This post might seem a little out of place in terms of what I have been writing, but I think that it ultimately fits my focus. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and I do truly think it is very relevant to the church today. Media is such a huge thing in the world today and if the church tries to ignore it, they will lose a large base for evangelism.
I have taken classes, been to conferences, and led a small group that has talked about using movies and music to evangelize to non-Christians.
Movies are a big passion of mine. That may seem to conflict: church marketing and movies, but I actually believe that they relate very closely to one another. I really enjoy a good story, a well-executed and artistic movie, with actors that really make me believe and feel what they are experiencing. I enjoy analyzing and digging into many movies. Before I went to college, my parents were very strict about what they let me watch, which I now appreciate. I also appreciate the freedom that I have now to make my own decisions on what I watch.
I have read several books about Christianity and the movies. One book, Roaring Lambs, I read for a class and it had some very interesting viewpoints that I agree with and think that should be put into practice. This book focused on how we need more Christians in secular media. Not necessarily more “Christian bands” or “Christian movies” but Christians in bands and Christians in movies. It is my opinion that a musician or actor can be more affective if they are in the secular mainstream reaching the lost. Christian bands and Christian movies are evangelizing to Christians who are already saved. The book used the example that Christian football players do not start their own football league for Christians. They are a part of the national football league. I think this makes them a greater evangelistic force. It is my opinion that Switchfoot, a band in “secular” music with Christian members, is reaching more non-Christians. Just because they are in the mainstream does not make them any less Christian. I think that God can do what he wants with any form of media that is out there, not just Christian. Therefore, I support the thesis of this book that there needs to be more Christians in the secular mainstream.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I laugh at “Christian” movies because they are. . . cheesy, sometimes poor quality, and badly acted films. I think that we can get many Christian values out of secular movies, you just have to analyze them and discuss them. It is my experience that you can go to a secular movie with non-Christian themes and point out Christian themes and values to them and actually have good conversation based on those things. However, they will be less receptive to going to an overtly religious movie. Secular movies and music can be used for God’s work the same as “Christian” media.
Church marketing is all about perception. You decide what you want people to perceive about your church and you work from there. We, as Christians, can affect this perception not by making our own books and media for ourselves, but by making good quality media that even non-Christians can look at and appreciate. It is my opinion that if Christian movie-makers get out in the mainstream they can have a greater impact and actually work toward changing negative perceptions of Christians by portraying them in a positive light in the media.
Christians are portrayed badly and as hypocrites in the media often times. Instead of changing these viewpoints or put out movies in the mainstream that counter those opinions, we go to the theater and laugh right along with everyone else. I am not saying that Christians should not go to secular movies, I am actually saying quite the opposite. I think it will do a lot for people’s perception of Christians if we are out there engaging, and appreciating the art that is out there. After all, God gave those people the talents they have, and we should appreciate them as God-given talents. In my opinion, if people see Christians being able to appreciate something for its artistic value and discuss and evaluate it, then we can change a strong negative perception.
I would love feedback about this. It is something I enjoy discussing, so if you have a differing opinion or something to add please share it with me. I would love to hear from you.