In today’s society, people want information in a quick and easy method. They are reading less and want sound bites with visual stimulation. People are now able to get the information they want, when they want it, and do not want to take the time to hear our message on our schedule. Yet, we are a people with a story to tell! How can we make contact with people, and in a short period of time, tell them about what we have to offer them as a church, explain their need for Christ, and share about our ministries, and more. The solution? A multimedia CD-ROM that can present your message in video, pictures, spoken word, and print – all interactive – allowing the user to find the information they want, when they want it.
Sure, it would be fantastic, but how can a church produce a high-quality product that can tell their story? LifeWay to the rescue! I was recently introduced to a new product by LifeWay’s Special Projects unit, a section within LifeWay Christian Stores’ Direct Marketing area, called ReachingFAITH, that takes the information you provide and transforms it into an amazing CD-ROM that can be used as a tool by your church to reach your community for Christ.
After reading this review, if you are interested in seeing an example of what LifeWay can do for your church, log onto their site at www.reachingfaith.com and request a sample CD-ROM that will be mailed to you. When you see what they do, you will be immediately impressed with the quality of what they can produce. The disc launches automatically, and once it starts, it is very easy to use. There is nothing to install.
By providing an introduction video of a staff member, you can immediately create a personal connection with the viewer. And, by presenting your information in such a way, you let the know user that you really care to convey this information in a way that will best explain all that the church has to offer them. If you use this CD for prospects, you will quickly enable them to feel connected to your church staff, some of your membership, and have a comfortable knowledge about your programs. The CD can contain direct links to specific pages on your church web page. So, if a person navigates through the CD to find information about a specific ministry, you can have a link on the CD that will take them to a specific page on the web that gives them the most current information about events pertaining to that ministry. This means the CD will provide an excellent introduction to various ministries within your church, AND can seamlessly help the user obtain the most current information from the web as well.
LifeWay has created a dynamic storyboard to help you gather your information and present it in an organized way. While they have a basic template, you have several opportunities to customize the CD for your ministry. Here is some of the information you can include. First, you can include a welcome video. This is a great opportunity to begin building a relationship between the person watching the CD and the church. After the introduction video (which the user has the option to skip if they have already viewed it before) you are directed to the main menu where you can easily select the information you are seeking. First on the menu is the opportunity to introduce your staff.
Second, there is a section for your church’s activities. You can have eight sections designed to educate the user on different events your church holds, such as Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, a yearly retreat, etc., with one photo and one paragraph for each item. Remember, if these are yearly events, you can provide a link on the CD that, if clicked, will take the user to your web site where you can have additional updated information about the activity.
Next on the menu, you can have a section where it’s possible to provide up to five different quotes from people and what they are saying about your church. You can also include a “Believe” video on the menu, which is a self-playing video that is designed to get the person thinking about his or her relationship with God.
One of the ways to really customize the CD for your church is to include a FAQ (frequently asked question) section on the menu. Here you can list eight to ten different questions that people might have about your church, with a paragraph answer. Remember, you get to pick the questions, and can use this section to get across key information about your church. For example, one question might include, “What is your church’s purpose?” The answer will provide your mission statement.
You can include an “About Us” on the menu, and provide three key elements of your church’s ministry. And, of course, you will want to include a section on how people can contact you. You are allowed 12 photos of your church as well, to show the life of your church and better acquaint the user with what it would be like to participate in worship, ministry or activities at your church.
Navigating through the CD was easy and effortless. You can skip any of the videos, and the sample I saw (which was taken from a real church that has created a CD using the LifeWay service) had live links throughout the CD that took you to their web page with the latest current information.
One more very nice feature is that LifeWay can give you three different styles to pick from. You can choose the Classic, Contemporary or Progressive style template, which provides a look and theme throughout your CD-ROM. (When you visit their site, or use the sample CD, you will see the difference between the styles.)
Cost, Time and Your Involvement
The price includes the work they do to integrate all of your pictures, text, the one “Welcome” video and the one “Believe” video. Plus, they provide 1,000 CD’s in clear plastic sleeves – all for $4,850 plus nominal shipping charges.
The time it takes to finish the product and deliver your CD’s will be about 6 to 8 weeks after all of the required church photos and text are received. During this time, there will be a procedure for you to review the content, and then approve the master before it is reproduced.
So, how much work does this take on your part? It is possible that you may already have everything you need to begin! By using your existing brochures, bulletins, promotional materials, etc., you may find that you already have most of the work on hand.
I loved the sample that I viewed. The quality of the finished product is fantastic. This is one of those items that will be MORE than worth the cost. Prospects have access to computers. People with computers like to see sharp multimedia presentations. And I believe that the response you receive from using this service will greatly affect the outreach ministry of your church. Mike Glenn, Senior Pastor, Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood, TN, was used for the sample CD that I reviewed. The welcome video at the beginning was his testimony about how the church had been blessed by the use of CD’s. He shared that it had been his experience that CD’s have a life of their own. He stated, “We have found through our limited use that these things have legs. When you give it to one friend, they will share it with another, and before long, the information has reached four, five and six people!”
For more information, visit http://www.reachingfaith.com or call 888-858-2371.
Jacqueline Swartz, Special Projects, LifeWay Christian Stores will be speaking at the Technology & Ministry Conference in April on how your ministry can benefit from the use of interactive outreach CD-ROMs. For more information on this conference, visit our site at www.ccmag.com
By Steve Hewitt