5 Elements of Effective Pre-Service Videos (Plus 3 Sample Videos)
A programming trend we’re seeing is the use of a “pre-service” video played every Sunday, which is designed as an introduction to the church. Similar to the title sequence in a television show, this video provides an overview of what people can expect from the church. Increasingly, it seems as if the only people in the main auditorium before services at many churches are first-time guests. Unlike a “series bumper” that refers to a specific topic, these videos provide an overview of what the church is like. They are designed to prepare people emotionally for what they are about to experience. Here are the ingredients that make up a great pre-service video:
- Vision Driven // These videos should show (instead of tell about) the vision of the church. By using images and text that explain “the big why,” they frame the experience people are about to have. They quickly bring first-time guests up to speed on what’s important to the church. For long-time attendees and volunteers, these videos are a great reminder of why the church does what it does. Vision leaks and these videos provide a great opportunity to keep it in the forefront.
- People Focused // Typically, just a few people are on the stage at a church: a pastor, a worship leader, maybe a band … but the church is made up of hundreds or even thousands of other people. These videos should show dozens of people in the context of the church, such as volunteers serving in various areas or people arriving at the campus. Lots of faces reinforces that this is a big movement impacting lots of people. Encourage first-time guests to continue attending by showing them people “like them.”
- Community Loving // Often these videos have shots of the city or community where the church is located. This “common ground” reinforces to first-time guests that we are members of the same community. It also helps give the videos a genuine “hometown” feel. People have pride in their community and seeing shots of it on the big screen strikes a common emotional chord.
- Anticipation Building // Design the music and pacing of these videos to build anticipation and excitement for what is coming next. These aren’t the “main show” — but they help get people excited for it. Rather than a somber and sober call to worship, these videos draw people into what is about to happen. They also provide a chance to add some different musical flair (think EDM or dance beats) than what most churches can pull off in the main experience.
- Brand Defining // At its core, your church’s “brand” is what people say about you behind your back. It’s not what you write in a press release or put on the website — it’s the shorthand story about your church that people tell their friends. These videos provide an opportunity to shape that conversation because they repeat weekly what’s important to your church. They should be filled with what makes you the most proud about your church in order to help people spread those messages to their friends.
Connect Community Church
About the Pre-Service Video: “The ideal would be to find someone in your church body that is talented enough to take footage of your own surrounding town’s landmarks … your church (inside and outside), pictures and footage of what you do (services, baptisms, baby dedications, youth services, young adult services, kids ministry, hospitality, etc.) and then find a song that has a nice build to it and match the material you have with it, with good timing. If you can’t find someone, then you need to hire someone.” – Rodrigo DeJesus
About the Pre-Service Video: “Our video was made by our visual media producer, Jeremy Fain. I love that he includes all of the circles from [the Purpose-Driven Church]. You see the community with the shots from around our city, and the very common commute of our people. Crowd of our people in worship, inviting friends to events, and painting our neighborhood [alongside] our neighbors. Committed when you see people transforming an empty gym into a place of worship. Core those leading in the kids area and worshiping from stage.” – Nick Lenzi
About the Pre-Service Video: “I love the music on this season’s opener video. It grabs your attention and draws you in. We’ve also tried to include lots of footage of the stuff we’re the proudest of as a church to give people a sense that we’re a larger movement than what they see on a Sunday morning. I’m proud of this piece at our church!” – Rich Birch
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