November 22, 2014

3 Ways Churches are Leading the Way with Video

church video marketing

When you think about video and innovation, you might think of the gaming industry, high technology or digital media. While those enterprises may be the face of the technological transformation underway, they’re by no means the be-all-end-all of video marketing.

In truth, every industry must be doing some serious soul-searching nowadays to lure in younger patrons and customers who are tech-savvy and in search of relevant content and targeted messages. That means that traditional marketers should be stepping up their game and trying new ideas out.

There’s been no greater movement forward over the past decade than that of churches and houses of worship in general. They might seem, at first, to be slow to innovate, built around longstanding rules and tradition. Yet spiritual leaders have been doing everything they can to attract new audiences and recreate their sermons and outreach throughout a sea of change. Below are some of the ways that churches have incorporated video.

How Houses of Worship are Performing Church Video Marketing

Weekly Sermons

It’s not just Joel Osteen who has recognized the power and influence of video followers. In fact, many church leaders have brought video into their weekly sermons to help give a creative crowd a more visual accompaniment.

This is how we engage and stay focused during business meetings and presentations, and these spiritual heads have gotten on board with the trend.

Whether the video showcases clips of the community at a recent charitable event, footage from another church to help inspire the entire congregation or a series of stock video clips focused on reaching a more spiritual state, church leaders can deliver a message that will hit home and resonate.

Promotional Videos

It’s something that every congregation has worked on since the beginning of time. How do you bring in new clientele while still serving the needs of existing followers?

Some churches have gone beyond the typical word-of-mouth marketing. Putting out video advertisements, on local television or through social media, will help demonstrate that your community is cutting edge:





If tastefully and professionally done, you can get in front of new patrons using the same methods that companies use to try to find new customers. This investment can pay off with more than just new faces. It’ll bring more attention and pride to the existing patrons.

History of a Church

If your house of worship has a long and important history inside of your area, it’s essential to get that story told however possible. Oral tradition is valuable, but we won’t always have those people’s voices with us.

While there’s still time, hire a videographer to put together a short video that covers the early days of the church. Some congregations have turned to videos like these as valuable marketing materials that convey the longer narrative that might not yet be known by all.

Projects like these appeal to our emotions while showcasing spirituality, commitment and tradition.

These are lessons everyone can learn and other industries should take heed.

Church Photo via Shutterstock

17 Comments ▼

Danny Groner


Danny Groner Danny Groner is the manager of blogger partnerships and outreach for Shutterstock. He encourages everyone to consider how they achieve visual storytelling in the age of desktop editing and publishing.

17 Reactions

  1. Hi Danny,
    Interesting post. Of course, in some ways, churches have long been innovators in communications technology, at least here in the U.S. where they were quick to adopt both the radio and television mediums as they emerged. For churches and spiritual leaders in general, however, I think the issue is often not so much the medium they choose to communicate with but what they decide to say with it.

    • Good point, Shawn. Yes, you’ll need to pick the right medium and the right message. Different people, and industries, will test their way into each of those. What’s clear is that video is here to stay, and it’s good to see it showing up in some less expected places.

  2. Danny,

    Indeed – they are inspirational and life changing. I watch Joel Osteen’s and subscribed to GodTube. I also learn that videos CAN be viral without the notion that sex sells.

    I learn that inspirational videos – churches’ or not – will tell you better stories and bring your audience to a certain state of understanding, which will make – or, unfortunately, also break – your brand.

    • Good point. They stretch the limits of marketing further, which is probably what’s so refreshing about them! Of course, over time, with enough attention and pushback, they’ll shift back into a more conservative gear, like typical companies with more traditional approaches to PR and marketing. For now, though, let’s enjoy the freshness.

  3. I think it has something to do with two elements: the ability of the video to inspire people and a ready receptive audience. The thing is, churches are communities and words spread like in a grapevine. So promotions are quite effective in this setting.

  4. Hey, cool post. We’ve never considered churches as a potential niche to offer explainer videos. We’ll take it into consideration! Since explainer videos rely on storytelling as a resource to emotionally engage with people, I think churches should think about animation as an opportunity to gain more followers. Thanks!!

  5. Hi,

    This is a great post because our church keeps getting priests that don’t speak good English and they are very hard to understand. People fall asleep during the sermon because there is nothing to keep theiir attention.

    This has given me a great idea about our parish.

    Thanks so much for this info.

    Geri Richmond

  6. This is a great post Danny! I think that one would have to come up with a strategy to produce videos for young people that will inspire and keep them connected to God. It is a shame that up until now, I have only concentrated my marketing efforts on my own online business. Just thinking of how to adopt my personal online marketing plans especially video to the children’s church I pastor

    • Great point. It’s harder and harder to get young people attracted to lectures and sermons and learning in general. Some communities, I read, are trying to appeal to students with the promise of free beer. I think that might be a bit extreme. Instead, let’s get the audio/visuals up to snuff, at the level these young ones are used to. If they recognize their pastors are people just like them, and not just some talking head behind a pulpit, the walls may get broken down with time.

  7. I have also heard of churches that broadcast the video of a sermon for the ones that couldn’t come to the church. The link was found on the church’s website.

    • Interesting, though this might encourage people to just stay at home, similar to college students at universities who get their lectures streamed. Is that a concern?

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