From Now On
Rachel Mann, DLT, 2018

£6.99 (Approx)
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

A Lent course on Hope and Redemption in The Greatest Showman. From Now On is a new and original Lent course by Rachel Mann. Taking the film The Greatest Showman as a starting point, the course explores ways in which themes of faith, hope and redemption run through all our lives. It examines how each of us – like P.T. Barnum and the members of his Circus – face and can overcome doubt, temptation and prejudice, and how we can begin to live authentic lives.

What do you get?

Paperback book. 5 sessions:

  1. A Million Dreams
  2. Come Alive
  3. Rewrite the Stars
  4. Never Enough
  5. From Now On

Obviously you will need a copy of the film on DVD as well. Each session includes suggested clips.

Who is it for?

Adult individuals or small groups. Enquiring, Beginning, Growing.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Using this resource is a great reason to watch a good film and be challenged, inspired and energised at the same time. Not limited to Lent, but would fit very well.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Overall aims are for the course to be ‘fun, thoughtful and prayerful’. Layout is consistent, though more bullet points would have been easier for use. Headings are clear.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    Deliberate inclusion of too much material for the average group meeting – this is so there is enough for individuals to use it as well, whether in addition to the group time, or stand alone. Sessions comprise: To Start You Thinking (short introductory chapter that should be summarised for group use, with Bible passage, and prayer); Icebreaker questions relevant to the theme; three Watch sections (suggested clips, Think About discussion questions, Going Deeper – linking the theme to Bible passage and more discussion questions); Looking Ahead (Activities to consider during the week – direct responses to the material in practical actions); Closing Prayer. The Watch sections could be easier to read if laid out in bullet points etc, but each one does start on a new page.

    There is also some guidance on leading a group, in very narrative style.

    Who could lead it?

    Easy to lead, but needs some prep.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    The extra material in the book means that there is plenty for group members to look at in between sessions; as well as being suitable for individual use. This includes a few facts about the real Barnum, some of which inevitably do not tally with the film.

    How good is any digital material?

    An excellent DVD! Twentieth Century Fox 2018.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    The excess of material is deliberate, but will not make for easy choices – so leave some time to choose what you want to use. The chapter may need some careful preparation for some groups (see Approach to Bible, and Growing in Faith).

     Is there website support?

    Links? N/A

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Icebreaker, film watching together and some great questions for discussion, prayer and action points would give good opportunities for interaction.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    God to have a mixture of visual, reading and discussion.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Encouragement to use subtitles etc for any group members who are visually impaired. Would suit a wide variety of groups. Use of the film could be extended into watching it together first, and using some themes for creativity – food, craft, etc. I should mention that the material in Rewrite the Stars will not suit everyone, as it is based on pro-gay assumptions and definitions of family that not all will share. You may want to make some choices here as to how to use it. They are important issues to discuss.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Very good application, through discussion and ongoing action in response to the themes. Most of these are a mixture of individual and collective; some could be life-changing.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Each session has an opening verse; then every Going Deeper section has a passage on which the following thought and discussion are based.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    The choice of three Going Deeper sections are based on a different, relevant passage, followed up by a thought (enough to get discussion going but not too much) and some very good questions for discussion.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    The questions and thoughts weave the film’s themes, the biblical material and the possible implications for our lives together extremely well. I should mention that the material in Rewrite the Stars will not suit everyone, as it is based on pro-gay assumptions and definitions of family that not all will share. You may want to make some choices here as to how to use it. They are important issues to discuss.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Broadly applicable. Some pro-gay assumptions that not all will agree with.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Superb interaction of Biblical material with the film themes should lead to some broad-ranging and challenging discussions, and hopefully some decisions for change.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    There are some great gritty questions that help us to look at the tough stuff of life, in the light of our faith. The Activities to Consider section at the close of each section have some good suggestions for action, with helpful website links included.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    Good mix of big picture stuff and personal applications, all within the context of biblical material. Even if you don’t agree with everything Mann says, it should make for some lively discussions and exploration of the ideas.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Very well. Barnum’s life in the movie lends itself well to considering comparable events in our own lives, and how we respond to them. Some questions are therefore based on the film directly.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Not a focus.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    A strength of this resource with some excellent suggestions and inspiration for action.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Some of the big issues of society are definitely there, and Never Enough picks up action on environmental concerns.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

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