Let Hollywood Help With Your Next Message

Instead of trying to categorize art as to whether it is sacred or secular, good or evil, positive or negative--let's engage the culture in a conversation. Let's celebrate the truth wherever we encounter it. Let's applaud people when we see they are on a journey toward God, even if somewhat misguided. Let's leverage popular art to connect to our communities in ways they can understand. Let's work hard to uncover the positive and not so hard on exposing the negative.

-- Pop Goes the Church (pg 93)

I know I risk looking silly by quoting myself from Pop Goes the Church--but I do so to elevate and celebrate a new product that has just been released.

A friend recently sent me a link to a new app that runs on your iPhone or iPad called Clips. I checked it out, and I am convinced this app has huge potential. A youth pastor from the Detroit area has developed this app out of his own frustration of trying to find movie clips to use as teaching illustrations. Clips allows you to search by movie to find topics that are present in that film. Or, probably more helpful to many pastors and teachers, you can look for clips by topic. For example, looking for a clip on the topic of "failure" takes you to the movie "Elizabethtown." You are given the exact start and stop points for a 3-minute clip.

Clips includes some expected titles, such as Secretariat, UP and The Blind Side. But there other titles represented which many pastors might not think of, such as Easy A, Juno, Mean Girls and The Social Network. I appreciate the variety.

Understandably, you can't actually view the clip through the app. That would cause all kinds of liability and copyright headaches for the writer. But it gives a great place to start. There are probably only 50 movies included right now--but it's built in such a way that it can be quickly expanded. And if, as the author plans, it is opened up to suggestions from users, this tool will quickly grow to become an invaluable tool for every pastor.

At $2.99, it's a good buy. A bonus that many users will appreciate is a "Discussion Guide" attached to each movie. There are helpful questions which could be used in small groups--or even for a family to use after watching the movie. If anyone is wondering the writer's experience in designing iOS apps, he wrote the popular "Whoopee Cushion" app awhile back. (Did I mention he is a youth pastor?).

You should know I don't make any money by writing this blog post. I just think Clips is a cool app that might be of benefit to many of my readers, especially those who are interested in leveraging pop culture to connect people to truth.

Tim Stevens1 Comment