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Popcorn, soda, movie help launch church’s 8-week Bible study on Christian worldview

CULLMAN, Ala. (BP)–What do popcorn, a movie theater and a teenage girl questioning her faith in God have in common with a Sunday morning worship service in Cullman, Ala.?

They were all key ingredients in Northside Baptist Church’s unique launching of an eight-week Bible study explaining the importance of a Christian worldview.

Paul Hicks, pastor of the Cullman, Ala., church came up with the idea of holding the September worship service in the movie theater on the town square to stir interest in the “How Now Shall We Live” study. Produced by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, the study includes a workbook, leader guide, videos and a trade book coauthored by Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey.

“When I first read the [trade] book by Colson, I just consumed it,” Hicks said. “The message is one we need. Colson expresses in such a clear way the battle Christians face is not about abortion, gambling, euthanasia. Those are surface issues. The heart of the battle is finding a Christian worldview.”

In their book, Colson, former presidential aide to Richard Nixon and founder of the international ministry Prison Fellowship, and Pearcey, a fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Renewal for Science and Culture, say competing worldviews are the bases for today’s spiritual battles.

Christians must exercise a Christian worldview in the face of the prevailing secular worldview, Colson said in an earlier interview. “They need to get serious about seeing the world the way God sees it.”

At the local theater, Hicks showed “Katy’s Metaphysical Adventure,” a made-for-TV movie during Northside’s Sunday morning service. Used for both outreach and the Bible study’s introduction, the video introduces 15-year-old Katy who has encountered ideas that contradict the faith of her family.

LifeWay editor Dale McCleskey, who coauthored the project’s adult leader and study guides, said, “The real battleground is the battleground of ideas. Helping believers achieve a biblical worldview and understand Christianity as a total life system is the purpose behind this study.”

Katy’s Metaphysical Adventure is based on a story that appears in Colson’s book, and LifeWay is giving churches permission to air the movie on cable television or local channels. Northside paid to have it broadcast four times on a local cable channel in Cullman — “twice during prime time and twice off prime time,” Hicks said.

In addition to bags of popcorn and sodas, Northside church members and guests attending the special video showing were given another treat. The actress who played Katy, Caley Cheney of Franklin, Tenn., attended the showing and performed a song. LifeWay representatives also were on hand, Hicks said.

Gary Hauk, acting director of LifeWay’s discipleship and family group, was one of those who attended the movie.

“Our goal with producing this series was to develop an unusual medium in which to share the gospel while at the same time addressing the issues of our culture,” he said. “Our challenge was to develop a tool that would help Christians live their faith in a changing world and learn how to apply the Bible in their lives.”

Ten-year-old Northside member Whitley Reid said of the movie: “I liked it all. It was so good spiritually. I think the actors and the story were magnificent.”

Hicks said the theater showing created a good deal of enthusiasm for the How Now Shall We Live study.

“It did its job. It got everyone excited about participating in the Bible study,” he said, adding that 61 people attended the first evening session on Sunday, Sept. 10.

While Hicks is pleased with the response from the congregation, he’s more thrilled about the profession of faith made at the end of the service by a 9-year-old boy.

“He told me that seeing the movie helped him to really understand the gospel,” Hicks said. “He didn’t walk down the theater’s aisle. He hustled. There wasn’t a moment’s hesitation. Winning souls to Christ is what this study is all about.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library. Photo title: WORSHIP SERVICE IN A THEATER.

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  • Sue Ann Miller