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Death by Video

11 December 2007

I have used movie video clips in sermons for 10-12 years (or more?). They can be very effective. I have also caused all sorts of furor by some clips I have used. (Live and learn, I guess).


Michael Duduit (the editor of Preaching magazine) summarizes some principles for using video clips that were found in the fall issue of Leadership journal. There are some basic principles to make sure that videos used in preaching are handled effectively.

Michael’s summary: “You’ve heard it said that ‘too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.’ This is certainly true with video clips. Video can be very compelling, when used sparingly. Here are my rules for video use:

The 60-Second Rule. Keep it short. A minute is plenty.

The R-rated Rule. No clips from a film that I would not encourage church families to see in its entirety.

The Room-Size Rule. What looks and sounds good on a television screen in the living room may be inaudible or too dark when shown in the sanctuary.

The Simplicity Rule. If it takes longer to explain the clip or set it up than it takes to play it, don’t use it.

The “Stories Rule!” Rule. Often telling a story is more powerful than seeing it. Don’t feel like you must use video. Some sermons are more effective without it.”

cph: I have broken everyone of these rules. I still think that videos are an important linkage in illustrating a point in a message. Not AS the point, but illustrating the point. I question whether #1 and 4 are self-contradictory, however. #2 is problematic for me. I have used some clips from R-rated movies, but prefaced my cautions about the movie. Have also gotten flack for it. Good food for thought.

Illustrations, Videos

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