Using This Book for Group Study
Copyright © 1996, Broadman & Holman Publishers
While there are many ways that you could use this publication to help enthuse and equip others for better TV- and other cyber-media management, the following sample plan is provided to get your creative juices flowing! It is for six “sessions” of approximately 30- to 50-minutes each.
For best results and to heighten enthusiasm, be sure to have one copy of this text for each household represented in your group. If possible, have the books available to hand out at your first session so group members can have a chance to read the suggested material before you come together again for session two.
|1|| After introducing the subject, and the text for your study (this book), take about 5-minutes to ask the following questions. Listen to everyone's responses, but be careful not to react negatively.
Next, if the members of your group have not already done so prior to your meeting, select two or three people to take turns reading "Our Story" (chapter 1) aloud. Afterward, ask if anyone has experienced a similar situation in their home (i.e., frustrated by the way that they personally use TV or other media). Allow two or three brief personal stories to be shared. Then, read or summarize and discuss selected segments from Chapter 2. If an overhead projector is available, project some of the interesting statistics and two or three key quotes from the chapter. (If no overhead projector is available, consider using posterboard or a chalkboard.) End by praying together that God will: 1) help all the homes represented to reconsider the way that TV and related electronic media is used, and 2) help each individual group member to be willing to change if their viewing habits or selections are discovered not to be in-sync with God's standards for the Christian life.
|2|| Summarize the contents of Chapter 3. Then, ask group members to tell what they felt as they read the chapter on their own. Possible leading questions might include:
Next, take turns reading or summarizing selected segments from Chapters 4 and 5, which deal with Hollywood's agenda and the effects of poorly managed TV on relationships. Allow the members of your group to discuss how they use TV. Encourage the group to constantly consider how the message of this book might apply to their own life first, and their spouse or family second. What area of their own lives might God be encouraging them to re-examine? Challenge them to commit to strive toward better control in that problem area during the weeks to come.
|3|| Briefly highlight the material covered in Chapter 6 (five to eight minutes). Next, set up a TV and VCR and practice evaluating programs. (In the days prior to this session, have someone record three to five minutes each from three or four of the most popular network TV dramas or situation comedies.) Hand out copies of the "Program Evaluation Form," then use it to help analyze each recorded show segment. Use the discussion points noted in Section Two of the form to help get your group comfortable with evaluating and discussing programs. Next, hand out photocopies of the "Viewing Inventory" form from Chapter 7. Challenge each person to closely track his/her TV time until the next meeting (preferably for at least 1 week). Consider assigning each person a “buddy” and break off into sub-groups of two at the beginning of session #4 to share how they did, and to pray for and encourage one-another.
|4|| (Read the last sentence of session 3, above. Do this now if it applies to your group.) Prepare and bring a sample "TV Survival Kit" as described in chapter 8. Talk about the kit and allow group members to make their own lists of contents that would be good for a "TV Survival Kit" customized for their home. Give them the “assignment” of preparing and using their kit during the entire coming week or more. Also highlight and discuss several of the other survival ideas presented in that chapter. (Suggestion: challenge group members to the "Two Week Shutdown." For those willing to commit, have them complete a copy of the "TV Viewing Contract." Have some sort of certificate or prizes available at the next session for those who successfully complete the commitment they made in their contract.)
|5|| Read aloud the story about Video Seduction from chapter 9. Discuss the benefits and challenges of owning a VCR (or subscribing to cable television). Discuss the alarming facts that are included in the early pages of chapter 12. (If time permits and equipment is available to you, illustrate the fact that high quality, Christ-centered videos are available by showing short clips from a few of the "Author's Choice" videos that are noted in the VideoGuide section of chapter 12.) Tell your group where they can purchase or rent Christian videos locally. Suggest that your group donate tapes to your church library, and/or make a list of videos owned by your group and encourage sharing of the tapes.)
|6|| Show slides or share stories of members of your group who have enjoyed non-TV activities as a result of this study. Highlight and discuss ten to twenty of the TV-Free activities described in chapter 11. Brainstorm and write down your own group's unique ideas. (Use an overhead projector to project the group's ideas as they are shared.) Finally, review highlights from what has been discussed in the previous sessions and encourage the group to continue the TV management skills that they have learned. Before ending, pray together for God's help in becoming ever-better media managers, so each household can be even more finely-tuned families!