One of the overall themes here at Building Faith is that Christian Formation can happen anytime and anywhere (almost). As leaders, we can understand what our folks are already interested in and begin asking, "Ok, where is God in that?" When it comes to Youtube and internet videos, there is a massive opportunity to engage this cultural phenomenon from a spiritual point of view. Randall Curtis has mastered this art, and shares some of his wisdom below.
Video is engaging. It grabs our attention and holds us. I remember as a child when my youth minister would bring out her VHS tape and play us a ten minute video from Gospel Bill. Even then I was transfixed.
Luckily videos have gotten better. Now we have Youtube, Vimeo and other online sources for for free video. Youtube says that there is now 100 hours of new video uploaded to the site every minute. You may think, “That is a lot of cat videos.” It is true there are a lot of cat videos (I laughed at them and you know you did too) and other videos that we should probably never watch ourselves, much less show to groups. I have also found that more and more people are sharing great content on Youtube also. As Kid President would say, “They are using it to make the world more awesome.” You just have to find and remember to organize the videos.
Steps to finding good content on Youtube:
1. Get a Youtube account
If you have a Google account then you already have a Youtube account. This Youtube account will let you save videos, make playlists of videos and subscribe to videos. I am focusing on Youtube simply because it is the largest source right now. Vimeo.com and most other video service offers similar features.
2. Use Youtube’s search to start finding videos.
Good youtubers will tag their videos or title them in such a way to make sure you can find them. Just type in some key words and have fun browsing.
3. Subscribe to channels of good content.
Once you find one video you like, you can subscribe to that user. You can see all their past videos, be notified when they post future content, and even see other videos that they have liked. Some of my favorites for ministry include the following:
It’s important to know that these are not all “Sunday School” material. Some put out some adult content which is inappropriate for some audiences.
4. Begin making playlists
This is a way you can hold a video for later, or start grouping videos by theme. I have multiple playlists that you can check out on my channel.
5. Show a video to your group!
Usually, the conversation will spark naturally. To draw out the religious themes, try these two questions:
- Where do you see God involved in this video?
- What are the people in the video striving for?
An additional idea is to use a topical concordance to find a Bible verse that complements the video. (If you don't have a concordance, there is probably one around your church somewhere, or perhaps even in the back of your Bible.)
Need some good videos right now?
If your having trouble finding good videos, try my website videosforyoursoul.com. There you will find a video for each day of Lent and Easter for both 2013 and 2014 so far. Some groups have started using this website as content for a flipped classroom. The leader asks a group member to find one video on the site that stood out for them, and then offer it to the group for discussion. You have heard of Lectio Divina - well this is Video Divina.
Randall Curtis (about.me/randall.curtis) is the Ministry Developer for Young Adults and Youth for the Episcopal Church in Arkansas. He is the geek of theholygeek.com and a regular contributor on the Easter People Podcast. Randall is also the President of Forma a Christian Formation Network of the Episcopal Church and the creator of Videosforyoursoul.com.