Tuesday, March 18, 2008

When and how to use film clips in sermons and teaching

Just got an e-newsletter from movieministry.com (they help pastors and others use movies as a way of reaching out to others with the Gospel of Christ).

The person behind this website it Dr. Marc Newman. He has an excellent article in the articles section of the website that has excellent advice for using movie clips in sermons. This one deals specifically with the placement of clips.

Read From Cinema to Sermon: Using Movies to Illustrate


Isaiah Kallman said...

I agree that popular culture shouldn't be separated from God. That is, God should be present in the public square. So I cheer on films and television that proclaim truth. But for sermons, I hesitate the idea of mixing in video clips. I felt a twinge in my chest when Dr. Newman wrote said, "Tell people the truth, and then motivate them to live it out. The only exception to this rule is when using a clip at the beginning of a sermon as an attention-getting device." So I wondered, is this guy saying that because people are emotional as well as rational, that speaking God's truth isn't enough? Is he also saying that we need to have video clips of actors, professional pretenders, to entertain the congregation before God can work in their hearts? Dr. Newman, I'm sure, didn't mean to imply those things. But isn't that what video clips do? And isn't there a little danger of the pastor using movie scenes to make himself look cool? "See this? Yeah, I saw this movie, too." Neil Postman wrote a book back in the mid-80's called "Amusing Ourselves To Death", and he makes a strong case against using entertainment as a form of religious instruction. I'm not trying to attack this, necessarily, but I'm curious to know what you think. Does church need to be entertaining in order for it to be effective? Or is our testimony and proclaiming Christ's death and resurrection sufficient for the Holy Spirit to move people?

Rev. Craig A. Webb said...

You make a good point, Isaiah about exchanging entertainment for proclaiming Christ's death and resurrection. The danger is not just with video clips but with any type of illustrations that are just entertainment. It's all in how you use them.
I've heard many a sermon with jokes that did not help the sermon but were used to endear the audience to the preacher rather than the message.
I find I am using fewer video clips in my own preaching because of some of the reasons you mentioned. I often have one in mind then chose to use an image from the show and tell the story instead. I am very sensitive to using shows I wouldn't want members watching since I have a very impressionable 15-year-old son listening when I preach. I think, would I want him watching this movie or sitcom.
All that being said, I think that if done correctly and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, video clips can be very useful as a teaching tool.