A vision for your church media ministry is essential. It gets everyone on the same page and working together strategically towards the goal.
I am a member of various online forums that serve church media techs. A common theme in posts on these forums concerns church media ministry and a disconnect between the church media department and the church leadership over whether, when and how they should upgrade their media set-up. It seems to be a question that causes challenges for many, but there is a solution to the disconnection – vision.
Many churches jumped into live streaming at the start of the Covid pandemic (look at this report from the Evangelical Alliance in the UK toward the end of the Pandemic) with a vision to use their church media ministry to keep connection with their congregations when everything went into lockdown. Thinking this was a temporary situation, they came up with what they believed was a temporary solution. But now, even though the world has moved on, many of them have not. Instead, the same setup is still doing the weekly broadcast.
If you were already broadcasting or filming at that point, you might have added some extra “temporary” things to your set-up to improve it, make it more operationally friendly, or allow you to get more creative in how you did online church.
Whatever your situation, there is no question that most
people had to make quick decisions to adapt to what was happening in the world,
but the things implemented have also created new challenges.
Many church media departments got up and running as quickly as possible, and I know most would have chosen to spend the minimum budget on their set-up as it was only “temporary” – right? Of course, time has shown it wasn’t temporary at all, and instead, the “creaky/cheap” tech put in place is probably still doing the job. However, due to its limitations, the interim setup is now causing real frustrations.
Yet, the Pastor’s response may be, “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”. Hence the disconnect.
Online streaming is here to stay for most churches, so there needs to be a new approach that allows us all to move away from “temporary”. Here are three immediate improvements you can make.
I understand the reluctance to invest in tech. We all know that the value goes down when I take my new shiny toy out of the box. Also, as soon as we take the plunge and invest, we often discover something newer and better coming on the market – we can’t win. Also, for a church leader who spent considerable money during the pandemic, to be told they need to finance an upgrade is a challenge unless they understand why.
Do you know what your "viable minimum product" is? for your church media ministry? This article will help you find out.
Before I tell you my solution to the disconnect, here is a quick pat on the back for you all.
I want to acknowledge the incredible job the church did to cope with the pandemic and get up and running with its broadcasting. It is remarkable what was achieved. I honour both the church media departments and the leaders for what was achieved, but we need to ensure that the great work continues and that we build on this success.
Helping churches work out how to move forward was why I built the Digital Ministry Assessment. It is a tool that every church media ministry can use to firstly assess where they are at, then get actionable steps to move forward (through the detailed 22-page report you will receive) and also learn about support and resources to implement the changes they decide to make.
Doing the assessment and using the report can provide a framework you can use to overcome the disconnect.
The solution to this starts with communication. You need to work together to formulate a church media ministry vision that can move you forward.
Set aside a day and host a
“Media Review and Church Media Ministry Vision Day” and follow the three-step approach outlined
First, spend time celebrating what you have achieved. It has been remarkable; I am sure you have many stories and testimonies of how God showed up in your world and many responses from people connected to you through your media. Share these, enjoy the fruit of your work, and celebrate the stories of lives changed - they help you keep your WHY before the HOW. Start here before you do anything else. Spending time being thankful will set the tone for your discussions.
Second, move on to having an honest and open
discussion on the challenges you have all faced in your church media ministry.
Listen to each other and avoid jumping in and defending positions; instead,
make understanding, NOT agreement, (as Danny Silk says) the aim for this part of your time together.
The idea here is that at the end of the process, you are all in the loop on
each other’s frustrations and understand how each person sees the past season.
This is hard to do but essential to build unity in your church media department.
Third, spend time casting a vision for the future. Don’t make this discussion about the tech or any other “detail” of what you need to deliver the church media ministry vision; instead, concentrate on what that church media ministry vision is. This is the fun part: you get the chance to dream. Where do you want your church media ministry to be in 2 years? (2 years is a reasonable projection as so much can change if you go further than that). Who do you want to be reaching? What content do you want to be producing? What impact do you want your church media ministry to have? – lots of questions to work through.
The key in this third part is there are no wrong thoughts. You want to treat every idea as a possibility and work it through, considering everything. The outcome of this process will be that you develop a collective church media ministry vision for where you want to be in two years that all the stakeholders agree with.
This church media ministry vision or blueprint for your church media ministry can then be the plan everyone works from to develop a strategy on how you will achieve it. The strategy will include tech upgrades, content changes, training and development for your church media department and much more – but it will all come from excitement for WHAT is possible as you now have a shared vision and an understanding of why these things are needed to deliver the church media ministry vision.
The best way to overcome the disconnects is to craft a definitive church media ministry vision.
Have you experienced a similar disconnect between church leaders and church media departments in your own church when it comes to upgrading media setups? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them?
When thinking about your church's media ministry, what is your church media ministry vision for where you'd like it to be in the next two years? What kind of impact do you hope to achieve through your media efforts, and what steps do you think are necessary to get there?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below.
"I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! Seriously. This is so perfect! Reading this makes me feel as a small church…WITH YOUR HELP…I can do this! And you will figure out how to make my budget work. This truly is super valuable!"
As you consider what I’ve shared in this article, take a moment to reflect on your own church's experiences. Think about the unique challenges you've faced and the solutions you've explored. Moreover, envision how you want to see the future of your church media ministry. Use questions like: Where do you aspire to see it in the next two years? What kind of impact do you hope it will have on your congregation and community? These questions can be the starting point for meaningful discussions within your church, fostering collaboration and innovation. By crafting a shared church media ministry vision, you can pave the way for growth and success, ensuring that the remarkable work achieved during challenging times continues to thrive.
I know change is hard for all of us, but it often seems particularly hard for churches. I have come across a great resource that I recommend you look at if you struggle to see change in your church. It’s an article by my friend Anthony Hilder called “Leading Change in the Church” – check it out; I know it will help you.