Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Media Missionary’s Dilemma

Getting from Point A to Point B can be difficult even under the best of circumstances. It’s especially difficult if you’ve been called to be a media missionary that works in mainstream media. I’m sure this comes of no surprise to you. In my case, I was called to start a ministry that will help those who feel led to go to Hollywood and the broader entertainment industry as media missionaries. The purpose of Media Missionary School is to inform, educate and empower the Body of Christ concerning the issues of media, faith, and culture. For years I’ve said that whoever controls the mainstream media will control the spiritual direction of our society.

A friend of mine recently summed up what I call the Media Missionary’s Dilemma. I think it’s something that we all struggle with. He put it this way, “It’s an abstract concept. Although you’re right in what you are talking about, it’s difficult for people to grasp. Because of that, as media missionaries, it’s challenging to find supporters and the resources to do the work.” Our challenge is to find a way to take abstract concepts and turn them into tangible realities. Unfortunately, the media missionary’s journey cannot be summed up in a 30-second sound bite nor can it be reduced to one paragraph. No snappy mission statement can do it justice.

As in life, things that truly matter such as substantive issues require time and effort to fully comprehend their scope and meaning. For example, our mission statement here at Media Missionary School goes something like this: We provide Biblical answers to the Body of Christ concerning the impact and influence of today’s mass media culture. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But what does that really mean? Without seeing Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a valid mission field or seeing the need to raise up, equip, train and support media missionaries to Hollywood and the broader entertainment industry, it really means nothing. That’s the dilemma for all of us as media missionaries.

Let’s face it. There are easier areas to minister in. However, God called me to this one. Finding support for feeding the poor or building orphanages in third-world countries doesn’t require much of an explanation. But try talking to people about Hollywood as a mission field or raising support to send young people to be filmmakers in the mainstream industry and see how far you get.

The calling of a media missionary is just as valid and important. So what do you do? How do you engage people to see the relevance and significance of a media missionary? After all, Hollywood doesn’t look like a third world country. When I talk to most people, they are often very polite and agree with the concept of a media missionary, but they believe there are more important things to put their time and resources toward.

People aren’t getting it. So how do we convey this very abstract concept of engaging culture by using mainstream media to plant Biblical and Christian concepts into movies, television programs, and all other forms of electronic media? I think that’s why God called me to write The Red Pill, The Cure for Today’s Mass Media Culture. Unfortunately, it took me 244 pages to explain the need and why the Body of Christ plays a major part in God’s plan to transform our culture through media.

One thing I’ve learned, and perhaps this will be helpful on your journey as a media missionary, is it’s the Holy Spirit who does the convincing. Yes, you have to do your part, your due diligence, and preparation. But ultimately it’s the Holy Spirit that moves people to action. It’s really this simple. Either the Holy Spirit is talking to someone or not. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit is talking to a potential supporter, but he or she is unwilling to listen. If you have the discernment that God has spoken to someone to support you, you have to continue to pray that they will respond to what God wants them to do. You’re also going to need the wisdom and discernment to know when it’s time to move on and when God is not speaking to a person to help support your ministry.

I wish I had some easy answers for you. But you have picked a difficult journey. Like me, you’re probably still wondering how you get from Point A to Point B. Well, if you have any suggestions or if God has spoken to you, I can use your help as well. But take comfort. If God has called you to be a media missionary, it’s going to happen somehow. Just don’t expect it to be easy. But remember, God says he equips those he calls.

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