Pictures in the Park

Last night our family attended Pictures in the Park at our local city park. This local outreach to our community was to build relationships with people and reach out with the Gospel. Our friends purchased all the costly equipment themselves and began this unique ministry. It’s similar to the drive-in movie only it’s a free movie, such as McClintock or last night’s feature, The Inspector General starring Danny Kaye, with free soda and popcorn served under the beautiful free blanket of stars, with summer’s warm, gentle breezes.

The church paid for a banner across main street downtown to advertise the event (the time discrepencies resolved) and the event received at least triple the amount in attendance from last month’s event. Hundreds were in attendance in a cross-section of the culture last night. Several teens, my own and others, and several of our church’s congregants helped to serve soda and theater-style popcorn for at least two hours  at the concession tables. As I looked around at all the people relaxing in lawn chairs, blankets and enjoying the old-fashioned family flick and fellowship with each other, I noted that there were more in attendance for Pictures in the Park than at the theater down the street featuring “Die Hard” with Bruce Willis. Danny Kaye is much more funny 🙂

The Inspector General

The concept of Pictures in the Park is simple: the park is reserved and equipment set up — no small endeavor, as it takes more than an hour to set up the projector screen, computer system, sound, the concession stand, etc.  Flyers are handed out days before in town by a handful of volunteers to announce the event and the banner is approved and placed in a prominent location. There are usually 3 or 4 showings per summer and the movies are all royalty-free films, that are free to view in public showings. I suggested after the movie was finished another Danny Kaye movie that our family loves, The Court Jester, but it didn’t fall into the free category and the royalties would have been cost-prohibitive to show for such an event.

During the Intermission, Gregg Harris gave a Gospel presentation via microphone, even with a correlation to the movie’s theme, and Gospel tracts were also handed out to those who were interested. I think I also saw some John Piper literature in the mix. At the time of prayer my eye caught my husband’s hand raised in the air praying over the crowd for God’s Spirit to touch people’s lives. It was a great testimony to me. I actually didn’t get to see much of the movie, since I was behind the concession crew and was supporting them with cups and supplies. Many families, grandparents, some “street” teens, young un-supervised children and homeless folk were gladly served. One homeless man stayed until the very end of clean-up collecting cans and hauling heavy equipment with us to the trucks, helping us pick up trash. He was a wonderful help to our crew, and many had an opportunity to share with him in word and deed the love of Christ. I look forward to next summer, Lord willing, to participate in Pictures in the Park again, and to witness God’s Spirit at work in people’s lives.

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