FYI: Combining the DVD series and the Bible study provided a good balance of the study of James. Oftentimes, teens can get overloaded with DVD series and become bored or indifferent towards them. I try to provide a good balance of media and formal teaching time.
Live at Five provides a good change of pace in a Bible study. The liquid series always do a great job at providing a different perspective that sparks conversation and discussion. With a visual generation watching, it is interesting to see the students interact with the video. Who wouldn’t want a real live version of the lessons in the book of James? Seriously, the videos provide a real life portrayal of your Bible study. It will provide a great jump-start to your James study.
James by Simply Youth Ministry was perfect for my small group teaching times. It provided a short lesson and in-depth discussion questions at the end of each lesson. That is exactly the format of our small group times. So for our ministry, it fit perfectly. The lessons were well-written and easy to teach. Very few complaints about this curriculum coming from this guy.
If you are looking for a blockbuster movie with superb cinematography, dynamite acting, and two thumbs up from movie critics, you won’t find it in the Live at Five series. If you are comparing this series to Avengers or Godzilla, the special effects are going to fall short. But if you enter with a mindset of content over quality, then you will get your due. The acting is corny at times, and the video is low-budget, but as long as you keep your perspective, it will serve your purpose.
The James Bible study really had few downsides. One could be, if you rely heavily on curriculum for a lengthy teaching time, you will need to supplement. If you are not comfortable doing that, you may need to look elsewhere. Also, a 5 week series may be too short for a series (Thus, the reason for combining with Live at Five)
Live at Five – B
It was great to have a real life portrayal of the book of James. Students need to understand how the Bible is relevant to today. The corny-ness and shallow acting at times brought the grade down a little. You could turn off some of your avid movie goers pretty quickly.
James (by Simply Youth Ministry) – A
This curriculum, as I mentioned before, fit my needs perfectly. Oftentimes, curriculum doesn’t take the time to spell out discussion questions. It simply leaves that task up to the teacher. This James Bible study provided everything a teacher needs. Sure it was only 5 weeks and was a little on the short side, but if you need something for a small group context, it fits perfectly.