Leveraging YouTube to Tell The Story of Your Church Mission Outreach

YouTube and social media websites like Facebook and Twitter offer incredible opportunities for Christian mission outreach ministries to “tell their story” and share with communities both local and international about the work God is doing through their volunteers. For several years I’ve felt God is calling me to use my knowledge and skills with digital media technologies to further the gospel and support the ends of His church on earth… and tonight I had another long awaited opportunity to answer that call in a small way.

Upendo Kids International is a mission outreach non-profit based in Edmond, Oklahoma, which sends teams each summer to Kenya to show God’s love and kindness through a variety of activities. This evening, I had an opportunity to show the nineteen members of the June 2012 Upendo Kids mission team how to use the iPad application “Explain Everything” to briefly narrate five photos from their trip. All together, mission team members brought home thousands of digital photos. Until this evening, however, I don’t think any of them had recorded their voices alongside selected photos and published them as videos on YouTube. Here are the two narrated slideshows we created at the end of their meeting tonight.

Kids Touched by God in Kenya by Kelly Ewing (2.5 min)

Selfless Faith in Kenya by Carly Murray (3 min, 48 sec)

I challenged each of the mission team members present at the meeting tonight, who are mostly high school students, to create a narrated slideshow like these before school starts for them on August 19th. I told them “the devil would do a happy dance” if they stop talking about their mission trip experiences and the ways they saw God at work in Kenya after school starts in August. I dearly hope each one of them will accept my challenge and create a short narrated slideshow about their experiences in Kenya this summer, and publish it on YouTube. Some of the students and parents reported they were providing their trip sponsors / supporters with CDs including hundreds of photos from their trip. I really think a two or three minute narrated slideshow with five key photos from the mission trip would be worth MUCH more to a person or family who donated to make their trip possible.

People say “pictures are worth a thousand words,” but I agree with Margaret Nan Harkey who created the video for Celebrate Oklahoma Voices, “What’s Your Story? The Importance of Telling the Stories of Your Photos.” Photographs can become MUCH more meaningful and powerful when we put our words with them.


Find more videos like this on Celebrate Oklahoma Voices!

I applaud both Kelly and Carly for their courage in sharing part of their stories and experiences in Kenya this year. To check out more Kenya Mission Trip stories from June 2012 and Upendo Kids International, subscribe to UpendoKids on YouTube.

If you’re interested in leveraging the power of YouTube and digital storytelling to “tell the story” of your non-profit, I encourage you to attend an upcoming “iPad Media Camp” workshop on creating narrated slideshows. I’ll be offering this workshop again in Oklahoma City on August 31, 2012, and again on December 18th. Please check the registration page on iPadMediaCamp.com for other dates and registration links.

Also, be sure to check out the YouTube Nonprofit Program and also read the PDF, “Playbook Guide: YouTube for Good.” The price is right: YouTube video hosting is FREE. To create videos like Kelly and Carly’s, you’ll just need an iPad with the app “Explain Everything” along with photos and your voice!