Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why A Video-Venue Campus Didn't Work For Us (And What We Learned From It)

Video venues continue to be a growing trend among churches today. Yet, all churches shouldn't attempt such, and other churches need to do more homework before they launch. Here is a great article to consider before making the jump to video venues.

Why a Video-Venue Campus Didn't Work for Us (and What We Learned From It)

By Jason Staudinger

10 lessons for churches that plan to use video on multiple sites.

In fall 2007, our church was at a crossroads. Our facility limited our growth. Consequently, we ran four services, one on Saturday and three on Sunday morning. We had no room for expansion, our parking was a nightmare, and our services were shortened to allow us to add more.

Needless to say, it was a busy and exciting time. At this point, we realized we needed to do something, so we jumped into the world of the off-campus video venue. I say jump because that is exactly what we did. Not knowing exactly what to do, but encouraged by the success of other venues, we jumped head first into the deep end with a 'sink-or-swim' attitude. This may have turned out to be a shaky idea at best; and we needed a life ring thrown to us. Thankfully God sustained us and we've made it through to the other side.

Here are 10 things we learned from our experiences:

Find someone who knows the ins and outs of video production. This person should know the equipment and how it works. This person then should be able to make smart decisions about the purchases you need to produce the level of quality you want. We blew it here! Decisions were made about equipment that led to poor-quality video feeds, which hampered our efforts.

Use video only if your preacher is conversational in his/her delivery. A pastor who teaches in this way does far better with simultaneously engaging both those in the live setting and those viewing via video. The experience is far better for both audiences. A pastor who sticks to notes, or who grounds themselves behind a pulpit, may be more challenged with making the connection via video.

Live video feeds are best. We tried pre-recording the sermon, but it didn't allow for audience responses, spontaneity, or even a chance for the audiences in both venues to have a sense of common ground. If you pre-record, don't be tempted, as we were, to run the video site's sermon series a couple of weeks behind the main campus' series. That creates even greater disconnect between the people who attend one site vs. the other. It also suggests the video site is an after-thought.


Until next time...share the journey and enjoy the ride!