secular-movies-4-christiansOriginally Posted:

Films with Christian themes have enjoyed box office success in recent years, but here are four great secular movies that I believe every Christian should see.

Sergeant York
Sergeant York starred Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, and Joan Leslie, and is considered to be a Hollywood Classic. I realize it’s a very old movie and it’s in black and white, but the morals and values it depicts don’t change. What makes this movie so great is that it’s a true story about a young man who, because of his belief in the Bible, didn’t want to go to war to kill anyone. He thought that since the Bible was against killing that he should be against killing. The draft board didn’t recognize his church as a mainstream denomination, which would have allowed him to be a conscientious objector. Instead, he was forced to go to war against his will but when the time came, Sergeant Alvin York proved to be a hero. He saved many men’s lives at the risk of losing his own, and became one of the most decorated veterans in U.S. history.

Chariots of Fire
This inspiring movie is about a young Scottish runner would rather put obedience to God above his certain chances of winning an Olympic gold medal. This true story revolves around Harold Abrahams, an English Jew and student at Cambridge. His dream is to prove to the anti-Semitic students at Cambridge that Jews are not inferior to other people, and in doing so, he ends up proving it to the world. When he refuses to run on Sunday because of his faith, it appears that his gold medal hopes are over, but then he’s given another opportunity for which he hasn’t trained. What follows is truly inspiring because he gives the glory to God.

Ben-Hur, starring Charleston Heston, is set in the time of Christ. A young Jewish prince named Judah Ben-Hur bristles under the heavy-handed iron fist of Rome. He and his family are disposed from their home due to a freak accident in which a Roman governor was thought to be threatened. Ben-Hur ends up as a galley slave in the Roman fleet until his ship sinks. When he sees the commander’s life being threatened he intervenes to save him from drowning in the ocean. At first he is antagonistic about this “Jesus” and His teachings to “love our enemies,” but in time, Judah’s heart is softened by a miracle where his mother and sister are healed from leprosy.

The Hiding Place
The Hiding Place is a true story about Corrie ten Boom. Her family’s lives are disrupted by the Nazi regime during World War II in Holland, and since they are suspected of hiding Jews they are sent to a concentration camp. It is only their Christian faith that keeps them from despair and bitterness. After the war is over, Carrie must learn to forgive her captors and tormentors. It’s a great lesson of the unconditional love of God through forgiveness that isn’t deserved.

These are films that the whole family can watch and that have life-changing lessons in them. For Sergeant York, it was trust God. For Harold Abrahams, it was obey God at all costs. For Ben-Hur it was to believe in Jesus Christ. For Corrie it was about forgiveness. The Christmas holidays would be a perfect time to rent one or all of these classic films and savor their timeless messages.


Giving thanks for all we have can be easy or hard depending on what’s going on in our lives. If things are tough, it’s often difficult to express our gratitude to God; but we sometimes forget to thank God when things are going well, too. We can praise God in any situation because he loves us and sent his only son to die for us on the cross (John 3:16).

If you’re like me and need constant reminders to be grateful and thank God for everything, you’ll find this list handy.


1 Chronicles 16:34
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

1 Chronicles 16:35
“Cry out, ‘Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.’”

Ezra 3:11
“With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”

Psalm 7:17
“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.”

Psalm 69:30
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.”

Psalm 95:2
“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”

Psalm 100:4
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”

Jeremiah 30:19
“From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.”

1 Corinthians 1:4
“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 10:16
“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?”

2 Corinthians 4:15
“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”

2 Corinthians 9:11
“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”

Ephesians 5:4
“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”

Philippians 4:6
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

May God in Christ Jesus constantly show you grace, mercy, and love as you go about your life, thanking Him all along the way.
[All bible verses taken from the New International Version, courtesy of]


Sam Hill, Digital Giving Expert from The Rocket Company, hosted an informative webinar with his Top Tips to Increase Donations on November 15, 2016. He spent a good deal of time covering the subject of recurring digital giving which has been proven to be effective in fund raising for ministries. Sam takes the time to answer customer questions and includes a Q&A toward the end of the video. If you missed this helpful webinar, you can still see it by clicking the image above.


Did you know that 86% of US churches can’t meet their monthly budget requirements?

Just in time for the giving season, Will Graham, General Manager for The Rocket Company, joins us to share his top tips for encouraging generous contributions to ministries. Watch and discover the answers to these important questions:
    What causes headaches for churches when it comes to raising money?
    What startling statistic do most ministries struggle with?
    What is your top tip for increased giving?
Click HERE to sign up for a free webinar hosted by Digital Giving Expert Sam Hill on November 15th at 2pm CST.

This edition of Shelby Podcast is sponsored by ShelbyNext Giving, the cloud-based giving solution, created to fit churches of all sizes.


Think about how your house appears to a would-be thief. Is it dark at night? Are any entry points covered by shrubbery or other hiding spots? Are the windows left open? Can you hear a dog barking? Is there an alarm system sign out front? Are valuables left in plain view?
Thieves work on a risk-reward basis. If the reward is small, there is little reason to take a large risk and incur significant hassle. If the reward appears to be huge, they are more motivated to find a way to get the job done.
The same is true with check security. If a thief sees a check with high levels of security, he is more likely to move on to an easier target. However, if he believes the reward is huge, he will find a way to hack that check. There is no security measure that can guarantee your check information is 100% secure. It is important that you regularly reconcile your bank account with your record of transactions to mitigate the impact of any potential breach.
Going back to the example of home security, you can buy and install the fanciest, most elaborate security system available, but it will do you not good if you forget to turn it on when you leave the house. Similarly, most check security features only work when a bank teller actually checks to confirm those safeguards are present and functioning. Every check Nelco supplies has a padlock icon on the front of the check. This is a visual reminder to the teller to turn the check over and look at the characteristics on the check to confirm that it is legitimate.
So how can you deter fraud? In the next two posts, we will talk about some common security features that guard against two primary forms of fraud: copying and altering.


Alex Nicoletti, Alfred Johnson, and Curtis Harris join us today to talk about Shelby’s Roadmap to the Future! We’ll see what’s on the horizon for the ShelbyArena and ShelbyNext products. Alex Nicoletti, Arena Product Manager, tells us about his ministry background, shares some exciting news about enhancements that he is currently working on and discusses the Arena roadmap. Alfred Johnson, Financials Product Owner, tells us what projects he is overseeing for the financial side of ShelbyNext, what is in the works and the wish list items that he is dreaming about. Finally, Curtis Harris, EVP for Ministry Brands, explains what he’s doing to bring the strong “voice of the customer” to the ShelbyNext product as he looks forward to the exciting days ahead for Shelby Systems and Ministry Brands. This edition of Shelby Podcast is sponsored by ShelbyArena.


Community within your church is built on nurturing relationships with your members. In today’s world, that means connecting with your congregation beyond the walls of the church. Whether you’re using your laptop or mobile app to update interactions, plan and manage groups, send mass emails or add information for visitors you’re meeting on-the-go, the church management tools you rely on have to be flexible and adaptive.

ShelbyNext | Membership is the membership management piece of the ShelbyNext product line. ShelbyNext is a unified, next-generation technology platform for churches. It’s a complete ecosystem for digital ministry. You can use these tools separately, but they are designed for maximum ministry impact when you combine them together.

It’s brought to you by the trusted Shelby Systems team that has led the church finance and membership arena for 40 years!


dr-thom-s-rainer If you work for a ministry, you are not going to want to miss the valuable information that Dr. Thom S. Rainer, President and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, shares with us today! Did you know nine out of ten churches in America are declining or not keeping up with their community’s population? The foremost authority on church growth is here to share a lifetime of wisdom so that your ministry can either become or remain healthy. We cover these subjects: the five most common obstacles to breaking attendance barriers, hot button issues, change in the church and much more. Plus make sure you watch our bonus videos: Change or Die where Dr. Rainer talks about his father and relates it to the church in America, and 9 Tech Trends That Every Church Should Consider. This edition of Shelby Podcast is sponsored by ShelbyNext. The next era in Shelby Software


Our mission as an online giving provider is to make sure you reach your donation goals. We want to take this opportunity to share three things that you can start doing today to make online giving a success.

Increase Awareness
    If people do not know online giving is available, they will not use it. There are a few easy ways you can make sure people know about online giving at your church. The easiest way to make people aware is to have the option to give be somewhat obvious on your website. Having a consistent navigation button on your website with the words, Online Giving, Donate Online, or Giving, is highly recommended. These words are easy to read and hard to misunderstand. Burying your link to online giving or using longer words like “Financial Stewardship,” may get glanced over and result in a missed opportunity. It should be very easy to find your online giving button. Take a minute to visit your own website. If it takes longer than five seconds and a quick look over to find out where to donate, you may be making it too hard to accept donations online.
Drive Traffic
    If you have done a good job of making sure your online giving is easy to find, the next step is driving traffic. We are not talking about in a car and during rush hour. “Driving Traffic” is simply the concept of getting people to your website. We all do not like to admit it, but the fact is potential donors are not going to your website as often as you think they are. People can attend church and be a part of organizations for years and only visit the website once or twice a year. You must drive traffic.

      Maybe you have heard this saying:
      “Witness always. If necessary, use words.”

    We laugh at that, but it is true. Just imagine how you might impact your awareness and traffic if you used words. We recommend mentioning it to your congregation four weeks in a row. Remember, not everyone is in service every week. If you have side screens that run before services or printed materials that your members receive, make sure you are mentioning on them that online giving on your website.

    Once you have mentioned it four weeks in row, now it is time to get creative. Each week come up with a new reason to send everyone back to your website. The more you drive traffic to your website week after week, the more your members will see your “Online Giving” link that you made obvious on your website.

    Unfortunately, driving traffic is a goal that really is never reached. You will want to continue to come up with new ways to make your website “sticky” – making sure people visit it and come back to it again and again.
Make it Personal
    The third thing you can do to increase your online giving is making sure you have made it personal. If you have a giant button on your home page that launches people right into the donation form, you have not made it quite as personal as you could have. We call that a “cold transfer “. It is the “click and boom” form in your face method. It does not always work best. When someone clicks the link that you made stand out, we recommend having that initial link take the person to a page that discusses giving in general. Try to come up with 3-5 sentences that serve as a “warm transfer” to someone actually submitting the donation. Here is just an example of what you might communicate preceding the button that opens the donor application:

        Thank you for your support! Because of your financial support
        and generosity, you have planted seeds that will enable
        [organization name] to grow in our community, and provide a
        church home for you and others. Thank you again for answering
        the call to contribute to God’s work here at [organization name].

        There are several ways to donate to [organization name]:

        1. We offer safe and secure online giving:
          Click Here to Give Online

        2. We have a donation boxes in the back of the auditorium where
        you can leave your offering.

        3. You can mail your donation to:
          Organization Name
          City, State ZIP
In closing, if you have done everything you can to build awareness, drive traffic, and make it personal, you have the right foundation in place to make sure your online giving is a success. Since you have done your part, we will do everything we can to make sure the process is seamless for your donors.