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Just three months after its release in theatres and before the public could rent or buy it on DVD, Smithville (Ontario) Christian Reformed Church offered a free Friday-night screening of God’s Not Dead to a crowd of movie-goers.

Ministry coordinator Angela Attema said the church’s special events team pursued the license as soon as it became available. Having previously screened other films such as Courageous and Fire Proof, Attema said offering faith-based movie nights is a low-maintenance opportunity for churches to welcome the wider community.

Attema said this movie, which portrays a university freshman student defending his Christian faith against an atheist philosophy professor, “equips Christians to better express their faith and also presents the gospel message.”

The team was excited about the turnout of about 200 people, estimating that a quarter were members of Smithville CRC. Although no one filled out a response card or responded to the invitation for follow-up prayer, the opportunity was still seen as worthwhile. “Most people have to take time to hear [the gospel] again, or just process it,” Attema said.

The church did not charge for the screening or for popcorn, but its invitation for donations for local counseling service Grimsby Life Centre  raised about $1,000.

With the screening license good for a year, Smithville CRC plans to offer a second screening of God’s Not Dead in the fall.

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