Just in case we've never met before, or just in case you're a first time visitor to my blog, here's something you should know about me: I like movies. A lot.
Watching, experiencing, reading about, thinking about, writing about, and talking about movies are amongst some of my favorite things. Thus, because my life is about ministering to teenagers, I'm always looking for ways to combine the two. Sometimes that means finding a movie clip that illustrates a lesson or teaching point. Sometimes that means connecting with a student by just hanging out and going to the movies.
For the majority of my career in student ministry, I've ministered primarily to middle school students (6th- 8th grade). This made choosing movies to see with students super easy. Obviously, no R rated movies. But, since their age was either younger than 13 or right at 13, it was always difficult to decide if a PG-13 movie was appropriate or not. So, I didn't take students to see PG-13 movies either. It was G or PG all the way. However, in my current role, I ministering to both middle and high school students. In fact, in this context, since there aren't that many middle school students attending, my primary ministry is actually to high schoolers.
So how do I choose movies to see with students now? Well, for me, it's still no to R rated films. Just a blanket rule. No matter what it is. In fact, I don't even use R rateds in my teaching if I need a clip. It's not that I'm taking a stance against them, it's just that it's not a battle I want to fight. After all, there's thousands of movies out there. If there's an R that illustrates something well, there's also a lower rated film that does the same. As far as PG-13s go, I'm going to give it a shot today.
Tonight, I'm taking two high school aged guys to see Thor. Both of the guys are big comic book fans (who isn't?), and I've been looking for a way to connect with them for a while. Hopefully, it'll be a fun time that leads to some relational progress.
What about you? What are your guidelines for using movies in teaching? What about in choosing what you can see with students? I'd love your input. Fire away in the comments...