This Weekend we begin GATM 5. We’ll start with the movie, Juno. I’m going to post some specific stuff on this message topic tonight or tomorrow, but I wanted to give a few thoughts about this series. I would encourage you to check out Rod Kaya’s (our pastor who leads weekend programming – among other things) blog as a kind of cross reference.

Rod is saying some things about the seeker church strategy that I really like & will chime in on soon. 

Specifically here are a few thoughts about this series: 

* CONNECTION – one of the main reasons that we keep doing this series has to do with connection. I’m thinking of the connection that the series has to the unchurched person. Movies are the “agora” of ideas in our culture. Movies are where the stories are told that we think, we would like to think or we are afraid to think reflect who we are, what our lives are. When we engage in where God might be present in these stories it helps people connect with God in their own story.

* CONNECTION – no, I’m not having a “senior” 40-something moment. There is another aspect of connection that we might overlook. It’s the connection that we who are trying to live lives in connection with God make as we begin to notice & look for God’s presence in places we haven’t heretofore. Perhaps a better term would be “integration”. I’m encouraged every year about this time & really throughout the year, when I get emails that say, “have you considered this movie for our GATM series. It would be great”. Even when we don’t end up using the movie, I love that we are looking at movies differently. This phenomena of “connection” bleeds over. I have noticed that since we’ve been doing this series I get way more suggestions about TV shows, songs, art work, commercials. Anyone who’s studied learning theory can already see where this is going. This type of connection is actually a more advanced processing of the Word of God. 

* EMOTION – Art is powerful because it can speak to us at a deeper level. Films are especially powerful because they combine various arts – images, poetry, music – to help us “feel ideas”. Often in a worship service, the emotion part happens during the music, the analytical during the message, pathos and logos. For me one of the fun things about this series is how much emotional intensity happens during the message. 

* MUCHO PREP – I always look back at this series when it’s over going, “dude, that was a lot of work”. Believe it or not it seems to me that these messages take more prep & discipline of my time than most. 

* FUN – We have fun with this series. I don’t think “fun” is our highest values as a church or as Christ followers, but I think we should have as much fun as we can. I read a book about 20 years ago (Developing Attitude Toward Learning by Robert Mager) for some class, that had a statement in it that has stuck with me ever sense: “Things surrounded by unpleasantness are seldom surrounded by people”. 

Pass the popcorn!