In “Parable Preaching,” another session I attended at the Best Practices in Ministry conference in Phoenix in February, presenter Pastor Jeff Scheich of Lincoln, NE, talked about the power of parables that Jesus utilized in his time on earth, and the power of a good story we can still use in our day to preach the Gospel message.
In an interesting wary of looking at things, Scheich explained that the parables that Jesus taught in the first century were related to the things that the listeners were interesting in, talking about and involved with: planting, farming, shepherding, going to banquets, attending weddings, etc. And the points that Jesus made from stories about things that people were familiar with would stick with them.
Which begged the question: What are the stories people are interesting in, talking about and involved with today? The answers from the group came fairly quickly: Star Wars, Harry Potter, Twilight, Divergent, The Hunger Games, any Disney movie, etc.
It has become clear then to Scheich that in our society today, to engage the members of our parishes, pastors should preach from movies in the same way that Jesus preached from parables. With that in mind, he stressed that it is important that the preacher let Scripture speak to the movies and not the other way around. The movie should be just the jumping-off point, but the conclusions solely Bible-based.
Over the last several years, Scheich has used The Lego Movie. Frozen, Spiderman, Shawshank Redemption and the Toy Story movies as the “parables” in his preaching to great effect for his members. Members have reported since that they looked at the movies discussed differently when they saw the films again, and they remembered the Christian messages that the sermon drew from them more readily. The divine messages “stuck with them,” just like they did through the parables Jesus told.
It makes me think that the next time I go the movies, I should ask myself, “How might God be using this film to teach me something about my life with him?” Just another reason to sit back, relax and enjoy the show!