“Where Do You Get Your Videos?” Part 1

This post begins a series in which I try to answer the question I’m asked most frequently when I preach, other than questions about the actual content, of course:

Where Do You Get Your Videos? 

First, some background:

I have made use of video illustrations in my preaching and teaching from my very first sermon. In fact, I used a video clip played rather clumsily from a VCR (making creative use of the “Pause” button) the first time I ever preached in a church in the spring of 1987.

For me, it follows in the footsteps of Jesus’ preaching model of truth-illustration (usually in the form of parable or story) – action. While I’m sure over the years there have been times when I made the mistake of using video for its own sake, I have grown to be careful that the video illustration supports the Biblical exposition and not vice versa.

I use video for a few fundamental reasons:

  • (As mentioned and most importantly) I think it’s an important modern expression of Jesus’ teaching model
  • It supports the “Fine M-E-S-S” preaching model I have described in other posts
  • It is a creative use of story/narrative
  • It “changes the eye level” of the members of the congregation, which I’ve written about here on leaderhelps a couple of times
  • It helps ensure that the message is applicable to 12-24 year olds, perhaps the key demographic of focus when I prepare my messages
  • Sometimes, it’s a better way to tell a story (but just sometimes)

As a result, I’ve been asked about the use of video many times.

So, over the next few weeks, I’ll answer the question specifically, step by step, and with as much technical explanation as I can.


To start, I suggest the following ground rules:

  • Use video to support Biblical exposition but not vice versa
  • When in doubt, don’t use the clip.
  • Use video edited and on the hard drive of a computer rather than, for instance, running a clip live from YouTube or GodTube.
  • Always be prepared for glitches (I always go to the pulpit with at least two sources of each clip.)
  • Be prepared for your clip not to work. Know what you will say and how you will approach it. (I’ve heard some pastors say that they won’t use video for just such a reason. I understand that completely.)
  • If you use a clip from a movie, make sure you have watched the entire movie before using the clip. One reason to be careful about clips from such movies as “Titanic” or “Schindler’s List”.
  • In a later post, I’ll talk about Fair Use and Copyright, but as a general rule, don’t include the name of a movie in your sermon title.
  • Look for clips that need as little introduction of backfill as possible. However, if a clip needs both or either, be sure you think that through.
  • There’s a lot of fake stuff available on YouTube. Don’t represent something as true if you can’t verify through at least two additional sources.

In part 2, I’ll cover how I typically find clips and I’ll provide web links and other sources to get you started. From there, I’ll talk about clip editing, copyright, incorporating video into PowerPoint or Keynote, etc. etc. Along the way, as you have questions, please don’t hesitate to email brian@leaderhelps.com.


  1. So ditto!

  2. Grateful very. Me, Kerry.


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