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movie clips October 18, 2007

Posted by abi in youth ministry.

http://www.just4kidsmagazine.com/reviews/endofspearbook2.jpgThis past weekend, our local presbytery held a retreat for middle school students.  I went with one other adult chaperone and some of our middle schoolers and we all had a great time.  It was nice to just tag along and not have to be involved with the planning or details – just provide adult supervision and have a good chunk of time to spend getting to know my youth better.  

The theme of the weekend was “Transformers” based off Romans 12:1-2:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Great theme – great verses.  And the high school youth on youth council who were helping out did a great job of planning some workshops and discussion times that the middle schoolers enjoyed and got a lot out of.  There was also a key note speaker who did a good job of conveying the importance of noncomformity and being transformed to be more like Christ.  The speaker showed a couple of movie clips to help her illustrate her points – the clips caused a bit of controversy.  She showed the beginning portion of “A Walk to Remember” where one kid is trying so hard to fit in that he jumps off of a tower into shallow water and becomes paralyzed.  That is definately a good example of someone trying to fit in – and how it comes at a high cost sometimes.  Problem was that movie was rated PG-13 and in that beginning part there was a good bit of cussing and other stuff with the bad kids.  While not horrible and the film overall has a good message, that clip was questionable.  There was a younger girl in my cabin who had never seen the movie asking me later why we were showing a movie with so much cussing at a church retreat.  I talked to her a little about it and she understood the point the speaker was trying to make.  But I also didn’t know why we showed that particular portion of the movie (when there are other parts of that movie and other movies in general that could’ve illustrated the same thing with a little less language). 

nullThe next night the speaker showed a longer portion of the movie “End of the Spear“.  It’s about the story of 5 missionaries who were brutally killed by the people they went to witness to and the dramatic change of how they ultimately ended up following Christ.  It is an very well-produced and excellent movie – well worth anyone watching if they haven’t….but again PG-13.  And the portions that the speaker showed were very graphic and violent – showing a baby and quite a few other people getting speared.  I looked around the room and a lot of the youth were crying.  The speaker made a dramatic point when she showed 20 mins. of that and then a portion closer to the end where the son of the missionary and  the guy who killed his father reconciled.  Yes that was a powerful story of transformation – but it may have been a little too much for younger middle schoolers.  Some of whom had nightmares that night and were visibly upset. 

The speaker apologized to the adults the next morning and explained that she herself had let her kids watch those movies at the same age – but she also said she didn’t think about how young some of the students coming to the retreat would be and didn’t take into account how violent the one movie (End of the Spear) really was.  I personally think that some middle schoolers could’ve handled it fine and it may be a good choice for them to watch – but maybe as a family so their parents could have the opportunity to discuss it with them afterwards.  I think the speaker this weekend could’ve showed a lot less of both movies and told more of the story herself and that may have caused a lot of the adults there less concern.  Also it wouldn’t have placed so many images in younger students who may not have been ready for them.  What do you all think?  Does your church have any type of standards about watching movies or even movie clips?  Our church currently doesn’t have a policy, but I think now I may try and work with my senior pastor to put one in writing.



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