Thursday, July 26, 2012

Which group are you in ? - Part 1

How do you function in the entertainment industry as a media missionary so that you can complete your calling. In a practical sense, what projects should you work on. What roles should I accept or reject. How do I function as a Christian in this business. What is my responsibility as a Christian in this industry. These are some of the basic questions that students often ask. These questions get to the heart of the role and purpose of a media missionary. Ask these questions to Christians in the industry, and you will receive many different answers.

The concept of a media missionary is very much a work-in-process. Some Christian see themselves as media missionaries. Some do not. In fact, it’s quite possible that some Christians who reject the label as a media missionary are actually closer to being one.

Seven Christian Groups Working the in the Industry

I have identified seven groups of Christians that work in the entertainment and media industry, some within the system and others outside the system.

Group 1. Full Message Group

This group consists of Christians who predominately make evangelical films. For them the message is more important than viewing filmmaking or media making as an art form. They usually have a laundry list that needs to be checked off, which usually includes a full representation of the Gospel message and spiritual laws. Undoubtedly, a conversion scene will be portrayed at some point in the film. Most people in this group work outside of the Hollywood system.

There is a subgroup I call “Full Message Light”. Although the message is still important, they do believe that the entertainment value of the film has some merit. They are also not as likely to be as dogmatic in the need to check off every item on their laundry list.

Group 2. Conquerors

This group views media in a militaristic way and believe they are at war. Their goal is to infiltrate and conquer Hollywood for Christ. Their strategy can best be summed up as a Trojan horse approach. By entering Hollywood, they can inject mainstream movies with Christian values. In doing so, they can take over Hollywood from within. The problem with the Conquerors is that they don’t view Hollywood as a partner; therefore, they are unlikely to be employed for any length of time. Their rigid philosophical approach to filmmaking and their moral convictions make it difficult for them to relate to anybody in Hollywood. Most likely they are forced back to the Full Message Group.

Group 3. Positive Values Group

This group loves movies and believes in the power of media. They believe that entertainment, first and foremost, should be innocent and harmless. They create positive and uplifting entertainment that reflects family values. No darkness is allowed within their films, television programs or media in general. They are primarily interested in producing G or PG films.

Group 4. Positive Values with an Edge

This group supports many of the principles of the Positive Values Group. But they aim their material at a slightly older audience. They are willing to look at more complex moral issues as well as explore the human condition. They may on occasion support some R-rated movies, such as Schindler’s List and Shawshank Redemption. But, for the most part, they do not venture beyond the PG-13 rating.

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