The Washington Post Metro section has an article about a pastor who uses movies to bring spiritual lessons to his congregation.
For a special series of sermons this summer, Senior Pastor Rob Seagears at Christ Chapel Mountaintop in Prince William County tied his sermons to whatever movie was top at the box office that week, often appearing in costume. This presented him with a daunting challenge as the summer was filled with blockbusters featuring a lot of violence and bad language.
“It’s kind of risky to be watching to see what the number one movie is going to be and figuring out how to flip this thing for God,” he said.
Sometimes, as with “Tropic Thunder,” he was able to tie the movie to an important message but sill ended up recommending that the congregation stay away from the film. For that movie, by the way, he appeared in church as Kirk Lazarus, the white actor portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr. who has medical treatment to darken his skin so he can play a black man on screen. Pastor Seagears began with a joke about being a black man pretending to be a white man pretending to be a black man. While there have been some objections, the pastor’s series proved to be very popular with the parishioners and a draw for new worshipers as well. And it was especially appreciated by teenagers.
If there were an Oscar for sermons, Seagears would be a contender. There’s his “Dark Knight” performance, when he roared up to the pulpit astride a Suzuki motorcycle, dressed like Batman. And his whip-cracking Indiana Jones, and his green-suited Hulk.
Perhaps most memorable was when he bumbled out wearing a ratty wig and a blood-red smile across his face, ranting like a maniac.
“When I went into the church as the Joker, there was complete silence,” Seagears recalled fondly. “People were stunned because I was acting as if I was evil.”
For those who complain,
Seagears responds that preaching through movies allows him to meet people where they are and is similar to Jesus’s use of parables.
“It’s all about engaging your audience,” he said. “That’s what Jesus did, telling stories.”