Editing Ideas

So in last week’s post I looked at some of the sources I use for collating ideas, along with how I start finding them. This week I wanted to continue the process with how I edit and refine them into something useful.

Where to cut first?

Where to cut first?

To start with, we have a completed service outline that has an overview of the subject, what we’re wanting everyone to learn and take home, as well as a hope of how they will feel. The outline of the talk is there as well, and I’ve hopefully found a good selection of creative ideas that will support and enhance the message. It is at this point that I’ll meet with whoever is preaching for that service, so that we can start to sort through the ideas together.

This discussion allows us both to get a better feel for how the talk is going to go, where the emphasis is going to be, and what the one line take home is. We always aim to have a take home in the talk, the rationale being that whatever has been said, and no matter how long, there is a line that will resonate and stick above all the others and so be easy to remember and apply long after the talk has been heard. Knowing what this is will then influence which elements we choose to use.

There may also be timing issues to take into account, if there is a lot happening one week (we have communion once a month, we had a gift day this month which took up extra time, and several times through the year we have a “What’s Up With That” slot which gives more of an overview of some of the other things happening day to day at EBC which our congregation may not be as aware of.

Every story has a different angle

We’ll also weed out things that become irrelevant or unrepresentative once we’ve established the main thrust of the talk…every story has a different angle. And we try at this point to make sure that whatever we’re using is culturally relevant to our church. This is a pretty personal thing to understand, and can only really be sensed when you have been part of your church’s community for some time. For example, as we looked at last time, I may choose to refer to The Great British Bakeoff, Strictly Come Dancing, The Apprentice, as they are all current TV shows that are relevant and understood by a majority of our church. Old TV series like Friends and The Simpsons seem to remain relevant even 20 years after the event. And many movies, especially family movies, will work if they are popular and recognised…or they may even encourage the congregation to seek them out and watch them in a different light. But at the same time, I am pretty sure that Big Brother and Jeremy Kyle are not big crowd pullers at EBC, so they probably wouldn’t entertain a mention.

There are times when the clip is so good that it warrants inclusion, so we used a Big Bang Theory clip called The Friendship Hypothesis a while back which went down really well. But we’ve also used clips from popular movies like Mr and Mrs Smith and Defiance which just didn’t cross over, possibly because our set up wasn’t clear enough, or they simply didn’t appeal to our congregation.

Who is as important as what

With regards to music, often we can find the perfect song that reflects and illuminates the talk perfectly, so the only question becomes do we run it as a media or do we perform it as a band. And for that, we have to make a call as to if it is playable by our musicians within the time frame. We do try and get a balance of this, as the impact of having a song performed live is much higher than simply watching the video…although of course if it is done badly then that impact is significantly diminished! And we always make sure that the words are displayed whether it’s a live performance or video…just to make sure that everyone gets the words!

So in summing up, it’s great to have a lot of ideas to choose from so that you can then edit them down, and when you edit, think of the specific point you’re trying to deliver to the congregation, think about who is going to be delivering it, and think about your congregation

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