“When God Left the Building” is the story of two declining American institutions – Kodak and the church. One church implodes after infighting and a faith crisis. Another struggles with a member’s plan to open an outreach in a pub. The individual churches’ stories and the story of Kodak’s demise become a wake-up call to Christians everywhere.
“When God Left the Building” is a powerful and compelling film that delves into the causes of declining church attendance across the nation. The film compares the decline of the church with the Kodak Company, which faded away due to not keeping up with the digital revolution. Several members of churches, as well as pastors, are interviewed as to why they think church attendance has waned. The film also shows the sadness of lifetime church members who see their church closing or on the brink of closing. In one scene, a discouraged pastor says, “I don’t know what God is.” Another pastor says people don’t witness to others about their faith anymore.
Speaking of the current practices and programs of churches, Scott Thumma, Professor of Sociology of Religion, states the “model doesn’t resonate with American society.” Marketing Strategist Andrea Syverson says, “Institutions have let us down. Churches have let us down.” Facts back up this problem: Churches have been headed downward in attendance and vitality since the 1970s. In the film, a pastor tries new strategies, and the well-ingrained members resist it and the leadership fire him, until his denomination re-instates him and fires the leadership! Various people say the church is struggling, because it has hurt some people.
The documentary also examines mega-churches and the lack of the personal touch that accompanies many of them. It also discusses a controversial project in which a church tries to reach people in a pub, with many members opposing the strategy. This documentary thoroughly examines the possibilities as to why church attendance is down. Yet, some people retain the hope that the church will recover and come back strong.
We are pleased to award “When God Left the Building” our “Faith-Friendly” 12-plus Seal. This film is an eye opener!