online ministry tech - youtube

YouTube YouTube is the most extensive video-hosting service on the Internet. You can upload your own videos (up to 15 minutes long) for free, and then share them with others. It also includes a comment feature for interacting with your audience, as well as tracking tools to see from whence your viewership comes. Even if your intent is not to upload videos, YouTube is a rich educational resource (in addition to diversion and entertainment). You can find instruction on just about any subject. You can also find songs, movie clips, commentary, and all manner of other things (note: not all is edifying!). YouTube also makes “embedding” your video easy. This means that video on YouTube (yours or someone else’s) is easy to include on a website, e-mail, or Facebook page.  I've embedded a number of videos from my YouTube "channel" below. Examples: Our student pastor preached his first sermon on October 24. We normally make an audio recording of our services, but on this Sunday we had to evacuate the sanctuary for a small wiring “fire” (everything was fine). Greg carried on the service and sermon outside and a quick thinking staff member videotaped his sermon. I posted it to YouTube:
Related to the previous example, I normally put text and audio on our church sermon page, but since this is all we had, I “embedded” the video of Greg preaching, which his out of state parents enjoyed even more!
I was at the Montreat Wee Kirk (small church) conference, where my music director and I were leading worship and music. After rehearsing the conference choir with an original composition, I ran to get my camera and recorded a final run-through of the piece. That night I sent the video to YouTube and all those choir members (each one or two from different home congregations) had a link to show their church family what they had done while at the conference.
Every year our Wednesday night church group goes Christmas caroling in the church neighborhood. For the second year, we gathered at the end and recorded a “Video Christmas Greeting” that we put on YouTube. That allowed us to send an e-mail with the video greeting as well as to post it on Facebook. It wasn’t just something from the church office, but something each church member could share and pass on.
Each year on Good Friday, we host “Journey to the Cross.” This is a wonderful personal, spiritual experience where the participant wears headphones and walks through a number of stations rehearsing the last days of Jesus’ life. I narrated a script and provided background music for the CD to which the participant listens. In order to better promote and give people a sense of what the experience is like, we made a short testimonial video that we showed in church a few weeks prior to the event. We also have made it available on the website and Facebook.
Our church uses drama extensively in worship and outreach. We videotape the skits and plays and have uploaded some to YouTube for sharing. The following includes a short skit done at First Presbyterian, Kannapolis, for their “lay renewal weekend” and a clip from a full-length play from several years ago.
Our youth also take part, creating and producing videos to go along with sermon themes or other themes in the life of the church.
Sometimes we just take exceptional clips out of worship or from a church event and post it for sharing. Here is an a capella arrangement of a contemporary worship song that we arranged and sang in worship. Note that YouTube already comes with a number of ways to “share” via social media.
Some folks use YouTube to post regular video shorts (which can be one form of "video podcast").  One recent Presbyterian example of this is Stated Clerk, Gradye Parsons, who is posting weekly on various topics relevant to the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.  He also has a channel where you can find all his podcasts.
You will see below that the Presbytery of Charlotte is hosting a webinar on using YouTube as a tool for stewardship.  I commend that to you.  A friend of mine, Keith Hill, is doing this in his church - St. Giles Presbyterian, in Richmond, VA.  Check out his channel and one of their videos, featuring an introduction by Pastor Keith and several member testimonies:
And just in case no one believes you about the alligator you saw next to your deck on vacation…
FYI to those in the Presbytery of Charlotte The Presbytery of Charlotte will host a FREE Webinar entitled, “YouTube for Nonprofits: How to Use Video to Attract Donors” The event will be held Wednesday, November 10, 2010 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm in the Catawba Room at the Presbytery Office. The speaker is Allan Pressel, founder and CEO of Charity-Finders. The Webinar will examine YouTube and other online videos as effective ways to connect with donors, build awareness for specific causes, and to examine ways to raise more funds. Join us for a 60-minute webinar where you will discover:
  • Tools to create an effective YouTube video that grabs your donor's attention
  • Best practices to use video to tell your story and inspire your donors
  • YouTube channel essentials: Tools to edit, create and customize
  • Strategies to incorporate online video in your fundraising efforts
  • How nonprofits are using YouTube - What's working, what's not
Register for the Presbytery’s hosting by calling Sandy Randolph at 704-535-9999 ext 218 or e-mail at Space is limited!
Feedback: please post in the comments about how you use Youtube, particularly in a church or ministry context!