Orginally published on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 6:00 AM
by Greg Atkinson
It's a phenomenon that is on the rise - churches creating their own media, short films and even movies (Ex: "Facing the Giants"). God is moving in His Church and bringing the arts back in a powerful way. From children to youth, to old timers, I've seen churches trying their hand at creating their own videos and media content. You only need to look at your youth and college students to find a few, talented, young filmmakers in the making.
Once you’ve identified the raw talent in your congregation, you need to fan that flame. Even if you give the person a very simple, low profile, video to produce for a small ministry - it’s a start. See how they do, offer feedback and training and encourage them to go to the next level (whatever the next level is for them). Sometimes it’s sensitive and tough to get good feedback from those in your church that are close to you and know you. One great way to get feedback and outside critique and accolades, is to enter your short film in a film festival. Here are a few to consider:
Each May, filmmakers from around the world gather at the Damah Film Festival, the world’s leading spiritual film festival. This year’s film festival is coming to Culver City, CA, May 4-6. Last year I attended and spoke on a panel. I had a great time and got to meet many talented filmmakers and see many thought provoking, challenging and inspirational short films. If you’ve never been, I’d encourage you to check it out. I would be going again, but I’ll be at another conference with my church later that week. Online ticket ordering is now available. Order your tickets at the Early Bird Rate before prices go up on April 23. You can order HERE.
Another film festival to consider is the Buzz Film Festival, which is connected to the Buzz Conference at National Community Church. Last year I was a judge at the film festival and got to see many amazing pieces from churches around the country. From young filmmakers to seasoned pros, the winners we chose were varied and received great affirmation and encouragement for their art. The deadline to enter the Buzz Film Festival is June 8th. You can get more info HERE.
One final film festival to consider is Granger’s film festival, which is held in conjunction with their Innovative Church Conference each Fall. I wasn’t at this year’s conference or film festival, but I watched the winners’ films online and know they had a lot of quality work entered in the festival.
If you or your church’s media ministry seems to be liked and respected by those outside your church, then you may want to consider offering your resources to other churches and ministries. This can be done by selling your media resources through companies like SermonSpice and WorshipHouse Media or you can go the open source route (like LifeChurch.tv and Seacoast) and offer your resources for free to other churches. There are positives to both approaches, it really comes down to your church’s vision and feeling on the matter. Not sure if your videos are ready for companies like SermonSpice and WorshipHouse Media? Email me. I’ve reviewed countless people’s videos and passed several on to companies to distribute to the Church at large.
Some of you may be asking: “What’s the next level for my church?” Maybe you already entered the Damah, Buzz or Granger film festival(s). Maybe you already have videos for sale online. What’s the next level for you? I’d encourage you to become a breeding and training ground for future filmmakers and follow the example of Coast Hills Community Church. What they have done through their filmmaking academy called ”The Veracity Project” is amazing. They always have a film or two entered in the Damah Film Festival and usually are recognized with some type of prize or honor. For more information on their vision and what the next level may be for your church, look HERE. Keep pressing forward. Now is the time and the future is wide open!
©2007 – Greg Atkinson (www.churchvideoideas.com)
Used by permission from author. All rights reserved by author.
Greg Atkinson lives in Dallas with his wife and their three small children. Greg served previously as the Director of WorshipHouse Media, after having served as a worship pastor for 11 years. Greg is now the Technical Arts Director at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship and continues to consult, teach and write about worship, media and creative communication. You can connect with him through his daily blog, Church Video Ideas, his podcast, Creative Synergy, or his email: .
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