What's in this session?

  • Summary (1:09)
  • #1: A full walk through from arrival to end (2:45)
  • #2: POV experience (2:50)
  • #3: Hard-coded subtitles (4:28)
  • #4: Answering FAQs (5:28)
  • #5: Kids (5:51)
  • #6: Personality and fun (6:52)
  • Trey and Brady's interaction (7:45)
  • IG Stories ad (7:52)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Sheaer: In this video, you’re going to learn a proven formula for creating an engaging church welcome video. For example, a smaller church in Arizona is using this strategy and they’ve been able to reach groups of people they never were able to reach before they created this welcome video, and in the next few minutes, I’ll share with you this welcome video example, along with a series of tips that you can use to create your own.

Alex Mills: Well hey there and welcome to Pro Church Tools, the show where in 10 minutes or less, you’re going to get a dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communications shift we’ve seen in 500 years. I’m your host Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man, Brady Shearer.

Brady Sheaer: Alex, we know how important it is to respond to potential new visitors when they interact with us online. Maybe they haven’t visited our church in person yet. They’re checking out our website. Maybe they’re thinking of planning a visit, and something you can do to, I think, really improve this first impression you’re making, is to create a church welcome video. Only has to be a couple minutes in length, and it basically walks through an entire, what it’s like to visit your church for the very first time. Recently we stumbled, you found this, stumbled across a church welcome video that in my opinion is really one of the best that I’ve ever seen.

Alex Mills: Yeah me too.

Brady Sheaer: We wanted to link to it. We’re going to show some b-roll in the video for this. If you’re listening to this on the podcast, it’s linked in the show notes. Make sure to watch it. We’re going to talk about what we like about this video. As you begin thinking about creating your own, you’ll make sure to include these elements because again, it’s one of the best we’ve ever seen.

Alex Mills: Yeah, you know making a good first impression on a first time visitor, whether it’s online or in person for the first time, is everything, right? Because it kind of sets the stage for their experience that they’re going to have with you. I stumbled across this video on Facebook. It stopped my scroll. I watched it more than once because it was so good, sent it to you because it was so good. We’ve been talking about it ever since, and it made me want to get on a plane and fly to Arizona to go to Trey’s church. This is such a great example, and I think we can all learn something from it.

Brady Sheaer: Friend of the program, Trey Van Camp. Trey is the pastor of Passion Creek Church in Queen Creek, Arizona. It’s a church that meets in a movie theater, so it’s a smaller church. It’s a start up church, church plant, and this welcome video is about three minutes long. It’s linked in the description so you can watch the full thing there, but I want to talk about, well six elements of this video that I think really demonstrate how smart it was for Trey to think through this. We also want to give a shout out to Trey’s YouTube channel.

Alex Mills: So good.

Brady Sheaer: We’ve done a highlight on this before but if you’re looking for a great example of a church using and leveraging YouTube, the second largest search engine in the world, Trey is the best example I’ve come across for that as well. First thing we want to highlight about this welcome video is that it goes from beginning to end, what a new visitor would experience attending their church for the first time.

Alex Mills: Yeah, like a real time walk through almost.

Brady Sheaer: What it would be like to walk from the parking lot, through the front doors, find the auditorium, in this instance a theater. Exactly what the service order is going to be like, what to expect, where do we sit? Do we stand? Okay, what is it actually going to look like and the best part, again, is that it’s a video. So you’re seeing exactly what you would see if you were there. Trey goes above and beyond. This is the second thing that I loved. He is a vlogger by nature.

Alex Mills: He is.

Brady Sheaer: And so he uses this vlog set up where he’s holding the camera himself. It’s not someone else following Trey. Trey is the one following Trey and so you get the POV, point of view experience.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Sheaer: It’s almost like when you watch one of those GoPro videos and someone’s on a bike going down a mountain.

Alex Mills: You feel like you’re on the bike.

Brady Sheaer: They’ve got the camera on their helmet and you’re like, well I’m going to die now.

Alex Mills: Yeah. You finish the video, you’re actually sweating.

Brady Sheaer: Except instead of dying, it’s the life-giving experience of attending a church. You like that one?

Alex Mills: Oh no.

Brady Sheaer: So that’s another amazing part about this. What set it apart, because it looked different than other church welcome videos.

Alex Mills: It did, yeah.

Brady Sheaer: This kind of goes along with what we’ve been talking about with social predictions for 2019. This off the cuff, more raw type of feel is great. Even though this was produced with video editing software, and a high quality camera, the fact that it was filmed POV style lends a certain amount of guerrilla filmmaking and authenticity to it.

Alex Mills: It wasn’t like slow motion clips of your church worshiping, and filmed in 120, and with text layered over the screen. It’s just the pastor of the church with a Vlog camera in his hand, walking you through the process. Something else that Trey did, which is our third point, is he has these hard coded subtitles on the video, so you can read everything he’s saying, which for me was super valuable because the first time I saw the video, I watched it front the back, but I didn’t have any sound on.

Brady Sheaer: Of course you didn’t.

Alex Mills: Because I wasn’t at work, I wasn’t at home. I forget where I was, but I was scrolling while I was waiting in a public space somewhere and I couldn’t turn my volume on. So I watched the whole video, front to back. I didn’t leave. Because he had those subtitles there, I could read along with what he was saying. I went back and watched it again with volume, and it was great, but he enabled me to watch without sound and get the whole experience that way.

Brady Sheaer: The vast majority of users that watch videos on Facebook will watch it without sound. If you don’t have subtitles on there, and hard-coded subtitles are great because there’s literally no way to turn them off.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Sheaer: If you don’t have those subtitles there, for me, and I think what Alex is saying, same for him, you’ve almost disqualified your video from my potential viewership because I’m not going to turn on audio. I’m just not. It doesn’t matter where I am, I’m just not going to turn on audio, okay? You’ve got to win me over with those subtitles.

Brady Sheaer: Another thing Trey does exceptionally well, at the very beginning of the video, he’s walking from the parking lot up to the front doors of the movie theater, and he stops and he says, “You know, a lot of people have this question. Do I have to buy a ticket to attend church, or is there a way to bypass the ticket experience?” He’s addressing what he knows is a frequently asked question. He goes from there and he talks about where the kids will go, what age for kids experiences is available, how they’re in a different theater. He’s answering questions that he knows are going through a first time visitor’s mind, likely almost certainly because he’s had people ask those questions to his face or through an email or through a DM. So what better way than to preemptively respond to those questions in the welcome video itself.

Brady Sheaer: A lot of churches make the welcome video and they’re not thinking at all about what the first time visitor is caring about. They’re like look at this slow motion jumping of our worship pastor.

Alex Mills: Right, but where do I check in my kids?

Brady Sheaer: Well, oh yeah, I guess you would wonder about that. I’ve been at this church for seven years, so obviously I know what to do, but you wouldn’t know that.

Alex Mills: Exactly.

Brady Sheaer: You’ve got to think, what is a first time visitor asking, and you can go back through the emails you received, go back through some DMs or messages your church has received. Go back through the conversations you’ve had with first time visitors. What were they asking? Did they walk up to a volunteer and say, hey where do I X, Y and Z, and then put those questions into the video, preemptively answer them.

Alex Mills: So good.

Brady Sheaer: Finally, I think Trey does a great job injecting personality and fun into the video. Obviously Trey is comfortable on camera, which is a huge asset to making a video like this. Maybe your pastor isn’t. Hey, that’s okay. Find someone that is. There’s surely a young person that’s comfortable on camera. They’ve been taking selfies their entire life at this point, and you can use them, and even at the end of the video, Trey talks about that kind of first time gift that they give to visitors. It’s this box that’s got a bunch of goodies inside. He does this fun little like camera shot where he’s about to show you what’s inside the box. He’s like pfft, can’t show you this.

Alex Mills: You got to come to get it.

Brady Sheaer: You got to come to church to get this. I’m not going to show you what’s in there.

Alex Mills: I was looking up flights. How do I get to Arizona to see that’s in that box.

Brady Sheaer: I need that new time, new visitor box because I need the goodies.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Sheaer: Maybe there are some gummies in there.

Alex Mills: Maybe. Maybe there’s a branded mug.

Brady Sheaer: A branded mug. A branded mug with gummies.

Alex Mills: Oh.

Brady Sheaer: The ultimate combination. I also sent a DM to Trey because I wanted to ask him, hey how has this been going for you? The first thing he said is that they actually created an Instagram ad that they’ve been running in the stories feed, so this has been targeting a group that he says he had never been reaching before, like a bunch of younger people in Instagram stories, where you swipe up and then you watch this video, and so we’ll include that in the description as well.

Brady Sheaer: Here’s what Trey said to me. He said, “Well first we give a new visitors an option to let us know they’re coming.” So they have a plan a visit form sort of thing. “We send a general message right away that we’re excited to see them.” So immediate follow up. “Then we send a message the Sunday morning, that we’ve prayed for them that morning, which we actually do.” He says in brackets, cry-face emoji.

Alex Mills: That’s good.

Brady Sheaer: I tell them my desire is for them to be encouraged from our gathering. We want you to feel at home. We want you to experience God, et cetera. Here are the results. He says, “Hey, we’ve reached a whole new demographic because of the videos, people who are more introverted and scared of the unknown,” which we all know is the majority of people.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Sheaer: So this is one of those things that you can create for your church. Maybe it takes a week or two, but it can run for the entire year and it’s a great way to create a visual experience of what it’s like to attend a church. There’s really no replacement for this. You could write as much about a church in your first time experience as you want, but there’s nothing that can replace a video like this because I know exactly what it would be like to attend Trey’s church and if you’ve watched this video, now you do as well. You could have written 20 paragraphs and not even gotten close to that feeling.

Alex Mills: So good.

Brady Sheaer: That will do it for this episode of Pro Church Tools. We’ll see you next time.

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