Written by Emily Mullins
How does your faith transform, connect or touch the world? The United Church of Christ is challenging young adults to answer this question visually for the chance to be a prophetic voice for the denomination. The "My Faith, My World, My Voice" video contest, introduced at General Synod 2013 in Long Beach, Calif., challenges young adults to be visionaries for the future by creating a video representation of what faith means to them and how it impacts their world.
"This video contest is one way we're looking to lift up the voices of our young adults and to let them share — in their own words — how they define, interact with, and share their Christian faith in today's world," said Ann Poston, director of communications for the UCC.
The contest is open to individuals ages 18-35 and the deadline for submissions is Oct. 31, 2013. All entries must be original content and cannot be longer than 60 seconds. Videos can contain stills/photos, graphics, music, text, animation and/or video, and must be family-friendly and appropriate for viewing on ucc.org. The "My Faith, My World, My Voice" contest committee will select the videos of up to five finalists to be posted on YouTube, and the UCC community will have seven days to vote for their favorite video from Dec. 1 to Dec. 7, 2013. The creator of the video that earns the most votes will win $5,000 and national recognition on ucc.org.
The contest seeks creative, high-quality videos that send a dynamic message. Videos must answer the question, "How does your faith transform, connect or touch the world?" in an honest, inspiring way. Submissions should be high quality and skillfully edited, clearly recorded and easy to hear. For more details and contest requirements, and to view a sample video, visit the video contest website.
Tessa Adams is a former intern for the UCC's National Offices communication department. She is currently a video production instructor and videographer for a Northeast Ohio-based production company, and will begin work on a master's degree in communication studies this fall. Adams made the sample video for the contest to give participations a framework to start from, and feels the contest will engage young adults within the UCC in a creative, thought-provoking way.
"The contest is going to engage young adults who are into filmmaking, video and acting, but it's also going to cause these young adults to analyze their own personal love for Christ," Adams said. "When I was coming up with questions to ask for my video, I really looked within myself. Young adults are going to think, 'Wow that person is my age and they have a deep faith in Christ. Maybe this is something I should check out.' Those young adults are going to check out the nearest UCC church, or they are going to at least be curious and visit the UCC website to see what it's all about."
The idea for the contest originated during the fall of 2012 at a Great Minds Event, a series which brings together UCC members, lay leaders and clergy from across the life of the church to join in a continuous conversation about ways to keep the denomination thriving and relevant. This particular group discussed ways the UCC can better speak to young adults and ensure its messaging to this audience is timely and effective. Poston said some objectives of the video contest are to help the UCC clarify messaging to people of all ages, foster cross-collaboration between young adults and church initiatives, and to potentially tap into and cultivate new leadership from these new voices.
"We believe it's important to lift up the voices and talents of our young adults," Poston said. "We're hopeful that this innovative video contest inspires a large amount of participation throughout the church."