“God is always speaking!”

Pastor Mike Slaughter told me that years ago. I probably knew it at some level but I’d just spotted Mike taking notes while listening to a rather dull sermon-giver. And Mike’s a pretty engaging speaker, so it made me think: if God can speak to Mike through this guy, perhaps hearing from God is just a matter of how well we are listening – not the eloquence of the messenger.

Fast forward a few years to our AT THE MOVIES series which has become an annual event at Ginghamsburg. The number of weeks in the series depends on how many movies from the previous year feel preachable to our team. Our 2016 series was fairly lean but spring 2017 delivered us five pretty amazing and message-worthy films from the past year. Our four preachers chose the top pic for each of their preaching weekends:

Each of these pastors then set out to uncover the most inspiring theme out of their film and skillfully combined scripture, the movie’s message and their own personal anecdotes, resulting in weekend messages that have been truly remarkable.

We printed and framed our own movie posters, shown here in our main hallway off the lobby. Showcasing the titles expands the fun while inviting guests to engage into the series and watch the full movies at home ahead of time.

Our stage design included two unique elements. Pictured here are styrofoam rafter vents aligned to offer the look and feel of movie film. The vents, available for about $1.50 apiece at any home improvement store catch the lights nicely. I find inspiration in wandering the aisles of Lowe’s asking, “What if???” Since I really had no idea what a rafter vent was I could imagine the vents in a completely different way than their intended use. What if???


View from the media loft during “Hidden Figures” weekend. Such a great “based-on-a-true-story” film.

The second unique stage element were the lampstands made from 1.5″ PVC pipe. We bought mostly 10′ lengths and cut them to create 4′, 5′ and 6′ stands. Our team wired them for regular base bulbs and sunk the poles into crossed blocks which were eventually screwed into the stage for stability. The PVC was spray-painted copper and the bases painted black.

We used over-sized vintage bulbs from IKEA – fantastic! sells this size as well. We built 18 total stands and used six for our Fort McKinley campus stage.

                We will save and reuse the rafter vents and definitely be using the lampstands as part of many stage designs to come. In addition, we hung vintage bulb pendants in the sidewall spaces as seen on the right in the photo below.

                    Dancers from Dayton Contemporary Dance Company danced their way into our hearts while La La Land came to life on the Ginghamsburg stage.

Pastor Chris Heckaman – “Hidden Figures”

Pastor Jon Morgan – “La La Land”

Pastor Roz Picardo – “Hacksaw Ridge”

This coming weekend Pastor Rachel Billups will speak on “Finding Dory” for Mother’s Day weekend and we’ll close out the series next weekend with Pastor Chris on “Sully.”

I’ve been personally inspired while working with our pastors on these messages. I’m particularly struck by the wealth of artistic inspiration we can glean from cultural stories played out across a larger screen. Don’t be afraid to dive into new worlds of art and human expression with an open heart, a creative spirit and an eye for Divine truth.

God truly is always speaking!

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