LETTERS TO GOD the movie and

Leader Guide
in Theaters April 9, 2010
“Do you think the kids at school will make fun of me?
What should I do if they do? Wait, I know. I’ll do what
Jesus would do.” Tyler, Letters To God
Wouldn’t you be thrilled if your young friends would come to the same conclusion when facing difficulty?
To God
The Movie And
Your Ministry
As a youth leader, you are no stranger
to using various teaching methods –
everything from playing a game to playing a song can be used to drive home
a point. Letters To God can be one of
those “teaching methods” you employ.
Going to a movie is a very common
experience with young people. If you
listen to conversations among kids,
you’ll catch many references to movie
scenes. So, using a movie to make
a point is a natural thing. But, young
people are not conditioned to do the
“thinking between the lines” that is
sometimes necessary to extract the
message from a movie. Therefore, you
will want to set up this experience as a
different kind of movie-going adventure.
Movies can teach. They can motivate.
They can bring issues to the fore that
otherwise might not be dealt with. We
hope that you are able to make the
most of Letters To God in your ministry.
In Advance Of
Seeing The Movie
Too often we have a “ready, fire, aim”
mentality when dealing with opportunities like Letters To God. The demands
of youth ministry do call for much
flexibility, creativity, and “just in time”
Letters To God is a poignant film that shows how a boy’s faith while handling adversity affects everyone he encounters. A
heartfelt tale of inspiration, hope, and redemption, Letters to God is the story of what happens when one boy’s walk of faith
crosses paths with one man’s search for meaning—the resulting transformational journey together touches the lives of
everyone around them.
Tyler Doherty is an extraordinary eight-year-old boy. Surrounded by a loving family and community, and armed with the
courage of his faith, he faces his daily battle against cancer with bravery and grace. To Tyler, God is a friend, a teacher and
the ultimate pen pal — Tyler’s prayers take the form of letters, which he composes and mails on a daily basis.
The letters find their way into the hands of Brady McDaniels, a beleaguered postman standing at a crossroads in his life. At
first, he is confused and conflicted over what to do with the letters. But the decision he ultimately makes becomes a testament to the quiet power of one boy’s shining spirit and unshakeable faith.
Inspired by a true story, Letters To God is an intimate, moving, and often funny story about the galvanizing effect a child’s
belief can have on his family, friends and community.
This guide will help you integrate the movie into three solid, Biblically-based discussions that will reinforce your young
friends’ faith in God and their understanding of His transforming power. This movie is also a superb occasion for your students to expose their friends to faith. Seeing this movie could be the first step that many teenagers will take toward Jesus.
delivery of awesome programming.
The nature of teenagers means that we
have to adapt, make do, and generally
roll with the punches.
That kind of off-the-cuff ability works
well much of the time – but sometimes
an opportunity comes along that is
too good to let slide. Occasionally we
are given a chance to create a ton of
ministry effectiveness ONLY if we plan,
prepare, promote, and perform with the
best of our ability. Letters To God is just
such an opportunity.
You may want to be careful about how
you promote Letters To God. Because
the story involves a young boy, some of
your teenaged friends might think it’s a
movie for “kids” – not for sophisticated
(and older) teenagers. And, just so you
know, this is not an “action-packed”
adventure film – it is a touching and
moving story that will pull at your
heartstrings (and tear ducts!) So, don’t
“oversell” it to your rowdy guys.
Do a little build-up to generate enthusiasm about seeing Letters To God. Use
any or all of these ideas to create some
anticipation for the film.
Show the Trailer – The movie’s trailer
is included on the Music Video Loop
DVD. Be sure to show it several times in
the weeks before you attend a screening of the film.
Send a “Handwritten” Letter to the
Group – Use a pencil to write a letter to
the whole group, and mail it two weeks
before your film screening. Use your
best elementary-kid printing style, and
let the kids know how cool this experience will be.
Hold the First Bible Study Session –
The first session, dealing with the issue
of prayer, is a good way to continue
your introduction of the film. Plan to
have that meeting a week to ten days
before you go to the movie.
Going To See
The Movie
Make taking your youth group to see
the film a special occasion. Here are a
few ideas:
Bandanas – Have a few kids wear red
bandanas on their heads in solidarity
with Tyler’s character in the film.
Uniform – Get a US Postal Service
uniform to wear to the film. If you’re a
guy, grow a three-day beard.
Letters – Bring along some pads of
paper, pencils, and envelopes with you
to the film screening. Hand them out to
the kids and encourage them to write
a letter to God when the final credits
are rolling.
you’re there you can debrief the movie
with your kids. Use these questions to
generate discussion:
•Who was your favorite character in the
movie? Why?
•Did you anticipate the ending to be the
way it was? What were your thoughts
about the ending?
•Have you been close to anyone who
has battled cancer? What was your
experience with that situation?
•What would you say is the main point
that this film makes?
The Bible verse quoted at the end of
the movie is 2 Corinthians 3:3 – “You
are a letter… written not with ink but
with the Spirit of the living God.” Put
that idea into your own words.
Make sure you inform the group about
the two special Bible studies coming
up that deal with issues raised in the
film. You probably want to have flyers or
cards to hand out that have information
about your two upcoming meetings.
After Seeing
The Movie
When you exit the theater, head to a
restaurant or dessert place, and when
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