When you think back on how the technology landscape has changed for churches in the last few years, it really is nothing short of breathtaking. Just a little over a decade ago, acquiring the equipment to do multi-camera production and linear editing required a six-figure budget. Today a bare-bones HD setup can be put together for less than $10,000, and virtually every computer comes equipped with a video editing program.
This reduction in cost has put having a respectable church digital media ministry within reach of thousands of ministries around the world. But before you launch a digital media ministry – or if you are already doing it – there are two questions to ask yourself.
1. “Should we have a digital media ministry?”
The first question might seem strange in today’s church world. You might think it is a given, almost like “Should we have a sound system?” But, while the answer here is almost certainly yes, it does lead to this next question, “What would that digital ministry entail?”
I know of thriving churches whose digital media efforts are confined to simply offering audio downloads of the messages or an audio podcast. In some cases these churches could easily fund and staff a robust broadcast, but have made a strategic decision to invest their resources in other areas of the ministry. I respect that decision. However, I also know of churches that have digital media ministries in large measure because they feel they must, but end up struggling to find volunteers, funding and a sense of direction.
2. “Why should we have a digital media ministry?”
If you are going to have a digital media ministry – or any ministry in the church – you need to know why that ministry exists and have a clear set of values, objectives and goals around it. Those criteria will be different depending on where you are and who you are. For example, a church with a large senior adult population or a church where much of the congregation travels frequently (a church in a military community) would have a primary goal of keeping members and regular attenders engaged, and a secondary goal of drawing new members. For a newer church, those objectives would likely be reversed, with reaching new members being the primary and keeping members connected secondary.
Your church’s digital media goals should be realistic. If you have 50 people attending in person on Sunday morning, your goal should not be to reach the world of Christ through online video. That may come later. Starting out, you need to eat the proverbial elephant one bite at a time. You need to determine what success would look like for your digital media ministry. For many, the goal of having 10% of brick and mortar audience watching online is a good starting point. So, if you have 500 people in attendance on a weekend, a good first goal would be to have 50 watching online each week.
Have you asked and answered these two questions? If you answered question #1 by saying “Yes, we should have a digital media ministry” and answered question #2 by enumerating clear, concise reasons why you should have a digital media outreach in the form of realistic goals and objectives, then you are ready to start planning a strategy that will make a difference in the lives of people in your church, in your community, and potentially around the world.
But what questions should you ask yourself when devising your church digital media strategy?