By GJ Frye
The entertainment business has become a large part of the U.S. culture and is largely influential. The best part? Christians are beginning to gain momentum in this field as well.
Media needs to be filled with Christians who are as passionate about the message behind their productions as the medium they are portraying it on.
Take the spring musical, for example. “Godspell” is the modern day retelling of St. Matthew’s Gospel. The musical was a sensation. It was extremely well done and it entertained and equally portrayed the story of Jesus Christ in a manner that could speak to the hearts of the audience.
Like theater production, the film industry is steadily becoming a mission field for Christians. They are finding the balance between good entertainment and good messages.
“To Save a Life,” shown at selected theaters last year, is an example of a film with a strong Christian message. This film was made with the purpose of sharing a redemptive story to a secular audience to spread the Gospel.
On the contrary, other movies such as “The Chronicles of Narnia” or “The Lord of the Rings” have strong elements of Christianity due to their respective writers, but their purpose for being made was more for entertainment than spiritual growth. “Narnia” and “LOTR” do inspire spiritual growth but they lost the potential spiritual impact the books had when the moviemakers’ motivations changed to making money.
“Fireproof” is another example of a film that had great intentions and a powerful message but lost impact to a secular audience when its quality turned out to be only adequate. If the Gospel is going to be effectively spread through media, the medium and the message must both maintain momentum.
“The Grace Card,” also recently released to selected theaters, is an example of a movie that has potential. However, according to online reviews, it still slightly falls short in the eyes of a secular audience. While the movie can be powerful for Christians, it loses power as a ministry tool to non-Christians. It was on the right path to finding a balance, but missed the mark.
An upcoming film called “Soul Surfer” is a promising candidate to obtain that balance while effectively portraying a powerful message of faith in God even when times are hard. It is the true story of Bethany Hamilton, who fell victim to a shark bite. She lost her arm, but found renewed faith and courage to continue her passionate pursuit of Jesus, as well as her love of surfing.
With all-star lineup, AnnaSophia Robb as Bethany Hamilton supported by Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, and Carried Underwood, there is no telling how big of an impact this movie can have and how many people it can reach.
Though film looks to be a growing medium for Christ to be revealed, there are still plenty more media for even more revelation.
Christians are called to go out into the world to share the Gospel. Whether our medium is print, film, canvas, music, internet, or one of many other possibilities, we need to start embracing these media with the talents God has given us to help grow His Kingdom. Secular mass media is a wide open market for all different talents.
It might be called a “medium,” but there is nothing average about what God can do if we effectively embrace what has become the dominant force in our world today.