At The Movies


First, a brief reminder of who we are and what God has called us to do at Summit…

Our Mission as a church is based off of two key scriptures in which Jesus Christ Himself told his followers not only WHAT to do, but HOW to do it.

First the What: Matthew 28:19-20 contains what has come to be called The Great Commission:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus gave this command to the apostles shortly before He ascended into heaven, and it essentially outlines what Jesus expected the apostles, and those who followed them, to do in His absence.

Then the How: Matthew 22:36-40 contains The Great Commandment.

36 “Teacher, which one is the greatest of the Laws?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest of the Laws. 39 The second is like it, ‘You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ 40 All the Laws and the writings of the early preachers depend on these two most important Laws.”

Since Summit launched and made their heartfelt mission align with what Jesus told us to do—more than 1300 people have given their lives to Christ! That’s more than the previous 33 years combined. Why do I share this? Because people matter to God! And we count people at Summit because people count! Jesus made his mission very clear when He said why he came to this earth in the first place in Matthew 18:11, For the Son of Man came to save the lost.” and in case this wasn’t enough, Luke recorded it as well in Luke 19:10,

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” 

That’s the WHAT.

But the apostle Paul gives us more details on the HOW.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22

Now, a few words about our upcoming series, “At the Movies” First of all—it’s different—it’s unique. So I want to take a moment and clear up some confusion and maybe answer a few questions.

AT THE MOVIES IS NOT (There are few of these that I should probably mention):

  • It’s not a critique of a movie: This is not a “here’s what’s right and here’s what’s wrong with a given movie. There is a place for that. It’s just not what it is.
  • It’s not a lightweight series: This is not where we take a break from talking about serious biblical stuff and have a little fun. I’ve noticed over the years that messages like these have been some of the MOST theologically laden talks I’ve given. That may say more about me, but that’s for another time.
  • It’s not an endorsement of everything in the movie, anything anyone making the movies says or stands for. We look at the movies as a story—a piece of art.
  • At least right now, it’s not an “all time best or most redemptive movie” series.



I believe that art, much, but not all—displays a uniquely human trait in its attempt to create beauty. Where did that come from? It’s the Imago Dei (The Image of God)—It’s what (among other things) makes us different than all other creation.  So, to some extent every work of art has both the fingerprints of the Image of God AND the tinge of the FALL. A series like this not only gives us a chance to invite people in to a common Imago dei place, it also teaches us and exercises us in NOTICING. We notice where God’s story creeps in even unintended or uninvited.

But still there are questions.


Having said that, there are a few lingering questions that have come up along the way.

Q: How can you use R-rated movies in church?
A: First of all—we’re not. All three movies are PG or PG-13. So, while I understand the point being made, we have to keep in mind that the choice to use a particular movie is always a judgment call. There is a team of people that work with me in planning out the services. We ask ourselves what the redemptive value of a particular film is. In asking that you also have to think about the negative elements as well. Sometimes a film that has a wonderful redemptive message has enough objectionable elements that cannot use it. Sometimes there are movies that don’t have anything that people would be offended by (rough language, violence, sexual themes and content etc.) but really have nothing to say. Then there are the very tough judgment calls. At that point we pray, discuss and debate. So far, I can honestly say there is not one movie that we have chosen to use that I regret.

Q: But why PG-13-Rated?
A: O.K. let me speak to the rating thing. The people that rate movies are not rating them as redemptive pieces of art. When you simply go by ratings you may expose yourself to messages that are horrible and miss amazing and biblical and beautiful substance (Like The Passion of the Christ or Braveheart). Since when are a bunch of people that work for the motion picture industry more capable of deciding what you should see than you.

Q: Are you saying my family and I should watch these movies?
A: NO! We all have different sensibilities. No one is telling you to watch movies that will offend your sensibilities. The website ScreenIt is a good resource that allows you to check out the content before watching. Also, there are things that kids are not ready to see. I wouldn’t show my preadolescent the film Braveheart, but my older kids and I loved it and cried watching it.

Hopefully this will get you ready for the series.

Oh, one more warning: if you are going to see the movie do it before the service. We reserve the right to ruin the ending! Pass the popcorn!



Should I watch the movie first?
Yes! We encourage you to watch the movies prior to attending service. We have no qualms about ruining the end for you…don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Do you show the whole movie?
No way…that would take entirely too long! We show a handful of clips from the movie throughout the message.

Where can I watch these movies?
Well…since video rental stores have pretty much gone the way of the dodo, we suggest using Redbox for DVD rentals. If you’re kind of tech savvy, we’ve provided links to online content through iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.

I don’t watch certain kind of movies…what should I do?
We understand that some do not prefer to watch movies with certain MPAA ratings. We respect that. If you don’t watch the movie, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to track with the message.

One More Thing…

Let’s get our INVITE ON! Your friends will be intrigued and maybe even confused, but it’s a great point of connection. The arts especially film and other forms of story telling are meeting places.

See you At the Movies!