Sunday, May 11, 2008

Video Resources for Ministry Development

I have been aware of a website called PCminister.com for quite some time. But, it has come to my attention lately that many of my ministerial colleagues are not aware of this great, free video training resource. The tag line for this PCminister.com is "Equipping Workers from the Parking Lot to the Pulpit". As the name and motto imply, the site is designed to train and equip young and aspiring ministers and develop those already working in the ministry in various capacities.

The focus of the website is a series of videos featuring several UPCI ministers representing a wide cross-section of ministries and backgrounds. Currently, the available video offerings are intended to supplement the the ministerial training curriculum for UPCI licensure at the local, general and ordination levels. Apparently, the site organizers also plan to offer two additional collections of videos. The first will be entitled 'A Call to Ministry' and will be designed to encourage and train young men and women who are interested in ministry. The second will be a 'Local Church Ministries' collection that will highlight successful church ministry programs from several churches with the goal of training and developing leaders in various areas of local church ministry.

The content of the existing videos is excellent. I have watched several of the videos from all three levels and was very pleased with the topics covered as well as the quality of the content. Many of the UPCI's most recognized and respected leaders collaborated to make this a truly impressive collection. Among the contributors are: David K. Bernard, Stan Gleason, Jerry Jones, Brain Kinsey, Anthony Mangun, Daniel Segraves, Terry Shock, T.F. Tenny, and others. The topics include: administration, ethics, evangelism, doctrine, finances, leadership, ministry, team building, and many more.

On the negative side, the site has been under development for quite some time and is still not fully functional. Several of the video links are not yet active and a few of the others do not seem to be complete. At some point a user login will apparently be required. But, for now all the existing videos are available without the need to authenticate.

Despite the fact that the site is not yet complete or fully functional, PCminister.com is definitely worth visiting. The existing video content is wonderful. Ministers and church leaders at all experience levels will likely find something in each collection that will help them to grow and develop.

Here's a couple of tips for viewing and downloading the videos. The videos currently stream via an .asx file (Advanced Stream Redirector) that serves as a playlist for a series of .wmv files (Windows Media Video). Viewers will likely have an easier experience using the Internet Explorer browser which should, by default, open the video files in Windows Media Player (other scenarios are possible, but this will be easiest for most). The videos cannot be directly downloaded from the website (they are, instead, forced into a stream). However, once the video begins to play in Windows Media Player, it can be downloaded to the local computer as a .wmv file for offline viewing. Most streams consist of two or three .wmv, so each file will need to be saved separately (pay attention to the sliding progress bar in the media player to figure out when a new video file begins). To download the video files in this manner, simply click on 'File - Save as' options in Windows Media Player. If the 'File' menu is not visible, pressing the 'alt' key on the keyboard should force the menu bar to be displayed.

Check out this resource for free online at: http://www.pcminister.com

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