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Church production ideas, tips, and thoughts from Christian leaders. Learn about church stage design ideas and other production tips for your church services or ministry.

Jesus + Glitter + Rock and Roll = Yancy! 🎵

No matter how long you’ve been in the KidMin world, you’ve probably heard some of the Jesus-filled, Bible-based kids songs from worship leader and songwriter, Yancy! The WorshipHouse Kids team is so grateful for Yancy and all she brings to KidMin from Yancy Ministries. She is passionate about creating resources to serve the church and families, “making Jesus loud” and creating an exciting worship experience for kids of all ages. She has recently introduced new product types to her WorshipHouse Kids catalog including countdown videos and an incredible worship-themed curriculum.

“Have you ever experienced a group of kids worshipping? I mean really worshipping: eyes closed, hands lifted, voices singing loud and strong. I truly believe it is one of the sweetest sounds you could ever hear in this whole world.”
– Yancy

Yancy has a huge heart for instilling the Word of God in younger generations. She’s passionate about encouraging kids to learn about worship and making singing more than just going through the motions. Her songs are fun and engaging, but also provide an opportunity to lift high the name of Jesus!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Yancy‘s library on WorshipHouse Kids, here are a few of our favorites that we know your kids will love!

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VBS IS COMING! Are You Ready!?

Vacation Bible School is one of the biggest church-wide and community-wide events of the year for KidMin. Are you ready? If you’ve ever been involved in a VBS, you know just how much work goes into preparing. We’ve put together a few ideas to help you get the ball rolling.

Promote, Promote, Promote! – The key to a successful Vacation Bible School is to make sure you get the word out. Post signs at local restaurants, daycares, and grocery stores. You may also consider posting an article in your local newspaper. Don’t forget that a church Facebook or website is an excellent way to spread the word. It really doesn’t matter how you advertise; it just matters that you reach as many kids as you can.

Gather a Team – Having a supportive team around you is going to be so important to making this Vacation Bible School successful. They don’t all have to be adults! Ask your youth pastor if you can borrow a few teenagers for the week. They are typically good sports about acting crazy for kids. Come up with a list of what jobs need to be done and then delegate those jobs to your team. If everyone has a job and knows exactly what to do, it will make VBS a breeze! Need help getting volunteers? Check out this hilarious new video from Skit Guys Studios.

Pick Your Media – It’s no secret that WorshipHouse Kids has some pretty great media for your KidMin. Our Vacation Bible School Store is up and running to help you find exactly what you’re looking for to pump up your services! Check out the Super Summer Pre-Service Show 5 Pack by Digital Felt Productions. It includes five interactive game videos that work well as service openers and will get all the kids involved. You also don’t want to miss the new Safari Adventure Collection by Playback Media. It includes a fun countdown full of games, 11 motions and 11 stills to get your kids ministry engaged and active.

No matter what theme you choose, or what media you use, it’s important to remember the goal of Vacation Bible School. If even one child accepts the Lord into their heart, it was all worth it. We are excited that you’ve chosen us to help you prepare. We are sure that this will be a great event for your KidMin, your church, and your community.

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What Style of Music Is Best for Your Church?

When I evaluate a song for the church, my question isn’t so much whether or not it sounds like everything else we call “worship,” but rather whether the song invites the hearts and minds of believers to see and savor Jesus as he really is.

Worship. This one word in today’s church culture holds massive connotations. We’ve heard it said over and over again that worship doesn’t equal music and music doesn’t equal worship. The reality is, for better or worse, we have created a whole sub-culture of Christian music and have labeled it “Worship.”  Whichever side of the fence you fall on, it’s important that we think about the place of music in the church, lest history repeat itself again. 

A significant turning point in my life occurred when I traveled to Jamaica to help lead worship alongside a missionary team. With my acoustic guitar, I played many contemporary songs that were very well known back in the United States. The church body joined in the best they could and showed appreciation for my being there. When I had finished, a woman in the congregation stood up and burst into a song. Immediately, I heard tambourines and other percussive instruments join in, followed by the rest of the congregation’s voice. I looked around and saw the church gathered and connected in a way I was not used to, around a song I did not know, with a style that didn’t seem common to me.  To this Jamaican church, the song was normal. To them it was familiar. It was a musical language that worked within their region and context.  There was no acoustic guitar.  There was no bass guitar.  There was no drum set.  Was this not worship? It didn’t sound like everything I was used to. They had only their hands for clapping, voices for singing, and a few instruments for percussion. The song was in a style that Westerners might call simple, trite, and repetitive, but with it, I had witnessed a powerful, loving worship of God.  I saw a united prayer of a congregation. I saw a united love of the God they were singing to and about.

Standing on the other side of the many years of “worship wars,” I question how it was ever a battle to begin with. When we gather as a congregation, we are told to do all things that edify or build up believers (1 Cor. 14:26). This entails loving one’s neighbor as themselves.  We are called in our gatherings to unite and sing “to one another” (Ephesians 5:18-19). Have we ever stopped and pondered what style best accomplishes that in our context? Could it be that much of the bickering about musical styles stems from our individualistic bent within our western culture. It is concerned mainly with the vertical (me and God) to the detriment and neglect of the horizontal (me and my neighbor) as well as the missional (how our unity in song looks to those outside the church).

So why is it that we sing when we gather?  Is it for God? Is it for us? I’d propose our singing and our gathering, and ultimately all we do in life should be for both.  In doing what God commands, we are always doing what’s best for us. We gather to remember and we sing to remember (because we need to be reminded) that the sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient. Sometimes the way we treat our music in the church comes across like it’s the new medium for us to connect with God. Simply put, the Christian’s sacrifice and offering has already been accomplished (1 Peter 3:18) and it’s Jesus who brings us to God.

When I evaluate a song for the church, my question isn’t so much whether or not it sounds like everything else we call “worship,” but rather whether the song invites the hearts and minds of believers to see and savor Jesus as he really is. If we are only looking for one musical style within worship music what is preventing us from creating a new standard that we will be fighting to break free from in the years to come?  

So where do we go from here?  I’d suggest we as local churches talk about the “why of worship in song”, amongst pastors, and amongst the congregation.  Let’s not assume that we are all on the same page about what’s taking place during our worship services. I believe as churches collectively seeing the way that singing to God, to one another, and with the knowledge that the outsiders are looking in have there place we will worship through song with more passion and experience more of God’s presence than ever before.  

 

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The Top 5 Worship Tracks Your Church Should Be Singing This Sunday

Open your congregation’s hearts to God with these popular worship tracks:

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1. What A Beautiful Name

by Hillsong

 

2. Great Are You Lord

by All Sons and Daughters

 

3. This is Amazing Grace

by Phil Wickham

 

4. 10,000 Reasons 

by Yancy Ministries

 

5. Good Good Father

by Chris Tomlin

 

WorshipHouse Media offers only the best in church and worship media. With a range of video illustrations, mini movies, worship song tracks, motion backgrounds, and Christian pictures, we have everything you need to visually bring your message to life.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Live Recording

Most church leaders do not realize the importance of live directing. Whether it is for Television or more commonly for live stream services, the professionalism that you show in your directing determines how people experience your services. Whether or not viewers will return to view your services again or even come in person to your church can depend on how well you do your job.

Unfortunately more often than not church directors simply pick shots at random. Live directing does not have exact rules but after many years of experience there are definite do’s and don’ts to follow. If you watch professionally directed televised church services or even secular events you will notice they have certain trends that you can follow. Here are just five do’s and don’ts I would like to share with you.

Number 1

Don’t – Excessive Dissolving

One of the more common visual blunders I see on live stream broadcasts of services, is the overuse of prolonged cross dissolves. This was a trend in the 80’s and has since gone out of style. Also when there is a speaker or preacher, I would not use cross dissolves at all, except perhaps during prayer.

Do – Cross Dissolve

Cross dissolves have their place but usually only on slow tempo songs or prayer services. As a preference, I would usually not use a cross dissolve more than 2 seconds long.

Number 2

Don’t – Random Cutting

I have seen in many services, a director who clicks the shots at random, as long as they are framed and ready to go. After a while it gets difficult for me even to watch the screen because there is no rhythm or purpose to it. During speaking or preaching too many cuts in the middle of sentences or points can be a real distraction.

Do – Rhythm Cutting

When directing music, it is important that your shot cutting is in tempo with the music playing. Your cuts should be on the beat of the music when possible. It is more natural to your viewer’s eyes for the shot to change in beat with the music. When directing the preaching or speaking it is important to cut after complete thoughts are made. As a practice, I kept the sermon outline near me to know where the pastor was on a particular point in the lesson. It is also important to plan audience or crowd shots to show audience response to good points, and also to give your speaker time to find their place in their notes on the podium or even to cover up when they need a drink of water.

Number 3

Don’t – Cutting to Similar Shots

Cutting or dissolving to a shot that is very similar in frame up and distance is just not pleasing to the eye. For example, do not cut from a front bust of a person to an off angle bust of the same person. Also don’t change from the same frame up of one person to another person. This has the appearance on the screen of a person morphing into another person.

Do – Shot Variance

There are some transitions of shots that work better than others. A close up or bust shot transitions wells to a shot that is at more of a distance. A camera pulling out or pushing in transitions well to a static or shoulder camera shot of instruments being played. A camera pulling out, transitions well to a camera pushing in. While most of these are preferences, the point is that variance in your shots is more interesting than 3 cameras all framed up at the same distance.

Number 4

Don’t – Miss the Focus of the Service

I have seen it many times. I am watching a service online and someone begins to sing a solo. I look at the screen and there is only a shot of an electric guitar and he isn’t even playing. This is called missing the focus of your service. The viewer shouldn’t be waiting a long time to know who is singing. Another example is an instrumental is playing and the camera shot is only showing someone on the praise team smiling and clapping.

Do – Keep Focused

If a soloist sings you should already have planned to capture them before they begin. Our worship leader would list all soloists and their mic positions on the printed order of service. When instrumentals begin, show some band shots. If there is an extended period of applause then wide crowd shots and audience member shots should be used. The most important thing you can get across through live directing is making your online or tv audience feel like they are right there with you.

Number 5

Don’t – Technical Unpreparedness

This is a common issue with many churches. Camera 1 has the back focus out of alignment so that every time he pulls out halfway the shot goes out of focus. Camera 2 has his gain setting set a level too high and he’s trying to fix it by lowering his iris setting, but the shot doesn’t match the other cameras. Camera 3 crane jib can’t turn left or right because someone has bumped the gears out of alignment. Camera 4 roamer has a orange screen because of a bad white balance. Camera 5 wide cannot get the zoom controls to work. Camera 6 roamer cannot hear you on comm because his batteries are dead or he is on the wrong channel. If you are not prepared with your equipment before service, you are headed for a train wreck.

Do – Be Prepared

It may seem like overkill but a good director makes sure all cameras are working, white balanced, level, matching in color and brightness, batteries are charged on wireless cameras and comms, back focus is set, all signal paths are received, monitors working, zoom and focus controls are working and crane motors are in working condition.

While this guide does not cover everything there is to know about live directing, hopefully it will help you recognize some of the more common problems helping you become a more efficient live director.

 

Jonathan Litchfield is the Executive Director of LifeScribe Media, which is devoted to enhancing the worship experience through creative church visuals. Check out some of LifeScribe Media’s content.

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