By Jessie Reestman
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags!” This famous line taken from Dr. Suess’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” became part of the sermon shared by Pastor Brian Loy during a recent Sunday service at the Elgin United Methodist Church.
Dressed from head to toe in a Grinch costume he had borrowed from a friend; the pastor entered the sanctuary to the deep bass music of “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” He described, “It was very well received. There were smiles, giggles, and laughs while I handed out candy canes.”
This is not the first time Pastor Loy has used movies to help enhance his service.
He explained, “Years ago, my brother Keith started what we call “Faith in Film” where you can take a film apart and parallel it with a Gospel story. “The past few weeks, Thursday evening has been movie night at the Methodist Church.”
He added, “I use the messages found in the movie to tie into the sermon on Sunday. Using a movie basically enhances the sermon by creating a visual effect that people can remember. I will watch the movie a good three or four times to see if I can pull a good message out of it. Then I take clips to validate the parts which I am trying to make in that sermon.”
Sharing the Gospel message he found within the Grinch story, he said, “The question at the end of the movie was simply, what changed the Grinch’s heart? Even though the Grinch took Christmas away from the people, Christmas was still in their heart. He couldn’t take that away from them. It is your witness how people see the Gospel story; how do they view that in your life?” On a final note, Pastor Loy shared, “My church members want me to do this every Sunday. We are talking about continuing to show free movies twice a month. I won’t break every movie apart to incorporate in each sermon, but there are thousands of good Christian movies out there to help draw people closer in their faith.”
Pastor Loy’s favorite movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” will be featured this coming Thursday night at 6, with the movie “Home Alone” playing in the fellowship hall for the younger viewers. He concluded, “Everyone is welcome. We had 38 attendees the night of the Grinch movie, including members of our church and community guests, and there was about a 50/50 ratio between adults and children. We always offer free popcorn and pop to all the people who come. Our main objective in all of this is to minister to a community. There is a need in Elgin for something to get kids involved and provide entertainment for the community. There is no better place than a church to do this, if we can.”