Movie Review: Not a Fan (Small Groups Study)Quick Plot Summary: Hard hitting, interesting series of various interweaving stories that showcase what it means to live as a real committed follower, rather than just a fan, of Jesus.
Suggested Ages: 10+
This is a little hard to classify because it's not exactly a movie (there IS a "Not a Fan" movie also, but that's not what I'm recommending) and nor is it really a t.v. show. Basically there are 6 episodes that are each 30 minutes long (give or take). The 6 episodes weave together a very interesting story that will draw you in immediately, and when you reach the end of 1 episode you will find yourself WANTING to see the next one to find out more.
"Baby" Christians as well as mature ones will find value here. This can literally be a "life changing" product - and I don't say that lightly at all. An EXCELLENT study either for church groups or individuals. It comes with a fairly substantive exercise / journal book and a guide book.
Although this is billed as a "small groups study" that was developed for churches - and I believe it would be excellent when used that way - it can just as easily be viewed as a family or even independently at home (that's what I did). In fact, it might even be more effective that way. Personally, I watched one a day and after watching each one, I mentally went through the included guide & exercise book, both of which ask some good questions and had some worthwhile exercises that I found truly helpful to help reinforce what I watched. In general they were an excellent companion to the DVD. With that said, I do have one warning: Personally I believe a few of the "crazier" exercises that are suggested in the companion book are not only not wise to do, but can open doors to the enemy that shouldn't be opened. The exercises that say things like "this may seem awkward to do, but do it anyway", I believe you should be very careful with doing them - please make sure you are very sensitive to the Lord on those things - our words and actions matter a lot (far more than we often realize) and although the intended goal of those exercises is good, some of them I believe can actually, albeit in ignorance, possibly open doors to the enemy. For instance, one of the wilder exercises suggests creating an altar to things you might be enslaved such as alcohol and trying to worship at that altar. The goal of the exercise is noble - it is to have you realize how silly it is to actually worship something like alcohol. But I personally believe such actions are unwise, even in such a context.
All in all, this is a great show/study with a message that's quite timely for the Church right now.
Note: There is also a Not a Fan "movie" as well as a teen edition, both of which are notably different. The movie is less expensive and seemingly much more available but it is missing approximately half the footage and while it's ok, I do not believe it is nearly as effective as the full study. The teen edition is COMPLETELY different altogether - it dispenses with the story and instead uses four 10-minute teachings and then 3 hard-hitting testimonies especially geared for youth. While the teen edition could maybe work good for a youth group context, some content in the 3rd testimony (girl with the disease) hit some big theological concerns of mine so I can't recommend showing the 3rd testimony if you go the teen edition route. For most people/groups, I just recommend the original small groups study.
Reviewed by Christopher Long,