Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | April 11, 2006

Silver screen … silver bullet?

10m.jpgChristianity Today's Leadership Journal posted an interesting article yesterday on their blog. With all the growing hype around the forthcoming Da Vinci Code film, they seem to concerned that the church is being swallowed up in Hollywood's marketing machine.

The article is worth a look if only to see the staggering figures generated by two of the previous films given 'outreach' marketing – Passion of the Christ and Narnia. Between them they generated nearly a billion dollars. But the question is being asked – have they made any significant contribution to church growth?

11m.jpgGiven the aspirations of Motive Marketing, the company hired by both these films to specifically target the Christian market, this is an important question. Certainly building the kingdom of God does not appear to be their objective, as their website makes clear:

The Faith and Family Market is a potential goldmine for films that can satisfy its demand for high quality entertainment and high moral values.

Greed rather than gospel seems to be their intent, something that is amplified by research from the Barna group who reported:

“Among the most startling outcomes…is the apparent absence of a direct evangelistic impact by the movie…. Less than one-tenth of one percent of those who saw the film stated that they made a profession of faith or accepted Jesus Christ as their savior in reaction to the film’s content.”

My own view is that movies such as these do provide useful starting points for dialogues about the gospel. They do reference themes and ideas which are useful for us to build upon with conversations with our friends, colleagues and neighbours. However, we must not be fooled into thinking that these films will do our outreach for us.

36m.jpgIt is also important that we don't look exclusively to certain films such as The Passion of the Christ, Narnia, or The Da Vinci Code for bridging into popular culture. The apostle Paul was unafraid of engaging with and using whatever prevailing media, thinking and culture of his day took the attention of his hearers.

We must do the same … and not just with the films the marketers would push eagerly in the direction of the church.



  1. Hi Hugh

    I found this very insighful, and helpful



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