Monday, January 25, 2010

Media and the Future of Christianity part 2

How can we start a dialogue with a culture that has become foreign and resistant to Christian concepts?

We need a strategy. We can apply the concepts presented in the parable recorded in Matthew 13:3-23. It is the story of a farmer who scatters seed among the fields. Jesus talks about seed falling on many places that fail to take root, but in verse 8, some of the seeds fall on fertile soil that produces a crop that is 60 to 100 times what has been planted.

A harvest does not magically appear. It requires preparation and strategic planning. It must be put in the right soil, one that is broken up and moist so that it will grow. It must also be nurtured and watered before it will produce a harvest.

We are throwing seeds in many places with little or no return. The key to reaching this generation for Christ is determining what fertile soil is. Today’s fertile soil is the media, and it can be used to reseed the culture with a Biblical message. The media can only be part of the solution, along with many other things, including the power of prayer, unity in the Body of Christ, and racial reconciliation, as well as teaching that emphasizes the Bible as the source of all truth and knowledge.

What we do in the next ten years will affect what Christianity and society will look like in America for the remainder of the 21st Century.

The media is a neutral medium. It is a catalyst. Christians can use media as an agent of change. And the first place to start is with the entertainment industry, specifically Hollywood. Nothing will change in the current status of our culture and the Church unless we see Hollywood in a different light.

For the most part, Hollywood has offered a negative view of Christianity. In return, Christians have fought back with boycotts, and we have isolated ourselves from the entertainment industry. But today is the beginning of a new era. We must realize that Hollywood is a new mission field which can be redeemed. This will require an entirely new paradigm shift.

Do we really feel Hollywood is worth saving? Do they qualify as a mission field? In Ray Comfort’s new book, What Hollywood Believes, he states that 45% of all of the major writers, directors, producers and studio executives in Hollywood report that they have never had any religious affiliation compared to only 4% of the total U.S. population. This sounds very much like a mission field that has, for the most part, never been reached. Hollywood is a foreign land with their unique language, culture, dress, customs, and belief system. This subculture is having a great worldwide impact.

If we really believe Hollywood is a mission field, we will have no choice but to act differently. Our priorities will change. It is easy to have passion and conviction for a mission field in some far away country, but will we have the same passion to reach a field that is right in front of us? If Christians had not written off Hollywood a long time ago, we could have maintained a Christian influence within the most powerful medium in society.

To reach Hollywood requires a new mindset which, in turn, requires resources and a redirection of our priorities. Are we prepared to send our young people to the entertainment industry as media missionaries? Will we help them in their pursuit and careers in film and television? Hollywood cannot be a mission field unless you are willing to send missionaries. You cannot be a missionary to Africa unless you go to Africa.

In order to change the media, you must also become intentional in creating support systems for media missionaries that help them to grow in their faith and vocation.

To many, this may be a revolutionary concept. Media missionaries are people who will make films that may very well speak of Jesus the least but that will have him most in mind within the context of their story line. They are the ones who will be able to reseed a culture with a Biblical world view.


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