Tag Archives: movies

Youth Ministry Goes To The Movies

STORY 27 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

We have worked on over forty movies over the past thirty years, starting with ECHOES – a film that we produced, directed, and distributed in 1985. One that has reached as many teenagers as any faith-based film was Soul Surfer – The Bethany Hamilton Story. Rick Bundschuh, longtime Team interlínc Member, told interlinc’s Allen Weed, “There’s a 13-year-old surfer girl in our church who got her arm bit off by a shark. I believe that the Lord is going to do some amazing things through her life.” Allen totally missed how important what Rick was saying would be.

Several months later, Allen was eating lunch at Puckett’s Grocery — the local hamburger joint — and noticed on the television on top of the soft drink machine that the young teenager Rick mentioned was making a guest appearance on the Oprah show!

She was amazing as she shared her remarkable confidence in the Lord about the events surrounding the shark attack, how she had been dealing with it, and how she viewed her future. She quoted Jeremiah 29:11 as her rock-solid stance.

Allen immediately called Rick and asked him to get interlínc connected with Bethany’s family. From that association, The Heart of a Soul Surfer documentary was shot and sent out to all YLO members. Interlínc then worked with her family and her manager producer to coordinate the youth ministry outreach for the Soul Surfer theatrical release.

Soul Surfer Movie Guide
Soul Surfer Movie Guide

When most youth leaders think of interlínc, they rightfully think of music. We are, after all, heavily involved in the Christian music world, and most of our resources are created to use music as a hook to teach biblical truth. While teenagers are exposed to more music than any other media, we know that movies are very important and have a huge impact.

Your students are into movies—big time. Most of our young friends watch several movies a week. They watch them alone and with friends, on their phones, computers, televisions, and local theater screens. They quote lines and sing songs from favorite films, and adopt the fashions they see in the movies they like. Yep, movies are big time important to teenagers.

That means that YOU want to be able to take advantage of films that will help you reach young people for Jesus Christ, and help them to grow in their relationship with Him!

When we find movies that you would find useful, we create resources that help you use those films in your ministry to students. We review scripts and view screeners to find movies that can help you use the movie experience to impart Biblical truth to your students.

Some of the movies we've created youth ministry resources for
Some of the movies we have created youth ministry resources for

We have developed youth ministry resources for large blockbuster movies (like The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and The Passion of The Christ), medium sized movies (such as Soul Surfer, and Disney’s A Christmas Carol) and smaller movies (like Alone Yet Not Alone and The Identical).

Movies can have a big impact on students. We want to help you to use that potential for Christ!

Movie review: Thor: The Dark World

Guest post by Todd Pearage from The Gathering in Dayton, Ohio

Thor is called the “Mighty God of Thunder” … and apparently he’s the mighty god of the box-office too.

Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s Thor and Marvel’s The Avengers, Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos … but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

Whether you are a casual fan or a geeked-out fanboy, you have to appreciate what Marvel Studios is doing for the superhero genre. From constantly delivering the highest quality films (IronMan, Thor, Hulk, Captain America and The Avengers) to crossing over characters and storylines, Marvel Studios continues to impress.

Thor: The Dark World has everything a huge blockbuster superhero movie needs … likable characters, intense action, top-shelf special effects and an intelligent storyline that has both heart and humor.

All of our favorite characters are back from the original Thor film (several were also in The Avengers). Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are absolutely perfect as Thor and his mischievous brother Loki. The rest of the cast is also great and newcomer Christopher Eccleston is scary good as the villain. Because he is the only new main character to develop, we get to jump right into the action. And the action is intense and nonstop (and of course I watched the movie in 3D which amplifies the action even more.)

Besides brilliant 3D filming, the movie also features amazing special effects. From the hallowed halls of Asgard to the streets of London and back to the other nine realms, the special effects enhance the film instead of being a distraction.

Finally there is the story. I’m convinced the thing that separates the good from the great action movies is the story. And Thor has a great story jam packed with drama, love, betrayal, heart and humor. Honestly, I could not have asked for more.

I also love how this movie stands alone and yet ties in perfectly with the Marvel franchise. From the mentions of “the battle of New York” (in Avengers) to the Captain America cameo, the story is crafted with care and precision.

Besides being a very entertaining movie, I loved that I could take my 12-year-old son with me to see it. Thor is his favorite superhero and we had a blast watching it and talking about it on the way home. Thor: The Dark World may be a little darker than the other Marvel films, but it is still fun, clean and wildly entertaining.

PS Make sure you stay for TWO post credit scenes.

What should parents/youth leaders know
This film is on par with the other Marvel superhero films. There is a fair amount of violence that while it is intense at times, it is not bloody or gory. There is no sex or nudity and I believe there was one S-word in the entire film.

What youth leaders can talk about
Here are a few discussion-starting questions you can ask your students (or your own kids) as you talk about the movie:

  1. How would you describe the trust level between Thor and Loki?
  2. Why was there broken trust between the two brothers?
  3. How would you explain or define trust?
  4. Do you find it easy or difficult to trust other people? Why or why not?

Read Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
 do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do,
 and he will show you which path to take.

  1. How is “Trusting in the Lord with all your heart” different from trusting a friend?
  2. Why can we “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” without any fear?
  3. What can you do this week to deepen your trust in God?

Thor: The Dark World
Release Date: 11/8
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Ray Stevenson and Stellan Skarsgard
Directed by: Alan Taylor

“Us” and “Them” and Superman

Did anybody else read the editorial “What Evangelicals Can Learn from Superman” in USA Today over the weekend? Written by Tom Krattenmaker, the column talks about the shift in the way many Christians are choosing to engage with culture (specifically the new “Man of Steel” movie, but more generally with music, media and pop culture).

When it comes to secular pop culture, evangelical America has come a long way since the days of “hit and run” — hit, as in condemn, and run, as in teach your kids and flocks that this stuff is to be avoided like the devil.

Whether it’s movies or music, I think most youth leaders have been ahead of the curve in this area. But it’s interesting to see a “trend” (although I hope it’s much more than that) being recognized.

More recently, there has been a growing understanding that walls meant to protect Christians have also barred them from participating in a secular culture that, for all its crass commercialization and glorified sex and violence, offers much that is enlightening and uplifting. The increasingly common call in evangelical America: Engage culture. Learn from it. Create it, with or without the explicit faith references.

What about you? Have you seen “Man of Steel”? Are you talking to your students about the movie? Do you see a shift in the way others in your church community are engaging with popular culture?

Music and movies worth giving thanks for

I was reading this post over on the I’d Laugh…But All This Happened To Me! blog. It’s a great (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) list of things we could do to reclaim the Thanksgiving Holiday. And I think he’s right. So often it seems Thanksgiving has been relegated to nothing more than a minor holiday stuck between Halloween and Christmas. Or the long weekend to kick off the beginning of the shopping season. Or a great day for a parade.

But whatever happened to pausing to give thanks? Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to remind our students that we should have a thankful heart … not just at Thanksgiving but all the time. Yes, it’s cliche. But it’s still true.

So I started a list of movies or songs that might help us connect with students and remind them to be thankful. Here are a couple of my favorites:

And from our resident movie expert and contributor Mark Pittman, here are some of his favorite student-ministry-approved (translation: lots of laughs and more than a few gags!) movies we should be doubly thankful for this holiday.

  1. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  2. Addams Family Values
  3. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

So help me out. Use the comments and let’s compile a list of the best thanks-themed movies, media and music for the holiday. Go!

Kids + Summer = Movies

© Cprevost525 | Dreamstime.comJoel Mayward (a blogger I read regularly) had a guest post yesterday on Josh Griffin’s “More Than Dodgeball” (another regular read). I wanted to share the link here because I think Joel does a great job of summing up how movies can be a powerful jumping-off point for spiritual discussions with your students.

Jesus Goes to the Movies
I love movies. As in, I’ve watched 85 films already this year, which averages to around 3 a week, if my math is correct. Some might call me a movie snob; I prefer the term “cinephile.” While one could argue that film is a big waste of time and money, I believe filmmakers are theologians of sorts. They tell us stories that both reflect and shape our cultural values, including our views of humanity and God. The movie theater becomes a sanctuary, a 2-hour respite from the summer heat and boredom. In the youth ministry world, movie theaters – alongside malls – become the centers of summer activity for many of our students.

Read the entire post on “More Than Dodgeball” here.

This was a great reminder to me on the power of movies in students’ lives; and our responsibility to help them process what they take in. It pretty much sums up the reasons we’ve worked hard in the past (and will continue) to develop movie resources for student ministry.