Take a deep breath… there is now less than 40 days till Christmas.
While we know that this should be a time of joyful anticipation for the celebration of the birth of our Lord, the reality is this countdown inspires just as much trepidation as jubilation. And for those of us in ministry (whether that ministry happens in a youth room, classroom, or living room), there is another factor to add into the mix: how to maintain consistency and depth in your programming without burning out the teens or the adults.
Life Teen has just released a brand new resource that can help! In Focus: A Movie Guide for Catholics is a valuable resource to help bring Christ and the Truth of His Church into popular culture. This book breaks open 25 popular movies with complete synopsis, Scripture and Catechism references, discussion questions, and activity suggestions. You can watch the entire movie or just a scene, each setting the stage for engaging and thought-provoking conversations. In every movie, there are opportunities for teens to look at culture and media through a Catholic lens.
This resource provides a perfect programming option for the times of the year when extra time and resources are scarce. Below is are just some suggestions on how to utilize In Focus in leading teens closer to Christ:
- Life Nights during Christmas Break. Instead of just canceling Life Nights during Christmas break, have a low-key gathering for your teens. Pick a movie (I recommend It’s a Wonderful Life), break out the popcorn, and see where the Spirit leads. This will keep the consistency of gathering on Sunday nights as well as help the teens keep Christ the center of Christmas.
- Weekly Gathering. Choose 4-5 movies (maybe some action-adventure films like Indiana Jones, Spiderman, or Pirates of the Caribbean) and create a month-long movie series. Choose a weeknight and encourage the teens to bring their friends. This a great opportunity for the youth minister to delegate the “mini-series” to a Core Member.
- Teen Take-Over Night. Wondering how to keep Juniors and Seniors involved in the ministry? Give them the chance to take ownership! A great way to do this is to allow them to plan and execute a “teen-takeover” Life Night. Let them choose the movie and how they want to break it open during the night.
- Family Movie Night. This resource isn’t just for youth ministers! This can also be a great way for families to come together. Choose a movie the whole family can enjoy (i.e. The Wizard of Oz or The Princess Bride) and discuss the themes and lessons found there.
- Classroom Movie Discussion. Each movie guide comes with a list of key themes. Clips from these movies can be a catalyst for discussion and teaching in a classroom setting. For example, teaching on the history of Catholic missionaries in the Church? Show a clip from The Mission and use the discussion questions to bring the topic to life.
Those are just a few ways this new resource can be used. We pray that this will help you in your mission to evangelize and form young Catholics. We at Life Teen remain committed serving you with quality, Catholic resources – but more importantly, we are committed to praying for you as part of the Life Teen family.
May this Advent and Christmas season be filled with abundant blessings!
~ Want to see a sample of In Focus? Check out the Free Resource section for a the movie guide on The Incredibles