For the last several years, Preaching magazine has brought you an annual survey of visual resources that are available to churches. The purpose was to introduce this growing genre of media to pastors who were beginning to utilize video within their teaching.
Today, Web sites such as Sermonspice.com and WorshipHouseMedia.com have become a regular part of a pastor’s sermon preparation. Now the question isn’t: “Where do I find visual resources?” but: “Where can I find something new?”
In this year’s 2008 annual survey of visual resources, we want to share with you 12 filmmakers/multimedia producers you might not have heard of but that are creating media you should see.
Expio Productions is an Australia-based company whose desire is to produce short Christian films that inspire, provoke and impart. Their films, which are called “Messages in Motion,” are geared to be contemplative-illustrating a biblical theme with a unique perspective. Although the videos are a little longer than the typical two to three minutes, the collection of 10 films (available on DVD and download) is worth a look.
Erwin Brothers Motion Pictures
Andy and Jon Erwin founded Erwin Brothers Motion Pictures after spending more than 10 years working for ESPN and ABC. The award-winning duo produces music videos, documentaries, commercials and short films. These seasoned veterans produce films that are high-quality and effective. Their short films entitled Clear and I Know are a great way to challenge parents and youth leaders to invest in their children and students.
If you are looking for something a little different and a little quirky, check out Vertical Hold’s award-winning videos. They produce short 2-D animations in the “JibJab” style. These videos, which are humorous and snarky, are probably not for a general audience but geared more toward the college and 20-something crowd.
Beamer Films offers a full range of video illustrations, countdowns and loops. Their powerful illustrations deal with topics such as the sanctity of life and adultery. Their video Evanglism: Here I am, Send Me is a honest and sincere look at our fears and desires to share the gospel. It’s worth checking out.
Christian Collages is a good resource for PowerPoint and worship backgrounds. The images range from Bible themes, crosses, worship, church themes, seasonal to youth/college. They offer a lifetime unlimited download access for only $99, which can be a great deal for a church wanting to make a weekly visual impact on a small budget. They also have a sister site (Christian Collages Video) that has a small but growing collection of loopable video backgrounds.
Art to Heart
The mission of this company is to “show how you can experience the presence of God in the world’s great art.” They produce PowerPoint presentations that draw your congregation into worship by reflecting on great art from such painters as Monet and Van Gogh. Their Web site allows you to search for presentations by Scripture reference or by Lectionary. This might be a unique way to engage your audience in reflection and worship.
FortyOneTwenty produces video illustrations, motions and stills. Their videos are visually beautiful and thought-provoking. If you are looking to add creativity or an artistic flare to your worship service, their catalog is definitely one to take a look at. Their series of seven videos about the cross are particularly powerful and effective. While the videos would work for all ages, they are definitely geared to a 20-something or younger audience.
Eye Effects Worship
This is another company that produces PowerPoint backgrounds. Their mission is to “impact worship through art.” Their catalog contains more than 3,000 backgrounds. They offer a lot in Easter and cross themes. They also specialize in providing backgrounds for churches using the Celebrate Recovery program.
GoodSalt is a licensing company that makes premium artwork available to publishers, clergy and laity. Their vision is to “facilitate a fair and ethical relationship between the artist and the customer so both parties are blessed.” With so many Christian stock images used over and over, this site provides a refreshing alternative and supports Christian artists at the same time.
Muddy River Media
You have to visit MuddyRiverMedia.org for the simple reason that all of their resources are free. Founder Mark Fogarty, the organization’s first “video missionary,” started the non-profit with the desire to “help smaller churches have cutting-edge, culturally relevant media.” Mark, a former youth pastor, produces video illustrations, background loops, countdowns, stills and more. Check out these free resources.
ProjectGod.com is a team of “highly motivated individuals united by God to revolutionize Christian film.” This group produces short films that are based on Bible verses. These films are designed to generate discussion or could be used to set up a sermon. The videos, which range from humorous to intense, can be edgy but deal with topics you might not find elsewhere, such as pornography and teen suicide.
There are a lot of Web sites providing PowerPoint backgrounds. SermonView is worth a look simply because they provide a selection of Old Testament and New Testament images along with themes such as baptism, Communion, creation and books of the Bible. While many sites focus on worship images, SermonView focuses on images geared toward the teaching and preaching time.
Two Additional Resources to Check Out for New Media:
The Grove Center for Arts & Media is a non-profit organization that exists for the “purpose of seeing Christ in culture through art by encouraging creativity within the Christian community.” The Grove is a combination of a retreat center, foundation and resource for Christian artists. One of their resources is http://www.grovefilms.com/, which features young filmmakers. This is a great resource for finding new producers and their work.
Collide Magazine is a new publication from the team that brings us Igniter Videos. The purpose of the publication is to explore “the use of media in all its forms to communicate spiritual truth and enhance the worship experience.” This is a great resource for keeping up with the worship media world and for finding out what’s new.