyone clapped when Levi rode his bike. They laughed in all the right places and just enjoyed it.

We were excited to share this with the congregation, but–honestly–we have been surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response this message received.

We’ve had more requests for this sermon, than for any sermon I’ve ever done.I think we’re going to do this again. 🙂 In fact, we are planning a series of short films for an upcoming sermon series.

The use of video to share the Gospel is a very powerful tool. Dave Ferguson and his team at Community Christian Church are using this tool–and using it well. http://www.communitychristian.org/play/play.html

I recently read an article by Michael Duduit in Preaching Magazine (May-June 2005) in which he wrote:

Although preaching has always been an inherently verbal medium, one of the major trends of 21st century preaching is a new emphasis on the visual. As churches seek to communicate with new generations that are increasingly visually-oriented (and less and less literary), many have discovered the power of a visual image in communicating divine truth. That’s one reason why the most consistent trend of contemporary church architecture is the presence of projection screens — we may or may not include a pulpit in a new church, but almost every new worship center has one or more (usually more) screens for use in projecting visual images. http://www.preaching.com/preaching/pastissues/videoresources.htm

Here are some of my random thoughts on the possible benefits of sermon short films:

  • Allows for a church to start services on other sites without the logistical pressure of the preacher having to be in two (or more) places at the same time. (This is one of the ways Community Christian Church is using short films.)
  • Might be a more-appealling download on church website
  • This method requires the help of a team of people, so more people are involved in ministry
  • Can be used as lesson, or a discussion starter, for small groups
  • Enhances ministry to shut-ins by offering them a higher quality version of the sermon
  • Format of message may be more appealling to seekers
  • Creates a resource that can be used, or adapted, for a variety of purposes, including a web-based ministry.

Can you think of any other benefits? Downsides? I’ll post some of your comments.

There’s at least one downside that I can see right now. After offering his praise for the sermon short film, one of my Elders suggested that–since I’m now delivering my sermons on dvd–my paychecks could be delivered to me on dvd, too. 🙂
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