I have had the privilege of traveling to multiple presbytery meetings over the past few months – including Chicago, Wabash Valley, and Whitewater Valley – and the question I’m asked most often is: “How do I start talking to my congregation about Matthew 25?” Of course, I ask about each congregation’s context and their understanding of Matthew 25, but my answer has typically always been the same: movie night!
Art, and specifically film, can speak to us in unexpected ways, stirring emotions and sparking new ideas or new ways of thinking. It’s also incredibly accessible and has the potential to reach more people than a five-minute presentation during your next session meeting. Fortunately, the Presbyterian Mission Agency has created resources to help congregations explore the three foci of Matthew 25 through film: building congregational vitality, eradicating, systemic poverty, and dismantling structural racism.
Each resource provides five or six film suggestions, as well as questions for reflection and discussion. One suggestion would be to gather your Adult Sunday School class together for a viewing of the award-winning film The Florida Projectand take time afterward to talk through ways you have either seen or experienced systemic poverty in your community. Or get the entire congregation together to watch Encanto (make it a sing-along if you’d like!) and break out into small groups afterward to discuss your different gifts and how you can best utilize them to be a church of action. Watch these conversations generate energy and a greater understanding of the issues we’re addressing. From here, your Session can begin the bigger discussion of what it means to accept the Matthew 25 invitation, or if you already identify as Matthew 25, how you might be able to live into this call more deeply. And, as always, you can reach out to me if you need additional support.
So pick a movie, grab your favorite snacks, and let me know how it goes!
Lauren W. Rogers
Ministry Engagement Advisor, Central Region
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Ministry Engagement & Support