Family fun: Using films to open conversations about God
Sam Donoghue explains how films can facilitate fun discussions with your family about God and make links with stories we find in the Bible.
You might need to trust me on this. If I was reading this article, I might not believe it as a good idea; there is grace for you if you don’t think it will work! To reassure your concerns, I have tried it on my own, long–suffering children and it was remarkably successful.
In essence, all we are going to do is watch a film and then talk about it, but you are going to manage the conversation in such a way that before you know it, you’ll be having a theological conversation. Don’t worry about feeling ill-equipped to “lead a theological conversation”, all I mean by that is when you talk about the film, you’re going to be looking out for the ‘God stories’ that we know are lurking within the film.
Choose a film
Obviously, step one is to choose a film. Any film will do. When we tried this, we watched Eddie the Eagle on Netflix and we found plenty to talk about, so don’t feel you need to watch something particularly highbrow! Once you’ve watched it, you need to talk about it. Below I’ve put some questions that we explored that helped – you’ll be pleased to know they are not specific to Eddie the Eagle and you are free to watch whatever you like!
Make it a thing
When you are talking about the film, make that time special. we made waffles, sat round the table, and ate them together. Making it more of an event I think helped the kids to join in and see it as something a little different from the usual. We actually talked about the film a couple of days after watching it and that worked fine. I do wonder if that helped, as after two hours of film I don’t think we had much concentration left to give!
Have some questions ready
I must credit Jerome Berryman with some of the questions below; he is the master at helping children explore stories. Don’t feel obliged to go through them in order – if you manage ten minutes on a couple of questions then count it as a win. Be flexible and if the conversation stalls, jump to another question, but if things are flowly nicely, don’t cut it off.
- Opening questions to get you thinking:
– What was the best bit of the film?
– What was the most important moment in the film?
- Was there any bit of this film that reminded you of stories from the Bible? (We said Noah’s Ark and the Good Samaritan in Eddie the Eagle)
- If Jesus told you the story of this film, what do you think He would hope you got from it?
- If I told you that Jesus was hiding in this film, where do you think we would find Him?
- If you were in this film, where would you be? Which scene feels most like your life right now?