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Compass Cinema’s Parables in Cinematic Theology

Small groups leaders everywhere, rejoice! Compass Cinema has produced an impressive new curriculum series that will help us help others engage the Bible in a brand new and dramatic way. Compass Cinema’s new contribution to the world of small groups is called “Cinematic Theology.” The title is, in this particular case, well deserved. Surprisingly, Compass Cinema’s DVD-based curriculum is actually as cinematic - or theatrical - as it is theologically loaded. Do not take that last sentence for granted! Remember, we are living in a day wherein curriculum publishers seemingly burn anything and everything to DVD just so they can tag the words “DVD-based” somewhere on slick packaging designed to rouse consumer longing for comfortable living room furniture. Compass Cinema is not, however, just another Christian curriculum publisher. Their product actually deserves to be called “Cinematic Theology.” It is extremely well done, as far as theatrical quality and theological breadth is concerned. Compass Cinema has produced a DVD-based curriculum wherein high theatrical quality is fused with theological depth and practical application.

A New Kind of Study: Modern Parables

Compass Cinema’s Modern Parables: Living in the Kingdom of God, Vol. I, is an incredibly holistic approach to small group parable study. This curriculum not only opens an astonishingly fresh and fascinating window through which participants can view story in brand new ways via theatrical and modern reinterpretation, but also properly builds upon this new and revelatory foundation by following modern reinterpretation with seriously thorough and practical application founded upon ancient parabolic principles. Yes, it’s a new kind of study! It’s one that many, many small group leaders would appreciate.

A word of clarification should be offered prior to my outlining of the contents of the Modern Parables DVD Box Set, lest I actually mislead one to think the sole goal of Compass Cinema’s Cinematic Theology is to drape Jesus’ parables in contemporary theatrics simply for the sake of flashy re-creation and/or contemporary theatrics. Compass Cinema’s goal for Cinematic Theology is much deeper than the surface methodology and theatrical tools might initially imply. Yes, this curriculum is built upon high quality theatrics and parabolic re-creation, but it is deep substance too. In fact, the curriculum’s goal is re-create in the viewer the same responses that the original audiences of Jesus’ parables might have experienced. Such a goal requires a very deep and academic understanding of Jesus, his original audience, the parables, and the 1st century setting in which they were originally told. All of these things would have to be firmly understood before one could grasp Jesus’ original audiences reactions, and then re-create the story to solicit the same reaction from contemporary viewers. This is an incredibly deep and holistic journey into Jesus’ parabolic material and teaching.

Modern Parables: The DVD Box Set

Modern Parables: Living in the Kingdom of God, Vol. I, is a wonderful small group experience that will lead you and your group through 6 of Jesus’ parables, in 12 lessons. Each parable covered is divided into two lessons.

The first lesson seeks to establish an understanding of the parable itself. The first lesson is built upon four steps: 1. Watch the film; 2. Ask questions about the film; 3. Teach the parable; 4. Discuss the parable.

The second lesson builds upon the parabolic understanding gained in the first lesson and moves forward by establishing practical application delivered in six high quality application videos made by as many pastors. The second lesson is built upon four steps too: 1. Read the parable from Scripture; 2. Watch the application video; 3. Ask questions about the application video; 4. Review the film and discuss the parable.

Your small group is free to cover the parables included in any order desired. You are not bound by schedule, order, or sequential prerequisite. Each set of lessons exists independently from the other. So, your group is free to tackle them in any order. The benefit of this flexibility is that new group participants can be introduced to the study at any time.

You can follow the lesson outline as suggested by the curriculum too. If you chose to do so, your schedule will look like this:

Lessons 1 & 2 - Hidden Treasure - Matthew 13:44
Lessons 3 & 4 - Samaritan - Luke 10: 25-37
Lessons 5 & 6 - The Shrewd Manager - Luke 16: 1-9
Lessons 7 & 8 - The Widow and Judge - Luke 18: 1-8
Lessons 9 & 10 - The Sower - Matthew 13: 1-23
Lessons 11 & 12 - Prodigal Sons - Luke 15: 11-32

What’s in the Box?

Your Modern Parables Box Set should come with the following items packaged in the box:

1. Teacher’s Guide.
2. Student’s Book
3. 3 DVDs
4. 1 Teacher’s Prep. Audio CD

All of the included materials are incredibly well done and of the highest quality. They are simple to use and virtually self-explanatory. This is probably the most intuitive curriculum I have ever opened. You’ll be up and running in almost no time at all.

Conclusion:

A parable is a story. It is a dramatic event meant to stir some sort of reaction deep within its listeners. Jesus of Nazareth spoke to his listeners in parables. He used images, symbols, metaphors, and similes his immediate listeners would easily understand. He did so to express a very important message about his kingdom to his listeners. This same message is included in the re-created parables included in this curriculum. The message Jesus expressed to his original audience is there too! It is simply related with images, symbols, metaphors, and similes from our own day and setting. The result is an incredible study and group experience of the parables of Jesus of Nazareth.

I highly recommend Compass Cinema’s Modern Parables: Living in the Kingdom of God, Vol. I, to anyone who loves Jesus’ parables, small group experiences, high quality theatrical material, and the practical application of Jesus of Nazareth’s parabolic truths and principles. This is the best curriculum for teaching parables that I have come across to date. Grab all that you need to lead your small group through the parables via short film in The Modern Parables: living in the Kingdom of God, Vol. 1., DVD Box Set.

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