Do You or Do You Not Need a Video?

To Video or Not to Video – that is the question.

Video is everywhere, and everything is a video. Want to learn how to do some obscure, niche something-something? Odds are, you can find a video showing you how.

And why not? When it comes to marketing and audience engagement, videos are the champions of attention, interaction, and response. There’s no question.

So it’s no surprise if, as you ponder ways to increase your ministry’s effectiveness, you come to the conclusion “we need a video.”

To which we say — Mmmmmmaybe. 

Videos are not a cure-all, solving all your communication needs in one shot. If used properly, they can do amazing things for you but if you don’t spend adequate time being strategic and wise in your planning, they can be a huge waste of resources.

Before you begin writing your Academy Award acceptance speeches, or commit resources to this kind of project, we should figure out if a video will work for your situation.

Let’s look at three major categories you’ll need to consider long before you start recording. 

  1. Purpose
  2. Audience
  3. Outlet


The first thing to get clear about is the purpose of the video. What’s the need you have? What problem do you want to solve? What’s the action you want people to take? Will they care?

If you can’t clearly answer those kinds of questions, you’re not ready to build a solution. First you ask the questions, then you find the answers. (possible exception: Jeopardy!) Well defined problems yield better solutions.

Videos do 3 things well. They entertain. They inform. They persuade. All videos try to do at least one of those. The really compelling ones hit all three.

What do those categories mean?

Entertainment gives something enjoyable to the viewer. A story. A display of beauty. Straight-up fun or amusement. There are so many things that fall into the category of entertainment, but most things that entertain do so because they connect with a some variant of joy, curiosity, or interest in the viewer.

Informing is an increase in knowledge of some kind, offering the viewer specific details that they might not know without being shown or told. Where things are. How things are done. Details about places, things, people. Communication of data. This one comes with a rather large warning though—video is a terrible medium for dumping lots of information. If the audience loses interest, the information is pointless, so it must be a short list, and be compelling or deeply needed.

Persuasion is the enlistment of response. It’s more than the presentation of information — it’s the personalization of information to motivate a reaction. Persuasion often includes an emotional component. All this is designed to motivate the viewer to move from their current state to a new, better state through an action. Buy something. Try something. Change something. Believe something.

If you’ve defined your video’s purpose well, you should be able to determine what kind of mix of these three would be best.

The presumption with those categories and with making a video in general is that you’re making it for people to watch. (otherwise – why bother?) So the next step is to very clearly know who will be watching.


The purpose of your video is directly tied to the needs of your audience. Ultimately the video is for them, so you’ll need to have a clear understanding of who they are, what motivates them, what they might be lacking, and what you want them to do as a result. Know who they are.

If your audience is ‘seasoned’ Cru staff who need to be introduced to a brand new and somewhat cumbersome internal system, you’ll be making a very different video than one that invites 18 year olds to come to a crazy-fun ministry event on their campus. (we hope they’re different)

But in both of those very different scenarios, you’re asking yourself the same questions about your audience. Questions like

Who will be watching this video?

How old are they?

How much do they know about this topic already?

What are the most important things they need to know?

What is their latent interest level?

What compels them to engage with this initially?

What will compel them to action?

Are there cultural considerations to make sure we’re understood and respectful?

There are many more questions we could ask. The point is, you need to carefully consider who your audience is and the purpose the video should accomplish for those who will see it. Maybe a video isn’t your best option. Watching video costs the viewer energy and attention. If the content isn’t engaging or really helpful to them, they won’t bother.

But if your purpose and audience are well defined, that will give immediate guidance to the content, style, pace, type of information, and a slew of other details.


If no one watches your video, it would be better if you never made it at all.

Yikes – that sounds harsh. Why?

Because the creation of media assets costs time, effort, and money. If you go to all the trouble of making a video and no one sees it, you’re in the red. You’ve wasted resources that could have been spent somewhere else—somewhere more effective.

Ideally, a video should fit into a larger communication or marketing plan. At the very least, you need to have a viable option for getting the video in front of your audience. You could have the most compelling video the world has ever seen but if you don’t make it visible, it just doesn’t matter how good it is. It’s irrelevant.

That plan should include an honest assessment of how many people you can reach. If that number is really low, it might not be worth making the video—maybe there’s a more effective solution. Either way, you should evaluate the cost to benefit ratio.

In a world filled with media, how will you deliver your message to the people that you want to receive it? How will it get their attention? How many people will actually see it? How will you know if it’s working?

We’re tempted to make a video, put it out there somewhere, and then feel that we’ve done our jobs. We made a resource. We put it out in the world. We feel validated and good. But if you have a YouTube channel packed full of videos with zero views, you’re kidding yourself.

Don’t go to the trouble of creating a video if it doesn’t benefit your audience. If it doesn’t serve them, if it doesn’t reach them, it’s a loss.

Some questions about your delivering your content:

Where will this video live? (YouTube, Vimeo, your website, Drive)

How will the target audience find out about this video?

How will the video be delivered to the audience? (there can be multiple)

What platforms will the audience watch this video on?

How does this video fit together with the whole marketing plan?

How do they take the next step after watching this video?

What’s the lifespan of this video? Will it be irrelevant soon, or last long-term?


We’re not trying to dissuade you from using video for your ministry—not at all.

We want to help you think critically and strategically about your media creation and usage so you can get the most out of your (and our) efforts. We honor Jesus when we do our work with excellence and wisdom. That’s what we’re aiming for.

We’d love to walk through these questions with you. With a solid strategy, we’ll come out with a clearer vision for making something effective, winsome, and awesome.

If a video isn’t the best option, let’s find a better one.

A video might be exactly what you need. If it is, let’s make one you’ll be proud to show and kicks-butt for the kingdom. Let’s discover the need and build that resource together.