Tech Stuff

I have been serving in youth ministry for nearly 20 years, am currently the Director of Student Ministries at Valley Church in Des Moines, IA, and am on a first name basis with several Best Buy and Apple employees. My wife Keri and I have been married over ten years and have three great boys. My four favorite things are Jesus, my wife, Chicago Style Pizza, and fighting off our boys with sweet ninja moves.

RyanIt is fun looking at old photos, I do it with my family, and my boys think it is great (mostly because they are micro-narcissists). In addition to looking back at old photos with my family I love doing this with the youth at my past church. Here are a few long-term steps I took to have an archive of pics and video for a great end-of-the-year video for my graduating senior class:

  • STEP 1: Organize all event photos in folders with event names and dates.  It is not much work and a huge hard drive is under a $100.  (example: Place ALL your winter camp pics in a folder called, “Winter Camp 2013” next year create another folder called “Winter Camp 2014” and so on).
  • STEP 2: Place ALL PowerPoint slideshows, videos, and/or video slideshows in the same folder or in a similar folder (same system…maybe create a new folder called “Winter Camp footage 2013 Used”).
  • STEP 3: Wait.  Yes…just wait.  It’s like a 6 minute egg except you are waiting 5 or 6 years.
  • STEP 4: When Graduation Sunday (or however you celebrate your graduates) comes around go to your archives and start pulling footage from your graduating class of 2014. I only used images and footage from their junior high years. Those pics are awkward and funny. So for the class of 2014 I would go through all my 2009 and 2010 folders and grab some memorable junior high pics of this graduating class.  If you do not do a Grad Sunday it is still fun to show at the last gathering of the year as a memory maker.

If you have the patience to wait 5 or 6 years and you can keep good photo and video archives the payoff is pretty great for your students and their parents. A year ago I took a position at a new church, but I was at my last church for 13 years…the back to the future video was alway a favorite.

Here are some ideas of what I have shown (we only played 1 or 2…no overkill):

  • New slideshows of the graduating class’s junior high mugshots (photo directory we made) and event pics (mostly using pics of students who still went to our church)
  • Old highlight videos and slideshows
  • Video interviews and testimonies
  • Funny videos they were in like this…

Here are some ideas of what I would like to show:

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  • Interview junior high students asking them to answer one or two questions like, “What advice do you have for this years senior class” or “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
  • Have them show off a crazy talent
  • List the music they are listening to
  • Basically anything that I think will become dated and funny to watch when they are seniors

Junior highers give great answers…and we were all kind of funny looking back then. After I am done taping I will put all this footage in a folder called “Interviews Class of 2019”  and let it percolate. If you have been at your church for a few years, go see what you have sitting on your hard drives and if you are new to your church like I am get cracking on an simple archiving system.

What are some of your ideas for reviving old videos and pics? Please share in the comments.



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  • Jeremy Nelson says:

    Love this idea! We’ve got the pics from over the years, but this idea is gold. Thanks!
    It’d be great to meet up with you sometime. I’m a newer youth pastor down in Indianola and would love to hear some of your insights!


  • Nick says:

    I took our logo and painted it on a thick piece of acrylic glass and lit it up with some LED’s to make it glow and then covered the wall behind it from floor to ceiling with printed photos from the 8 years we have been here. We add to it a couple times each year new photos from recent events so it is a wall of memories. The students love looking at it and laughing about some of the crazier ones we have on there.

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