April 10, 2020

'Why not do something different?'

One pastor takes up the challenge

While most pastors are busy mastering the art of online preaching, one Wisconsin pastor decided to take his sermon to a new level.

Zack Payne said the idea came to him when one of his members, a jaded millennial, remarked that he could tune in most places and get a traditional live service. 'Why not do things a little differently with our service?' was a question asked.

So, Zack who pastors the Raymond, Racine and Kenosha churches started brainstorming ways to keep younger folks like him engaged. He came to the conclusion that there are a lot of people involved in their online community and a lot of folks tuning into their services who they'd like to keep after the quarantine is over. I thought, "What if I did a video as an emoji..."

He was next on the Sabbath morning roster. "I wanted to preach a message that spoke empowerment into people’s lives during a time of perceived and real helplessness. Tying it into the theme of emoji: I thought, we need to be animated by God right now. Ezekiel 37 seemed to be a perfect story, and it also came along with the idea that we need animation but God also calls us to animate others." By the time Zack had written the sermon, he pitched the idea to his wife, Alilson, about using her skills as a video editor to illustrate with various other emojis.

He recorded the sermon in 30 second clips (as that’s as long as you can record an Animoji message on iPhone X) and Allison strung them together. "She had a blast putting my animated face on various bodies and using just about every emoji under the sun to illustrate what I was talking about.

"She spent probably five to six hours transforming my various 30 second texts into a 15 minute final product, but she definitely giggled a lot during the process.

"Lots of fun and I think the message rang true for folks who watched it, which makes me feel like the mission was accomplished."