Using movie clips to help support your message is often a good idea. Not always, but often. I wanted to share three thoughts today regarding the use of movie clips.

1) If you are showing movie clips to support your messages please consider your audience. If your audience is in high school or middle school I would encourage you to not show movies that are higher rated PG. It may have the most fantastic seen that you can’t find anywhere else but students will always go out and read what you have shown. If there are parts in the movie that are questionable it will always come back to you. Parents will be upset and likely so will your lead pastor. Not everyone has the same standards as you when it comes to movie viewing. You may think it’s ridiculous that someone isn’t letting their child see a certain movie, but the bottom line is that it is their child.

Students always want to see the movie you show the clip from. (We should get some deal with redbox where we get a freebie anytime one of our students rents a movie we showed a clip from).

2) Keep it short. Don’t show clips that are over 5 minutes. They get too into the movie and you lose them from the point you are trying to teach. I would even say keep it under 3 minutes if possible.

3) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS preview any clip you are showing. You never want to get stuck being embarrassed because there was an awkward moment or an off color joke or a swear word. Those calls from parents or your lead pastor are not fun.

My friend Scott once showed a clip that 3 or 4 swear words and he totally forgot that was part of the clip. It’s not just that, I once showed a video at a training event we were doing. It was a 7 minute video of a pastor teaching from behind his desk. It was not zoomed in nor was there a good microphone set up on him. It was awful! About half way through I stopped it and apologized. We all had a good laugh, but the point I was hoping to pass on was completely lost.

I was at an event one time Where the speaker and read a book by a famous Christian author. That author talks about movie that had a significant impact on his life. The speaker thought the plot is perfect for what he was speaking on. He wanted to talk about finding God in film and we were going to watch the whole thing.  He also trusted the author. BUT He never previewed the movie.

I believe the movie was originally in Danish and was dubbed into English with English subtitles as well. The problem was that the dubbing was terrible in the subtitles often were very different than what they were saying. And then the singing began.

It wasn’t long before texts were being sent all over that room. It was so bad that it was comical. In the text messages I was receiving made me laugh even harder. Everyone was trying to be respectful but I could see several people in front of me shaking from laughing so hard. Tears began to stream down my face as my stomach muscles tightened harder and harder and caused solid pain.

Thankfully the speaker had enough sense to not let it go past 15 or 20 minutes. He quickly saw that this was a poor choice. That being said, I am thankful for that movie because of the great memory we all shared in that room that night.

So, the moral of the story; always preview your video clips to matter how well you may or may not know the movie and show age appropriate clips.