For the last few years in June, our church has done a sermon series called God at the movies. This is a popular sermon series. In fact, when I announced that it was coming up, people actually clapped. It is not often that people clap for an upcoming sermon series! Here are five reasons why we keep doing this sermon series every summer.
The first thing to say is that the sermons are always on the Bible, not on the movies. I look at the themes of the movie, of course, but the goal is to see how these themes interact with the truth of the Bible. The sermon is always on the message of the Bible and how we can live it out. The movie helps to see how the message of the Bible applies today, even if the movie conflicts with the Bible.
In my mind, I called this sermon series "Saint Augustine‘s Theater." Augustine lived over 1500 years ago. He specialized in rhetoric, the art of persuasion. He loved to talk about how the truth of the gospel is found in culture, and he used cultural examples to make the point of the Bible. He was an incredible author, theologian, and pastor. In this sermon series I like to see how the truth of God is found in different pockets of culture. Or, we see how culture is contradicting the truth of Scripture, and the consequences. Either way, it’s important to interact with culture and see how God‘s word is eternal and true in every culture.
In this sermon series, people invite their friends to church and go to the movies with them. That is a huge win! Also, we do a discussion, on Sunday evenings, about the upcoming sermon and movie. That often gives me a chance to meet new people in our church, or connect with people I don’t know as well. Finally, I also go to the movies and open that time for other people to watch the movie with me. Watching movies together is really fun!
Many people know that most of the Bible is told in stories. The Bible as a whole is a story, the Story of God. And God's Story interacts with our stories. Movies are stories, and it is interesting to see how we can understand the themes of the stories. As we understand stories better, we can better understand the themes God is trying to tell in our own stories.
One of the biggest reasons we keep doing this sermon series is that our church grows every summer that we do it. There is variety because we cover different movies each year. People keep inviting their friends to experience this sermon series. So we will keep doing it, because reaching new people with the gospel of Jesus is a huge priority for us. It is June again, and time for God at the Movies! I am really looking forward to this month at our church!