Messages are spread differently at different times. Cave paintings. Word of mouth. Parchment. The printing press. Radio. Movies. Television. The Internet. Beginning Sunday, Pastor David Therrien of New Hope Christian Church, New Hope, 1436 GAR Highway, Swansea, will spread the message he preaches using a DVD and a movie screen.
Messages are spread differently at different times. Cave paintings. Word of mouth. Parchment. The printing press. Radio. Movies. Television. The Internet.
Beginning Sunday, Pastor David Therrien of New Hope Christian Church in Swansea will spread the message he preaches using a DVD and a movie screen.
The enterprising pastor, looking to expand the geographical reach of his ministry, has signed a $475-a-week, six-month deal with Flagship Cinemas in New Bedford.
Therrien’s preaching will be recorded at the Swansea church and replayed at the 140-seat theater the next week. Sunday’s service, the first at the theater, lasts from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
“We’re not really ready to go live,” Therrien said.
Therrien has around 500 regular congregants at his church, which started in 1991 in Warren, R.I., and moved to Swansea in 1998.
“We started thinking a year ago about expanding,” Therrien said. “But property is expensive.
“And we wanted to be in a city,” he added. “We felt the city had needs.
“Jesus did most of his work in the cities. The apostle Paul went to cities to start churches.”
Therrien’s church draws people to Swansea from New Bedford now, but he feels to reach out to New Bedford, the church should have a presence in New Bedford.
“I’m a risk taker,” Therrien said. “We have a good thing here, and we want to duplicate it."
Therrien said he’d heard of churches in the South and West that rented movie theaters as a way to reach more people.
"Flagship rents a theater to a congregation in Florida and to one in New Hampshire,” he said.
Therrien said the six-month lease is paid up.
“There are people who stepped up to sponsor it,” he said.
And New Hope is working hard for success.
“We’ve distributed 1,500 door hangers in New Bedford and Dartmouth,” adding that the church already has a home bible study group in Dartmouth.
“If we get 75 people the first Sunday, I’ll be thrilled,” Therrien said.
Therrien said that in addition to the DVD of his preaching to be played on the big movie screen, the home church will send a band, ushers, deacons and elders to provide a personal touch.
“There will be a small group from here who will go there,” he said.
In addition, Therrien sees a day when he may have a guest preacher at the Swansea church while he goes to preach live in New Bedford.
As to what may happen after New Hope is established in New Bedford, Therrien sees a day when the church may achieve a larger presence in New Bedford.
“We may rent a storefront,” he said.
In the meantime, Therrien feels there may be room for further geographical expansion in the area of big screen preaching.
“There’s a Regal Theater in Falmouth,” he said.
Therrien envisions a good experience for those who come to services on the movie screen.
“It’s really comfortable to sit in a movie theater.”
There’s a personal downside, too.
“I know the camera will add 10 pounds,” Therrien said, laughing.
E-mail Marc Munroe Dion at firstname.lastname@example.org.