JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — The first time First Baptist Church of Marble Falls showed their Easter service video was during a run-through a day earlier.
“There were about 100 people there, and nobody laughed,” said Bubba Stallcup, tech director at the church.
Not a good start for a video that has since gained more than 112,000 views on YouTube.
“We played it again Sunday, and the whole auditorium busted up,” he said.
From there, the church’s video — with men lip-syncing the parable of the unmerciful servant in the book of Matthew to the voices of children — was shared amongst friends and family and then the world.
The idea came from “Kid History,” a series on YouTube, in which adults re-enact and lip sync stories told by children. Pastor Ross Chandler and his wife, Meaghen, are fans of the videos.
“My wife said, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to do that with a Bible story?’ I thought a little bit about it. Easter at the auditorium is a special kind of worship service where we can,” Chandler said.
The Chandlers had five children ages 5-6 — Charis Stubblefield, Tess Chandler, William Slyker, Brody Graham and Beckett Berkman — listen to the parable and then tell the story back to Stallcup.
If the kids went off on a tangent, Stallcup let them. In a story about forgiveness, the phrase “let it go” can come up a lot.
And that made for one of the more memorable parts of the video.
“Tess and Charis sing that song several times a day. If they hear the phrase “let it go,” they’ll break into it very passionately,” Chandler said, referring to the song “Let It Go” from the Disney film “Frozen.”
Richard Slyker, whose son William was one of the voices, also is an actor in the video. He plays the king.
“It was kind of difficult trying to voice over the kids with their cadence all over the place,” Slyker said. “You have to get the tempo and timing of someone’s voice, and with kids, it’s all over the place.”
His favorite scene involved one of his son’s lines.
“Jake Koziel, this big guy, says ‘stop choking me,’ but it’s my son’s voice. It’s funny coming out of Jake’s mouth,” Slyker said.
Slyker said William has been proud of his work.
“He looks at how many hits we have; it’s a fun thing to keep looking at,” Slyker said. “Every day, it’s reaching more people, which is good and exciting for the church.”
More than 100,000 views on YouTube is an accomplishment. But another online video website has generated four times the number of views. The site Godtube.com hosts Christian videos. There, the FBC video has more than 422,000 views.
“I’m the pastor of a church, fairly in the know, and I didn’t know about (Godtube),” Chandler said. “If someone had told me before there was something called Godtube, I would have thought there would be 10 people.”
The viral video has opened the First Baptist Church’s eyes to its potential reach beyond Marble Falls.
Stallcup said he’s seen comments from Brazil and New Zealand expressing their appreciation for the video and asking for more.
What began as a fun video to showcase during Easter now has the staff considering more kids Bible story videos.
“We can’t not make more of these videos,” he said.
Chandler said more will be made, but a specific topic or date isn’t known yet.
“We’re trying to be creative, to touch people and show the love of Jesus Christ. This is a way to do that as creatively as we could,” Chandler said.
Go to YouTube.com to watch the video.