By Matt Coker / @MatthewSCoker
“Better Church Announcements” is a YouTube series featured exclusively on Back Row Videos, and currently has 12 episodes, more than any other Back Row series currently.
If you haven’t seen it yet, or even if you have, there are quite a few things about this series that you may not know.
In early 2014, Matt Coker and Joey Porter, both on staff at Highland Baptist Church in Clovis, NM, were both sick of the boring way announcements were being done. One man stands in front of the church, reads the bulletin to everyone too lazy to read it for themselves, and then everyone immediately forgets what they’ve heard anyway once it’s over.
Matt & Joey (and a few other members of the church) decided to start an experiment to make their church announcements better, funnier, and more memorable.
Now, the idea of video announcements is nothing new. Many larger churches even have a whole production team who create them every week. What made this attempt different was the fact that Matt and Joey were given a budget of zero. Armed with an old video camera (one that still used Mini DV Tapes), a prop and costume closet filled with worn down, old junk from countless children’s programs, and their own imaginations, they would work to create some of the biggest laughs they’ve ever received.
As they created these weekly videos for their church, they decided to share some of their best ideas (and some of their funniest outtakes) on Back Row Videos as both a source of entertainment and maybe to inspire other small churches to follow suit.
Most of the episodes came out in pairs for each month, a Part 1 and a Part 2, as each video was several minutes long. Here’s the first set, featuring their first attempts at hilarity in March of last year:
Of the 12 episodes, a few stood out as fan favorites, including the one where a new born Elijah (Matt’s son) continuously spat up on Matt;
The one featuring Brody the Puppet from “Bad Puppet Ministry”;
And the one where Matt was all alone and spent most of the time trying to find a replacement for Joey:
Finally, one of the most creative and fun episodes Matt & Joey put together was entitled “Highland Church Announcements – The Musical”.
Matt & Joey usually recorded the announcement videos the Saturday morning before they were set to air, to make sure everyone at their church had the time to turn in their announcements. Once recording was finished, Matt would then edit the short shows together that evening.
“The Musical” however, was a spur of the moment idea that wound up taking most of their Saturday and kept them working well into the early morning hours of Sunday to put together, as they wrote and recorded several original songs for each announcement (in several styles), then went back and filmed videos to go along with them.
The end result was glorious:
If you’ve yet to check out “Better Church Announcements”, I hope you’ll watch a few of the episodes above and see what you’ve been missing.
The show is currently on indefinite hiatus. Joey Porter moved to Texas at the end of last year, leaving the fate of Highland’s video announcements up in the air for the moment. But, according to Matt Coker, there have talks of their return in the near future.
So, will we see a second season of “Better Church Announcements”? Time will tell.
Matt Coker is the Ministry Director of The Back Row. He is married to a beautiful woman he met in youth group and they have one mischievous son together. Matt collects Funko Pop figures, loves time travel movies, and enjoys exotic jerky meats. You can contact Matt via the contact page or on Twitter at @BackRowBeliever, or his personal account, @MatthewSCoker.