GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Around 150 pastors and church leaders from across South Mississippi went to the movies in Gulfport Thursday night. They didn't head for the cinema. They attended the advanced screening of an upcoming faith-based movie at Bayou View Baptist Church.
Hilton Glass promotes faith-based movies through his Movie Ministries Outreach group.
"There's such a need for films faith-based. We started with "Facing the Giants" back after Hurricane Katrina, when we needed a movie with a message of hope," Glass said.
"God's Not Dead" is about a college student whose faith is tested by his atheist philosophy professor.
Tony Brooks is a church leader at Bel-Aire Baptist who says the movie is worth promoting.
"Sometimes you see some of these Christian movies and everything just works out perfectly. It didn't happen in this movie, but I think you saw some real life circumstances and some real life struggles. With those struggles, I think you saw God's orchestration," said Brooks.
Bayou View's pastor says the faith challenges within the movie can help young people with their own struggles.
"To know that they believe, to know why they believe it. That it is historically viable. That it's not just simple mindedness, and to be able to give an answer for the hope that they have in them," said pastor Chris King.
Faith based movies like this one don't often have a big budget, so advanced screenings like this are a means of marketing the movie.
Church leaders will be asked to talk about the film from the pulpit, or in front of their Sunday school class.
"Hollywood's after the money, and when they see opening weekends, movies like this one and "Courageous" in the past, they're going to make many, many more of them," said Glass.
The movie opens in theatres March 21. Each of the pastors attending the screening was provided marketing materials to help promote the film with their congregations.