Film and Worship

There has been a lack of activity recently, i know. I have been spending much time as of late working on my thesis for school. This has led to a number of sleepless nights and piles of books strewn across my home office floor. So here is a quick look into my world as of the past few months. My thesis is exploring the idea of “Short Film as a New Medium for Worship.” There has been a recent trend of short films/videos being created and produced specifically for the Church. These films act within the worship service as part of the worship in the same way that visual art has done through history. Broadly worship encompasses any number of actions, services, sacrifices, or more so i had to specifically focus on the worship/liturgy of the church. More specifically I focused on the happenings between the beginning of and end of service. This includes – but is not limited to – music, sermon, offering, greeting, prayer, and doxology.

This emerging phenomenon works in conjunction with and in place of certain elements of the worship service. Rob Bell’s Nooma series acts within the Short Film as Teaching category i have devised for the purposes of my thesis. Other categories i have created to help develop a working framework are Short Film as Testimony or Story (i.e. Erwin McManus’ “Crave” and “Wide Awake”) and Short Film as Illustration (more colloquially sermon support – see,, and others). The other side of my thesis work will be creating three short films to help illustrate my thesis’ theological critique and reflection of this emerging discipline. Those i will share later as i finish them over time.

One interesting insight that, along with my thesis committee, i have come across is this idea of Film working in a similar fashion to the storied stained glass windows. Historically, stained glass windows have been more than just decoration, telling biblical stories, carrying theological ideas through a series, and creating a sacred space. What is film other than colored frames that tell a story as light passes through them. The story and theology is dependent on the creator. And as part of the modern advent of this trend, film has helped shaped our new sacred spaces. In a sense film in the church is acting as the new stained glass windows for a new generation.

Let me know what you think.