I love movies.
I love youth ministry.
I love writing.
So it's with great pleasure to announce that I recently turned in the first draft for my upcoming book:
Jesus Goes to the Movies: The Youth Ministry Film Guide.
That's the working title, at least. I rather like it. Essentially, I'm trying to articulate how and why I view movies, making the connections between film, theology, and the spiritual formation of young people. It's a book about theology, culture, critical thinking skills, history, discipleship, and youth ministry, all rolled into one. This is more than just a list of "good" or "bad" movies; it's about how to think about culture, Jesus, and the various forms of entertainment we consume.
Part One of the book offers a theological grid and framework for watching movies with wisdom and discernment. This section is the meat of the book, helping us to foster spiritual conversations with young people. There are chapters on a theology of culture, the history of the church and Hollywood, various worldviews presented in films, the history of youth culture, various theological approaches to movie-watching, and seeing Christ figures in films, as well as a practical chapter on how to incorporate movies into your ministry.
Part Two is a compilation of 50 films and spiritual discussion guides meant for small groups, families, or one-on-one conversations. The cool part: an ongoing supply of these discussion guides will be downloadable as new films are released. Imagine a new movie is coming out, and you'd like to take your small group to see it and talk about it. You download the super-inexpensive-yet-awesome guide, keep it on your phone or print it off, and use it to foster a spiritual discussion.
Here's a brief summary about Jesus Goes to the Movies:
We live in a movie culture. From YouTube and Netflix, Blu-ray and the box office, filmmakers are the theologians and bards of this generation. Our young people are saturated in a movie-watching ethos, yet they often don’t know how to think wisely or theologically about the films they consume. Since movies are so powerful and ubiquitous, how can we guide teens and young adults into becoming wise and discerning movie-viewers, an audience who looks at movies through a Jesus-colored lens?
Jesus Goes to the Movies is the theological handbook for film-watching. Filled with engaging stories, thoughtful cultural critiques, and practical tools, this book will help young people know how to think about movies with wisdom and discernment, not just tell them what movies to watch or avoid. Beyond movie-watching, this guide will foster stronger critical thinking skills, a theology of engaging with culture, an understanding of worldviews, and a passion to love and follow Christ. Join cinephile and youth worker Joel Mayward in discovering the truth, beauty, and the grace of Jesus at the movies.Jesus Goes to the Movies will be released by The Youth Cartel in later 2015 or early 2016. Keep checking back at JoelMayward.com for more updates, excerpts, and maybe a few movie-related surprises! You can subscribe to JoelMayward.com via email or RSS updates by subscribing through the links on the right of this page.