Ministry for Kids by Kids – part 5

In college my major was radio and video production. Yep, sorry to disappoint, but I do not have a degree in puppetry. I’m old enough that I was right at the tail end of the “old fashioned way” of doing things in media. Believe it or not, I actually learned how to cut and splice audio tape. It’s been almost 20 years since I darkened the halls of education, and slowly over that time technology has come into existence that allows anyone with a computer to do the things I learned how to do in college, and do them much better.

I’ve noticed that kids are fascinated by cameras. They love being filmed and they love doing the filming. It only makes sense that creating videos that can be used in a children’s church lesson would be another great opportunity for kids to be active in ministry. Now we’re not talking high tech production values here. Mr. Spielberg need not be worried. But even the simplest video production can really draw people in. Let me show you what I mean. Here is a short video created by my friend Karl Bastian (The Kidologist). He has created many of these videos he calls Toybox Tales ( where he uses action figures to act out a story. This one is a lighthearted look at a day in the life of a children’s pastor.

Now that video was made by an adult, but it reminds me of the way I see my kids play with their toys. What amazing results would we see if we set up a video camera and allowed kids the chance to make videos of Bible stories acted out with toys. But why stop there? Other materials could be used instead of toys. My son has recently gotten into baseball cards (I turned my old collection over to him), what if baseball cards were used to act out the story. A few years ago, the channel Nickelodeon had a whole series of short fillers they would show where the character was a popsicle stick with a face drawn on it, kids could use characters like that to make a video. One of the things I love about this technique is that it involves elements of puppetry, drama, storytelling, and even scriptwriting, and wraps it all up together in a newer technology.

I do have two big recommendations if you are going to try making your own videos. First…please use a tripod. Lock that camera down! If the kids are doing hand-held cinematography your going to need to have sick bags on hand in children’s church. It’ll be harder to watch than the Bourne movies. Second would be to make sure you use some sort of editing software. It won’t be perfect in one take, so plan on being able to cut the bloopers. Great editing software can be found for only about $50 or so nowdays!

Way back when we started this series we talked about how involving kids in ministry teaches them new skills. Imagine if a bunch of young believers were given the chance to make short videos for children’s church. Now imagine those kids continue to learn more about video production as they get older. Now imagine what might happen if a new generation of young Christian filmmakers started making an impact on Hollywood. Got your video camera out yet?


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