Ideas for Student Ministry Videos
Having grown up in Bible Belt culture, I have seen A TON of youth group videos. I've made a bunch too, and for many years, I followed the same video template I had grown up watching. Without going into too much detail, let me just say this template made videos that were directionless. No story. No substance to emotionally grab ahold of - just random camera shots set to some modern Christian music. So a few years ago, I wrote myself these three goals for all student event videos:
- To show how God moved in the lives of students at the event
- To cement into memory the experiences of students who attended
- To inspire and pique the interest of students who were not in attendance to attend next time
The videos below are the different attempts I have made to craft the structure of youth group videos around these 3 goals. They're each pretty different, and some communicate more effectively than others - but all are experiments as I challenge myself to tell better stories. Hope you enjoy!
Interviews Meets Baptism Video
For this video, I needed to tell the story of a youth trip to the beach of three different churches, as well as show a few of the baptisms that took place at camp. This was a little tricky, to be honest, and my approach was largely influenced by the students I interviewed.
Worship is more than merely a time of corporate singing - worship is an intermingling of relationships with Jesus. So rather than separating portions of this video into segments about the teaching, small groups, rec, free time, and worship, I wanted to blend it all and present the entire event as a week of worship. I was inspired to do this by the students I interviewed- almost every student spoke about how they found God the most in the relationships they formed between the "worship sessions." They spoke of how everything about camp focused on Jesus and reminded them constantly of the gospel. "Wow," I thought, "That's got to be how I structure this video."
To help establish this message, I chose to open the video with a statement of salvation. Connecting students with Jesus is why we go to camp, so I wanted the very first shot to establish Jesus as the reason we brought kids to the beach.
I found an amazing cover of the song, "Sinking Deep" by Austin Adamec that served as the soundtrack for this video. The song's mix of passionate energy, sincere worship, ocean imagery, and reverence felt exactly right.
Quick and to the point
There has definitely been a part of me that wanted to redeem the old student ministry videos I made in middle school by making a few changes. The changes was, essentially, not to waste time. One of the biggest issues with the way I used to make student videos was that they were far too long. So we wrote a script to narrate the whole weekend in under 60 seconds, while retaining elements from the usual youth group video. I felt good about this! It was quick, informative, and fun.
This video also began my trend of using one song for one video, rather than multiple songs. I've really liked this format, but it is trickier to find the right music to fit a range of energy and emotions (though not impossible, and tools like The Music Bed definitely help!)
Extended Narration to fun montage
Clearly an evolution of the previous year's video, I wanted to press further into the old structure of the old youth videos I once made. The narration walks outsiders through the events of the weekend and why this weekend matters. But rather than begin energetically and move into spiritual reverence, this video begins in the spiritual and leads into the fun, where we find in the gospel as well. It's still a lean video, moving quickly with as little excess of footage as possible.
Intro and 6 word stories
Six word stories are fun and bite sized ways to communicate one, simple idea. To share about the 2014 student mission trip to Washington DC, we decided to have each student share their experience in six words.
Full on rave
Our students LOVE to dance. Seriously, if you visit the Arrowhead student Vimeo page, most of it is dancing. Our church hosts many raves for our students, and occasionally, we want to capture that energy and fun into a video. This one is my favorites. Sometimes a formalized narrative isn't the purpose of a video - in this case, I wanted people to feel energize and excited.
Of course, a rave is about building hype. Students tend to start the night a little timid, but as the party progresses, walls come down as they feel more free to be themselves. I wanted the audience to feel this progression. And the song I chose (Afroki) speaks to this phenomenon directly, which made all the difference in the world.