How Churches Can Become More Effective Online with Trey Van Camp

Modern Church Leader feat. Trey Van Camp
How Churches Can Become More Effective Online feat. Trey Van Camp on Modern Church Leader

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How Churches Can Become More Effective Online

Churches have come a long way online. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, churches can now be just as effective online as they are in person. In fact, many churches use online outreach more effectively than they do in person.

When social media first came on the scene, pastors and church leaders mainly used it to share sermons, promote upcoming events, and share inspirational quotes. However, as more people joined the social media world, the platforms began to be used for a broader array of purposes.

The social media arsenal has grown since podcasts, blogs, and vlogs were introduced, and now churches are finding more and more creative ways to use social media to build their church community and spread the gospel. 

Indeed, social media has made it incredibly easy for churches to connect with people online. This has helped churches become more accessible than ever before, and at the same time, allowed them to build relationships with people that would have otherwise never come into the church. 

However, it's also essential for churches to realize that social media is not a silver bullet and will not build a church on its own. Instead, it's an integral part of an overall strategy for church growth. This requires the church to establish and implement a social media strategy representing its mission and vision.

There are a lot of strategies out there for how churches should use social media, but ultimately, what works for one church might not work for another. The important thing is that each church discovers what works best for them and prioritizes sharing the gospel and building their community through social media. 

Churches with the most success online are the most creative and the ones that are willing to experiment. Through failing, learning, and adjusting, churches can grow and become even more effective online.  

This episode features a chat with the "vlogging pastor" and the Lead Pastor of Passion Creek Church in Arizona, Trey Van Camp. He will be sharing specific strategies for using social media to further the ministry of a church and providing some helpful advice for those churches that are just starting out in digital space.

“It's the storytelling; how do you grab their attention? How do you bring them to Jesus? That is what I'm passionate about.”
-Trey Van Camp 

Trey comes from a fourth generation of pastors. He received his Bachelor's degree in Applied Theology from California Baptist University, where he graduated summa cum laude and received  the "Applied Theology Award." Trey is happily married to Jordan. They have three children: Faith Karis, Selah Ruth, and Trinity Rose.

This will be a great opportunity to hear more about what Trey is doing at Passion Creek Church and learn how to effectively use social media for the growth of your church.

By the end of this episode, you will learn:

  • Why online presence matters to churches
  • How churches can improve their online presence 
  • How to repurpose sermon content online
  • How to use vlogging to grow your church
  • Pastor Trey vlog's story structure (attention, intervention, invitation)
  • The importance of storytelling in vlogging
  • Effective social media strategies
  • Technical tips on vlogging

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[15:15] What I like to do is, let's say I preached this on Sunday, I still have that sermon in me; I still feel like I can repackage it. So sometimes, I take a minute clip of it and I form a whole story around it in a vlog.

[20:13] YouTube, it's a lot harder to get a view. You got to go on the analytics; just because people see it for three seconds doesn't mean your ministry impacts them. So YouTube's even harder because Facebook, you can accidentally stumble upon it and it counts as a view. YouTube, they don't count until you click in there.

[22:59] When I'm talking, I want to get creative on top of it, throw it in the middle of a whole story and stuff. I am a person who does a lot of one-liners, a lot of catchy statements. Sometimes I do it in an Instagram reel or a photo with my quote. We repackage it in different ways.

[23:34] Sermon clips, just being by themselves, work great on the right platform; YouTube’s not one of them. That's been hard for us. It's been a constant game of trying to figure out what works, what doesn't work.

[27:08] If you're the one making the videos, you're editing it, you're doing all of it, keep it in-house so that when you move, it moves with you. I have five years of videos, and I would hate to give up if the Lord ever called me somewhere else. 

[35:58] If you're lucky, you have like a 17-year-old kid that is a digital native and has been editing videos already, you need to empower them. We keep thinking about how we get more kid workers and all this stuff? Well, start also asking, we need more video editors at our church. And I think you'd be surprised.

[34:36] Invest in audio first, followed by better video and lighting. It doesn't matter how good your video camera is. If your lighting is bad, then it's just going to look terrible. 

[37:53] It's the storytelling; how do you grab their attention? How do you bring them to Jesus? That is what I'm passionate about.

podcast transcript

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Trey Van Camp (00:00):
I think this is important for Millennials and Gen Z. I believe in the preaching of God's word. I do it every Sunday, but I haven't used YouTube just to take the Bible and slap it over people's head. I like the subversive storytelling. I like winning them over with just my life. That's always been my strategy of just, here's my life, if you're ever interested, and what does it look like for a pastor who's also bivocational, who also does this and that and loves Disneyland. I've just always done that.

Narrator (00:39):
Welcome to The Modern Church Leader, where you'll hear executive pastors share practical tactics and strategies that churches are using right now to thrive in our digital world and advance the Kingdom of God. Here's your host, Frank Barry.

Frank Barry (00:53):
Hey guys, Frank here with another episode of Modern Church Leader. Excited about today's topic. I'm kind of a digital guy, and I get to talk to another digital guy. I'm joined by Trey Van Camp. How's it going, Trey?

Trey Van Camp (01:04):
Hey, Frank, I'm super grateful for you guys and how you resourced the church. Thank you for inviting me on here, man. Yes, I'm a digital native, I guess you can say.

Frank Barry (01:13):
I don't know if I was a digital native, but I'm definitely a digital guy.

Trey Van Camp (01:16):
Nice.

Frank Barry (01:16):
I'll just put myself in that bucket, but, you know.

Trey Van Camp (01:18):
I was born in '92. I actually had a life before the digital world, but not too much.

Frank Barry (01:24):
'92?

Trey Van Camp (01:25):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (01:26):
You look young, but that's younger than I would've thought.

Trey Van Camp (01:30):
Coming up on 30, man, in a few months.

Frank Barry (01:35):
The beard, the beard.

Trey Van Camp (01:35):
Yes.

Frank Barry (01:35):
Ah man. I will be 44 in March.

Trey Van Camp (01:39):
Let's go.

Frank Barry (01:40):
My beard is showing it off.

Trey Van Camp (01:42):
I love it.

Frank Barry (01:44):
Anyways, we're going to talk about digital stuff. I guess, before we jump into the meat, tell folks a little bit about you and how you got into church planning, and becoming a pastor, and leading your church now.

Trey Van Camp (01:56):
Yeah. I'll try to do the short version. I'm a pastor, so we'll see how this goes. I'm Trey Van Camp. I'm actually a fourth-generation Southern Baptist pastor. Yeah, it's in the blood. None of us have ever encouraged the next generation to do it. It really has been a call from the Lord. If you're a pastor's kid, you get that. You see enough behind the scenes, you go, "All right, Lord, is there anything else? Because I'm down to do anything else except pastoral ministry," because it can get rough. Right?

Trey Van Camp (02:26):
Yeah, when I was actually ... I got saved, it's the typical story, went to church whenever the doors were open, but my father actually was just a deacon until I was 12. Then, he got called into ministry to plant a church. Junior high, right when puberty was setting in, all my life was weird anyways, [inaudible 00:02:44] threw in this wrench to plant a church.

Trey Van Camp (02:47):
It was just us as a family. This was back in '03, '04. They didn't have these complex systems, and all the great networks that help people plant churches like they do today.

Frank Barry (02:57):
Right.

Trey Van Camp (02:58):
It was literally our family, we did everything. I was the tech guy. My dad was the preacher. My mom and my sisters were the singers, and then we started. We did a sign, free pancakes on Easter Sunday, 2004 at a local elementary school. The rest is history.

Trey Van Camp (03:15):
Pretty crazy.

Frank Barry (03:16):
That's how you started, free pancakes [crosstalk 00:03:18]. I love it, dude.

Trey Van Camp (03:18):
Free pancakes, 50 people showed up. 50 people, and then we just started rolling.

Frank Barry (03:23):
That's awesome.

Trey Van Camp (03:23):
My dad specifically, I credit him to this all the time, right before we started, when he told the family, this is what we're going to be doing, he said, "Now son," and my sisters, but he said, "Hey, I want you every morning and every night to ask God for your spiritual gift, because you have one, and you're going to need it to serve this church."

Trey Van Camp (03:42):
Every morning, every night, I would wake up, it'd be the first thing I would say, "God, please reveal to me my spiritual gift." That's it, but I made sure I did it every morning, every night. About a year after that, after I'd been doing this every morning, every night, I went to a youth conference, Discipleship Now. Pastor preached from 1 King's 18, and my heart just opened up to the Lord, and I really felt the Holy Spirit telling me, "I'm calling you to pastoral ministry."

Trey Van Camp (04:07):
We're Southern Baptist. I walked down the aisle, I gave my life. I already gave my life to the Lord, but I gave it to ministry. Fast forward, started preaching at 16, had my own ministry at 17, preaching once a month at our high school. All the while, trying to improve my dad's church in the media department.

Trey Van Camp (04:27):
I picked up a camera. I learned Photoshop from a high school elective class. Went to college at California Baptist University, loved all of my time there. Got to be a youth pastor at a revitalization church. I said, "Lord, I will do anything except plant a church." Because, I've seen the highs and lows of planting a church. I just am like, I can't do it. There's no way.

Trey Van Camp (04:50):
I remember one summer in high school, I had to sell my truck in order for us to eat food that summer. I was like, I'm not down for this church plant life, where you have no structure, you really don't know if you're going to make it. The Lord had different plans. I actually, in college was like, okay, I'm going to be a missionary, and those doors kept closing. I had a great job opportunity to work for somebody that's really quite famous.

Trey Van Camp (05:13):
I turned it down, because my wife was like, "What do you really want to do?" I was like, "I want to plant a church back in my hometown." That's what we've done. I have a beautiful wife, Jordan, and then I have Faith, [inaudible 00:05:27] and Trinity, I have three girls. We're done. Girl squad over here.

Trey Van Camp (05:31):
Yeah, we-

Frank Barry (05:32):
I got three boys.

Trey Van Camp (05:34):
Nice.

Frank Barry (05:34):
We're done as well.

Trey Van Camp (05:34):
Can't relate to you at all. Right? Totally different. Everything's pink and unicorns and dolls and princesses over here.

Frank Barry (05:40):
Meanwhile, I had five broken bones in the first five years of life.

Trey Van Camp (05:44):
Oh, nice. My middle one gets close. I'm just grateful she's not a boy to where she doesn't go the extra mile. Yeah, we planted my church in 2016 in a movie theater, and towards the end of 2016 is when I picked up YouTube, which I imagine we'll be talking about. I've been planting a church, being the lead pastor for six years now, and on the YouTube space for five.

Frank Barry (06:10):
Okay.

Trey Van Camp (06:10):
That's a quick speed up of where I'm at today.

Frank Barry (06:12):
Yeah. Love it. Is your hometown the same town that dad planted a church, or your family planted a church?

Trey Van Camp (06:19):
Yeah. Good question. He planted in the southern part of Queen Creek. It's a suburb of Phoenix. Where I planted is the northern part, where there's younger families, it's close to a university, there's a lot more white collar. There really is a dividing line. The road is called Riggs Road. Everything south of Riggs, which is who my dad reaches, are blue collar, cowboy. They'll ride their horse to church, kind of people.

Frank Barry (06:42):
Yes.

Trey Van Camp (06:43):
The people I reach, they're on their phones, they have seen pictures of horses, but they've never ridden one, kind of thing. It's really kind of funny, the divide. Phoenix is getting so big, so fast. Our city has blown up this past decade, because there's just no more space. They keep being spread out more and more. We're a really fast growing city and community. We just really saw that, there's a big demographic in Queen Creek that my dad's church wasn't reaching, that I was built to reach, because it's me. That was the strategy.

Frank Barry (07:14):
Yeah. I love that. Do you and your dad share notes, work together? How does that dynamic happen [crosstalk 00:07:22]

Trey Van Camp (07:22):
When I first launched, we tried to do a campus vibe, where we did the same sermon series, and it just didn't work out. We are such different people, to the glory of God. He's an incredible guy. I'm just totally different than him. I'm a lot more, I need to know what I'm preaching in the next 12 months. My dad just wants to know the next 12 days. Totally different style. It never worked out.

Trey Van Camp (07:46):
We eventually became completely our own thing. We're together in mission. We do a lot of outreach projects. Our churches combine together and stuff like that. We are separate, but we always say that's extended family. It's the mother church, or I joke, it's the father church, because it's where my dad pastors.

Frank Barry (08:04):
Yeah. No, that's awesome. You mentioned YouTube. I think, the episode in my mind as we're chatting is really all about helping pastors maybe understand how the digital space can help extend the message.

Trey Van Camp (08:21):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (08:21):
That's what you're really, really good at, and have spent a number of years working at via your YouTube, vlogging and social media, blogging websites, all the things that you've either helped your dad search with, or now do at your church. I'd love to just, what got you into it? What is vlogging? What got you into vlogging, and how does it tie back to being a pastor?

Trey Van Camp (08:46):
Vlogging has really morphed a lot, the definition of that in the past, even since I began five years ago. Yeah, I actually, I was the guy who never watched YouTube. In college, all my friends watched YouTube, they would reference videos. I just thought it was so dumb. I was that nerd in class. I turned everything before it was due. I was just that guy.

Trey Van Camp (09:07):
I never was on YouTube, because it seemed like a productivity killer for me. Then in 2016, I was randomly online and I stumbled upon ... It's a long story, but I stumbled upon Gary V, which I imagine a lot of your listeners have heard of before. I was like, man, who is this charismatic guy talking about social media strategy? I was sucked in.

Frank Barry (09:28):
[crosstalk 00:09:28] a guy that's into social media-

Trey Van Camp (09:30):
Definitely.

Frank Barry (09:31):
... and the internet, and connection and just a big personality online.

Trey Van Camp (09:35):
This was 2016. He wasn't big. I think I followed him when there was 45,000 subscribers on YouTube, which now, I don't know what it's at. It's a couple million, I think at least. Yeah, he's just hustle, which some of that stuff, you can take and leave. He has quite the language. There was a lot of stuff there, I was thinking, church leaders need to be listening to this guy. For a month, I was listening to his content, and then he interviewed on his Ask Gary V show, Casey Neistat. I thought, let me check out this guy, he seems strange and different and eccentric.

Trey Van Camp (10:07):
I was like, I love this. It's just the storytelling. Vlogging is just essentially taking the camera and pointing it at yourself, and just telling the story of your day. It's not just like, oh, I woke up and brushed my teeth. No, there's an act one, an act two, and an act three. There really is this beginning, middle, end. There's a journey that the character is going on.

Trey Van Camp (10:27):
I just couldn't stop watching his videos. About a month later, because I'm a church planner, so this is what church planners do. We don't debate and think about ... We just try everything. We don't have committees like that. We can't afford that. We just go and do. I was like, yeah, I can do that. I just bought a camera, and then a week later, I uploaded my first vlog. It was pretty terrible, but I went on a Israel trip at the end of 2016, and that's when I was like, I'm doing this forever. I started daily vlogging. In the past five years, I've uploaded over 780 videos.

Frank Barry (11:03):
Wow.

Trey Van Camp (11:04):
I've just done it a lot, for a long time. I think a three-year stretch, I uploaded three videos every week. Never missed. That gets tiring.

Frank Barry (11:15):
Yeah, that's intense. That's a lot of work.

Trey Van Camp (11:18):
It's a lot of work.

Frank Barry (11:19):
It's not just recording it. You do a lot of post-production, editing-

Trey Van Camp (11:22):
Yes.

Frank Barry (11:23):
... and cutting and putting it together, so that it's packaged well.

Trey Van Camp (11:27):
Right.

Frank Barry (11:28):
[Crosstalk 00:11:28]

Trey Van Camp (11:28):
I love the editing process. That's where I go into my zone and I just feel good about life. It's the gift that keeps on giving. What's helpful is when I record videos, I'm already thinking of the edit, and I'm thinking of the type of song. They're just five to 10-minute videos of something. A lot of it's behind the scenes of me trying to start a church. We started not with a ton of people.

Trey Van Camp (11:49):
That's just the whole journey of this church planter, trying new things. Many videos, I'm like, we don't have any traditions. We're trying to start one. Here's this thing called the Viking feast. I don't know if it's going to work out. Now, we just finished our fifth annual one, and it's just so fun that I recorded the first one ever. People have seen the progress of that type of event, and I've really opened up the curtain on Mondays, when I just feel like quitting. I'm just vulnerable and I just mention that, like man, this is a lot tougher than I thought. I thought our church would grow faster than it did.

Trey Van Camp (12:19):
What I've always done is just share my life. I haven't really used YouTube, I think this is important for Millennials and Gen Z. I haven't used it directly. I believe in the preaching of God's word. I do it every Sunday, but I haven't used YouTube just to take the Bible and slap it over people's head. I like the subversive storytelling. I like winning them over with just my life.

Trey Van Camp (12:46):
That's always been my strategy of just, here's my life, if you're ever interested, and what does it look like for a pastor who's also bivocational, who also does this and that and loves Disneyland. I've just always done that. It's consistently been a blessing to my family, you know? I've actually started developing courses for other pastors, because a bunch of pastors reached out to me, and it's never megachurch pastors that have a team. It's pastors of churches of 100 or less that are saying, I don't a team either.

Trey Van Camp (13:14):
I was like, dude, I don't have a team. This is all me. I've been able to show them, here's the camera to get. I just shoot in auto, I don't know all the camera stuff like everybody talks about. Here's just the story structure that I use. Here's how to edit quickly on Premier Pro. It's really cool. I have a squad of 75 pastors that we meet once a month on Zoom, and we just talk through content strategy. It's been a huge blessing. That's been my favorite part is just, I'm connected to all these pastors and ministry leaders throughout the globe, honestly, not just America. It's just so cool to journey this thing together.

Frank Barry (13:48):
What are those guys picking up from you? I'm sure they're not all doing the exact same thing, because-

Trey Van Camp (13:54):
No, yeah.

Frank Barry (13:55):
... it just takes a life of its own for the person I think, and how it plays out in what they do. Those 75 guys, what are they doing?

Trey Van Camp (14:03):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (14:03):
How are they taking what you're teaching them and your example, and gone out and put it into practice in their church and in their life?

Trey Van Camp (14:10):
Sometimes, it's just straight up motivation, like hey, there's a group that's going through this. They just needed that accountability. They needed that encouragement. We have a big pocket that are missionaries. They all strategize together, because how you make missionary videos is different than how you make a church plant video, which is different than how you make a video for those who have established churches.

Trey Van Camp (14:30):
Sometimes, it's just straight up, I'm a resource for them. Here's the camera to get. Here's the new thing. I have it in my course, I have nine different top YouTube creators, and I go, okay, these are all non-believers, but this is nine different styles of videos. Pick one or two and combine them.

Trey Van Camp (14:48):
A lot of my guys just do the live, where they're just live every day, or every other day, or once a week, which is a great strategy, by the way. If you have a sermon and you preach it on Sunday, I know for me, the Lord, the way He works things, my favorite ones are typically the ones where the audience was half of what I expect, right? I'm like, I didn't think it was going to be a low weekend, but it was.

Trey Van Camp (15:10):
It's frustrating, right? It's like, I worked so much on this sermon.

Frank Barry (15:13):
Right. You're like, I love this sermon, I was so into it, and then-

Trey Van Camp (15:15):
Yeah. It's like, I rarely like them, and this was the one I liked. Now, you guys didn't show up. What I like to do is, let's say, I preach this on Sunday. I still have that sermon in me. I still feel like I can repackage it. Sometimes, I take a minute clip of it and I form a whole story around it, and a vlog, which I love to do, and my viewers love when I do that. Also, I just say, okay, let me repackage it, how would this work on a live stream?

Trey Van Camp (15:39):
I just think through, we're preaching through 1 Thessalonians last month. I thought, hey, everybody's talking about the rapture. Let me just talk about, hey, the title, is the rapture true? Is the rapture real? Then, for 30 minutes to an hour, I riff. I use my structure for my sermon, but also, I'm looking at the comments.

Trey Van Camp (16:02):
I'm allowing those comments to change my direction, and I bring it back. It teaches me, here's what people are thinking on the fly. Here's my sermon that I had. I never had feedback in the middle of it, but on live, I do. When they bring, just kind of like ... Sometimes, you don't go after every tangent, but sometimes it's like, that's really helpful, I never thought of that. Let's work through this thing together.

Trey Van Camp (16:25):
It's been a really helpful way to think on my feet, but also repackage it, not in just a preaching way, but like this, like I'm talking to you through the camera. I'm looking at your comments. Let's work through this thing together. That is one strategy a lot of pastors have been implementing, and it's super helpful.

Frank Barry (16:41):
Yeah. I love the idea. We were chatting before the show. I don't think it's new. I think folks like you have been out there talking about it for a long time. Shoot, maybe 10 years or more of ... Churches do all this work to prepare a lesson for a Sunday morning, and they're going to preach for an hour, and they spent hours and hours prepping for that, and studying, and writing, and all this stuff. Then, it's done in an hour.

Trey Van Camp (17:07):
Yep.

Frank Barry (17:08):
And it's over, right? Maybe they recorded it, and maybe it's on YouTube, or maybe it's on their website. It dies at that point.

Trey Van Camp (17:19):
Right.

Frank Barry (17:19):
I love the idea of repackaging your content that you preach on a Sunday, and using it online. How do you do that? You're probably ahead of the game. You preach, what other things do you do with all that content throughout the week?

Trey Van Camp (17:36):
Yeah. I love repackaging content. One thing, I'm in the middle of writing a book right now, and a lot of it is just from my sermon series in the past, which that's not new. I know a lot of people have done that. That's one thing I'm passionate about. Another, again, is vlog. Let's just say, last week I talked a lot about grief. Let's say I come up with a story, and I maybe do ... I call it Yestertrey, because my name's Trey. I look at a story from my past. Then, maybe talk about a moment of grief that I had.

Trey Van Camp (18:07):
I just journey through them with that. I'm taking the camera around, I'm talking to my wife, and then I show a clip, a minute-long clip from my sermon that is the line, which I think my line was, larger belief does not lessen the grief. Just because you believe in Jesus, that actually doesn't mean it lessens your grief at all, but it does us strengthen the hope.

Trey Van Camp (18:31):
That's the line. Now, I'm going to find that clip, 30 seconds to a minute, that normally people just post to Instagram, which, do that for sure and caption it. Also, how can you fold that in the middle of a grander story in vlog format on YouTube? Then, just wrestling through that after. That's just the story.

Trey Van Camp (18:51):
The story structure that I tell all my people in my course, there has to first out, start with attention. There has to be something that bothers people, something that they can identify with. Grief, everybody can identify with it, but how can I, in 15 to 30 seconds to a minute, make a really impressive video that describes the grief, either that I'm going through, that everybody goes through? Then, leave that tension there.

Trey Van Camp (19:16):
I always tell people on YouTube, this is key, grabbing a tension is what grabs attention. You have to identify it right away. The worst thing, and I hate it, and so many people do it on YouTube. They start out, "Hey guys, I'm Trey Van Camp. I'm here in Queen Creek, Arizona. I planted it." Nobody cares. Just jump into it, you know? "Hey guys, I hope you subscribe, hit the like, it would really help." No, stop it, right? People are already leaving.

Trey Van Camp (19:44):
I tell my people, and I've actually recently, if you guys go to my channel, I did a live, I was analyzing one of my recent vlogs, and 70% retention is the golden ... If you can hit 70% and hold retention-

Frank Barry (19:58):
Right. You can hold them for that long.

Trey Van Camp (19:59):
... that's really impressive, and what you're doing, keep doing it. I had a video recently that was 74%. I was like, okay guys, let's dissect this. Why did I get 74% of people to watch all the way through, right? That's another thing. So many people from COVID, they just kept talking about, look at all these numbers, and Facebook inflates them like crazy. One second counts as a view. YouTube, it's a lot harder to get a view.

Trey Van Camp (20:21):
You got to go in the analytics, just because people see it for three seconds doesn't mean they were impacted by your ministry, right? YouTube's even harder, because Facebook, you can accidentally stumble upon it, and it'll count as a view. YouTube, they don't count it until you click in there, and start watching it.

Trey Van Camp (20:37):
Anyway, we talk a lot about that. I start out with tension, and then it's the intervention. This is me as the character, looking for ways to answer that problem that I've established in the beginning of the video. A lot of times, the intervention is wrong. I'm looking for an answer, and I'm falling. I'm failing. It's really important. There's a great book. Man, I think it's called the Omalitical Plot by Eugene Green. It's about preaching, but it really works for video for storytelling, because he says, "For too often, we never share the process. We just share the answer."

Trey Van Camp (21:11):
I think for storytelling, it's the process. Will this work? Oh wait, it doesn't. Will this work? Oh wait, it doesn't. A lot of sermons, they need to do that way. We preach in such a way where we don't struggle with the audience. We need to struggle with them and go, what is the world saying is the answer? Is there a legitimacy to this? Let's dive into this. Let's dissect this.

Trey Van Camp (21:29):
Storytelling is tension, and then it's intervention. It's you looking. A lot of times, it's me FaceTiming or Zooming somebody who's ahead of the journey for me. It's my sermon clips or whatever. Then, it's an invitation. Somehow, you end bringing it around and saying, hey, join in this journey with me. You do this as well, comment below, how are you going to try to implement that this week? Or, hey, let's do a 21-day journey together where we do this every day, or whatever it is.

Frank Barry (21:55):
Right.

Trey Van Camp (21:56):
Those are actually how I set up my sermons, and it's how I set up my YouTube videos. I think it's a really good structure. It keeps people engaged, and they know where you're going, but they also don't know how it's going to end, so they have to keep watching.

Frank Barry (22:09):
Circling back to repurposing stuff, you take your sermon, then you take a minute out of it and elaborate on it, and all the things you were just describing.

Trey Van Camp (22:20):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (22:20):
You're talking about doing the live style. You've got the recorded vlog style, but then there's a live version of some of that, that pastors could do. Do you take stuff and cut it up for social media, and go with some of that micro content as well, and do a bunch of that throughout the week?

Trey Van Camp (22:40):
Yeah. Right now, my answer is no. I'm peeling everything back to change my strategy for 2022. The quick answer is yes. I think it's what everybody needs to do. I do feel like people think that's enough, and maybe it is. I think it's more than a lot of people, what they're doing.

Frank Barry (22:55):
Yeah.

Trey Van Camp (22:56):
When I'm talking, I'm like, I want to get creative on top of it, throw it in the middle of a whole story and stuff. Yeah. I am a person who does a lot of one-liners for a lot of catchy statements. Sometimes, I do it in a 30 second, minute long, an Instagram Reel. Then, also, I do a photo with my quote on it. We repackage it different ways.

Trey Van Camp (23:18):
I will say this, those clips work really well on Facebook and Instagram, but I haven't found much success with a lot of our people, when they just upload a sermon clip to YouTube, unless you're incredible, and you're raking in a lot of views already. Those just don't seem to perform well.

Frank Barry (23:36):
Right.

Trey Van Camp (23:37):
Learning that too. Okay, sermon clips, just being by themselves, work great in the right platform. YouTube's not one of them. That's been hard for us. It's been a constant game of trying to figure out what works, what doesn't work. It never ends, just trying to figure out that game.

Frank Barry (23:54):
Yeah. What'd you say earlier, cracking the algorithm or figuring out the algorithm?

Trey Van Camp (24:00):
I've been telling a lot of people, yeah, if algorithm was a demon, I would just say, in the name of Jesus, cast it out, because it has been the source of so many of my pains and issues.

Frank Barry (24:09):
It's crazy. It's absolutely crazy. What about on the writing side? Do you transcribe sermons or blog on them or any kind of that? Or, do you stick to the video, because that's what you're most passionate about?

Trey Van Camp (24:22):
Yeah. I'm trying to stick to my strengths. From what I hear, blogs, I don't read any blogs, and I'm a reader. I read a lot of books. Last year, I read 100 books. This year, I'm at pace for 70. I'm a reader, when I tell you that. I love to read. I don't know. There's just a disconnect from me and blogs.

Trey Van Camp (24:43):
What I have found though, is some people, they just get a great photo and then their blog is just their Instagram post. It's their caption. I think there's something really smart about that. We do have somebody at our church that is gifted in writing. In fact, she's going to be the one editing my book. We're trying to figure out how to empower her on our church page.

Trey Van Camp (25:02):
Yeah, I just stick with video and podcast, because that's my wiring. Although, I'm leaning more and more, I don't manuscript my sermons, but it's close to it. I'm trying to do that in order to strengthen my writing skills for my book that I'm writing. Yeah, I probably can't speak into that too much. I haven't really exercised that muscle in the public world yet.

Frank Barry (25:21):
Yeah. You mentioned podcasting. Is that something you're doing related to sermon content like that, or is that a whole different side of the creative you coming out?

Trey Van Camp (25:33):
Yeah. I'm video first, and then I try to repurpose. Okay, if I had a ... My vlogs are called Documentreys, and then my lives are called Q&Treys. I love my name.

Frank Barry (25:47):
Okay. See, I like this. We're getting more into it now. You got your different tracks. You got your vlogs, you got your lives.

Trey Van Camp (25:52):
Yes. Those are the main two. Then, I used to do a leadership video, and I would call it Entreypreneur. I was like, okay, I'm reaching now. Anyways, for the Q&Treys, I have hour-long conversations with somebody I interview, or I'm just riffing and I'm talking about the Bible. When I'm done with that, I take that into an MP3 version, and I put it to the Trey Van Camp podcast. I've actually gone the route, and this could be encouraging to people as well. A lot of people ask, do you upload straight up to your church channel, or do you make a personal?

Trey Van Camp (26:24):
That's a huge question, when pastors reach out to me in beginning this journey. There's a couple reasons that I've gone the Trey Van Camp route, the personal brand, which I don't like saying, and I know a lot of people are turned off by that, but it is what it is. The personal brand route versus just going under the church banner. Unless you're a huge church, with already, that huge platform, I think it's helpful to go personal, because first of all, personal is more powerful than professional.

Trey Van Camp (26:53):
I identify more with Frank Barry than I do with Life Community Church at Wellspring or whatever the name is, right? There's a automatic connection here. That's step number one. Also, and I hope this doesn't happen to me, but you move sometimes. You change jobs. If you're the one who is making the videos, you're editing it, you're doing all of it, keep it in house so that when you move, it moves with you. I have five years of videos I would hate to give up if the Lord ever called me somewhere else.

Frank Barry (27:24):
Yeah. You can probably have the sermons under the church, right? It's the sermon, and that makes sense. These other things ... I get it. You could-

Trey Van Camp (27:37):
Yeah. The micro content, when it's a sermon clip, it's on the church page. The sermons on the church page. A lot of stuff's still on the church page, but my storytelling and all that extra stuff, yeah, it's on my page.

Frank Barry (27:48):
Right. I can see how people could debate which way to go with that.

Trey Van Camp (27:53):
Yeah. I try to keep it real clean. All the money, it's my personal money that I use to buy my cameras, to buy my microphones, all of that. That way, I have a Patreon set up, and it just goes to me, and I don't at all about it. I'm not having to have it go through the church, and then to me. It's just my own side business, which I think is helpful.

Frank Barry (28:11):
Yeah. No, that makes sense. How did COVID in the last, gosh, almost two years-

Trey Van Camp (28:18):
Isn't that crazy?

Frank Barry (28:19):
... year and three quarters, show up for you with this stuff? Every church went online, and was ... Whether they were online or not, they were forced online and they were forced to figure out going live, and ...

Trey Van Camp (28:31):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (28:32):
... doing prerecorded or not. Then, I think that led a lot of churches down the rabbit hole of, how do you use social better? Again, all these things that people have been talking about for years, but COVID forced everybody to go figure it out to some level. I think a lot of churches got better. They may not be pros at it, but they got a lot better.

Trey Van Camp (28:52):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (28:53):
I just imagine someone like you that was already doing this for five plus years, really, did you get a lot more views? Did you get a lot of people reaching out? What happened for you related to helping churches do this?

Trey Van Camp (29:09):
Yeah. My church, we were already used to all of that. We were always online. Not a tremendous change. I would say though, that what we did, we actually prerecorded stuff. Then, for our sermons, back then when we were just online, we would begin the first minute of the whole service showing a preview, and it was the big crescendo of my sermon. Then, it would go to worship.

Trey Van Camp (29:33):
We got really creative with that, and it was a lot of fun.

Frank Barry (29:35):
Yeah.

Trey Van Camp (29:36):
A lot of pastors finally started reaching out to me, pastors that I've told for a long time, hey, you need to get in on this. I was really busy. I actually made, during that time, I think the first 16 weeks of COVID, I made a weekly Documentrey. I filmed just a little bit every day, and it was my journey of helping other pastors and other churches get on board with COVID.

Trey Van Camp (29:57):
I was busy, man. Every day, I was taking in phone calls, I was trying to describe to people what they should do. The problem is, is a lot of pastors, at least that I was dealing with, they wanted to change, but they were too lazy to do it themselves. Eventually, I was like, dude, I can't help you. This takes work. It's not just an idea. You got to go and do it, you got to edit it.

Trey Van Camp (30:20):
I would say the disappointment that I experienced, I thought people would then go, "Okay, I'm going to make not just Sunday service content, I'm going to make content that's personal. We're going to go behind the scenes. We're going to make live podcasts," interview with people's questions and stuff.

Trey Van Camp (30:39):
People just kept thinking, I just want to take video of my Sunday service, and push it out to the world. I was so disappointed by that. I was like, I thought when you saw this opportunity, it was more than just casting your ... I legitimately thought everybody was already going live on Sundays. Weren't you? What in the world? I was shocked by that.

Trey Van Camp (31:01):
I was disappointed. Still, people are like, "Man, this guy, he's really creative." I'm like, okay, cool. Let me go check him out. All he does is just ... I need to be careful. All he does is just his Sunday service. I'm like, isn't everybody doing that? How is that creative? That was just a shocker to me.

Frank Barry (31:20):
Shockingly, to your point, most people weren't doing that.

Trey Van Camp (31:25):
Right. I couldn't believe it.

Frank Barry (31:28):
COVID actually made them go do that.

Trey Van Camp (31:30):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (31:31):
It was the catalyst for people going online or going live, and trying to figure that out, right? How do you do this?

Trey Van Camp (31:42):
Yeah. We were operating in totally different worlds. I was here thinking, okay, you want to make Gary V, Casey Neistat content. They're like, "No, we just want people to see us on Sunday." I was like, got it. Totally different conversation here.

Frank Barry (31:54):
Now, was there any bright points for you, right? Because you're like, I don't know how to put it, but you're in a different category, because is stuff is hard, right? When you're not the megachurch with a big staff, you're doing it. Maybe it's just you that's producing, you're doing everything. That just takes a lot of effort, takes some skill. You got to learn skills along the way.

Frank Barry (32:20):
I just think, some people just go, man, this isn't my thing. Did you see any shining stars or good examples of like, man, this church really got it, or this pastor really got it, and has changed even coming out of COVID?

Trey Van Camp (32:34):
Yeah. Certainly. I do have quite a list of people that ... And honestly, a lot of them, they were people that joined my courses and followed me on Patreon before everything went down, and they just used this as an opportunity. They finally could convince their people, "Hey, we've been saying this, can you donate to these cameras that we've been trying to get for a while?"

Frank Barry (32:52):
Right.

Trey Van Camp (32:52):
I really found the people that succeeded where those who wanted to do it beforehand, and were putting those baby steps forward. It's just that finally, people finally put budget around them, because now, they could see the importance of it. Definitely, there's some bright spots. One of my friends from COVID, he was in my course, I think in 2019. Actually, I hung out with him the last week of reality, before everything went crazy, in San Diego. He blew up, I think he has like three-

Frank Barry (33:21):
Wait, where, in San Diego?

Trey Van Camp (33:22):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (33:23):
The motherland. That's amazing.

Trey Van Camp (33:24):
Yeah, dude. That's my vacation spot. He actually now has 300,000 followers on TikTok.

Frank Barry (33:30):
Wow.

Trey Van Camp (33:30):
He makes chai. I don't know if you've ever heard of him. He's called Cross-Cultural Christianity, but he just makes chai and talks about Jesus. He does incredible stuff. A lot of that birth, we were talking about content strategy, and he was trying to make YouTube videos, and they were good, but just nobody would see them. When TikTok came around, he just jumped on it. He used a lot of our storytelling principles, but then applied it to TikTok. He has a book deal with a huge publishing company already. He's killing it. It's really cool. That's a bright spot for sure.

Frank Barry (34:00):
Yeah. That's super cool. We can talk about other stuff too, if you want to jump into more things that you're doing, because I find this so fascinating. I'm thinking for the pastor that's listening to this, who's like, "Man, how do I get started?" When you're coaching people up, how do you get them going, and how do you get them into the edit ... I feel like the recording might be one thing, but the editing side is a whole 'nother [crosstalk 00:34:30]

Trey Van Camp (34:29):
It's a whole 'nother beast. It really is a whole 'nother beast. I do encourage people, you can do all this on your phone. I actually tell people, AVL is the priority. Audio, invest in that first. Then, better video, then lighting. It doesn't matter how good your video camera is. If your lighting's bad, then it's just going to look terrible.

Trey Van Camp (34:51):
Man, it's a lot of baby steps. I send them, I'm not the one-stop-shop for everything. I say like, hey, here's Peter McKinnon, he has a lot of good tutorials on how to edit in Adobe Premier Pro. Here's this guy, here's that guy. It's a lot of work, and I have a lot of sympathy. Also, it's like, hey, there's all these people that are doing crazy editing where there's transitions. I've done this before too, there's two of me in the same video, and all that's fun.

Trey Van Camp (35:16):
You don't need that. You just need iMovie and just cut from one scene to the next. Editing gets fun. At the end of the day, if there's no story there, it doesn't matter how creative the video looked. I try to really encourage people. I look more at the 30,000 foot level. How do you tell a story? Okay, great, go on Google, research for two hours, which editing software do you want? How do you cut and paste, and how do you ... And then move on.

Trey Van Camp (35:46):
We talked a little bit about songs and stuff, but all that, I think you figure it out in trial and error, but that's the hard part. I, for the longest time, try to convince people, it's not hard. No, it's hard. If you want to do this, it's going to take a long time, and there's no other way around it. If you're lucky, you have a 17 year old kid that really is a digital native, and he's been editing videos already, and empower them. We keep thinking about, how do we get more kids, workers, and all this stuff. Start also asking, we need more video editors at our church, and I think you'd be surprised how many there are.

Frank Barry (36:18):
Yeah. Or, whether they are, and they're established, or they're just younger, and they're just into it, because they've been-

Trey Van Camp (36:25):
They can quickly learn.

Frank Barry (36:26):
... [crosstalk 00:36:26] on their phone, and they're making TikTok videos and whatnot. They're not a pro video editor or whatever, but they actually are good at it. You know what I'm saying?

Trey Van Camp (36:34):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (36:35):
Because they're just doing it on their phone already, and they're comfortable in that. A lot of it's just being comfortable with whatever the app is, or the tools that are out there.

Trey Van Camp (36:44):
Yeah. It really just takes a few hours to just understand the basics. Then, I think it's just, you go from there. That was me. I'm all self-taught. I never took a class for video stuff.

Frank Barry (36:54):
Yeah. It's surprising how much you can do on your phone. If you go get the newest iPhone, the video camera's pretty awesome. To your point, lighting and audio and all this kind of stuff. If you're just getting started, you can do a pretty good job just with that phone, and then learning some basic editing on your phone.

Trey Van Camp (37:12):
Absolutely. I tell people, hey, when I do ads sometimes for our church, I have a nice camera. I use my phone, because personal is more powerful than professional. It actually grabs their attention. When you're on TikTok, which I'm not, because of productivity, and just, whatever. I know I'm terrible. I should be more innovative. I know my limits.

Trey Van Camp (37:32):
With TikTok, I actually notice this, when the camera quality looks really good, it's than likely an ad, so you skip it. If the camera quality is just normal iPhone, you give it a chance. I'm like, guys, especially depending on which platform you're on, sometimes your phone is better than the nice Sony camera. That is really liberating. Again, that's why I always go back to, it's the story. It's the storytelling. How do you grab our attention? How do you bring them to Jesus, you know? That's what I'm passionate about.

Frank Barry (38:04):
I love, just maybe circling it back, you preach a sermon, and then you extend that via your vlog or the Q&A by taking a clip of it-

Trey Van Camp (38:15):
Q&Trey. I'm just messing with you.

Frank Barry (38:19):
My fault. My fault.

Trey Van Camp (38:19):
I'm just messing with you, bro.

Frank Barry (38:20):
[crosstalk 00:38:20] get it right. I'm going to get it right.

Trey Van Camp (38:21):
That's lesson number two. Number one for a YouTuber, you got to push your name. You got to make them remember, or else it's all a waste.

Frank Barry (38:29):
I'm surprised you don't have a sign behind you that has your YouTube channel. That's a fail right there.

Trey Van Camp (38:34):
I know. I am failing right now. I'm still a pastor. I still believe in John 3. He must increase, I must decrease. That's funny.

Frank Barry (38:45):
I think just again, I love those two ideas, because I feel like every pastor could do that, right?

Trey Van Camp (38:50):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (38:51):
They could, in a simple form, preach, take a clip, elaborate on it, on a video that they do at home. Do a Q&A. I mean, shoot, get a couple members of your church and jump on a live with them, doing a QA together, and-

Trey Van Camp (39:04):
Totally.

Frank Barry (39:05):
... post it. Some of this stuff is not, although it is work, it doesn't have to be ...

Trey Van Camp (39:11):
It's not rocket science.

Frank Barry (39:12):
You can start small, and it'll be really bad at the beginning, but do it for five years, and you'll be surprised how much better you get, right? [crosstalk 00:39:20]

Trey Van Camp (39:20):
Yeah. You'll be on The Modern Church Leader's Podcast, if you do it for five years.

Frank Barry (39:24):
Bro, we're just going to keep rolling. The pandemic, just start interviewing people.

Trey Van Camp (39:29):
Yeah. I love it.

Frank Barry (39:30):
Too good. Hey, where should folks go to check out your vlog, and even your course? You mentioned having some courses and whatnot. I think that'd be a great resource to send people to.

Trey Van Camp (39:41):
Yeah, I appreciate that. Yeah. The biggest two places to reach out to me are YouTube, just treyvancamp, like you're camping in a van, that's how you spell it. There's no K in there. It's just Van Camp. Then also, same thing, but for Instagram. Those are the two places I interact with people the most.

Frank Barry (39:57):
Love it.

Trey Van Camp (39:57):
I would push vlogyourministry.com, but it's actually fully ... That's where my courses have lived in the past. I'm doing a full overhaul. I'm trying to figure out how to really help people. I'm changing the structure of how much it is, and how many. No course to push today, because it's totally under construction. But, I would love to connect via YouTube.

Frank Barry (40:21):
Go subscribe to Trey Van Camp on YouTube. That's [crosstalk 00:40:22]

Trey Van Camp (40:22):
I'd appreciate that. Absolutely.

Frank Barry (40:23):
Man, I think that's a great ending, because then people can check out what you're doing, and how that's relating to your work at the church, and being a pastor, and all that kind of stuff. I love that you said you documented church planting, from your perspective. I think that's a super cool ... I don't know, just behind the scenes look that-

Trey Van Camp (40:44):
Yeah.

Frank Barry (40:45):
... probably a lot of church planters have never even experienced, unless they've got a buddy that can tell stories.

Trey Van Camp (40:51):
True. Right. Yeah. I'm super grateful I was able to document that part early, for sure.

Frank Barry (40:56):
Yeah. Very cool. Trey, man, thanks for your time today. Appreciate it.

Trey Van Camp (41:00):
Thank you so much.

Frank Barry (41:02):
Good times. Everybody watching, or checking out the recording, appreciate you guys. Come back next week for another episode of Modern Church Leader. See you guys.

Narrator (41:10):
If you enjoyed this episode of The Modern Church Leader, consider sharing it with the pastor or minister you think would benefit the most from listening to of this conversation. You can send them to modernchurchleader.com, or share this episode directly from your podcast app. Be sure to subscribe for free on YouTube, Apple Podcast or Spotify, so you never miss an episode. We'll see you again next week with another conversation here on The Modern Church Leader.

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H2 What’s a Rich Text element?

H3 What’s a Rich Text element?

H4 What’s a Rich Text element?

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H6 What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

H4 Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

H4 How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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How Churches Can Become More Effective Online with Trey Van Camp

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How Churches Can Become More Effective Online with Trey Van Camp

Learn how to effectively use social media for the growth of your church.

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How Churches Can Become More Effective Online

Churches have come a long way online. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, churches can now be just as effective online as they are in person. In fact, many churches use online outreach more effectively than they do in person.

When social media first came on the scene, pastors and church leaders mainly used it to share sermons, promote upcoming events, and share inspirational quotes. However, as more people joined the social media world, the platforms began to be used for a broader array of purposes.

The social media arsenal has grown since podcasts, blogs, and vlogs were introduced, and now churches are finding more and more creative ways to use social media to build their church community and spread the gospel. 

Indeed, social media has made it incredibly easy for churches to connect with people online. This has helped churches become more accessible than ever before, and at the same time, allowed them to build relationships with people that would have otherwise never come into the church. 

However, it's also essential for churches to realize that social media is not a silver bullet and will not build a church on its own. Instead, it's an integral part of an overall strategy for church growth. This requires the church to establish and implement a social media strategy representing its mission and vision.

There are a lot of strategies out there for how churches should use social media, but ultimately, what works for one church might not work for another. The important thing is that each church discovers what works best for them and prioritizes sharing the gospel and building their community through social media. 

Churches with the most success online are the most creative and the ones that are willing to experiment. Through failing, learning, and adjusting, churches can grow and become even more effective online.  

This episode features a chat with the "vlogging pastor" and the Lead Pastor of Passion Creek Church in Arizona, Trey Van Camp. He will be sharing specific strategies for using social media to further the ministry of a church and providing some helpful advice for those churches that are just starting out in digital space.

“It's the storytelling; how do you grab their attention? How do you bring them to Jesus? That is what I'm passionate about.”
-Trey Van Camp 

Trey comes from a fourth generation of pastors. He received his Bachelor's degree in Applied Theology from California Baptist University, where he graduated summa cum laude and received  the "Applied Theology Award." Trey is happily married to Jordan. They have three children: Faith Karis, Selah Ruth, and Trinity Rose.

This will be a great opportunity to hear more about what Trey is doing at Passion Creek Church and learn how to effectively use social media for the growth of your church.

By the end of this episode, you will learn:

  • Why online presence matters to churches
  • How churches can improve their online presence 
  • How to repurpose sermon content online
  • How to use vlogging to grow your church
  • Pastor Trey vlog's story structure (attention, intervention, invitation)
  • The importance of storytelling in vlogging
  • Effective social media strategies
  • Technical tips on vlogging

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[15:15] What I like to do is, let's say I preached this on Sunday, I still have that sermon in me; I still feel like I can repackage it. So sometimes, I take a minute clip of it and I form a whole story around it in a vlog.

[20:13] YouTube, it's a lot harder to get a view. You got to go on the analytics; just because people see it for three seconds doesn't mean your ministry impacts them. So YouTube's even harder because Facebook, you can accidentally stumble upon it and it counts as a view. YouTube, they don't count until you click in there.

[22:59] When I'm talking, I want to get creative on top of it, throw it in the middle of a whole story and stuff. I am a person who does a lot of one-liners, a lot of catchy statements. Sometimes I do it in an Instagram reel or a photo with my quote. We repackage it in different ways.

[23:34] Sermon clips, just being by themselves, work great on the right platform; YouTube’s not one of them. That's been hard for us. It's been a constant game of trying to figure out what works, what doesn't work.

[27:08] If you're the one making the videos, you're editing it, you're doing all of it, keep it in-house so that when you move, it moves with you. I have five years of videos, and I would hate to give up if the Lord ever called me somewhere else. 

[35:58] If you're lucky, you have like a 17-year-old kid that is a digital native and has been editing videos already, you need to empower them. We keep thinking about how we get more kid workers and all this stuff? Well, start also asking, we need more video editors at our church. And I think you'd be surprised.

[34:36] Invest in audio first, followed by better video and lighting. It doesn't matter how good your video camera is. If your lighting is bad, then it's just going to look terrible. 

[37:53] It's the storytelling; how do you grab their attention? How do you bring them to Jesus? That is what I'm passionate about.

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