Cost of the Cross

"Do You Believe?” Not only is this the title of a movie now showing in more than 1,100 theaters across the nation, it’s the central question that sets the direction of this inspiring and challenging film. “If you believe,” asks the man on the street who’s dragging a huge cross on his shoulder in the opening scene of this film, “what are you going to do about it?”
In this new release from the creators of “God’s Not Dead”—featuring such well-known actors as Sean Astin (“Rudy” and “Lord of the Rings”), Cybill Shepherd (“Moonlighting” and “Psych”), and Lee Majors (“Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Fall Guy”)—a pastor can’t get the question out of his head. It becomes the theme of his next sermon, as he places a large cross in front of the sanctuary and hands out small crosses to each person in the pews. The unmistakable challenge for not-yet-believers is believe! And for those who do claim Christ, it's live what you believe!
My wife and I had an opportunity to see this film—rated PG-13 for some very realistic action scenes (including a workplace accident and multi-vehicle pile-up)—and it is powerful. Your church can use this film as an outreach and provide follow-up for those in the theaters who grapple with issues of faith as a result. People will come away from the movie with a variety of needs.
Nonbelievers will have questions about faith. It may be that the movie prompts people to come to your church to better understand what it is to be a Christian. The movie can only go so far in presenting the Gospel. Who is in place to help them understand the Gospel and its implications?
Nominal believers will seek assurance. Some people “float in the faith,” feeling comfortable to connect with Christians yet perhaps not being sure of their own salvation. Here’s a challenge to get serious about God—not merely to say they believe, but to commit and live accordingly. Who’s in place to help nominal believers get serious about their faith?
Believers will come away eager to act. While some Christians are on fire for God, they need practical avenues for living in light of the cross of Christ in day-to-day reality. Do you have a clear pathway for involvement, showing love in action not only within your congregation but also in your community?
Finally, you might consider using this film as an outreach for your church. Group tickets are available. When “Courageous” came out a few years ago, the Colorado Springs church my wife and I attend rented out the theater and invited the entire congregation to see the movie. Pastors and other leaders were on hand afterward to help people process.

"Do You Believe?" emphasizes that living in light of the cross has challenging implications. If you’re able to cover the cost or otherwise make it easy and inviting for people in your church to attend, perhaps this film will afford you unique opportunities to help people in the above groups come to know, grow, and show Christ in everyday life. Watch the trailer here

What are some of the outreach tools or initiatives that you’ve found most helpful in your church’s efforts to help people come to know Christ, grow in Christ, and show Christ in everyday life? 
Dean Ridings is on staff with Navigator Church Ministries and the author of The Pray! Prayer Journal. Contact NCM here if we can help you grow an intentional disciplemaking culture in your congregation.