21 Must-Have Pastor's Tools: Audio/Visual Production Equipment

One person can operate up to seven computer-controlled video cameras.

Editor's Note: The following is one in a continuing series of stories on pastor's tools from Ministry Today magazine's May/June MinistryToday 21 issue.   

What does it take to run a church today? The pastor just starting out in ministry may be surprised by the answer. While it's important to keep kingdom purposes at the forefront, experienced church leaders have found that a pastor's toolkit consists of many instruments that are helpful in doing the work of the ministry today.

We have pooled some of our own talent to answer that question and have asked a number of businesses to give their take on what 21 tools the pastor needs to know are available for meeting today's congregational needs.

AudioVisual/Production Equipment

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The limitation of trained technical staff no longer holds you back from producing professional videos. Now, any church can get more visitors, reach more people, provide more effective discipleship and deepen levels of training through the effective use of video.

For years it has been difficult for smaller churches to capture their church meetings on quality video. Good cameras were expensive and have required a team of professionals to do multiple camera shoots. Sometimes even larger churches didn't have enough trained video technicians each week. All these limitations are now a thing of the past!

A computer-controlled video camera system can be one of your most valuable resources. It will allow you to discreetly place small unobtrusive cameras anywhere. Your video can include the pastor preaching with the congregation in the background. You can include close-ups for baptisms and baby dedications. These cameras are controlled from a desktop or laptop computer and enable you to capture your church services on video without the aid of highly technical people.

Apostle Kenneth Lock from The Open Door Christian Worship Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is very happy with his church's three-camera computer-operated system.

"It is very cost-effective for us," Lock says. "We would have paid three times as much for the cameras separately or for the bigger cameras that are not wall mounted. We like the computer-operated cameras because they enable us to get a number of different angles of the service without a person having to move all around the church during the meeting. The congregation knows that the cameras are there, but they are not distracted by them."

One larger Midwest church with a professional video system and highly trained operators found it difficult at times to fully operate their equipment for services, special meetings and events, due to the lack of availability of the technical staff. They solved this problem by adding three computer-controlled cameras, which enabled them to do a full three-camera shoot with just one unskilled operator.

Most people want to see what happens in your service before they will visit. Let them experience it by putting a video of your service on your website. You can also stream video live and have it available as a download. You can put your video on DVD so that people can view it again, and use it to connect with shut-ins and absentee members by offering them a DVD. You can multiply the impact of teaching and training by capturing events on videos and distributing them. Reach the lost by giving DVDs to those outside your church.

One person can control up to seven computer-controlled cameras for a total of 42 different pre-sets. Each camera has six custom pre-sets. Cameras are controlled with a joystick like those used by video games or by using a keyboard or a mouse. The camera can automatically or manually pan, tilt or zoom to capture specific shots. Some churches have only computer-controlled systems, while others add computer-controlled cameras to their existing video system. As a result, now any church can have a professional video ministry.

Johnny Berguson is founder of the marketplace ministry kingdom.com. Kingdom provides audio/visual technology, websites, streaming and hosting to churches and ministries around the world.

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