Wide eyes and open hearts consistently greet the opening of At The Movies at 12Stone Church. “ATM” is our annual sermon series that taps into the greatest stories ever told through motion picture. Many of those stories are really part of one great story – God’s story.
What is At The Movies all about?
Here is a video we encouraged our congregation to share when inviting others to the series:
We just launched ATM this past Sunday, opening with Jurassic Park and the message based on John 16:33. Jesus said:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Everyone gets it when T-Rex sized pressure is chasing you down in life, and you can’t find peace on your own. Jesus offers what you can’t do on your own!
Helping people find faith through film is a strong way to reach people with what really matters. Jesus. Hollywood is great at promising entertainment, and the church is great at promising eternity. Connecting the two can be powerful.
At The Movies isn’t really a new idea. Pastors have been using movie “clips” as part of sermon illustrations for years. This just takes that good idea and captures the strength of something both churched and un-churched people all love – movies!
ATM may not be for your church, but here are some thoughts in case you’re considering it:
Church should not be boring.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13)
Church should be attractive to the world, rather than the world attractive to Christians. Holiness is not the same as dull, dreary and dry. Children love it and want mom and dad to take them! They can’t wait to have their pictures taken within the movie sets in the lobby and outside.
People connect with stories at a heart level.
All good story lines follow the path of redemption. I love the Star Wars series. It’s not hard to see good and evil in the characters. The “Force” corrupted by the “Dark Side” and the battle for good. The biblical story jumps off the pages. From Eden, to Sin and the Fall, to the struggle, to the rescue and redemption with the hope for Eden (Heaven) once again.
From Braveheart to Toy Story, to Jurassic Park stories have always captured the hearts and minds of people and engaged their emotion. This is a great way to set the stage for the Gospel.
A series like ATM breaths life into your congregation to invite others!
At The Movies is not primarily designed to mature your seasoned believers, (although we are all inspired and learning!) Its purpose is to reach into your community and become attractive to those who are far from God. A good outwardly focused series has a “curiosity” factor that leaves the people thinking, “I need to check that out.”
People love movies, they remember them and they talk about their favorites! Church moves from something strange that un-churched people don’t understand to something culturally relevant they can relate to.
Your congregation will likely love it, get fired up, and be much more inclined to invite their friends, neighbors and co-workers with something like ATM as the draw.
Editor’s Note: If you are looking for graphics to support an At The Movies series at your church, we have some available for free here!