It's great to show a movie occasionally in children's ministry. For one thing, it's a nice break from the routine; for another, it is an exciting activity for kids to look forward to! Who doesn't love going to the movies? Plus, if you can set up a movie theatre experience right in your church, what fun! Here are 5 movies you can show to your children's ministry that are appropriate but entertaining for kids to watch.
The following are numerically ordered by age appropriateness, 1 being more fitting for younger kids and 5 being most suitable for late elementary-aged students to teens. However, all these movies are rated PG and could be seen by various ages.
1. The Lion of Judah- The Lamb that Saved the World (2011) 1h 27m
This movie is a great way to show the Easter Story through the perspective of some fun, lovable animal characters. It's an adventure and inspirational faith-filled story. The main character is a lamb who calls himself a lion and finds himself in the story of Jesus.
We chose this movie because it truly captures the story of Easter. It is engaging and relatable for kids, and the characters are entertaining!
2. The Star (2017) 1h 26m
It is an action-full and humorous movie for kids during the Christmas season. The main character, Bo, ends up being the donkey who carries Mary into Bethlehem to give birth to the Savior!
The Star has excellent reviews and stays true to the story of Christmas. It helps kids learn what Christmas is really about.
3. Horton Hears a Who (2008) 1h 23m
This film was made from a Dr. Suess book and explores the idea that some things exist even if you can't see them. It also celebrates the main character as he stands up for what is right and helps those in need.
Maybe not the most obvious pick for your children's ministry, but this story has underlying Christian themes. It would be a great segway into teaching about faith (believing in something you cannot see) and standing up against injustice from Psalm 82:3.
4. The Pilgrim's Progress (2019) 1h 53m
Based on the book, this animated film is an allegory for the Christian walk and dealing with the burden of sin. It points to the fact that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
We chose this film because it takes kids on a journey much like the one they are on spiritually, as they learn about Jesus, take steps of faith, and grow in their relationship with God.
5. The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005) 2h 30m
C.S. Lewis's book comes to life in this action film. It's a tale of three children who find themselves in another world beyond a wardrobe. They face real challenges as they defend themselves from wolves and learn about trust and loyalty. The lion and the sacrifice he makes is yet another symbolic theme that points to the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross.
Many generations love this classic adventure, as this is not the first version of the movie. It helps kids see that they have a choice to make regarding their faith, and even when we make the wrong choice, Jesus is ready to forgive and redeem!
Tips for Finalizing the Experience
There are many more good movies to choose from. Some important things to pay attention to as you select a film are the ratings, to be sure it is appropriate for the age group, and something you can show at your church. It's also good to take notice of the movie's length to be sure you will have ample time to view it during your allotted time. As you prepare for your movie day or movie night event, here are a few helpful tips for making it the best experience for everyone.
Room and TV Size
When choosing the best available room and movie screen for the showing, try to pick one in relation to the size group of children. For a small group of 5-10 kids, a laptop or small TV screen should be sufficient in a small classroom setting. For a medium-sized group of about 15-30 kids, have a big enough screen and a larger classroom. An auditorium and a large projector screen hooked up to surround sound are ideal for a large group. This will help eliminate the problem of some kids being unable to see or hear and then getting distracted.
Take it up a notch and add a fun treat to your movie experience! You can wait midway through the movie and pass out treats while the kids watch as a delightful surprise. Great movie snacks include pretzels, rice crispy treats, or Pirate's Booty. Be sure to have some allergy-friendly options.
Have adult volunteers spread throughout the room. These helpers can watch the movie with students and be on standby if a kid needs assistance. Some kids are more sensitive than others and might feel better having an adult nearby if a part of the movie scares or bothers them. Other kids might need a redirection if they begin to misbehave during the film. Having leaders nearby often prevents this from happening.
Provide an "Intermission"
For longer movies, provide a halftime break or "intermission." During this time kids can take a quick bathroom break or stretch their legs. Lead a few stretch exercises such as jumping jacks, arms stretching down to your feet, leg stretching, push-ups, and running in place. Ask the kids a few engaging questions about what they think will happen next or how this movie relates to what they are learning in children's ministry.
Debrief after the Movie
Take some time at the end to talk about the movie and how it relates to scripture. Go over the moral and lesson of the story. Ask questions that get the kids thinking. The best questions to ask are ones that help them relate the movie they watched to real-life events and challenges. Provide a take-home activity or craft that connects to the film! Some examples could be a lamb craft with cotton balls for preschool age or a detailed paint-by-number lion for older kids.
A movie event is a great way to see God's word in action. Choosing a film based on scripture is vital! This will help to make the lessons you teach more memorable for the children. Plus, let's be honest…sometimes it is good for everyone to kick back, relax and enjoy the show! Sometimes, a film is the perfect thing to change things up, do something exciting for the kids, and give children's ministry leaders a much-needed break. Whatever movie you end up choosing, we hope you enjoy it!