The use of pre-produced videos in worship has been around for a while. Downloaded, professionally produced videos can be used for sermon illustrations, to introduce a sermon series, to celebrate a special day in the life of the church, or to enhance the worship experience.
Many large churches have been using these for years, but some smaller churches are just getting screens and monitors installed and are looking to jump onboard.
I recently received a request to the Rio Texas Media Center for sources of these videos. Figuring someone else had already created such a list, I went searching the web. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a comprehensive, up-to-date list, so I decided to create one.
Sources for Worship Videos
Sermon Spice – www.sermonspice.com/
One of my long-time favorites. They have a “pay as you go” pricing model, meaning you just pay for the videos you want to use. Most of them run around $15-20. They have a massive collection of high-quality HD sermon illustration videos, welcome videos, sermon intros, worship intros and more. The resources come from a variety of different production houses offering a great variety of content and approaches. They also offer sermon slides, motion backgrounds, countdowns, and worship tracks. You can view all their videos before you buy.
Worship House Media – www.worshiphousemedia.com/
Worship House Media is similar to Sermon Spice. In fact, because they are both resellers of the work of studios (and are both owned by Salem Church Products,) you may see a number of the same resources on both sites. They also offer a “pay as you go” pricing model.
Share Faith – www.sharefaith.com/church-graphics
ShareFaith is quite different in that it is a subscription model. It is $17/month if you pay annually and $30/month if you pay month to month. With that, you get a ton of videos to use however you want. For that price, you also get a ton of other stuff: bulletin and flyer templates, backgrounds, stock photos and more. If you used one video a month this service would pay for itself and offer a lot of extra value. They even offer their own worship presentation software. It is actually a plug-in for Microsoft Powerpoint that optimizes the program for worship. It does require Windows 10 and Office 365.
The media package is just one the options ShareFaith offers. The also offer packages that include resources for children’s ministry, websites, and online giving.
ShiftWorship – www.shiftworship.com
Another source of high-quality HD video sermon illustrations, video backgrounds, countdowns and more. They offer a hybrid pricing model. You can pay per download (most are $15) or subscribe for $149/year. They also offer a $249/year package that offers the video content plus bulletin and flyer templates, After Effects files, and more.
CreationSwap – www.creationswap.com
CreationSwap, as its name suggests, is designed as a place to share creative work. They describe themselves on their website as a site that “offers Christian artists a place to network, discuss, critique, and freely share or sell their art.” There are a number of free resources on the site and, with a free account, you can download up to three free resources a month. Most of the premium videos seem to be priced in the $18-$24 range and some of them have variable pricing depending on whether you want them in standard or high definition. They also offer a subscription plan which gives you unlimited downloads for $19/month.
YouTube & Vimeo
I know a number of churches would like to find these resources for free and there are some options available on YouTube and Vimeo. YouTube can be a little tricky. First of all, it can be tricky to determine if YouTube videos have the proper usage rights. Sometimes people post work from other artists without permission and don’t make it clear in the description. It is definitely not worth breaking the law (and the commandments) to save $20. The second problem is downloading YouTube videos in purposely tricky, creating the need to play them live. Many churches don’t have the luxury of having hard-wired broadband running to the computer that runs their worship presentation. Trying to run YouTube videos over a WiFi connection can lead to buffering or complete failure. Even if you test it over and over, you may find that, once the room is filled with people and cell phones, that it doesn’t work.
Vimeo is a better choice. Creatives are usually more clear about usage rights and have the option of displaying a “Download” link if they want you to use it. Here is a good place to start your search:
https://vimeo.com/channels/videosforworship – A great collection of worship videos many of which can be downloaded. To find out if a video is downloadable, click on the title which will take you to the Vimeo page for that video. If you see the download button, you can download it. Others give you links to where the video can be purchased and downloaded.
A Final Word of Caution
There are a lot of great videos out there but they are produced by creatives with a variety of theological backgrounds. Just because a video looks good and seems to fit with your sermon or theme, doesn’t mean that the theology contained in it is in line with United Methodist belief and doctrine (or the belief and doctrine of your church or denomination.) Most of the videos on these services are somewhat theologically generic and scripturally based so they will work well. Just make sure you watch with a critical eye before sharing with your congregation.
I am sure I missed something. If you are using a service or have another source for videos, I would love to read about it in the comments below.