To DVD or Not DVD: That is the Question

By Katy Kauffman

In this series on Bible studies, I can’t leave out this question: What are the pros and cons of using a DVD-driven study? I have seen it work well and not-so-well. So what makes the difference? When you’re considering whether to use a video-driven study, these pros and cons may help. If you’re creating your own study, these lists may help you to decide whether to make videos to go with your book.


The Pros:

1. Reduced preparation time

Since the author has taken the time to study, write the homework, and teach on a video, the group leader doesn’t have to prepare as much. She can focus on picking questions for group discussion and summarizing the main points of the homework.

2. Hearing a Bible teacher your group loves

Normally you can only hear a well-known Bible teacher at a conference or on the radio. But with a video series, you can see and hear her or him every week. It’s not the same as being at a live conference, but your group benefits from great insights and can be impacted by the teacher’s personality, stories, and dramatization.

3. Sharing the resources with other groups in your church

Once you’ve purchased the DVDs and leader guide, you can give the materials to your church library. Then other groups and classes can save time and money by using them again. You can also use the same study twice a week during the normal women’s ministry days—Tuesday or Thursday mornings and Wednesday nights.


The Cons:

1. Long videos that eat into your group’s discussion time

Some videos are forty-five minutes long, and if your group meets for just an hour or so, you don’t have much time for discussion and prayer requests. So you have to decide whether to extend your class time, which may hurt moms trying to get their kids to sleep before school the next day, or to limit class participation. A Tuesday morning time slot allows more time for everything, but not everyone can attend a Bible study during the day.

2. Questionable doctrine or application of Scripture

If the speaker is sound in her teaching and application, a DVD may be a great help. But if the application is limited or doesn’t agree with your church’s doctrine, you may be squirming in your chair the whole time. You would have to backtrack with your group and see what God’s Word says about a questionable point. Of course, viewing the video beforehand would preempt this.

3. No interaction with the “teacher”

There’s something special about moving through a passage of Scripture with a teacher, asking questions and building on what the teacher and group members are saying. Plus, hearing from the group leader of how God has been teaching her and working in her life encourages the soul. You can’t ask a DVD questions or discuss deep issues of the heart with it. We love interaction, so if you use a DVD, be sure to leave time for the group to discuss the lesson’s application.


What have been your experiences with DVD studies? Have they been a help to you, or have they taken away from group participation? Leave a comment below, and whatever kind of study you use, may it be God-centered, Bible-based, and heart-edifying!


© Copyright 2014 by Katy Kauffman

DVD Bible studies, small group Bible studies, ideas for women’s ministry leaders, To DVD or Not DVD: That is the Question, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Comments (2)

  • anon

    Pros-It can ease a timid teacher into teaching. It can example to teachers an effective teaching style. It can bring viewpoints that are outside a cultural area but not outside doctrine when the teacher is not from your area. The student can receive uninterrupted teacher time without wading through endless insignificant contributions:) It has usually passed the test of useablility, acceptance, and clarity.


    Cons-It is more artificial than a live teacher. When compared to Jesus' question and answer type teaching, it falls short. It does not allow for customized application of the lesson. It is inflexible and time-consuming if not effective. It can be a subtle way of drifting away from church leadership direction. Since the DVDs are created to appeal to a wide range of beliefs, it can dilute the teachings of a particular church. It limits individual insight into the study because it implies that the insight has already been divulged. 


    Just some brief thoughts Katy. Thanks for bringing this up. While I think our society is video-driven, I don't think our growth in grace and knowledge is dependent upon DVD Bible Studies:)


    Sep 30, 2014
  • anon

    Marlene, I really like the insightful pros and cons you commented about. I agree that DVDs can help a timid teacher to gain confidence. It is always nice to hear other sound viewpoints, and for the insights to be streamlined. Hopefully. :) I hadn't thought about Jesus' question and answer style of teaching. That is a good point. He used interaction! And He interacts with us as we study in our quiet times and in groups!


    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!  


    Sep 30, 2014

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Winning the Victory: A Blog by Katy Kauffman

Award-Winning Author, Editor, Bible Teacher

As co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, Katy is a Bible study author and editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine. Follow Katy's blog to receive posts sharing practical strategies for winning life's spiritual battles. 


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