“When you sit at home…” Dt. 4:7
This verse is found in the oft-quoted passage regarding discipleship in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 where Moses addresses the congregation of Israel and explains how they are to pass their faith on to the next generation. He mentions four specific moments to talk about faith: When we sit at home, when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we rise.
I love these four moments because they are universal – every single person ever had done these things. They’ve sat at a place they call home, they’ve left and gone out on the road, they’ve slept and they’ve woken up. These simple, everyday moments are when God shows up, if we are looking for Him.
Over the next few weeks, I’d like to look at these four moments and find some creative ways to use the time we’ve been given. Today, we’re going to look at the moments where we sit at home and how we can redeem that time to share our faith with our kids.
One time our whole family sits at home, which is increasingly a harder feat to accomplish, is when we watch a movie together. Movies are great because they tell a story, much like the metanarrative of Scripture and the parables that Jesus uses to each his disciples. Often in movies, we can find rich plots, interesting characters, and complex moral dilemmas and in those things, we can often find just the right opportunity to share with our kids how we can live out our faith or how God can meet our deepest needs.
Here’s four faith-forming movie moments we can capture for our Family Movie Night discipleship times
The BIG Story
Every movie has an overall plot and many times the plot has something to do with good vs. evil. Of course, we always want good to win and just when it looks like evil has taken the lead, good comes from behind for the BIG win. Does this sound anything like another story you’ve heard in your life or read in the pages of the Bible? The original good vs. evil story took place in the narrative of Scripture and is repeated in all of the small stories we read over and over again, not the least of which was the resurrection of Christ that we celebrate on Easter. Some examples of questions you could ask your kids:
- Where does the idea of good and evil come from?
- Who was the good guy in the movie? Who is the ultimate good guy?
- Can you give an example of the Bible where good beat evil, like in the movie?
The BIG Lesson
Most movies have a “lesson” or moral they are trying to get across to their audience. It may not be a deep lesson (Dumb and Dumber anyone?) and it may not be a healthy one (50 Shades of Let’s Not Go There) but there is some lesson behind the story. Before you watch the movie with your kids, be aware of what the messages are and ask your kids if they can find it or figure it out. I’ve been amazed by some of the insights my girls have come up with about the messages in movies. Here are a few questions to help you get started.
- What is the main message this movie is telling you about life? love? relationships? friendship?
- Do you think the message is true or false?
- Do you think that is a the same message Jesus would give you?
The BIG Picture
Movies try to paint a certain reality, whether it is set in a high school or outer space, the movie tries to pull you into their alternate universe and have you believe it’s real. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on the movie, the fact is that reality is not real. Sometimes kids especially have a hard time discerning that as their minds are still developing the skills necessary to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Here are a few thoughts you might want to share with your kids before and after the movie.
- Before the movie: Look for things in the movie that are different from your reality.
- After the movie: What did you think was unrealistic? Why? How has that been different from your experience? As a Christian, what would you have done in that situation?
The BIG Hero
Oh, we love our heroes! My girls recently discovered Indiana Jones and MacGyver (Thank you Daddy and Netflix) and they think these two men are simply amazing. Every good movie has a great hero who always rescues the needy ones, loves the unloved ones, and saves the lost ones. It’s as though they had a prototype to work off of (hmmmmm), an ultimate Hero that could change the whole world (AHA!). We of course know His name, but let’s make sure our kids know Him too. Here’s some ways to start that conversation.
- Who in the movie needed rescued and who was the hero?
- How did we know that he/she was the hero? What makes a hero heroic?
- Who is the ultimate Hero of the world? Who has He rescued?
These questions and conversations flow easily in our house now since we started them a long time ago, but at first it can be a little awkward. Don’t let that awkwardness stop you.
These types of conversations carry more meaning than in just that moment; they begin to help your children build a framework through which they watch television and movies in the future. They will approach these things with a mind that is looking for more, critically reviewing the messages they receive, and developing a worldview based on the reality of God’s word.
And to think it all started with some pizza, popcorn, and pop (soda, coke, whatever) in your living room on Family Movie Night.
If you are interested in seeing how this plays out with an actual movie, feel free to contact me and put the words “Family Movie Night” in the subject line and I’ll send you a parent discussion guide for a familiar movie!
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- And much more!
About the author
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter at Plowshares BIC. With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, she is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family and ChurchLeaders.com