July 2012
Communications: Tried, True, & New

Lights. Camera. Action.

In July we ran a story about using video to enhance diocesan campaigns. But what if you’re not running a capital campaign? What if you’re a small congregation with limited resources? Does video make sense for you?

Probably. Check out the links below for some of the advantages of video with none of the cost.

Involve Your Youth 

It’s an old joke but true; if you want free tech consulting, ask a teen. When the Episcopal Church held a video contest on the Five Marks of Mission, the winner came from Agape House, a campus ministry in San Diego. 

According to Jackie Bray, who spearheaded the project, they shot the video for free using a Canon video camera, doing the editing on their computers using Windows Movie Maker and File Lab Video Editor. They embraced the homemade look by wearing coordinated T-shirts and giving all the “newscasters” alliterative screen names.

St. Mark’s, Glenn Ellyn, Illinois took a similar approach. They drafted a college student who’d returned home to pursue a dream in filmmaking. His mother wrote the script, he checked out the film school’s equipment, and a host of parishioners made their small-screen debut

Spread the Story
With fewer than 100 families, St. Elisabeth’s, Bartlett, Tenn. asked their parishioners, “What makes St. E’s feel like home?” to make this video using only a flip cam and a Mac to edit the footage.

Sometimes a video’s most important audience is the people actually on camera. When Holy Nativity in Clarendon Hills, Illinois wanted to build support for proposed capital projects, they asked parishioners to discuss how each project might affect their mission. On camera. Using Camtasia, a video software that offers a 30-day free trial, they recorded people’s thoughts on accessibility, roof repair, and expanding the kitchen. The very act of explaining themselves to the neutral camera helped build commitment and awareness.

Raise the “Fun Quotient.”
No one likes to discuss deferred maintenance and the leaky church roof has become a cliché. So All Saints, Omaha, staged a mock service during which the rector preached on Noah’s flood from beneath an umbrella and parishioners followed along using flashlights because of the dated lighting system.

And when it comes to discussing money, the Episcopal Church can sometimes have, well, issues. So Holy Nativity (where they’ve really embraced video) made this forty-second spot to emphasize that if they wanted to reach out to their community, everyone would need to “reach deep.” 

Expand Your Reach
In today’s mobile society, you can no longer count on seeing your parishioners once a week. Video allows you to speak directly to people even when they’re miles away. And it lets you put your key leaders right in their living room. Here’s a simple message from The Bishop of Southern Virginia and a conversation with The Bishop of San Diego and the rector of St. Andrew’s-by-the Sea. 

Share the Wealth
Total cost of all the videos listed here? $0.00. Total effect on stewardship, evangelism, and community? Priceless. If you have a video story to share, please post it here.  

Teresa S. Matthes is the program director for financial resources at the Episcopal Church Foundation. An experienced capital campaign consultant, Terri assists congregations, dioceses, and organizations with their development campaigns. She also serves as a key architect in the Episcopal Church’s Rebuild Our Church in Haiti campaign.


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This article is part of the July 2012 Vestry Papers issue on Communications: Tried, True, & New