In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 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.
These four moments are universal—every single person to ever exist has done these things. Everyone has sat in 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.
It’s helpful to get really practical about those moments when we think about discipleship happening at home; to really consider what is going on during those moments. For our family, one of the most memorable times that we would “sit at home” was for a Family Movie Night. We’d pick a movie, pop the popcorn, grab our blankets and pillows and settle in for a fun evening together.
Movies are great because they tell a story, much like 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?