Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Nativity Story - Opportunity to Reach Out ... Or Opportunity to Sell?

The latest edition of Outreach Magazine has a Christmas theme ... naturally. This theme focuses upon the soon-to-be-released motion picture, The Nativity Story. It contains a full-page ad for the movie inside the font cover, as well as a well-illustrated feature story.

The magazine provides a link to a site where church leaders can obtain free ministry resources to use the film as an outreach. Interestingly, if you go to the main web site at Outreach.com, you will find a prominent lead banner with links to a sub-page where you can purchase all sorts of tools to use in making this movie an outreach tool. You can buy post cards, pahphlets, Bibles, banners (extremely costly), even door hangers!

Here's the thing ... are these movies truly effective outreach tools? Or are they opportunities for someone to make money in the Christian "market?"

Think back over the past couple of years, and the many past issues of magazines such as Outreach. Do you remember The Passion of the Christ? Or what about all of the doom-filled, "sky-is-falling" alarms sounded over that non-event known as The DaVinci Code? [Most of the people in my church never heard of it ... they thought it sounded like a diet plan or something :) ]

Are we really using these movies to reach people and fill the seats in Christ's church? Is that's what is really going on here? Or is someone using the church (and its resources) to fill the seats in the movie theaters ... and the pockets of Hollywood?

Opinions? Thoughts? Are such movies effective outreach, even for the cause of Church planting? Or is this just the encroachment of capitalism into it's newly-discovered Christian "market?"


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