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Doing ‘Reel’ Evangelism

Jun 20, 2024Field Updates

Home » ABWE Canada Blog » Field Updates » Doing ‘Reel’ Evangelism

“Oh, you like movies?”  

Previously disengaged from the dinner conversation, Angus’ attention piqued when ABWE missionary Russ Matthews leaned across the table and mentioned his work writing film reviews. As the conversation shifted to films and directors, Russ invited Angus, a big man with a bigger personality, to accompany him to a movie. This launched a series of meetings and a friendship between the men.  

“We had lunch, and we ended up talking about all the aspects in the movie that pointed back to God and spirituality and how this impacted his life,” Russ shared. 

Angus, with growing interest, later commented to Russ, “I’m not a Christian yet, but I really like getting together with you.” 

The unique ability of film to induce spiritual conversations forms the basis of Australian evangelistic ministry Reel Dialogue. Through establishing groups that gather to watch and discuss movies, Russ, his wife Cathy, and their ministry partners present biblical truth as it relates to themes in each film. 

“Everyone seems to have that common thread of enjoying movies to some degree,” Russ commented. “Our goal is to get people to a deeper conversation, putting the film through the lens of faith. Film gets me to spiritual conversations faster than anything else I’ve ever experienced.” 

In addition to group events, Russ hosts a podcast called The Watchlist and writes biblically based film reviews for publications throughout Australia. After a decade of reviewing films, Russ has earned a position on the press list, placing him as the only believer in a community of film critics. 

“We’ve seen numerous groups start and people introduced to the Bible through Reel Dialogue,” he conveyed. 

Russ and Cathy have found building relationships to be essential for sharing the gospel in post-Christian Australia. Although Australia has a highly educated, diverse culture, biblical literacy remains low. Yet statistics indicate that over 50 percent of Australians are willing to discuss spiritual matters.  

“If you’re willing to meet people where they are and look at this as a relationship, many people will listen to the gospel,” he continued. 

Russ and Cathy have served 18 years with Australian churches and ministries capitalizing on this concept. Third Space, founded in 2019, engages people with the gospel through special interest groups. City Bible Forum focuses on the workplace, training Christians to prayerfully reach their coworkers and offering lunch-hour Bible studies and public forums in corporations across Australia.  

Stuart, a senior banking professional admitting to living for pleasure and a lavish lifestyle, attended a City Bible Forum event after conversations with his business partner left him pondering the importance of faith. Realizing his life was “soulless,” he began meeting with a team of Christian executives and submitted his life to Christ. 

“Right now, over 300 people are in regular Bible studies,” reported Russ. “Our goal is to help them come to faith in Christ and join good Bible-believing churches in their community. We’re meeting people where they are.” 

Editor’s Note: Angus’ name has been changed for privacy.  

Author: Katelyn Hawkins | Originally Posted at: https://abwe.org/blog/doing-reel-evangelism/

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