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Review the Film: Lessons in Youth Ministry

12.08.2014 posted by Chris Marchand


When I was in high school, I started offensive line on the varsity football team in northern Virginia. Friday’s were devoted to game-day. It was time to strap on the pads and play. However, early Saturday mornings were devoted to watching the game and reviewing film that was broken down play-by-play. It was early… 7:00a.m. on a Saturday … and it was brutal for a teenager. However, we were committed to being the best football team. We needed to improve and get better every single week. We needed to be able to watch ourselves play and see the things we did right and wrong on the field.

When I got to seminary we actually did the same thing. In the preaching labs we would video record ourselves and spend time with our professors reviewing our “game-day” film. It’s how we got better as communicators and presenters of God’s Word. At times, the critique was brutally honest.

“Chris, stop saying Umm. It just tells everyone you are not prepared.”

“Chris, you need to stop touching your face. It’s your nervous tic.”

“Chris, you need to get away from the pulpit… you’re making everyone very anxious with your hands grasping the pulpit for dear life.”

“Chris, preaching a sermon is more than just reading your poorly designed PowerPoint slides.”

However, there were also some very encouraging and positive moments as well.

“Chris, your passion is genuine.”

“Chris, you’re constantly driving people back to God’s word.”

“Chris, you’re a great story-teller.”

How are you getting better as a communicator of God’s word? Take the following challenge: The next opportunity you have to teach a group of students record yourself teaching them. Then spend a few moments watching the video several times and make your own observations on your performance. Ask yourself some of these questions.

  • What was the point of my teaching?
  • What did I end up saying? Summarize the main idea in two sentences.
  • What was my posture and presence while I taught?
  • Was I excited?
  • Was I boring?
  • Did the students engage with what I was teaching?
  • Did I speak the entire time? Is or was there anything wrong with that?
  • How can I do a better job with the same message next time?

After you have some of your initial observations typed out go ahead and have your peer-leaders and your students watch the video. Ask them for their genuine comments and feedback. Ask them to answer the same questions as listed above and not hold back their honest comments. Carefully consider all the feedback you receive and make another short list of two or three changes you can implement the next time you teach.

Watching yourself teach and reviewing your film might be an uncomfortable and at times a painful experience. However, when it comes to communicating God’s word to students we need to always be improving and getting better.

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