Have you ever sat down and talked to a camera … just you and an electronic recorder of sight and sound?
It’s a little weird, but not as unusual as it used to be. Thousands of people regularly record videos of themselves demonstrating life hacks, singing or playing an instrument, or explaining how things are done, and then posting them on YouTube.
I never aspired to having my own YouTube channel, though it’s easy enough to do, but part of my job as the lesson writer for Nurturing Faith involves recording a short video designed to introduce each lesson.
When we first started this enterprise, the idea was for the video to be aimed at Sunday School teachers or Bible study leaders, with me offering some background information and maybe a few tips for approaching the lesson. As time passed, we learned that a fair number of teachers were showing the video to their classes, then facilitating a discussion.
And, since the lesson texts are drawn from the lectionary, I’ve learned that some pastors occasionally watch the videos in hopes of getting some general background or picking up an idea for a sermon on the same text.
That led us to adopt a different approach. Though the content of the videos is largely the same, I’m aware that the audience is broader than we first thought … and that I’m not really just talking to the little camera that I set up periodically, with lights, to form a makeshift studio on our dining room.
Talking to the camera may seem to be a purely digital exercise, but no more so than posting pictures on Facebook or texting with a friend: we may be in a room with nothing but a computer or smartphone, but we’re communicating with real people.
So, as I talk to the camera, I know that it’s really a portal to people. I try to imagine folks who might be watching later on … teachers preparing in their pajamas on Saturday nights, class members all dressed up on Sunday morning, or random folks who Googled a text and wound up on the Nurturing Faith website.
As a result, I don’t think of myself as talking to the camera, but to friends, whether we’ve met in person or not — and the dining room seems a lot less lonesome.
If you’d like to learn more about Nurturing Faith and the Bible study resources we offer through Baptists Today, check it out at www.nurturingfaith.net. You can click on “Adults” to preview a video — I’ll be watching for you!
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.