Planning a retreat for your church can be quite the challenge. There’s a ton of minor details that must be carefully planned (like the food, yum). But you also have to think about the big activities. Sure, you will have worship service and a guest speaker that reinforces the retreat theme with scripture. You could stop there and have a great event. However, planners can sometimes wonder what else they could do that is different. There’s crafts, team building, ice breakers, etc.
What about a movie?? Bring some popcorn and soda and plop everyone down in front of a huge screen. I’m sure your venue has all the equipment you need. After all, you used the same stuff to lead worship. And if you want more food, ask the venue if they offer snack service. Guests will love to munch as they soak in the story.
I know guests can watch a movie anywhere, but hear me out. There are so many inspirational, Christian movies out there that can be as much of a focal point of a retreat as a Bible verse or theme. Just like a theme, the movie can be followed up with discussion, takeaways, and activities. And for the creatives on your planning team, there are infinite options when it comes to movie-themed décor.
Again, this doesn’t have to be “take me to the movies”. Find a strong, Godly movie and see the impact it can have on guests. We already know that many people like movies and find them engaging, relatable and entertaining. While the movie itself is important, you will do well to remember that the experience also has an impact. This is a time to grow together as friends, which is why so many churches host movie nights.
Now, before you run off to the video store, it must be noted that there are some copyright issues at hand. Since copyright licensing encompasses only the person watching at home, showing it elsewhere to a crowd classifies as a public performance. It is fairly easy and affordable to obtain the correct license to show the movie. For example, Swank Motion Pictures can help you get the appropriate license and even help promote the event.
Here are some great titles and specific audiences:
- Miracles from Heaven
- Fireproof – couples retreat
- God’s Not Dead
- I Can Only Imagine
- I’m Not Ashamed – high school students
- Soul Surfer –family event
- Heaven is for Real
- Paul, Apostle of Christ
The best part is that many of these movies include small group studies and corresponding lectures that can carry the message throughout your retreat.
Now, grab your popcorn and press play, because it’s movie time!