I’ve seen it a lot.

It’s the summer. You’ve got a lot on your plate. You’re scrambling to add just one more event to the calendar. Or you have intentionally planned a chill event after a week-long mission trip.

What’s easier than putting on a movie and microwaving popcorn for your students?

Very little!

But let’s be real, sometimes a harmless movie night can turn into A LOT of angry emails. Especially if you’ve got hypervigilant parents who think Veggie Tales is a little too mainstream.

So, what to do?

Well, first, check out this movie list. It’s not conclusive, but it can get you started! Picking the right movie is KEY!

Pick a Movie

Are you doing a faith-based movie? An animated sing-a-long? An action or sci-fi flick? Great! Have fun with it! Then, I go check out a website I use to see what’s in a movie. Common Sense Media is my go-to, but you can search just about any movie by putting it into Google with “how many cuss words does _____” It will get you far and save you a lot of trouble.

Watch it First

I know, you’re busy. But if you want to put students before a movie, you will want to watch it first. Don’t slack here. Put it on while you catch up on emails or clean the youth room. If something DOES come up, you want to be able to say, “Yes, I watched the movie and prepared students for that.”

Plan it Out

Does the movie push the boundaries? Send an email. Tell parents WHY you want to watch that movie. Explain what difficult scene their students will see. Tie it into your teaching for the month. Prepare and communicate. That way, you’ve got parents sorted, and no one is surprised. Besides, an extra 30 minutes of work can make you look like a rockstar who totally didn’t just put a movie night on the calendar to have an easy week.

Have Some Games!

DYM is full of resources you can use for your movie night. There are tons of movie-themed games in the DYM store. Go see them all! And with a little bit of effort, your low-key event turns into a great hang with your students!

Get a License

Ugh. LEGAL STUFF!? Yeah, I know. Most youth pastors think you can just watch a movie and pray for forgiveness. But you actually DO have to get a license to show a movie. Unless you know the owner of the movie’s copyright. Just where are you doing youth ministry anyway? Head to this website to grab a license. Put it in your budget. The lawyer, a deacon, and the head of the youth committee will thank you.

Any other suggestions? I’d love to hear them!