Director and actor Matt Chastain is urging Christians to either start or attend a small church group, insisting that the need for connection is more important than ever as many churches continue to operate below capacity amid ongoing government restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"So as 2020 descends into complete and total chaos. Our churches are either shut down completely or being forced to rip apart any feeling of real human connection with masks and social distancing,” Chastain said in an exclusive video shared with The Christian Post.
“Small groups are going to become the most important part of the church body. Living rooms are going to be the new worship centers. Pastor’s YouTube channels are like the pulpit, he added.
His new film “Small Group the Movie” (available on Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu, Redbox and Christian Cinema) fits right in with the current church climate.
For believers who have reservations about hosting or attending a small group seven months after the COVID-19 lockdowns first began, Chastain shared his “top five reasons why we need to get small groups going again right now, in person.”
"No. 5. We all need group therapy to deal with the soul eroding Chinese water torture of spending the last six or eight months doing virtually everything virtually.
No. 4. Potluck dinners: Have we all but forgotten this beautiful all American cultural staple? We've given away so many of our liberties over the past few months in order to 'keep us safe.' But I draw the line in the society that no longer values a kitchen counter overcrowded with casserole dishes, small group meetings, potluck dinners, let's do this.
No. 3. Because it might not happen at all if we, the congregation, don't make it happen. I don't know where your pastor is on the spectrum of overly cautious to overly bold. I think a lot of us are a little nervous that our pastors are overly cautious.
No. 2. With the world descending into chaos like it is, it needs us to reflect Christ now more than ever. And so we got to get ready. Go read 1st Corinthians Chapter 13. It's like the solution to all the madness, the antidote to the anarchy. Admit it, even for us, the lack of connection that we've been forced to endure over the past six months is really taking its toll on us as believers just like the rest of the world, right? So let's get back together.
No. 1. The reason our small groups need to get together now, well, the Bible is very clear. We got to worship together, we need connection to Acts Chapter 2 verse 46."
Chastain ended the video by urging everyone to do research for themselves and evaluate their own risk level amid the lockdown restrictions that continue to keep people apart in response to the novel coronavirus.
“Folks, it's time for us to really take a look at the actual health risks we face, taking into account all that we've learned from all the data and weigh it against the very real emotional and spiritual risks we face from the loss of connection,” Chastain added.
Although faith-based films are often told from the perspective of those who are already believers, “Small Group” shows what goes on in church culture through the eyes of a skeptic who joins a small church group.
According to the movie's description, "R. Scott Cooper is hired to make a film about the dwindling influence of Christianity. But to his surprise, the producer asks Scott to secretly infiltrate a small group and make a cheap hit piece. Already having moved his family to Athens, Georgia, he's forced to move forward but discovers much more than he set out to do."
Chastain based the film on his own experience in a church small group.
“In 2014, my wife and I had joined a small group at our church. The whole experience just felt so much more real and genuine and interactive than other church experiences I'd had,” the filmmaker told The Christian Post in a previous interview. “It was early on, maybe in the second meeting, when I was kind of given the idea: this is a story that needs to be told! Somebody ought to make a movie called 'Small Group'! Being too dumb to know what an undertaking it would actually be to do it right, I decided to write a screenplay and make a movie!”