Improving Ministry: What can we learn from Superheroes?

Whether you live in Washington D.C. or Washington PA, there are cultural concerns that impact you. Superheroes find a way to reflect that. Don’t believe me? Consider this:

  • Feel like the rapid pace of technology has passed you by? Talk to Captain America.
  • What do we fear about the division between the 99% and the 1%? Watch The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Does the legacy of WWII still impact our society? The X-Men would love to tell you.
  • How are we recovering from the terror of an attack on New York City? Check out Iron Man 3.

The movies, games, and stories that captivate us provide a cultural mirror reflecting the concerns shaping our society. Right or wrong, these are the concerns people bring with them when they worship, read their Bibles or pray. These concerns may not be apparent from individual conversations; sometimes, we don’t even realize that they exist.

To discover the concerns in your congregation, ask someone with a cape.

Even if you’ve received a Master of Divinity, you can still learn from Superman. The Guardians of the Galaxy can be your informants. The Avengers want to be your stool pigeons. They send signals to pastors, youth ministry leaders and theologians about the issues shaping our culture.

Next time you’re wondering about the issues your congregation faces every day, start by praying and reading scripture. Engage in your spiritual disciplines. Then go read a comic book.

Written by the Rev. Derek Davenport ’05, director of enrollment and program co-director of the Miller Summer Youth Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Derek is also an alumnus of the Master of Divinity (MDiv) Program.

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