What follows is an outline of an idea that Kirsten and I have had cooking in the back of our minds for some time now: video-based expositional Bible teaching for use in church youth groups, school CUs and other small groups. Is there a need for such resources?
We think there is, and here’s why.
What is the big idea?
To produce a range of quality video-based Bible teaching resources for church youth groups and school CUs
What is so special about this big idea?
The core components of the Video Bible Talks set of resources would be…
- Expositional Bible preaching and teach from whole books or significant portions of the Bible.
- Delivered using the medium of digital video.
Is there a need for video-based expositional Bible teaching?
Yes. There are two reasons why there is a significant need for such resources:
Church youth ministries in the UK (and elsewhere) need them
Most churches in the UK have small youth groups that are between 5-15 in number and meet in people’s homes or a lounge-styled room in the church building. If you share our conviction that the central purpose of any gathering of believers is preaching and teaching the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2), this small nature and informal context of church youth groups presents two problems:
- The small nature and informal setting of youth groups do not easily (if at all) allow for formal preaching and teaching. Youth groups commonly opt for a Bible study approach but, while still worthwhile, this lacks the proclamation and application of biblical truth into hearts and lives that is intrinsic in biblical preaching.
- Such youth groups are typically led by volunteer leaders who, while full of passion for young people, do not usually have much training or experience in formal preaching and teaching. Even where the church is able to employ a vocational youth and children’s minister, their time and energy is often spread across the whole age-range from young children to 18 year olds. As a result, there simply isn’t the necessary experience and availability to consistently provide quality Bible teaching in a youth group setting week in, week out.
School Christian Unions (CUs) need them
Christian Unions in secondary schools and further education colleges are student-led groups that aim to strengthen Christian growth and outreach within the school and college environment. They are also typically small groups that meet in classrooms and common rooms, and so the same problems that hinder expositional preaching from the Bible in a church youth group setting also make it difficult to happen in school CUs, too.
Small groups need them
Video based small group resources are beginning to be utilised by more and more small groups. For some groups, such video Bible talks might be just what is needed to help focus their group in on whole portions of the Bible.
Aren’t there video resources like this already available?
No. There are currently no expositional Bible preaching and teaching resources for church youth groups and school CUs.
At present there are a handful of evangelistic video resources (such as Changing Lanes or Christianity Explored’s Soul) and there are non-youth specific video courses (such as the Gospel Shaped courses). There are also one or two other topical youth video series out there but these often stray from Jesus’ cross-resurrection Gospel of grace into more moralistic life-style messages. What is drastically lacking is expositional Gospel Bible teaching for a youth group, school CU or small group context that utilises the digital video medium.
How will Video Bible Talks meet this need?
The vision for the Video Bible Talks set of resources is to deliver expositional Bible preaching and teaching that can be utilised in small informal youth groups and school CUs.
- As an expositional Bible teaching ministry, the Word of God is proclaimed and applied into the lives of the young people. God’s Word sets the agenda for each series and God’s Word gives the content of each series.
- As a video-based ministry, the medium fits the context. Nearly every front-room in the UK has a TV connected to digital media players and most church lounges have (or can easily have) such TV and video equipment installed as well. Likewise, school CUs meet in classrooms with internet-ready TVs and interactive whiteboards capable of displaying digital content.
A comprehensive set of video-based expositional Bible teaching such as the Video Bible Talks would put quality biblical preaching aimed at young people in the hands of those who desperately need it.
What is our vision?
Our vision is to produce a complete series of Bible talks for entire books (or key portions) of Scripture. Each series will consist of…
- a number of 15 minute Bible talks for young people in video format (the number of talks will be dependent on the Bible book or portion of Scripture in question).
- 1 or 2 additional optional Bible talks on key doctrines or topics found in the Bible book or portion of Scripture.
- associated leader guides and suggested follow-on small group/discussion questions for each session.
What is needed?
To enable us to produce both high quality Bible teaching but also high quality video production in the time frame we are aiming for, this ministry will require our full-time effort plus the necessary additional equipment to film and produce each of the videos. This will naturally require some initial funding at least.
What can you do now?
You can pray
‘And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message’ (Colossians 4:3). Paul was using his incarceration in prison to highlight the need for doors to be opened for the Gospel message. We are not in prison, but we do need practical doors to open in order for such video based Gospel preaching and teaching to go out and bring God’s Word to the doorstep of people’s hearts and lives.
You can let us know what you think
The idea of video Bible teaching has much to commend it but much to be thought through. Who better than you (‘out there’, wherever ‘there’ might be!) to inform us as to whether this project is a much needed resource for the 21st century church or just a big waste of time. In particular…
- Do you agree that there is a need for expositional video-based Bible teaching resources?
- Are there any problems that these resources would create, if utilised?
- How/where would these resources work best?
You can pledge your support
If my gut instinct and initial research is correct, there is a need for high quality (both in terms of production but, more so, in terms of theological content) video-based ministry resources with an expositional focus. If you agree, and would love to see this project get of the ground, then we would love you to get in touch and hear of the practical ways that you might be able to help.
Why not get in touch today?
 This is based on figures from the 2005 English Church Census (see http://www.eauk.org/church/research-and-statistics/english-church-census.cfm) and the observation that youth group attendance is typically 10% of the overall church attendance (see Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries (IVP, 2008), p37).