An A-Ha Moment at the Movies

By Lara Lowman, Director of Stewardship and Planned Giving

The night before my husband was admitted to UT Southwestern’s Zale Lipshey hospital for back surgery, we went to see “The Heat” at Inwood Theatre on Lovers Lane in Dallas. We were both feeling anxious and a comedy seemed like the solution. Having attended SMU in the ’80s, I know the Inwood more for the martinis in the adjacent Lounge than the films that flicker through the plate glass window dividing the two spaces.  I looked forward to introducing my husband to both.

The Lounge hasn’t changed, but the theatre has taken comfort to a new level. The space where the seats were now looks like a Rooms-to-Go couch showroom: row after row of oversized loveseats with plump matching ottomans and decorative throw pillows. A few oversized, overstuffed chairs for singles are interspersed, everything upholstered in soft velour with cup-holders on the armrests. My husband’s surgery was the farthest thing from my mind as I plopped down, nestled myself amongst the pillows, and hoisted my legs on to the ottoman.

As I sipped my wine, the pre-movie ads began. I wasn’t paying much attention. The theatre lights were up, everyone was getting settled, and because the theatre feels like someone’s massive living room, we were all a bit chatty.

If everyone is busy making everything…how can anyone perfect anything?

We start to confuse convenience with joy. Abundance with choice. Designing something requires focus.

My eyes glanced at the words flitting across the screen on spare black-and-white backgrounds as crisp tinkling piano music played. What’s being advertised, I wondered? Sounds pretty meaningful.

The first thing we ask is: what do we want people to feel?  Surprise.  Delight.  Love.  Connection.

Then we begin to craft around our intention. It takes time… there are a thousand no’s for every yes.

We simplify. We perfect.  We start over. Until everything we touch….enhances each life it touches.

Maybe this is one of Dallas’s prosperous mega-churches, I thought. Pretty innovative, reaching potential worshipers at the movies. But this was the Inwood, and everything about the evening had been a little different.

Only then do we sign our work. Designed by Apple in California.

Wait. So, it’s Apple who is relying on emotional words alone – no images – to sell products. And the language they’ve chosen reminds me of what goes on at St. David’s every day.

Ironically, St David’s – which doesn’t push out an advertising message, but simply offers surprise, delight, love and connection as part of who we are – is in the midst of launching new technological tools that will make it easier to be involved with the church. The results include greater convenience, accuracy and efficiency. But there’s a learning curve. The irony is that to launch our new technology, we’ve shifted to straight-forward instructional language, while the company who makes some of our technology simply talks about transforming lives.

Obviously, there’s a place for both emotional and practical language. The goal of our new technologies is to make everything St David’s offers convenient so you can focus on your faith and deepen your relationship with your church. However, if you’ve found any aspect of it frustrating, just contact us. We may not have a big advertising budget that puts our name in front of thousands of moviegoers, but we do have me, Peter, Nancy, Rebecca, Catherine and others who will help. Like Apple, we do whatever we need to enhance every life we touch.

To see the ad:

To explore what you can do online, go to My St David’s at the top of

If you have questions about using My St David’s, contact Peter Hahn by email or at 512-610-3500. He can assist or direct you to the right person.


One response to “An A-Ha Moment at the Movies

  1. Thank you, Lara. I think that is one of the most powerful ads, statements, whatever that I have ever seen. Your commentary was excellent. How did your husbands surgery go?
    Janet Sawyer

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