When Georgia Baptist messengers attend their annual Convention meeting each November, they are treated to brief video presentations by various ministries rather than much longer, traditional time-consuming presentations.
When pastors and others receive a video email from Executive Director J. Robert White, his comments are far more personal than a traditional print email.
And when churches show videos explaining the Mission Georgia State Missions Offering or similar ministries, they are taken right to the field where state missionaries are serving.
Those hi-tech resources are produced through the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Communications office, which is responsible for the agency’s image. It focuses primarily as the marketing and public relations arm of the Board, telling the story of state missions through graphic design, audio, video, web, and social media.
State Missionary Jon Graham oversees the production of the videos and serves as one of the department’s team members to communicate the objectives of the Board to the churches. His work has not gone unnoticed, with various national awards presented by the Baptist Communicators Association.
Graham, who has served as video producer for the past decade, previously served as general manager for former Winder radio station WIMO (now WJBB) as well as a worship pastor and church planter in Alabama and Georgia.
“In today’s world, visual storytelling is an increasingly popular way to communicate a message. It can be a very powerful way of taking the viewer right to the field from which a story originates, giving the person a front-row seat as the story unfolds,” Graham says.
At the Mission Board, that front row seat includes promotional videos and filming conferences, seminars, and other live events for sharing with other audiences on demand.
Ministry reports enliven annual Convention meetings, keep program on track
One of the more popular use of video has been the ministry reports by the various departments at the annual Convention meeting.
“Those segments began around 2007 and have been very well-received. They make it much easier to keep on schedule since each report is allotted a set number of minutes and never goes beyond that time frame. It also provides a variety of ways to tell the department’s story in an entertaining way,” he adds.
Two of the more memorable reports date to the early years when Index Editor Gerald Harris and the late Ray Newman broke the mold on their presentations.
Newman, who oversaw the Mission Board’s public affairs and lobbying efforts at the State Capital, appeared as a carnival barker – complete with top hat – to “sell” the viewers on a social issue being misrepresented by an industry at odds with Christian values.
Harris burst on the scene with the Index rap titled “Read The Index,” and followed it the next year with a humorous interview with the fictional Bertha Bellweather played by Judy Gordon of Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula.
Graham produces an average of six videos a week, assisted by fellow staffer Levi Woodard and occasionally by former staffer Ron Lawson.
Life With Purpose Radio features noted authors, actors, politicians
His work flow includes producing one of five weekly audio segments for Life With Purpose radio, which is heard online and through more than 80 radio stations nationwide. He has interviewed celebrities such as actor John Schneider of Dukes of Hazard fame as well as Lou Gossett Jr. of An Officer and a Gentleman movie fame. Former Arkansas pastor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has appeared on the show. Earlier this week he interviewed author Josh McDowell.
Videos on the Mission Board’s Vimeo channel include “The Big Invite: Start Your New Beginning” and those informing Georgia Baptists on the Mission Georgia offering.
In the past year the videos have been viewed many times worldwide, as shown in the graph.
Kind Katie is Graham’s newest faith-based venture
When not at the office video console, Graham is producing his first faith-based movie, a dream he’s had for years, bolstered by his relationships with other such producers.
The film, which will be called Kind Katie, chronicles the life of Jacksonville State University (Alabama) student Katie Beth Carter. The talented dancer was determined to make the JSU Marching Ballerinas team. She danced at her first event and drove home to Ringgold for Labor Day Weekend … but was killed on her return trip when the car she was driving was hit by an 18-wheeler.
Her testimony and commitment to kindness, sacrifice, and service to others touched numerous lives.The 100-minute movie is named in honor of the nickname that her friends gave to her – Kind Katie.
Graham has a personal interest in sharing the collegian’s story; he officiated at the wedding of Amy and Jason Carter – her parents – years earlier.
He is in the early stages of development of the movie, having completed the script. The movie’s website and background information can be viewed at kindkatiemovie.com. Its Facebook page has already attracted 6,000 followers.
“I’d like to produce this movie to inspire viewers to life a life with purpose, sacrifice, missions, and kindness. The film depicts Katie Beth’s real life commitment to Christ and I know it will be an encouragement and hopefully draw many to the Gospel,” he explained.
Graham can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.