NORMAN — When Daryn Kirkpatrick’s day care provider gave her a bucket of popcorn two years ago, she never imagined it would be the ticket that would lead her family to their new church home.
“I just thought she was giving me popcorn,” Kirkpatrick said.
But it wasn’t just popcorn. Tucked inside the movie bucket was an invite to New Life Bible Church’s “Summer Blockbusters” series, an annual event that takes place every Sunday in June at the Norman Church.
Summer Blockbusters will kickoff June 2 at both of New Life’s services, 8:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., at 4343 N. Flood Ave.
During Summer Blockbusters, Pastor Alan Danielson dives into a popular movie every week and uncovers spiritual messages. Church attenders get to sit back, eat popcorn and watch clips from some of their favorite movies, all while getting a sermon they can relate to in their everyday lives.
“Something virtually everyone in our culture understands is movies,” said Danielson, New Life Bible Church senior pastor. “This common frame of reference is a great launching point for spiritual and biblical conversations.”
Past movies that have been part of the series include “The Blind Side,” “The Book of Eli,” “Up,” “The Goonies” and Danielson’s personal favorite, “Star Wars.” Danielson said the church began doing the series because of the relevance movies have in our culture today.
“When Jesus taught, he used examples and told stories about things like fishing, agriculture and money,” Danielson said. “He did this because everyone in the culture in which he lived understood those things.”
This is the third year for New Life to do the series, which has become popular among regular attenders and their guests. New Life averaged an additional 100 guests last June during Summer Blockbusters.
The Kirkpatrick family was once among those additional guests in summer 2011. Travis Kirkpatrick said the invite came at the perfect time since his family was in between churches.
He said he liked the creative invitation. New Lifers start passing out invite buckets filled with popcorn to their friends, family and anyone else they’d like to invite weeks before the series begins. But even more than the invite, Travis Kirkpatrick said he liked the sermon.
“It was a really cool message and was powerful,” Travis Kirkpatrick said. “The messages meet you wherever you are. No matter where you are in your faith, the movie and the message draw you in. By the second movie, we knew this was our new church home.”
Along with relevance, Danielson said he likes doing the Summer Blockbusters series because the teachings stick.
“People are more likely to remember what they’ve learned when they associate it with something in their lives,” Danielson said. “From now on, the people who saw our message about ‘The Help’ will be reminded of what they learned every time they see the DVD on a shelf, a movie poster, flip by it on cable or even when they see the actors from ‘The Help’ in other movies.
“Regular attenders and guests alike say this is the most fun they’ve had listening to sermons.”