Tag Archives: fun
As I write this I just finished an hour long nap battle with my two and a half year old. She’s at the age where she needs a nap, or its crabby central, but no longer willingly lays in her bed. So for the past hour I’ve been persevering, and applying the necessary resolve to ensure she goes to sleep. As I struggled with not losing my temper and remaining calm God used this rather humorous resistance to encourage me, and hopefully you.
I started in the hall, like normal, returning the runaway to her bed the moment she left the bed, and after six minutes I had picked that little creature up eighteen times and returned her to her bed. Then she broke me, I could no longer handle the giggling, smiling little girl and her no naptime game, and I was benched. I hate to admit it but my wife was right to pull me, I had given up on the plan, lost focus and perspective and needed to cool off downstairs with the non napping children. But fifteen minutes later, when my wife had also run out of willpower, I returned to the contest with a fresh resolve and a willingness to fluctuate the strategy if need be to emerge victorious.
Eventually I simply outlasted her, she ran out energy, and simply gave in and fell asleep. It took me another forty minutes but as I sit here writing, she is up there sleeping and that’s encouraging. It’s encouraging because youth ministry is much like a battle, one where you can get so frustrated that you snap, lose your cool and need to sit out for a while and regroup. It’s important to be flexible about the how but not about the what. I was not going to yield to the sleep defying toddler and allow her to do what she pleased; she was going to take a nap. In the same manner teenagers in my youth ministry will hear about Jesus. They may not hear it the same way everytime or in the same program, trip, service but they will hear about it. Naptime today did not go as planned, and you will find that youth ministry unfortunately is too often this way. It’s a battle; and far too often one we feel as though we are losing, but there’s good news, there is hope for success, if we’re willing to be creative and unrelenting we will win.
So we’ve all been there in front of the room of teenagers trying to remind them of the deadline for Summer Camp or the cost of bowling, and we all know the difficulty in actually relaying the information. I’ve seen it done a variety of ways and I’ve even done it multiple ways myself. I have however found that in my opinion the video announcements have been the most effective. Why? Because for some reason we’re trained to watch whats on the screen as if its more important than the people around us. I say let’s take advantage of this poor culture shift and at minimum relay your important information. Like when the “Listening to other people class” begins.
I’ve always called our video announcements the News (FBC NEWS, Underground NEWS, etc.) but feel free to call it whatever “Update” “Info” whatever sounds catchy to you. In my nearly six years here at Parkers Chapel I’ve done the news three distinct yet similar ways, and I wanted to share them with you to give you an example of what I’m talking about.
When I first started back in the fall 2004 and into through the 2005 school year and summer I found student volunteers to use as news anchors.
Advantages: I believe that this way is probably the most effective way to get your teens to pay attention. They are more likely to listen to their classmate than you or something else.
Disadvantages: You totally have to compete with the competitive lives of your students. Which makes it extremely difficult to get both of your anchors there at the same time. Also, it relies on the fact that you have some charismatic teens to deliver your announcements. Its also another one of the those areas where you should hold your students to a higher level of accountability spiritually if your going to frequently have them in front of their peers.
Note* I have found that the best way to deal with the scheduling is to plan out your announcements several weeks in advance have your students bring multiple outfits and then film for an hour or two and do several months worth of announcements. You might miss the impromptu announcement but you’ll nail the majority which is better than not having news at all one week cause you couldn’t work out the scheduling.
Bonus: This video contains another great way to captivate your teens, show them footage of themselves. The fear factor montage was shot at our weekly games and then we simply plugged it in the video.
For the majority of 2006 & 2007 I was pressed for time and scheduling with my news anchors after moving between several I became desperate to find actors with schedules that were wide open in fact they didn’t even have to be breathing or move for that matter. I have some random toys on my shelves in my office so I grabbed Smokey the Bear & Yoda and shot a few different angles of them on my desk with some blue construction paper behind them and then went in and added voices. Please forgive the sound, its sloppy I know.
Advantages: The obvious advantage here is that after the initial filming unless you just have a desire to change the background you don’t have to ever film again which brings the time it takes to produce an announcement clip way down. Obvious plus, who couldn’t use more time. As well it lets you wait until the night before or morning of to finalize your video giving you the most up to date announcements (None slide through).
Disadvantages: Your dialog has to be pretty captivating. Since there is no actual people on the screen to watch you’ll most likely need a gimmick of some sort (Our students loved Yoda’s backward speech and bluntness towards the bear). The other obvious disadvantage is if you don’t do or are uncomfortable doing voices. In my opinion as is witnessed here, they don’t have to be good. In fact they might actually be funnier if they aren’t so grab a Hulk Hogan pillow or a troll doll (you might wanna put some pants on it) and give it a shot.
Note* Initially we had a mini plot-line between the bear & Yoda where they didn’t like each other and I found random videos like the bear getting on the top of a power pole touches the transformer and is blown off (search youtube a definite must see), or a street performer dressed as Yoda singing Britney Spears (Again Youtube should have it otherwise google it). Also, at the end you’ll notice that Yoda mentions a student (little Austin Collins) and we threw up a pic from Kindergarten). That started as Yoda showing off his ability to use the force, and he made a red dot appear and then disappear and then all of sudden he says Alan Mooney and the picture of one of our seniors popped up. Everyone laughed so hard that the next week I made him bring up Alan Mooney again, and then little Alan Mooney which was his kindergarten picture that I got out of a kids year book. This brought on even more laughter and the next week in anticipation of the end after Yoda says may the force be with you he’d say little so and so and throw up their picture to the surprise of the student and delight of the rest. A perfect example of the gimmick or hook that I mentioned in the Disadvantages section.
Bonus: The special feature is another way to keep their focus. This was around the time that Napoleon Dynamite was big so these Utah State Fair videos were a great example of clean funny stuff. Youtube is a great resource for this. Search for Super Bowl ads, crazy videos, people falling down is always great. Find something you think is funny and around 1 – 2 minutes.
For the later part of 2007 and most 2008 when we did the news I went back to using students (junior highers that were easier to schedule), but in the winter of 2009 I found LT. LT is a freeware program from crowd control games I thoroughly enjoy him.
Advantages: All the simplicity of Yoda & Smokey with the bonus of a moving gimmick built in. LT is very simple to operate, he has multiple one button reactions for example pressing #1 makes him smile goofy, #2 makes him look surprised like he’s saying “OOOOOOHHHH”
Disadvantages: The major disadvantage for using LT as your spokesperson is that he’s designed to be used live. What that means is you most likely will need another program in order to capture his movements and make him available for editing. I use a simple program called Snagit which ran me about $50.00 so while LT is free to use him, this way may not be.
Note* I have found that he has much more possibilities because of being designed to use him live. For instance he could Emcee a conference or awards night or DNOW or whatever you wanted to use him for, plus live he could call out a student thats not paying attention and freak everyone out. However you use him he is worth the download.
Bonus: LT has three preset backgrounds and four shirts as well as the black screen background and the green screen. So if your editing software has green screen capabilities then you can make LT be anywhere.
Well that wraps up this lengthy yet informative post on the art of video announcements. I suggest you try out whatever method will work best for you and get filming! Trust me announcements will neve be the same.
So I’m a big fan of videos and I have found that short humorous videos are great for promoting an event or series in your ministry. I’ve included two examples:
The first is an ad parody of the popular Sonic ads for our churches building campaign. The point was just to bring awareness.
The second is one of a series of promotional ads for Super Summer Arkansas (www.supersummerarkansas.com), on this one we’re taking a page (and logo) from the NBC More you know public service announcements.
In summary your videos don’t always have to be long major productions to be funny and effective. Get out there and try it.
So this one is not for the casual video constructor, ha ha, but the principle is. The point of this one is that you can take something mundane, everyday and normal and turn it into an entertaining piece of art (ok, so art is a bit of a stretch). The point is to think outside of the box, and look for the possibilities in anything. Besides if your just shooting for clean entertainment for your students it doesn’t have to be genius just fun. Although I do think this is genius. Lol, anyway, enjoy it.
My wife and I have not had cable at our home for our entire married life. As a result we have one channel which happens to NBC. I only tell you this so that if my references are on shows you’d in no way watch, you’ll understand why I do.
When it comes to games, I like to try and take them to the next level at least in the presentation of them, and in order to that I like to go to the experts. I’ve found that great ideas in titles and often in types of games or humorous ideas can be found on the network talk shows. I have three that come on before 10pm on our channel. Ellen, Rachael Ray, and the Jay Leno show. I’ll give you an example of one that we did. Ellen had a game awhile back that was called
“You Want me to do WHAT?” (“What?” was said really high)
We took that idea and had a month long segment during our summer services called “That adult can do WHAT?” we used the same voice inflection on “WHAT?” and had a photo slide with the title on it. We had a desire for our students to get to know the names of our adult leaders, and we thought rather than make a student play the game we’d challenge an adult to compete in a random challenge.
Each week we surprised one of our volunteers and had them compete against the clock. We made an adult put “depends” on stuffed animals, dress a raw chicken in a build-a-bear outift, carry jell-o eggs on a spoon through an obstacle course. Simple, cheap-o, fun to watch games with the added benefit of getting our adult volunteers up in front of our students. So next week when your struggling to come up with a game for Wednesday, relax turn on the TV and see what the experts are doing. Put your own spin on it and try it out. Trust me if you’ve got a title and a name for your game it’ll feel like a bigger deal, even if your just rocking Gorilla, Man, Gun.
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT IN APPROVAL OF EVERYTHING THEY DO ON THESE PROGRAMS, I’M MAINLY REFFERING TO THEIR PRESENTATION. PLEASE USE YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT ON WHAT YOU USE, STEAL THE GAME NOT NECESSARILY THE CONTENT.