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Demystifying Church Video (Making Sermon Videos Part 1)


Shooting the Idea

About fifteen years ago my friend Don and I had an idea to create a short video to be used at a youth rally we were participating in. We had never seen anyone use video in church, in fact we though we invented the idea! Anyhow, we proceeded to take our SVHS camera and create a five-minute story about a kid who really wanted to follow Christ, but had a friend (the Devil) that he wasn’t willing to let go of.

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We really didn’t know what we were doing back then, but everyone liked the video even though the production quality wasn’t the highest. It is funny to think that that same video is still being shown in churches around the country!

That first venture into producing church media was very exciting for me. Many years, and films, later Don and I are still producing videos for our weekend church services. Sure, they may not always be “Hollywood quality” but they get the job done in a very effective way. A way that few other media forms can touch.

So can anyone make a video illustration? Everyone knows that the cost of quality video cameras and editing equipment has dropped to the point that anyone can produce videos with little expense…you can even shoot HD videos with your phone now!! So, the reality is, that everyone does have the potential to make great videos for church!

Start with a Solid Concept

Before you pull out your gear make sure that you have a clear concept in mind. Unlike Hollywood we rarely fully script a short video…maybe that is because we are usually shooting it on Friday to be used that weekend!! We come up with a creative idea that will setup a point that will be made that weekend.

One time we were doing a service on temptation and we came up with the concept of a mom making cookies and giving them to her kid. As is typical the child wanted more but the mom said “no.” After everyone was tucked into bed shots would be shown of someone sneaking into the kitchen and helping themselves to cookies. Then the light would come on and it would be the father.

We quickly decided on the location and actors and filmed “Cookie Temptation.”

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It is always a good idea to use humor in the concept because people tend to relate to humor very well. If something is funny they will generally overlook other flaws.

The idea of having a solid concept is crucial. Abstract concepts are generally great for film festivals and the like, but oftentimes they are not suited as well to use in the local church.

The NEW MeatloafMedia


A Blog???

It’s been a long road with MeatloafMedia…my wife and I started in 2005 serving up a healthy assortment videos, images, and sermon outlines.  We did our thing and thousands of churches have used media provided by us to make their sermons more relevant.  A few years later we followed God’s leading produced a short kid’s movie “Treasure Seekers, Inc” which is now being distributed nationally.  And now we are doing our best to follow God leading by stopping the current MeatloafMedia store selling videos and such and transform it into…{drumroll} a blog.

What??  Are we crazy?  Maybe…however I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the “industry” and felt that we could make a bigger impact by just writing out thoughts on a page…or screen, phone or whatever.  The reason that we launched MeatloafMedia to begin with was to help churches become MORE creative.  In the end, however, I feel that we actually helped them to become less creative.

Instead of a church using their creative juices to create a video they might come to a site like ours at the last minute and just download a video…hoping that it would suddenly transform their sermon.  I am certainly not knocking the videos we sold or the churches that bought them, but I started feeling like God has given each church a creative “pool” that they should tap into.

The church that I work at uses video regularly, however I have noticed that the videos that we produce “in house” are always received so much better because it has our own heart and DNA embedded into it.  Wouldn’t it be cool if churches used the creativity that God has given them to create, innovate, and…well, I can’t think of another rhyming word…

Yeah, I know it sounds a bit anti-climatic, but we have decided to take MeatloafMedia in a drastically new direction.  Hopefully one that will inspire and challenge you to use YOUR creative abilities for God and His Kingdom.

This will certainly be an interesting journey, but I invite you to come along…it should be fun.  So, please bookmark this page, subscribe to the RSS so that you won’t miss any of the exciting posts coming soon.