A Statement on Movies – For Youth Groups

Posted: October 13, 2014 by jperritt in Uncategorized

“The EARTH is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…”  Psalm 24:1a

Our annual youth Fall Retreat is this weekend, so I felt it appropriate to share the below statement on movies.  In the youth ministry at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church, we place a great deal of emphasis on teaching the Word of God.  Therefore, we will have four times of teaching over the weekend.  However, we will also have a hayride, bonfire, group games, free time, as well as, some other events planned.

One event that has become a favorite for our students has been the outdoor movie.  We typically discuss the movie beforehand and get everyone thinking biblically as they approach the film.  However, discussing the movie is the easy part, choosing a film is the challenge.  In fact, the challenge makes me want to cancel the movie every year.  But, the teaching opportunity it allows for our students makes us continue to do it.  That being said, below is the statement we share with parents each year as a reminder of our reasoning for hosting a movie.  Take a look and let me know what you think.

POPC-YouthBecause of sin, discerning which movies to enjoy and which to abstain from is a very complicated issue.  It’s a very difficult struggle for the individual, but when you attempt to watch a movie in a large group, it becomes even more difficult.  While the Youth Ministry of POPC wants to be sensitive to family’s decisions concerning their movie-watching, they also want to engage this sphere of culture in a safe environment; i.e., the church.

The first truth we accept comes from a statement Dr. Grant Horner makes about movies.  “There’s no such thing as an in-offensive movie.[i]” What offends Family A might not offend Family B and vice versa.  Applying this truth to group movies, makes it impossible for us to choose a movie that doesn’t bother anyone.

Another truth we accept comes from the words of Jesus Christ telling his followers to be in the world, but not of the world [John 17:14-15].  Part of this “in not of” mentality is engaging the world with a critical eye.  Not simply sitting back and letting culture impact us, but also impacting culture by questioning it through a biblical worldview.

We also view the incarnation as instructional, because we have a Savior who entered a sinful world, not one who avoided it.  Applying this to movies, we need to enter into stories of a broken world.  Just as scripture does not shy away from depictions of sin, we too, need to watch movies that give accurate portrayals of life in a sinful world.  This is not to say, however, that we do not abstain from certain movies.  There are movies Christians must avoid and they are typically films that glorify sin – those films that accurately portray sin without accurate portrayals of the consequences.

Movies fall into the confusing grey area of Christian liberty.  While there are some hard and fast rules we can apply – all pornography is sin, for example – the waters become murky very quickly.  We know that we cannot simply follow a movie’s rating, because they attempt to oversimplify the exceedingly complicated sinful heart.  Yet we know that movies are a culture-shaping experience, therefore, Christians should engage that sphere with discernment.

In light of all of this, the youth ministry attempts to engage the culture by helping our students think biblically about film.  We will not do this perfectly.  We will get it wrong from time-to-time.  Everyone won’t agree with us.  However, we are attempting to develop students that are ready to enter the world with an understanding that God is Creator of all things, even movies.

[i] Horner, Grant. Meaning at the Movies


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