What better way to spark lively and deep conversation about social and moral issues than to watch movies together?

Invite some neighbors over for a movie and discussion. Choose a movie with many possible discussion elements. The film doesn’t have to be a serious drama or contain a deep, hard-hitting theme. In fact, comedies or family movies are powerful springboards for great conversation. Also, young parents would appreciate a night out, without leaving their children at home. If the children do not watch the movie with the rest of the group, you might collect money from everyone to hire a babysitter, then show a kids’ movie in another room of the house.

Obtain a copy of the movie in time for your event. Research your movie choice ahead of time to develop some meaningful questions. Pop up some popcorn, and chill the sodas. Let the movie begin. And when The End fades out on screen, be ready to explore the deeper meaning of the movie. Talk about such things as the motivation of characters; the humor found in the plot; personal consequence of actions; and any depictions of redemption, love, hope, forgiveness, or transformation. Explore the basic themes portrayed in the film, and discuss how each of you might connect the movie to your life and world.

Helpful hint: Use Group Publishing’s book, Dinner and a Movie to help plan your event. Even if you don’t use the entire plan for each movie, you will find many helpful ideas to make your movie night a hit. Each movie featured in the book includes a story synopsis, ratings information, activities or trivia about the movie or actors, and discussion questions. And if you choose to make a more extravagant event to include a meal, you can even find theme dinner menus with recipes and decorating ideas.

Instant Intentions

Prepare a specific question or two ahead of time that might launch conversation about God, faith, or spirituality. Be sure to think through or even write out what your response would be to your question so that you are well-prepared to share. However, if you’re just getting to know your neighbors, the topic of faith might not come up so quickly. If the discussion does not ever touch specifically on faith, that’s OK. Your active participation and insights will set the stage for future opportunities to talk about your faith in Christ – especially in one-on-one discussions.

-          From the book, Field Guide to Neighborhood Outreach by Group Publishing, 2007.


Note: In the following weeks, we’ll provide sample movie ideas to help your party take off!  - Lisa Jaeger