The films of Pixar Animation Studios offer Christian leaders an invaluable opportunity. Not only do their stories engage children, youth, and adults alike, but they do so by exploring universal dimensions of the human condition. It is no wonder that 65% of the American population watched Finding Nemo within the first year of its release. This study guide exists to help you identify the primary themes that these captivating stories address, and also to chart a path for discovering shared stories within your own context—common narratives that might provide your community with additional resources for making sense of their life and the world.
Each section of the study guide is designed with small group settings in mind, whether that is a parenting class, a weekly Bible study for adults, a family night, or a student ministry event. Although the guides can even be used in the context of a sermon where appropriate, our basic assumption is that everyone will watch the film first—either together, or previous to meeting. We have created this resource so that anyone can lead a fruitful discussion about things that matter to their community. In other words, these materials are not just for professional ministers, but for any person who cares deeply about the ways that our stories are intertwined with God’s story.
Every section begins with a brief reflection on the chosen film’s theme—the “losses” and “longings” embedded in the narrative. These thoughts represent one potential way of framing the ensuing conversation. The study guide then features:
1) A scene or collection of scenes in the film that most clearly express the center of the film’s power and meaning
2) A series of discussion questions that would be suitable for a variety of contexts and settings.
3) A number of biblical stories that call your group to respond faithfully to the ways in which our losses and longings relate to the presence and movement of God in the world
Finally, each section of the study guide points readers to a number of non-film resources with further insight into the ways that Christian leaders might help others discover Christian categories for making spiritual sense of their lives. We hope that together, these resources will serve as creative and fun tools for your life and ministry.