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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Film Club at Nailsea

A few of our churches have tried using film clubs as a way of building connections with their communities. After all, so many of us now have the hardware - a large screen, a projector, and a video license! Paul Carter at Nailsea told me about their very successful film club, primarily aimed at families. I think the key here is that families get to do exactly what they would naturally do at 5 o'clock on a Saturday - watch a good film together and have something to eat - only the screen is bigger and the cooking is done for them! This is Paul's report:

As Autumn approaches, Nailsea Baptist Church is gearing up for their second season of film club.  The church responded to a community need and this time last year launched a film club aimed primarily at families.  The club runs on the last Saturday of each month at 5 pm and one of the latest films to be released on DVD is shown.  As people arrive, a powerpoint presention is being shown on the big screen and people generally grab themselves a drink or visit the 'tuck shop.'  Word quickly spread about the film club and over 100 people, mainly unchurched came along on each evening.  Once the film is over, hot dogs are served and this gives the opportunity to have conversations and to build relationships with people.  There is no charge for the evening, although people are encouraged to make a donation to help suppor the film club.
As people are leaving, another group of people begin to assemble as a different film is shown on the same evening at 7.30 pm.  There has been a wide range of films shown ranging from 'amazing grace' to singalong with 'mammia mia.'  For this season of films, we are targetting different groups for the second showing.  We're hoping a good number of men will invite others along to watch 'Invictus' and a James Bond evening is being planned.
From the film club we are hoping that people will find themselves coming into other areas of church life. Possibly 'time out at 10', a group for parents and toddlers or to Messy church, a new venture for us at Nailsea Baptist which starts in November.
Has anyone else tried using film to start a conversation with their community? Please comment below - you'll need a google account or similar but this can be set up in seconds.


  1. Great logo Paul! We'd have asked to nick it if we'd seen it a few months ago.

    This is really interesting to me. At Burnham-on-Sea Baptist Church we have just started a monthly event using the local cinema. (Incredibly, our local cinema is digital - increasing greatly the number of films available).

    We choose a film, give a two minute introduction and invite people to stay behind afterwards to discuss the themes that the film raises. This tends to be for about 10 minutes but shows that people are thinking quite deeply about the film.

    It's really early days for us, the first film was UP in 3D last month and last night we showed The Truman Show. We had just over 50 people to each night and virtually everyone stays to listen to the discussion afterwards - a pleasant surprise, I wondered if anyone would stay. As the capacity is 110, we don't rattle round and the owner is delighted to have a crowd of that size in on a Monday night.

    Next month we are showing Changing Lanes and then, in December, It's a Wonderful Life. We have done this with the support of other local churches and it has been exciting to have some gentle but distinctly spiritual conversations around the films.

    Any good ideas for further films welcomed and if anyone wants to talk further about what we have done then please get in touch either through a comment here or by email: pastor.burnham@talktalk.net

    Steve Ayers
    Burnham Baptist Church

  2. This sounds great, Steve. Is there any cost to the church and do people just pay the normal ticket price? As more cinemas go digital this will may be a feasible option for more and more of our churches. Why bring the cinema to the church if you can take the church to the cinema?

  3. Each film costs us between £80 and £120 to show and we set the ticket prices. We've gone for £5 and £4 for concessions (which is most of our audience!) We are not charged for hire of the cinema beyond that. So far, we have covered the cost of the film and even ended with a small share of the surplus. The cinema get a bigger crowd than normal on a Monday night (the first night there were 45 in our screen and 4 in the other) and get to sell some snacks as well. We may make a loss on some films but overall I don't think this will cost us anything at all and no one has to clear up popcorn at the end or anything!