A Survey Of Visual Resources For Preaching
preaching has always been an inherently verbal medium, one of the major trends
of 21st century preaching is a new emphasis on the visual.
churches seek to communicate with new generations that are increasingly visually-oriented
(and less and less literary), many have discovered the power of a visual image
in communicating divine truth. That’s one reason why the most consistent trend
of contemporary church architecture is the presence of projection screens –
we may or may not include a pulpit in a new church, but almost every new worship
center has one or more (usually more) screens for use in projecting visual images.
one might expect, many companies and organizations have recognized the opportunities
presented by this trend, and the result is a burgeoning industry in visual resources
for worship and preaching. We aren’t talking about still photography here –
the kind of images often used as backgrounds for song lyrics and such – but
coordinated video presentations (which may include still photos) with audio
are such videos used in worship? The best uses are integrated into the overall
worship experience to accomplish some purpose: set a mood, provoke a thought,
spark an idea, draw a chuckle. Sometimes they are used early in the service
to help set a theme; other times they are used immediately before the sermon,
as a virtual sermon introduction. On occasion, they might be used at the end
of a service to send listeners away with a powerful last impression.
this first-ever survey of video resources for Preaching, we are emphasizing
resources that are ready-to-use for worship. A variety of resources are available
for the church which has media staff to create original resources, but that
is beyond our purpose here. This resource will focus on video material that’s
ready to go right in your DVD player – ready for you to push the “Play” button.
Many of the websites listed provide the opportunity to view a preview of the
videos. Be sure to take advantage of this before ordering something, just in
case you aren’t comfortable with the look or style of a particular offering.
Even within a single resource provider, you’ll often find a wide variety of
styles and production values.
No doubt we’ll miss some good sources, so feel free to let us know about other
options by writing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
seems to be one of the most prolific Christian media companies right now, with
a variety of resources available. They offer several categories of video, including
“Sharable Parables” (brief stories with a deeper meaning; a bit long for most
worship services, but good for small groups), “The Text: Scripture in Pictures”
(images and narration focused on a specific biblical text); “Mirrors” (contemplative
reflections on life and God; they also have a Christmas collection in this series);
and “Interludes” (thirty-second videos on a biblical passage, ideal for transitions
in worship). Angelhouse offers quality production and a lot of variety. DVD
sets are $35.00 each, and can be ordered from http://www.angelhousemedia.com/.
is one of the strongest video tools I’ve seen that will fit well into a worship
setting. Produced with pastor Erwin McManus, this three-volume DVD set contains
27 video clips featuring real-life stories that deal with issues like adultery,
divorce, conflict, financial pressures, and more. These are emotionally-charged
and will help engage listeners and set the stage for the sermon. A second three-volume
set (with 33 clips) has now been released. Each set is $99.95 each, a reasonable
price for a strong set of video resources like this. While you’re checking this
out, take a look at “Shorts,” a set of commercial parodies that your teens will
love. Visit them at http://www.bluefishtv.com/.
company, best known for inspirational greeting cards, also offers a series of
inspirational videos which can be used in a church or church-related setting.
The videos I previewed each had a music track and text superimposed over beautiful
images, but not audio text – the kind of thing you might use at the beginning
of a service to set a mood for the congregation. Each of their CD’s contains
several short films; some of them are holiday-related collections. At a price
per collection (7 videos) ranging from $20-$30, individual videos are reasonably
priced. These are not high-energy videos, but they contain beautiful photography
and might be useful for a special service. You can see the complete Dayspring
collection at: http://www.dayspring.com/movies/
resources for the “emerging church,” Highway Video produces 3-5 minute “visual
vignettes (that) challenge, convict, amuse, and drive ministry to the next level.”
At present they offer 14 video collections on DVD, each containing five videos,
for a cost of $55.00 per DVD; lower prices are available via a subscription
option. Unfortunately, their web site only allows you to preview a short clip
rather than the entire video. They also have other visual resources available,
such as Vibe Video (with music tracks but no audio text). The best bargain may
be their “Classics” collection – the first 30 videos they produced – which is
available for $120. Learn more at: http://www.highwayvideo.com/
Midnight Oil Productions
group offers a selection of high-quality video productions which can be used
in worship settings. You’ll find a variety of packages, including some for Easter,
Christmas, and a package called “On Purpose Media” ($45.00) for use in connection
with a 40 Days of Purpose campaign. My favorite preview was called “Good to
Go” and featured astronauts and the space program – a good “launching pad” for
a sermon on mission and responding to challenges. The two fellows behind this
company – Jason Moore and Len Wilson – are also the authors of the Digital
Storytelling: The Art of Communicating the Gospel in Worship (Abingdon Press).
You’ll find them at: http://www.midnightoilproductions.net/
films are different from most of the others discussed here, since they are short
films (10-14 minutes each) that feature the teaching of Rob Bell, creative pastor
of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan. Bell is seen teaching on
each film, supplemented by high quality visuals and music. Because if the length
of these, they are more likely to be useful as discussion-prompters for small
groups rather than in corporate worship, but portions could be used in a worship
setting. Theer are currently ten films available on various subjects, and each
is available in DVD or VHS for $10, plus shipping. Nooma films can be ordered
through Zondervan (at a cost of $12.99 each), or direct from www.nooma.com.
Vertical Sky Productions
Sky’s three volumes of Igniter Videos each contain five mini-movies; prices
on the collections range from $39-$45, or you can purchase all three sets for
$99. The videos are well-done; the one called “me/church” will have you rolling
in the aisles. You can preview clips at their website; a few allow you to see
the whole video. Check them out at: http://www.verticalsky.com.
edition of Visual Worship is a toolbox of 10 film and musical components all
centered around a biblical theme. Each package includes short films, testimonies,
dramatic readings, hymns and contemporary songs, a ‘visual prompter series’
and sermon outlines along with Guides for Student Pastors and Christian Education/
Small Group leaders. A new package/theme is released monthly; kits already released
include Forgiveness, Disappointment, Time and Prayer. Visual Worship is produced
by Integrity Film and Video, part of the Integrity Media organization. I really
like this series; then again, I write the sermons and several of the user guides,
so I’m prejudiced! Each kit is $59.95 (though you can get the first one at a
discount right now). Check it out at: http://www.integritymusic.com/vw.
than being a producer of video content, this website is a place you can go to
find hundreds of sermon-support videos developed by many different producers
and distributors (including some of those cited above). At the site you can
search for videos by topic, preview them on-line, and download them to your
own pc, for prices typically ranging from $5 to $20 each. Each month they have
a free video available for downloading. If you’re new to the use of video, this
may be a good place to begin exploring video options for your worship; then,
as you discover what works well for you, you will want to purchase larger sets
from those providers whose work you find helpful. Visit this site at http://sermonspice.com/.