For many churches the biggest obstacle to a great media ministry is manpower. Soundboards and presentation software can be intimidating to the average volunteer and when you add video editing to the mix, most are ready to sign up for nursery duty instead! Where can churches without the budget for a paid Minister of Media find help in navigating the complexities of modern technology?
Applewood Baptist Church in Arvada, Colorado solved their staffing issues by turning to an often-untapped resource, their youth group. Sixteen-year-old Justin Kintzel is a two-year veteran of Applewood’s media ministry, but his love for media goes back to age twelve when he started “making movies” by doing stop motion productions using action figures and his folk’s camcorder. As Justin puts it, “For almost two years, my parent’s video camera was my best friend, until I dropped it of the roof while shooting a scene for a movie I was making with my friend.” Shane and Missy Kintzel, ever supportive of their son’s talent, bought him a new video camera for Christmas that year.
Justin’s parents weren’t the only ones to recognize his potential. Justin was fortunate enough to be mentored and encouraged by several church staff members. He was taught to use soundboards, presentation programs and was even given the opportunity to make videos for his youth group. Using just a mixer and two VCRs, Justin was able to produce videos highlighting his group’s daily youth camp experiences. This required hours of work, late nights and even missing breakfast each morning in order to present the video at the next day’s opening session. As time went on and Justin’s interest in media ministry deepened, he began to explore other methods for editing his videos.
He now uses a Casablanca Avio Digital Video Editor, a more recent Christmas gift, to produce videos for the whole church. Now, in addition to youth videos, he is producing promotional videos for mission trips, tribute videos to honor volunteers, event videos of the church’s Christmas programs and has even done some wedding videos for church members.
Justin’s curiosity and vivid imagination make him a natural for media ministry. It would be safe to venture that every youth group has at least one Justin, the trick is identifying and cultivating him or her. Often these “media ministers in the making” are the kids who excel in music or art. They think outside the box and aren’t afraid to take on new challenges. Many of them have already received some media training at school, since more and more public school curriculums are requiring computer and even video editing classes. Young people today put most adults to shame when it comes to being technologically savvy.
Another important quality that Justin and other youth bring to the church’s media ministry is free time. Putting together a presentation slide show or a video is extremely time intensive. The rule of thumb for video editing is to allow one hour of editing time for every one minute of finished product. Many students have time on their hands and would be willing to give up some video game time to make a video that would benefit their church. Usually the fun of creating a great video is all the motivation a young person needs to keep them interested in media ministry. Justin was inspired by the response of his peers to his youth videos, “they got really excited to see themselves on the screen; it was very encouraging.”
As a church strives to make itself more relevant in today’s visual culture, the importance of a strong media ministry cannot be overemphasized. Any true enrollment of the “Now” generation into the life and the mission of the church must include the use of technology. Justin’s generation is stimulated to action by viewing images that capture their emotion and imagination. It can also be said that this generation best shares its ideas and dreams through visual media. That is why the youth ministry of a church is the best place to begin when launching a media ministry. This is a mutually beneficial partnership; the youth learn to express their devotion and enthusiasm, while experiencing new ways of telling the old, old, story, enriches the whole congregation.