Church Insider

10 Quick Tips on Video Venues

Each Sunday our church, we host five morning venues*. Two of the venues are “live,” and three are “video.” In our live venues, we do everything your church does. We do it in our unique way, but the evangelical core is there: music, prayer, offering, sermon. In our video venues, everything is live, except for the message, which is broadcast to a large format screen. We’ve been doing it for almost three years now, and we’ve learned a few things, some of which I will share with you here.

In our research for video venues, we speed-modeled our approach on the model from North Coast Church in California. Many of our best practices start with what we learned from them.

* We use “venue” interchangeably with “service.” Neither is in the Bible, so it’s OK.

  1. Get good food and comfy chairs – the overflow room needs to be a reward, not a punishment. (North Coast)
  2. One shot, fixed camera – it seemed counter-intuitive to me, but it really works. (North Coast)
  3. Lower thirds rather than overlays – it helps with the suspension of disbelief.
  4. If you do it in the Live Room (i.e. prayer for the sick, video announcements, etc.), do it in the venue. – People don’t want to feel cheated on their expectations of the church experience.
  5. DO NOT REFERENCE HOW GREAT THE MUSIC WAS IN THE LIVE ROOM DURING THE SERMON!!!!!!!!!!!!! – This one is kind of a big deal.
  6. The teaching pastor needs to talk to the people in the venues – It helps them feel connected.
  7. Call it the “Live Room” or the “Sanctuary”, not the “Main Service.” – Your venue pastor will appreciate this.
  8. Practice the flow – Even with slip-timing with the DVR, you will need to be comfortable with the flow of the service of when the feed comes in.
  9. Keep the production value low – again counter-intuitive, but is church really the place to tap into your inner James Cameron? Minimize the unconscious reminders that the audience is not in the Live Room. (Admittedly, this is  a subjective tip. We’re a pretty bare-bones production value church anyway, so maybe this is just us.)
  10. Admit the mistakes – Weird timing, bad picture, poor audio, it all happens. Just quickly acknowledge the problem, set a default time to fix it, then move on. (North Coast)

Any tips on how you do it? Any cool ways of “doing church” that you’ve seen?


Book Review: Primal by Mark Batterson

(My first book review. Landmark moment)

Book Rating:

3 out of 5 Tanks

Mark Batterson’s latest, Primal, reaches quickly into Restorationist tones, asking, “Why isn’t our Christiantiy like the Christianity we read in the Bible?” Using the Great COmmandment as a paradigm, batterson outlines a hopeful return to the primal (hence the title) nature of Christiantiy, the true faith.

Primal is Batterson at his best. While not theologically dense, it does provide a challenging and inspiring call to a passionate Christianity. Laden with illustrations, he paints a contrasting pattern of what is and what can be when we tap into the essence of Christian faith. Utilizing pithy (and sometimes cliche) axioms, he keeps his message tight and simple.

While it will never rise to the heights of Celebration of Discipline or Mere Christiantity, Primal doesn’t need to. It fully accomplishes its mission, reminding us that there is always more to discovery in our faith, and that those mysteries are there for anyone who wants them.

You can find Primal here.

Thoughts on Hebrews

A few weeks ago, at the church I work at, I preached a sermon on Hebrews 10:19-25. That began a moving in my heart to discover some of the other spots where the author uses a formula of “since-then-let us” teaching propositions. I like this construct because it bases reasonable models of ethics and morality on divinely revealed truths.

In this particular passage, the author gives two revealed truths:

  1. We have confidence to enter the the holy places because of the work of Christ
  2. We have a great high priest (Jesus) over the house of God

What is your confidence level when it comes to God? Many people struggle with the idea that God even knows they exist, let alone loves them. We view God as the one person we can never please, who we’re never good enough for, and with whom we can’t get anything right. Our understanding of God is constricted by fallen leaders, despotic rulers, and invisible fathers. People think that God is either limited, cruel, or simply not there. This view of God gives no one confidence to bring an ingrown toenail to His attention, let alone a broken life and spirit.

One of the things Christ came to do was change our view of God. The Jews of the First Century world saw God as theirs alone, and that absolute legal perfection was the only way to please Him. Christ came and re-imagined the idea of grace, that God would take care of the Law, and we would simply trust Him. Christ give event the worst of us the hope that we can come before God, to whom we can give nothing, and receive everything we need. This is not because of what we have accomplished, but because of what Jesus did in His redemption role.

So what do we do with these truths? Let us:

  1. Draw near with a true heart
  2. Hold fast the confession of our hope
  3. Consider how to provoke love and good works

Don’t ever stop walking towards God. Many times in my own life, when I perceive God’s disappointment or displeasure towards me, I run and hide from Him. I still go to church, preach my sermons, keep my counseling appointments, and teach my classes, but there is, as Dave Matthews puts it, “a space between.” Grace reminds me that failure, hurt, or fear, are the best reasons to run to God. I can draw near to Him; I belong in His presence, because the work of Christ on the cross lets me in.

That drawing near allows me to hold on to my confession of hope. I love that this is a confession of hope rather than a confession of truth. Hope just seems better than truth sometimes. The amazing thing a bout Christianity is that the truth is full of hope. I can be better, I am saved, I can look towards the future.

And then I need to do great things with this truth and encourage other people to do them too. The word that the ESV renders as “stir up” carries a nuance of “provoke.” I love this. I laugh at the idea of Christians, full of God’s grace-filled truth/hope, provoking the best from each other instead of the worst. What would our influence in the world  and on history be if instead of bringing out all of the anger, bitterness, and discord we carry, we demand and expect love, peace, and joy?

From General Council 2

My denomination’s bi-annual conference ended tonight. The JenkTank family is chilling out now at our hotel, getting ready to start vacation. When I think back on the last few days events, I have those noticed these things:

1. I am embarrassingly bad with names. If you were one of the several thousand people whose name I forgot this week, I apologize. If you don’t know you were, here’s how you can tell.

  • If at any point in the conversation, I introduced you to another person without saying your name, I forgot it and I was hoping you would introduce yourself. Thanks for holding out and making me look like an idiot. Not that I needed help.
  • If I kept staring at your name tag, and flipping mine over at the same time, I forgot. Signals, Jerry, signals.
  • If at any point in the conversation I called you, “Champ,” “Doc,” “Buddy,” “Dude,” or “Bro,” or, even worse, if upon seeing you I said, “Hey, hey, there he is!” I forgot. This I learned from living in the South. It’s not really lying, it’s just buying time until God uses his finger like in Daniel to write the guy’s name on the wall behind him. old-man

2. I really didn’t think people actually thought this way. When we moved to Spanafrederickallup Hill, I guess I completely forgot how thick most people are. After having been in my amazing network, and with my awesome staff, I failed to remember that some people are really into speaking King James English while defending arcane points of obsolete language all the while managing to focus on the truly minute points of denominational Christianity. Hi Mr. Irrelevant, my name’s Mr. JenkTank, and your name I shan’t forget.

3. Orlando is hot, and trolleys are overrated. Full again? Really? I’m sorry, Orlando, I thought you were set up for conventions. Next General Council should be in a more prepared venue, like Mossy Rock.

4. I am too old to eat like this. I don’t think I need to explain any further.

5. Babies never poop at a convenient time. JenkTank 3.0, I’m looking at you.

6. We’ll be fine. Didn’t Jesus say that he would build His church? After this week, I am more convinced that we all need to lighten up a little. The things we think are important, the things we fight over, should never prevent us from doing the work Christ has created and called us to do. Don’t be too passive, and let the extremists of either persuasion hijack our fellowship, but don’t be a jerk. Let’s focus on God’s mission of reconciliation, introduce people to Jesus, and celebrate each other.

But that’s just me.

JenkTank out.

(I start my vacation tomorrow, so either there will be many posts, or not so many, we’ll see.)