Time for Kid’s Church to Embrace Technology
Many churches are now on their second generation projection systems, and the older projectors are being passed down to the children’s ministries. So many children’s pastors now have an awesome tool to work with that they have never had before. But before we toss the flannel board, we need to figure out what to do with this thing!
Step #1: Hardware
You will need to have a computer connected to the projector that is capable of processing and projecting video at an acceptable performance level. Different software packages require different computer specifications, so refer to those to see if the machine you are wanting to use will be adequate. Also, most presentation software packages make use of “dual monitor” mode, meaning the computer sends one image to the computer screen, and a second image to the projector. You will want to make sure that the video card in the computer is capable of operating in this mode.
For children’s ministry, you will also want to have a DVD player handy, or have a DVD drive in your computer.
Step #2: Software
Your church has more than likely already purchased worship presentation software for its main worship services. Some software packages (such as EasyWorship), allow you to load the software on as many computers as you like at the same church campus without added expense. Others (such as Media Shout) allow you to load it on a specified number of computers. Still others (such as Microsoft Powerpoint) require you to have a license for each computer. Before purchasing additional software, find out what your church is already using and what the licensing agreement is – you may be able to use that software without added expense.
Step #3: Media
Fortunately, there is a lot of great media that has recently been produced specifically for children’s church. These products fall into several categories:
• Worship Backgrounds. There are several video producers that have created great video background loops (for projecting song lyrics or scriptures) that are specifically geared towards children. WorshipFilms has created two of these collections – you can find them hereand here.
• Song Tracks. There are several companies, such asShout Praises Kids and Igniter Media, that have produced sing-along song track videos for children’s church. This is a great alternative for situations where you do not have someone to lead the worship portion of your service.
• Countdowns. Countdown timers are a fun way to get everyone on the same schedule and build anticipation before an event or service. WorshipFilms has created two different collections of countdowns just for kids (preview them here and here).
• Transitions. Sometimes, the most difficult part of children’s church is figuring out how to keep the attention of the kids, especially when you are moving from one activity to the next. There are several producers that make video transition elements that are really helpful for this purpose. WorshipFilms recently released its first set of Kids’ Transitions, containing 5 different theme packages.
• Still Images. There are a huge number of great resources out there for still images to use in worship. What types of images will capture the imaginations of your kids? (Shameless plug: WorshipFilms has 2 collections of still-image Bible stories, told in cartoon form. Each image is labeled with the corresponding Bible verse. Check them out here and here.)
• Lesson Illustrations/Cartoons. Several producers have started making short either animated or live-action videos for kids that are topical in nature, and can be used to illustrate a lesson point. One great source for these isWorshipHouseKids.com, which allows you to preview the videos of a number of producers.
In short, children’s pastors now have a ton of great tools available to them. It will take some time, research and experimentation to know how to best implement these tools at your church – but is definitely worth the effort!