The #1 Rule

Dave Alan Johnson, Screenwriter, Producer (Vanished: Left Behind Next Generation, Sue Thomas: F. B. Eye)

Dave Alan Johnson, Screenwriter, Producer (Vanished: Left Behind Next Generation, Sue Thomas: F. B. Eye)

by Dave Alan Johnson

Faith-based films and the Church both can and should serve more than one purpose. So how do we influence the world with our ideas and truths? We move into the “missionary lane” when we make media content, just as churches send missionaries into their community and the world with their message.

As believers, we are commanded to reach out to those who don’t understand faith. Many almost certainly will not go to a church on Sunday morning. But they will go to movies and watch television on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.

Excellent entertainment content gives us a platform. It is a chance to enter into the cultural conversation . . . to put faith audiences and secular audiences on the same starting page . . . and to spread God’s ideas and message to the world!

The #1 Rule is this: What we create needs to be great, or those “outside the choir” will not watch it. As Christians, we are told to do everything with excellence. It’s biblical. With excellent content we have a chance to bring God’s truth to non-believers. It’s not enough just to create films that are well-intentioned. Viewers we want to reach will not overlook the inferior writing, acting, editing, production, or “in-your-face” preaching. We must earn the right to be heard if we want to express truth through film.

For good reason, the typical person of faith may shy away from bringing secular people to a film that is made only for the “choir.” Too risky. But if we can run in the missionary lane, we’ll reach both audiences. We must connect with viewers where they are and not expect them to be where we are.

It is when we touch people emotionally with our content that they are likely to be more open to our message.