Ten Ways to Freshen Your CD Ministry

By Microboards Marketing Assistant Ryan C. Glanzer, as seen in Tech for Worship magazine.

All over the country, churches big and small have taken full advantage of the technological advancements that can transform the church service into a take-it-home experience. In some ministries, cassette tapes are still the standard for recording and archiving the service. Others have long ago moved on into the digital era, recording services using CD or DVD technology. But even churches with the most modern of technologies can use a refresher course from time to time, whether that means upgrading to the latest and greatest devices, or just considering some new ideas or learning from other churches. Here are ten ideas where you may find a way to give your media ministry a new edge.

1. Disc Printing: Less Effort Than You May Think

Many ministries recording services with CDs stop after the recording stage. A flashy label on your disc may seem like a lot of effort at a hefty cost, but the truth is, the process can cost a lot less than you may think. With various disc printers, you can liven up your discs with vibrant, full-color images that print in sixty seconds, and at costs of less than 20 cents per disc. Labels make your discs stand out, and give your ministry a professional look.

2. A New Look: Redesigning Your Label

So your church doesn’t have an in-house graphic artist? Not a problem. Designing a great disc label can often come down to nothing more than finding an enticing photo or an interesting font. If you’re new to the design game, try taking a few pictures of your church, or scan some old photos. Using free label designing software like SureThing, it’s a cinch to drag and drop images and edit text on the disc template. If you really feel up to the challenge, try creating a label using a more advanced program like Photoshop to create collage effects by overlapping photos and applying gradients. (And if all else fails, there’s probably a fresh-faced artist in the congregation who would love to take a stab at it!)

3. New Media: Water Resistant, Scratch Resistant, and a Glossy Finish—on an Inkjet Printer!

If you’ve been printing on regular white or silver inkjet discs, you probably know by now that they don’t always stand the test of time. Just like anything printed on an inkjet printer, a drop of water can smear and ruin a beautiful disc cover. Last year, several well-known disc manufacturers, including Japan-based Taiyo Yuden, created an inkjet disc that would stand the tests of time. These special discs are resistant to water and scratches thanks to a special glossy coat that absorbs the ink. The result also leaves your disc with a superior glossy finish. Even carrying your disc through the pouring rain won’t smear the printable surface.

4. Utilizing Your Publisher for Move-Ins and Shut-Ins

There are other intriguing ways to reach out to your community using your disc printers, copiers, or publishers. Consider the move-ins—the new members of your community. What better way to greet them to the neighborhood than with a CD or DVD inviting them to attend your church? Contact your post office to collect a list of newcomers and mail them a friendly welcome-to-town disc. In addition to the existing church members who are able to attend services each week, there are likely dozens of locals who would gladly be at service—if they were able. Delivering a copy of the weekly service to the sector of the church unable to attend in person is a great way to spread the good word! And don’t forget about the “move-outs,” the congregation members who have had to leave the community. Keep them in the loop and let them know they’re not forgotten!

5. Authoring: Adding Functionality and Menus to the DVD without Getting an Engineering Degree

I have a degree in Multimedia/Web Development, and even I get a little hesitant when thinking about having to create DVD menus and chapters. Luckily, someone else found an easy way to do it. A number of products on the market, such as the Pioneer LX-1, allow users to record video from any source onto a DVD in real time, then follow simple on-screen steps to author convenient menus and other interactive features.

6. The Next Wave: Increasing DVD Duplication Throughput

Perhaps your congregation has grown in recent years, and you’re struggling to produce the number of discs needed in the time allotted. Either an upgrade to your disc duplicator or adding more duplicators are solutions to the problem. Many manufacturers offer tower DVD/CD copiers ranging from 1-to-1 all the way to 1-to-16, all burning at top speeds of 48X CD and 16X DVD. Maybe instead of upgrading from your 7-drive copier to a 10-drive system, add two or three 7-drive units. Should one of the towers go down at the last moment, you’ll have two more standing.

7. Boxed Sets and Ministry Series: Using Your Disc Publisher to Offer a Bigger Product

Some ministries have been utilizing their disc publishers to the fullest and offer collections of discs, often bundling themed sets together for sale. When a guest pastor is in town to read the sermon for a four-week stint in August, he can leave the church-goers with his words of wisdom with a four-disc box set. Or maybe your church wants to take the seven Sundays of services leading up to Easter and bundle them together in a single, convenient package. Or compile a “best of” audio series from the special music throughout the past year. Using publishers like the Microboards GX-1, queue up jobs and run copies all day. Think outside the box and utilize your publisher to the fullest!

8. Packaging Your Media

In many cases, packaging is what sells the media. If you’re using a clear jewel case or a paper envelope with window, your disc label and design can sell the product. Otherwise, your packaging will have to carry the weight. For those listening to the CDs in their cars, cases are often tossed aside, but others archive their collections and rely on packaging to preserve the discs, as well as distinguish between one another. Try distributing discs in different manners to accommodate different people. It’s easier to create artwork for DVD cases (video tall boxes) than CD cases. Inserting one sheet of 10 ¾” x 8” sheet of paper into the plastic case lining is easier than prying apart the CD case.

9. Down the Road: Planning for Blu-ray and HD-DVD

CDs and DVDs will probably be around for a very long time to come, but the next wave is already making its splash onto the scene. While Blu-ray and HD-DVD are becoming popular in some industries, like video gaming, it will likely be a few years before the public begins switching over to these high-capacity discs. But even now, with one recordable Blu-ray disc, a church could archive a year’s worth of services with a few gigabytes to spare.

10. Archival: Keeping Your Content Safe for the Future

The key to archiving anything is simple: backup. And if you’re on top of your media ministry, you’re likely producing backup copies of all content already. However, there’s a lot more to archival than just backup. CDs and DVDs typically are guaranteed for 100 years; but once your church has 100 years worth of archived discs boxed up in the basement, you may be in for a rude awakening. Organization is crucial. Set aside room to neatly arrange discs by date, so any time a particular disc is needed, you won’t have to waste valuable time searching. If you’re printing disc labels, make sure to add the date to the label. Archiving is often based on personal preference. Do what works for you. You put a lot of work into making certain that each service goes off without a hitch; make it last for years to come!

Ryan C. Glanzer is the Marketing Assistant for Microboards Technology.  A South Dakota native, he graduated from Dakota State University in 2005, and now makes his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.