In his new book, YouTube for Churches: How to Make Better Videos, Grow Your Church and Reach More People with YouTube, Sean Cannell condenses thousands of hours of his personal experience into a well-organized resource that will convince any church to get on the YouTube bandwagon. He makes the case that YouTube is more than just a place for sermon videos, but rather a full-fledged social network with a real community.
Although the introduction is lengthy and feels like a sales pitch for YouTube, I think it’s justified. Most readers, including myself, are probably skeptical as to whether this could be a legitimate part of a church communication strategy. Cannell shares a mix of facts and experience to convince churches that YouTube can no longer be ignored. He emphasizes that we’re missing out on a significant population:
“YouTube is the third most visited website in the world, the second largest search engine and is getting over 1 billion unique visitors per month.”
The book is split into three sections. The first section goes into more detail about why your church should be using YouTube. He addresses common objections, such as not having professional video equipment, and shows us how to overcome those potential limitations. Section one is a good read for all churches not currently using YouTube. Cannell does a pretty good job of highlighting the benefits of this platform and makes it hard to ignore YouTube once you’ve worked through this section.
“It is a vital component of any larger, online strategy, and when used correctly, can even push up the ranking of your church website on search engines.”
The other two sections serve as a practical how-to guide. Cannell takes the reader through everything, including setting up a YouTube channel, developing a strategy and ideas for effective content. There is a ton of great, sensible advice in this book. Cannell demonstrates his experience by providing solutions to many of the limitations that a typical church will face in using YouTube.
A good chunk of the book toward the end consists of resources. Cannell provides links to churches that have made the transition to YouTube and are “crushing it.” He even recommends affordable video equipment. This book would be great for communication teams, even those who are not considering using YouTube. At the very least, the points Cannell makes will start some great discussions.