In a word: Yes.
God loves a good story! Jesus told stories all throughout his ministry. In fact, he tells us in Matthew 13 that a good story can help nudge people toward receptive insight.
So the question isn’t really whether or not Kingdom workers should go to the movies, but rather how can Kingdom workers be discerning about the types of movies they choose to watch?
I am a huge fan of movies! Going to the movie theater has been one of my favorite pastimes since I was a kid. The older I got, the more movies I could go to on my own. But I quickly realized maybe not every movie was appropriate for me to go to.
The passage in 2 Corinthians 6:3-8 says: “We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true.”
As Kingdom workers, we are representatives of our King. We are “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor 5:20), and that carries some weight of responsibility. In the passage above Paul lays out a great roadmap to being God’s representatives. So how does this have to do with going to the movies?
Have you ever been to a movie and something made you laugh that deep down you knew was inappropriate? Or even something that is obviously sinful? What about being at a movie and watching something happen on the screen that is immoral?
If we are proclaiming ourselves as Kingdom workers, you better believe people are watching our actions. This reality came all too close to home one time when I was at the movies with my younger brother. Something happened on the screen that I laughed at, but it was definitely not something that would reflect well on my King. My brother noticed my reaction and started laughing, as well. Later that night when we got home my parents asked how the movie was and my brother told them about that part of the movie and how he thought it was funny. I don’t even think he understood fully what was happening, but because that was my reaction, he thought that it was OK. That was a huge wake up call to the influence that we can have, even in our reactions.
Hollywood knows how to pull out our deepest emotions – the heroes are larger than life, the villains are more evil than evil itself. The epic adventures are out of this world and the thrills that movies take you on can leave you breathless. As Kingdom workers, we should be sure that the movies we go to are pulling out “purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech and the power of God.”
So yes, go to the movies and enjoy a good story. But when you do so, consider how you can be more discerning about how you respond to those stories and the conversations that can come from watching them. As Kingdom workers, we have a responsibility to spark conversations that nudge people toward receptive insight toward the Kingdom of God.
Craig Davenport is the Hatch production manager for Christ In Youth. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.