John and Leslie Siebeling have long held a passion for helping others, a commitment that led them to become missionaries and travel to Kenya. Working there for the Lighthouse Church, they experienced a new vision of what church could be. Bursting at the seams in a soccer stadium, and unbound by racial and cultural divisions, Lighthouse Church reached thousands of people with a fresh, dynamic approach.
A Young and Dynamic Church
John and Leslie vowed to bring that experience back to the U.S. With the backing of like-minded fellow pastors and college friends, they founded The Life Church in Memphis. 19 years later, Life Church has grown to more than 8,000 members on four campuses, in addition to an international location in Santiago, Chile.
Life Church’s vision is to serve people, develop leaders and impact generations in a dynamic and diverse environment that emphasizes community and bridging divisions. The Siebelings wanted a vibrant ministry that would speak to the needs of a new generation, and one of Life Church’s core values is creativity. Life Church has embraced that value by making video a primary channel for its message, and employing a full-time creative staff that collaborates through the EVO platform.
Video as Part of the Mission
A major distinction for Life Church is a fresh, dynamic and highly visual appeal.
Sunday services are the primary focus of the church’s ministry. However, the ministry also extends to a variety of recorded and live event programming reflecting the church’s core values of outreach, excellence, relevance and teamwork. And the vital thread running through all of Life Church’s work is the use of video for powerful storytelling.
“Every weekend, for events and all kinds of other stuff, we produce a massive amount of video,” said Brian Pitre, Creative Director for The Life Church.
During any given week of the year, Pitre said, his team is producing video for Sunday services, which may feature video testimonials and personal stories, as well as an assortment of highly polished content that teaches and inspires.
At the same time, Life Church produces a weekly thirty-minute television program that airs on the local Fox, CBS and NBC affiliates on Saturday and Sunday. Life Church’s weekly TV show was so ahead of its time that it became the first local HD program to air in Memphis.
Video also plays a prominent role in the variety of care and support programs that embody the church’s mission. The programs are designed to help members grow and develop in all areas of their lives, and include connect groups, pastoral care, grief and recovery ministries, outreach ministries and financial education.
Other prominent uses of video in Life Church’s ministry include an active and robust website, which features web-only video, and a schedule of educational conferences.
All of that content — from weekly services to promotions — is produced in-house on EVO servers by Life Church’s creative team.
A Focused Tight-Knit Team
Brian Pitre began creating video sermons as a youth pastor, and since moving to Memphis ten years ago, he has helped build The Life Church’s creative team from a one-man volunteer gig on weekends to a full-time staff that includes five dedicated video editors.
In addition to his five video editors, Pitre oversees two graphic designers and a web developer, giving Life Church an integrated team that can produce anything it needs in house.
“We’ve tried to outsource, but because our production schedule is so fast paced, unless those people are here, and communicating with us directly, it’s very difficult for them to keep up,” said Pitre. “Sometimes it can be 24/7, working around the clock. Like for the women’s conference we just did, just the amount of work and prep that goes into it, it’s pretty massive.”
Life Church’s prolific production of video calls for an intense and focused workflow that runs all week long. Each week’s service usually features a story about a church member, along with three to four videos that help to illustrate that week”s teachings. On a normal weekend, Pitre’s team produces an average of two promotions that run anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, and are “usually graphics intense.” And then there is the weekly TV program.
“All of the video editors work on the TV program, almost like an assembly line,” said Pitre. “One handles the prep edit, then a couple of people do the main edit, and then a couple do audio production and titles.”
The Life Church team edits and produces video on Mac workstations, relying heavily Photoshop and Illustrator from the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, with some additional work on Final Cut Pro 7 for video captured from weekend services.
No Time for Down Time
EVO is The Life Church”s platform of choice to “keep cranking” its video assembly line.
Pitre’s team has all five of its video editing workstations plugged into an 80-Terabyte EVO system via a 10-Gigabit network. Configured as one partition, the EVO server allows for a “super efficient” and easy to organize workflow, with folders devoted to church services, TV and footage captured from events and conferences.
“There is a huge library that we can pull from whenever we need it,” said Pitre. “The core system itself we use every day. It never turns off and it never stops running.”
According to Pitre, his team”s previous video editing storage forced them to carefully monitor active footage and storage limits at the risk of the system going down and taking many hours to reboot. Pitre said that, given their workload, the Life Church team has little margin for error, and time is of the essence.
“EVO gives us greater peace of mind,” said Pitre. “I know I’m not going to come in and find I’m missing a drive somewhere on a workstation.” He also stated that EVO allows for creative flexibility with hooking up workstations, because connections aren’t proprietary and fiber isn’t required.
EVO has helped Life Church spread its message to the world, said Pitre, while helping his team make the most of their precious time.
“EVO is absolutely solid,” said Pitre. “It has never been down. Not once.”
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