Church is like the Lord of the Rings extended edition DVD

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : October 13, 2004

In the tradition of comparing movies to the church, I now offer a comparison of LOTR and the church. I think that the Extended Edition offers a great metaphor of the preaching and teaching role of the church. The LOTR DVD is about a story–the tale of Frodo Baggins and his quest to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Everything on the extended edition DVD addresses this story–it amplifies the story and helps us to appreciate the story and the way it is told. A lot of churches are like the extended edition DVD, but without the movie included–it is all commentary, but without story. They tell you how to apply the Gospel without telling the story of the Gospel. That doesn’t make any sense. It is better, in my opinion, to tell the story without much explaination than it is to give an explanation without much story. Of course, it is better to have both. It is like reading the Pauline Epistles without ever reading the Gospels. Many problems in our churches would be done away with if we centered our ministry on the Story, and filled things out with commentary, instead of confusing the two.

Mark Van Steenwyk is the editor of He is a Mennonite pastor (Missio Dei in Minneapolis), writer, speaker, and grassroots educator. He and his wife Amy have been married since 1997. They are expecting their first child in April.

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6 Responses to “Church is like the Lord of the Rings extended edition DVD”

  1. Jeremy on October 13th, 2004 11:16 pm

    I will now light myself on fire!!!

  2. Van S on October 14th, 2004 2:19 pm

    Yay! A running, screaming, bonfire!

  3. Chris B. on October 14th, 2004 7:18 pm

    Hey Mark, check out this awesome link, I think it goes well with your post (warning: playful jab being made by good friend impending)

  4. jeff on October 15th, 2004 9:51 am

    I think its the church’s (pastor/speaker) job to tell the story and the people’s job to interpret and apply it.

  5. Van S on October 15th, 2004 10:14 am

    Chris, check this one out!

  6. Chris B. on October 15th, 2004 11:27 am

    That’s hilarious! I am anathematized! Ergo excommunicavi aeteritatis.

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