The Power of Video

Just take a minute to think about your Sunday morning experience: words on a screen, on your order of service on the many sheets of paper around your church building. We are surrounded by words. Now, there is nothing wrong with words. Jesus himself is the word made flesh, but what actually stays in your mind long after a Sunday morning sermon? Is it the incredible oratory of your preacher, or that memorable image, illustration or picture?

A South East London based film and design studio, NewCom, which is the creative arm of the New Community Church, has just released a short innovative film exploring prayer. This may not sound too innovative, but this short film is targeted at those without faith as well as Christians.

The short video, entitled ‘Heard’, depicts three characters; ‘Fear, Loss and Anxiety’ who, in their desperation, cry out to the unknown. While they may not have seen or heard a response, something has changed in the world behind. “In every human is a cry that reaches out to something, or someone, in the hardest parts of life. We may not know why, or who, we are asking, and yet we still find ourselves asking,” commented writer and director, Chris Smyth.

This latest video follows the release of a number of short video productions designed to share the life-transforming stories of ordinary people who have encountered God’s love and grace. One such video entitled, ‘Leila’s Story – the rescue’, tells the story of a young woman’s battle against addiction in a creative, and powerful, way. This short film has now been seen over 20,000 times on Facebook alone, and some have even visited the New Community church to find out more about this person called Jesus Christ.

New Community Church is evoking a long tradition of story-telling through the visual medium. Yet, while we’ve come to accept the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, as truth in our culture because of the ability of a photo, or visual image, to quickly convey so much meaning with so little, if any, explanation, the church is still playing catch-up with the world when it comes to the power of the visual image. Though we happily share our personal videos and photos on social media, the church seems to struggle to produce quality videos, and images, and how to reach the widest possible audience.

Let NewCom writer and director, Chris Smyth, have the final word. “At the heart of our thinking is to share life-transforming stories using quality, creative production values. The Body of Christ should be at the forefront of quality, creativity and innovation. We have some wonderful stories to share, that people want to see and hear. Let’s do them as well as we possibly can for His glory and the extension of the Kingdom.”

Steve Cox is the Chair of the Church and Media Network.

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  • Mrs Chubley

    I think the prominent Methodist J Arthur Rank had the right idea way back in the 1930s when he set up the Religious Film Society – although his business did seem to lose the plot later on.