Improving your Media, Production and Creativity

Carl Barnhill

I was recently asked by my friends at The Church Memo to answer –

8 questions on the topic of media, production and creativity in the church.

I pray these answers will give you some ideas to think about when it comes to leading these areas in your ministry.

1. What are 1 or 2 practical things ministry leaders can do to improve their media/production/creativity?


One easy way to improve the production quality at your church in your live environment is to introduce the concept of a non-stress mid-week production rehearsal. The best way to do this is to have your production team rehearse with your band during the week. At the end of rehearsal, do a full Run-Through of Sunday if you can. If this is not doable in your church, make sure you at least do a top to bottom Run-Through on Sunday Morning. It is a game-changer.


One of the best ways to improve your media content at your church is to hire full-time people for your live production to build and pastor volunteers – and outsource your graphics and video content. You will save your church lots of money for more ministry and usually the quality is better because you are hiring a team of professional designers and video producers. If your church does not want to do this – I would look for a Motion Designer (someone who is skilled at Motion Graphics). A Motion Designer will more than likely know how to shoot and edit video, but this does not usually work the other way around – a Video Editor does not normally come with the skill set of Motion Graphics.

2. What’s the biggest problem/opportunity you see facing the church when it comes to media/production/creativity?

The biggest problem I see facing the Church when it comes to media content is that churches are not willing to invest money into improving the media content of their Worship Experience or Online presence. The stats on video, especially video online are staggering – video is what is consumed in massive quantities every day. All social media platforms cater to video. The Worship Experience is not the Church – the body of believers is the Church. That being said, the large group corporate gathering (in-person and online) can be argued to be the biggest event your body does every week. It should deserve investment to make it better. I’m amazed at the lack of staff and resources churches have for media content creation and live production.

3. What do you consider a win for church when it comes to media/production/creativity? Or – How do you define a win?

The win is people meeting Jesus and taking their next step with Him. We can have the best Worship Experience, the best video the world has ever seen, but if people are not meeting Jesus and growing with him, it is worthless. The Win should always be salvation and spiritual growth.

4. What book has made the biggest impact on your view of media/production/creativity? or what one book would you recommend ministry leaders read and why?

I would recommend:
Platform by Michael Hyatt
Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
Tribes by Seth Godin
Clockwork by Mike Michaelowicz

Those these books deal with creating a platform and understanding your audience in a business mindset, I think these concepts are beneficial to know and understand in church world to know how people are responding to your message.

5. What tool have you found that is most helpful for media/production/creativity? 

Our readers love it when you can be specific.

  • For Content Creation: I would say that Adobe Creative Suite is the best suite of software on the market for creating graphics and video content. I would not try to cut corners here. I would use the Adobe Creative Suite on a Mac for content, even if it costs a little more.
  • For Live Production: A great tool for building and growing your Live Production team is The Ultimate Production Team Handbook.
    – This book gives a massive jumpstart for your own handbook for your production team. It includes Organizational Charts, Volunteer Job Descriptions, Training Guides, Checklists, Team Lists, Scheduling templates and more.

6. If you could say anything to ministry leaders what would you say?

Pastor your People first. This is the Secret Sauce. You have to care more about who your volunteers are becoming more than what they do on your team. Your goal should be to create a community, not use people to push a button.

7. What is the worst piece of advice people in ministry get regarding media/production/creativity? What should they ignore and why?

I think some bad advice or what churches spend too much time on is comparing themselves to other churches. Though we can learn from other ministries and churches, we can’t copy another church exactly and expect the same results. Create media content and Worship Experiences that fit your culture. If you’re an older congregation with a more traditional bent, be that – you’re going to look like you are trying to hard to ‘reach millennials’ – and you come off fake. Be authentic to you.

8. When a ministry leader feels overwhelmed when trying to do better media/production/creativity? What should they do?

Outsource. I don’t mean to shamelessly plug here as I own a Graphics and Video company. You don’t have to use Twelve:Thirty Media, but there are several companies in the ministry space that are creating incredible content for really affordable prices. Our company on average saves churches over $30,000 every year.

There are companies like Twelve:Thirty and others who can offer low prices on ready-made and custom media content that you can use. Creating graphics, video and motion graphics is a skill. If you outsource the content, then you won’t be spending hours of time trying to learn something you are not skilled at, and you free yourself up for more ministry with your people – something a creative company can’t do. God has you a your church with your people. You do that, and let skilled creatives take the creative.

About Carl Barnhill

Owner, Church Visuals

Carl Barnhill is a creative entrepreneur, motion designer and author. He is the Owner Church Visuals, a company that helps Ministry Leaders visually communicate the Gospel. He is the host of the Your Visuals Matter Podcast. You can find him in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife, Katie and two sons, Jacob and Wesley.

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