Use this Checklist to Conduct Impactful and Creative Church Video Interviews


Many churches use video testimonies to tell powerful stories of redemption and restoration. These personal stories work best when the interviewer and interviewee know each other well. Because a friend conducting the interview allows for greater vulnerability. But oftentimes a friend isn’t experienced in this craft. So below is a checklist to train and prepare unseasoned interviewers to create dynamic videos.

I started my professional career in television as a producer and reporter for a national news program broadcasting out of Toronto Ontario. Since then, I’ve spent almost twenty years working in churches. Part of that work has involved the production of over a hundred testimony videos. Over the years, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. This checklist for creative church video interviews will help you create videos that work.

The checklist is broken up into three parts: the pre-interview, before recording, and during the interview. The pre-interview focuses on the conversation before you show up on set. The before-recording portion focuses on all the little but important details when you are on set. And during the interview highlights what to do beyond asking your list of questions. Paying attention to each portion is critical to crafting creative stories.

Here is a great example of a friend applying this checklist to an interviewer through the above suggestions. These suggestions enabled the interviewee to relax and tell her story.

Part 1: The Creative Church Video Pre-Interview

To fully prepare your interview subject for their interview, it’s essential to go through some of the details to put them at ease. Here is a detailed list of what is needed for the church video pre-interview:

  1. Shared: Explain that the video will be shared in the service and online to reach as many people as possible with their powerful story. Sharing this upfront helps avoid the possible shock of the story being used beyond Sunday.
  2. Last Minute: Inform the interviewee that since these videos are edited up until the last minute, they won’t be able to see the video until the Sunday services. This helps avoid a possible veto at the last minute.
  3. Note Taking: Take notes during the pre-interview to get a detailed picture of their story. Use your notes to craft your final questions and anticipated responses. The notes & questions are helpful if you get sick and someone else has to conduct the recorded interview.
  4. Feedback: Ask a peer to look over your storytelling (questions & anticipated responses) for feedback before you record. They may catch a narrative thread you haven’t seen.
  5. Finalized Questions: Do not give the finalized questions to the interviewee. If you do, they might try to memorize their answers and you will lose the feeling of spontaneity.
  6. Logistics: Discuss all the details like duration, wardrobe, location, etc. Your preference should be a location that is quiet and where they feel comfortable. Also, try to choose a location that visually connects with their story. Alan’s story is about how he spiritually and physically went from death to life after suffering from a massive heart attack. Because of this, we captured a portion of the story from the back of an ambulance.
  7. B-Roll: Discuss what B-roll you can shoot after the interview. B-roll that visually tells their story like family interaction or serving at church and connecting in a life group.
  8. Additional Footage: Ask the video interview subject for any additional footage or photos that might add to the story. 
  9. Not Used: Let them know that there is a small chance the story won’t be used either due to a technical error (like corrupted footage) or a last-minute change in service. We have not used stories before, and we want them to know it isn’t because they were bad, but because they didn’t fit.
Use this Checklist to Conduct Impactful and Creative Church Video Interviews

Part 2: What to Do Before Recording Your Creative Church Video Interview

Before your team begins recording, make sure to go through these helpful tips with your interview subject to help them understand what is needed of them and what can be fixed in post-production. These five tips will help get them ready to conduct the best church video interview possible:

  1. Oversharing: Let them know that if they feel they’ve overshared, they can let you know and you won’t include it. This relaxes them which makes the final product more conversational. Jannet was concerned with oversharing in her story about forgiving those who physically harmed her husband. But letting her know she could take something back gave her the confidence to share.
  2. Keep Out: Try to keep the interviewee out of the recording room until everything is set up. Having them sit in the interview chair while the gear is being set up creates unnecessary anxiety.
  3. Not Live: Remind them that this isn’t a live interview so they can repeat the answers if needed. This reminder removes the pressure of a perfect response. Also, explain that the footage will be edited so they sound clear. This is another confidence booster.
  4. Non-Verbal Feedback: Let them know you won’t give verbal feedback because you don’t want to hear that on the mic. But let them know you’ll nod so they know you’re engaged with what they’re saying.
  5. Eye Contact: Ask them to keep eye contact with you, and not the lens or videographer, during the interview, even if you have to look down at your question list.
Use this Checklist to Conduct Impactful and Creative Church Video Interviews

Part 3: During the Creative Church Video Interview

Perhaps the most important are the things you need to do in the actual interview when the video is rolling. Many of these tips can help your video subject relax, help your interviewer dial into the interviewing process, which can take a different turn depending on what the interviewee shares, and help the whole recording go smoothly. Here are nine tips to help drive the recording:

  1. Questions In Answers: Pay attention to the interviewee incorporating your questions into their answers. If they forget, politely interrupt and ask them to try again. If you don’t, it makes it very difficult for the editor trying to tell the story.
  2. Throwaways: Start with a couple of throwaway questions about the weather or the drive to the studio. This allows the interviewee to warm up and relax before you get to your list of questions.
  3. Smile and Nod: Communicate enthusiasm and involvement in your subject with smiles and nods. Your non-verbal cues will help open them up. They want to know that you like them and are interested in their story. 
  4. Listen: A common mistake is thinking about the next question while the subject is answering the current one, to the point that the interviewer misses important information.
  5. Follow Up: Follow up on what you hear. Be willing to go off script with new questions in response to new information. Great content can be uncovered this way.
  6. Pause: Wait a second after they finish an answer before starting the next question. This keeps the audio clean for editing.
  7. Anything Else: After you have finished your questions, ask them what they would like to add. This unscripted content is often the strongest material you will gather.
  8. Two Types: There are two types of interviewees, one that gives brief answers and one that gives long answers. Ask open-ended follow-up questions (explain, describe, tell more, etc.) for those who are brief, and ask recap questions (let’s condense that, give me an overview, etc.) for those who go long.
  9. Shoulder Tap: Instead of starting the interview by asking the videographer if they are ready, ask the videographer to tap you on the shoulder when they are ready. If you use this tip, you can seamlessly move from small talk to your actual questions. When done well, the interviewee doesn’t even know they are being interviewed.

After you are done asking your questions, thank them for participating and pray over them. The enemy doesn’t want their story to inspire others. And will even attack the interviewee in an attempt to thwart what God is doing. So, a concluding prayer of protection ensures God gets His glory. Let me know what I missed from the checklist. I would love to hear from you and learn from you. And if you want additional help with your videos then visit to schedule a free consultation.

Ben Stapley is speaking at WAVE Fall on 20 Ways to Infuse Creativity Into Your Space. Join us this September 12-14, 2023 in Louisville, KY. Learn with your peers, meet leading manufacturers, and connect with others with the same challenges you are facing. 

Why Attend WAVE? (What makes us different)

The WAVE conference focuses on audiovisual and lighting first and is a traditional conference and expo with the best church AVL exhibitors and vendors in the industry. At WAVE, you and your tech team will have the time to talk with exhibitors because our expo floor is less crowded and better organized than other AVL conferences. WAVE offers the opportunity to see what others are doing and even boasts and church tour local to the conference. Experience roundtable discussions during meals and after sessions. Visit the biggest manufacturers in your area. Maximize your team’s time for education, training on equipment, and industry connection and collaboration. Lastly, WAVE offers incredible value for the education, exhibit access, networking, worship, and amenities for the price of the ticket. Lastly, we at WAVE want to see your church grow, help others find God, and feel personal satisfaction with their jobs by being educated and connecting within the AVL church tech industry. Register for WAVE today!

For over twenty years Ben has created & captured moving and memorable moments for individuals, non-profits & corporations across the globe. He has served on the executive team of multiple megachurches including Christ Fellowship Miami and Liquid Church. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor at The Life Christian Church leading staff and volunteers to execute the vision and mission of the church. Ben also coaches individuals, consults for churches, teaches at universities and speaks at conferences about leadership, communication and creativity.