Playing movies in your kids' church lessons can be a great way to reward them for hard work or give them a break after a busy period. Some would think that showing movies is a waste of time, but fortunately, there are countless Christian movies and TV shows out there for kids! This list outlines the top 4 movies to show and how you can frame them in a way that centralizes Christian values.
The Lion King
Most of us have seen the Lion King, and some have even shed a tear at the untimely passing of Mufasa, Simba’s father. It is a highly successful movie, and we can see why it’s a universal favorite for kids. But have you ever considered that it could be a Christian Disney movie?
While it is not outwardly so, the themes run very close to that of the story of Jesus. To help your little ones to understand the permanence and prevalence of arguably the most important story in the Bible, why not encourage them to draw lines between the friendly characters seen on the screen and the people we read about?
The guilt that Simba holds over his father’s death led him to run away and choose a worry-free life led by the mantra ‘Hakuna Matata.’ However, it wasn’t until he came back for his people, accepted his true identity as the son of the King, and repented for his perceived sins that he was truly welcomed back into the community.
We cannot run away from our past or our mistakes, standing up for what is right is necessary, and if we truly repent for our sins, we will be forgiven by God. As is wisely stated by the priest-like monkey Rafiki – “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Following the story of Quasimodo, a lonely outsider who spends his days trapped within a cathedral, the Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of the best Christian movies for kids. Also produced by Disney, this hugely popular movie will be loved by the kids at your church.
Use this film to help the lessons of acceptance taught throughout your kids’ ministry curriculum sink in. Just because someone is different doesn't mean they are bad. We are all loved by God, and we must treat everyone as such.
The kind hearted priest that appears throughout the movie can act as a guide on how to be a good Christian. Discussing the movie afterward is crucial to ensure that the message was truly heard by the students, and can be done in a handful of ways like asking them who was their favorite character and which qualities they admired.
We are all made in God’s image, and all deserve acceptance. Quasimodo’s evil caretaker is devoutly religious but is not a good person, which teaches the lesson that people’s actions say more about them than anything else. This movie is better for slightly older children due to some scary themes.
This Pixar movie has recently taken the world by storm due to its excellent portrayal of human emotions and how it teaches children to handle them. And, many people have taken to discussing the underlying religious themes online. Instead of shying away from difficult emotions, this is the best Christian movie for kids to learn that sadness is OK.
While many save their happiest faces for showing up at church on a Sunday, it is so important to process our emotions as they come. There is no shame in feeling sad, and this usually bright emotion is often speckled with memories of loss or nostalgia, but this doesn’t take anything away from it.
Emotional maturity is essential for living a life of strength, where the word and messages of Christ can be shared. So, why not focus on these skills in your Sunday school, and urge your children to look inwards, examining which emotion that they think rules them?
It is crucial to feel our emotions. Recognizing them is the first step to letting them go, but we also can’t let them rule us. Seeing the beauty in life, and sharing the word of God, does not mean we can never feel sad or angry – these are the things that make us human.
As a more outwardly religious movie, this movie follows clear Christian themes, so you won’t have to do any unacking with your students. Following the journey of a devout Christian (aptly named Christian) to the Celestial City, this movie dives into themes like struggles, temptations, distractions, and challenges.
Keep on the correct path despite any troubles we may encounter. If we knock, the door will be opened – we only have to show the courage to try. Teaching kids that nothing should stop us on our journey to God, this truly is one of the best youth ministry movies.
Whether you choose a classic kid's movie and show it with a more thoughtful angle or choose a Biblical story that has been re-made specifically for kids, your students will love the break from their usual children’s ministry curriculum work. Showing them some of the top Christian movies is the perfect way to incorporate learning with play, so everyone is happy!