Usually, when a Hollywood studio "reaches out" to the church audience, it does so with an eye toward selling tickets, period. And usually, when churches take notice of a film, it is with an eye toward finding quotes and clips that can serve as sermon illustrations, evangelism "tools," and the like.
But something different is happening with Evan Almighty.
One of the recurring themes in the film is that people can help to "change the world" through Acts of Random Kindness—or ARK, for short. And so, a few weeks before the film's June 22 release, a website went up called Ark Almighty, with the aim of connecting people with needs to other people in their church who can fulfill those needs.
Jennifer Harris, who coordinates the Ark Almighty program at First Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Missouri, says people in her church have given out free food and done other people's laundry. So far, most of the requests have come from within the church, "but we're planning to open it to the community, for making requests," she says. "We're hoping that it's members of our church who are fulfilling those."
Personal information stays private, and it's up to coordinators like Harris to put the people with needs in touch with the people who volunteer their skills, after the requests are posted. Harris has also made a point of keeping the requests within reasonable limits. "The one we've had to watch so far was someone who wanted their lawn mowed every week of the summer, and we decided we aren't exactly a yard care service," she says. "That might be crossing the line just a bit."
Harris says her church, which is attended by about 500 people on any given Sunday, was already involved in outreach, but Ark Almighty has enhanced their efforts.
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Acts of Random Kindness
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