I have been wanting to do reviews for a while now, but I just don’t really feel qualified most of the time. Also, I spend a great deal of time modifying most of the things that I use to the point that they are far from their original intention. Maybe that would be a good category for my reviews: how easy it is to modify.
Anyway, to kick off my random whenever I try something new review section I wanted to talk about something from Bluefish.tv that I picked up from my local Lifeway. Let me start by saying that if you haven’t checked them out yet at www.bluefishtv.com you are missing out. They sell videos for ministry not at $20 like most places, but at $1.99. It is great for small churches. The Amena Brown spoken word series is one I would pay $100 bucks for alone so it is a really great place to go and find videos.
But on to the review. I recently used “I AM: Getting to know God” in my normal Wednesday night meeting. It is a 4 week video driven curriculum with David Nasser.
Things it did well:
- The student testimonies were spot on. There were some really powerful conversations with teens who were not giving pat religious answers. They did a good job of talking to teens who were following God and teens who were struggling with the whole God thing.
- David Nasser is a great communicator and captured the attention of my students
- There is one clip with David Crowder and that is always fun. Any chance to hear him speak or sing I will take.
Things it did not do well:
- Let’s start with the sub-title. It isn’t really about getting to know God. It is more about the question that is on the website “How can I have a relationship with a God who is invisible.” So it is more focused on our relationship with God than God himself. Not a bad thing, I just was looking for something different from the box.
- The videos, David Nasser’s talks, and the lessons from the book didn’t seem to connect all of the time. I know how it is to have different people writing on a project and how hard it is to get a similar focus, but it seemed like everyone was straining a bit. Almost like they pulled the students and then asked Nasser to talk about them and then someone else to look at the video and try to come up with a lesson. And then after that decided on a title and overall theme for the box
- All of the videos had at least 2 student stories. These stories were normally very different from each other with a very different focus. The material instructed to play the entire video and then go back and talk about each one. I found it must more effective to break the video into halves and add discussion after each half. The only problem is that the DVD format makes that a little cumbersome (but not totally unworkable)
In the end it wasn’t bad material by any means. Like I said the student stories were wonderful. But for the money it just didn’t seem to be as polished as I would have liked. I don’t know why, but I felt like it was created for some other purpose and repackaged in this format. It took a good deal of work to make everything connect. As for compatibility it was pretty good, but not as good as it would be to offer those same videos in a download format so that I could use the student stories without Nasser if I wanted or without the host guy.
It looks like my first review is a tepid one.