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Leader's Insight: Harry Potter and the Hogwart's VBS

How one church embraces popular culture to accomplish its evangelism mission.

After five record-breaking books and three successful movies, Harry Potter has secured his seat among the most beloved heroes of youth pop culture. But with the recent release of author J.K. Rowling's sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, some in the church are still unsure what to make of the winsome wizard. Many church leaders, including Pope Benedict, have condemned Harry Potter, but at least one church, in a controversial move, embraced him. Their example raises a larger question: To what extent should the church embrace popular culture in order to reach lost people?

Kelly and Tosha Williams started Vanguard Church in Colorado Springs eight years ago with the goal of using popular culture to attract people to Christ. But when the church created a vacation Bible school based on the Harry Potter books in 2003, they attracted a lot of media attention and criticism. With the release of the newest Potter book, their VBS story was told again on national television. So we spoke ...

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