Last year I was invited by a student of mine to a graduation dinner put on by her church. The youth pastors, a young couple hired only three months previously, appeared a little nervous and unsure of making the night special for all in attendance graduates. However, the night was a huge success—not because of the journal given to each graduate, not because of the chardonnay chicken with sour cream sauce, and not because of the numerous prizes given to graduates through several drawings. The night was a success because of a 40-minute video featuring parents, siblings, friends, and teachers—all sharing their thoughts, memories, and hopes for the graduates. Many of us in the room laughed and cried while the graduates smiled, fidgeted, and beamed with pride.
Often, when I read God's Word, I feel the same as these graduates did viewing this video: I smile when my obedience is affirmed. I fidget when my shortcomings are gently and graciously made clear. And I beam when God's love for me is communicated over and over again.
This month, make an affirming video during one of your small-group meetings. Prayerfully consider who the recipient(s) may be:
- A soldier serving overseas
- An inmate
- A single mom
- A family member struggling with a terminal disease
- A pregnant teen
- A homebound senior citizen
- A high school or college graduate
- A newly married couple
Next, have each person in your small group prepare something to say on the video. Suggest that they write down their thoughts and ideas the week prior to the taping and encourage them to use what they have written as a guide while being taped. Suggest the following ideas to help your group members prepare:
- Encouraging Scripture passages
- Favorite memories
- Funny stories
- Helpful advice
- Famous quotes
- Personal testimony
Set aside one of your group meetings to complete the taping. Make sure to have a pleasing backdrop, carefully positioning the person being taped so there is nothing distracting behind him or her. Try to capture each person's message the first time to limit the amount of editing needed for the final video. However, save all the "bloopers" and add them to the end of the video. If necessary, take a collection to help pay for the blank DVDs or the cost of having the video edited.
Contemplate how your group wants to present the video to the recipient. Mail the completed DVD to those unable to be reached. For others, consider having two or three group members watch the movie with the recipient. If appropriate, invite the person to your small group and surprise him or her with the video—make the whole night a celebration. Give the DVD to the recipient, making sure to include a card signed by each person in the group.