It occurred to me, as the producer/director, that for shorter classes or discussion groups there are certain materials that might be especially useful for those wishing to better understand the sources and directions of Christian growth in Africa in our age. They are included as Educational Extras in the films’ Complete Educational Edition.
For example, in United Methodist, or other mainline, congregations, one can use our original portrait of United Methodists in Zimbabwe running just 23 minutes. After a brief discussion of what viewers think might happen to these characters and their church over time, including now in the wake of Zimbabwe’s economic collapse and political crises, the class can then view our follow-up filming with these same characters ten years later. It runs under 8 minutes, which means, for an hour-long class there would still be a half hour left for discussion. (One Methodist pastor, who had lived in Africa, wrote the following about using that 23-minute segment with her local congregation: “It was as if the disjointed pieces of a jigsaw puzzle suddenly coalesced into a coherent picture. the video helped us to understand Africa and its people as we never had before.”)
One can do this also with our portrait of a Pentecostal church in Zimbabwe, Victory Tabernacle (20:48). From our Ghana work, we also have shorter portraits of Presbyterian, Catholic and Pentecostal/charismatic congregations, though our follow-ups with them appear only in the full-length film, Stories from Ghana. (But, those short passages in that film can be cued up for viewing on their own.)
There are many other combinations of short pieces in our Educational Extras to view and discuss in classes or study groups running for shorter periods of time. For further ideas of what those combinations might look like, have a look at the table of contexts of our Educational Extras.
For local churches we will make our Complete Educational Edition including such “extras” available at a more affordable price. If you’re interested, get in touch or check back here for details.
All the best, Jim Ault
NB: We encourage educators to share their own experiences using these documentary film materials here, on this blog, in order to help others make best use of them.