By Erin Roach
LONGVIEW, Texas (BP) — A video of kids telling the Christmas story produced by a Texas church has apparently gone viral, reaching unlikely audiences globally in the few days since it was posted online.
“A Movie on Cwismus,” produced at Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview, Texas, has been viewed more than a million times and has logged more than 30,000 shares on Facebook.
The 8-minute video features kids from Mobberly Baptist telling the Christmas story in their own words as adults act out the scenes. The children surmise that Mary was wearing “a long, sparkly pink dress” while sweeping the floor or doing the dishes when the angel Gabriel appeared to her.
Joseph was a carpenter and “builded a big ship” with a hammer, a nail, a saw and wrenches, the kids say. A light-saber-wielding-shepherd is a Star Wars fan. But in the end, the children conclude that Jesus was a special baby, and “Jesus came because we needed Him.”
The church has heard stories of the video making its way into lives that otherwise might not be open to the Christmas story, including a Vietnamese sister-in-law who had not heard the Gospel and was skeptical of Christianity.
“She is now sharing the Movie on Cwismus on Facebook with all her family, many of whom are in Vietnam or are first-generation Americans,” church member Chip Hodges said. “It’s pretty cool to see how God can use some good humor, children and the Gospel of Christmas in such a powerful way.”
Mobberly Baptist, with campuses in Longview and Marshall, is affiliated with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
The video was inspired by the YouTube series “Kid History,” in which children tell family stories and parents act them out, Collins Pace, Mobberly’s technical director, told Baptist Press. A team of four people, including Pace and the church’s associate worship pastor, Will Bishop, oversaw the Christmas video project.
For two days, the team interviewed kids about the Christmas story, and then Pace and Bishop watched all of the footage.
“We wrote down who said what and came up with an Excel spreadsheet that logged every usable piece of audio,” Pace said. “We had 514 different clips organized on the spreadsheet. Some were full paragraphs. Some were single words or sounds.”
Pace compiled a narrative based on the clips, and then they took a couple of days to shoot footage of adults lip synching and acting out the words. They planned to use it as the church’s Christmas program this year and figured that’s as far as it would go.
“We thought it was funny, and it sort of went from an easy project we were doing for our Christmas show to a tremendous response online,” Pace said.
“We’re hearing from people all over the world that have seen it now, and we’re seeing people from all different backgrounds and viewpoints and walks of life and religions sharing it. I know some atheists who have shared it to their Facebook walls,” he said.
“It’s been a really cool thing to see how the disarming nature of comedy sort of opened that door to get the message out and for people to be open to hearing it that normally wouldn’t be,” Pace said. “That’s probably been the thing that’s made the biggest impression on me — not even the numbers of it but the variety of people and the places it has gone.”
On Sunday (Dec. 20) Pace heard about a church member who got a text from a friend whose grandmother had recently died. This is the first Christmas without the grandmother, and the family has watched the video several times and has been blessed by it, Pace said.
“That’s the kind of stuff that as a tech guy or video guy you don’t hear about your work very often, and that’s been a huge encouragement to the whole team here, just knowing that something we worked on — sort of a silly project that we worked on — is having that kind of impact,” Pace said. “That can only be attributed to God, and we’re very grateful that He’s chosen to use this thing that we did in an amazing way.”
Believers can “get locked into a very narrow idea of how we should present the Gospel,” but God made people to be creative, Pace said.
“Having the support of church leadership that allows us to be creative and open and different can do really amazing things,” Pace said. “God can really work through that. God is the ultimate creative, and He created us to be creative too. It would be wasted potential for us to ignore that.”
A Movie on Cwismus is available on the Mobberly Baptist Church Facebook page and on YouTube.