Why a Movie Theater?
We have a lot of people that ask us, “Why do you have church in a movie theater?” There are so many factors to that answer. Mary and I never imagined The Point in a movie theater at first. We were looking at hotels, conference centers, performing arts theaters and empty store fronts. Most of them were WELL BEYOND our budget; which was $0 when we first started looking. One of my long-distance heroes, Mark Batterson‘s church approach, got my attention – to “meet a theaters across the metro line in DC.” So I looked into the theater option. I could not believe the cost. It was 1/2 the price of most rentals – and long-term leases where totally beyond our grasp. So I contacted National Cinemedia and the rest is history.
So why a theater?
Our annual facilities budget is 20% of our overall (this includes our office space too). Much less than many other options. Many of my friends have a hefty mortgage due to building projects and it limits other expenditures. Your theology determines your spending. We would rather embrace missions and outreach than spend 30-40% of our budget on facilities.
There are two components to this: 1) A theater is set up for a conference/concert type setting and 2) The community knows exactly where it is. The truth is we get 0 calls for directions. Why? We chose a highly trafficked theater.
We have a value at The Point that we would “do ministry in the marketplace.” We have people heading to the movies check out our service or look at our resources before they go into the other theaters. This week someone came and brought three friends. Why? The week before they were headed to a movie and were welcomed by our Host Team. Two of the Four guests make decisions for Jesus.
There are definitely challenges to the theater church experience, but I believe the pros far outweigh the cons. If you are looking for a meeting space consider a movie theater!