Landmines in Christian Filmmaking

Written by CWVFF Admin. Posted in News

A lesson from the battlefields of Kendrick brothers’ movies

The attendees of the Christian Worldview Filmmakers Guild were treated to Stephen Kendrick a second time on Wednesday evening. He guided the audience through ten landmines that Christian filmmakers need to avoid. Many of them turned out to be potential explosions that every Christian, by the power of the Holy Spirit, can and should stay away from.

Landmine #1 Stepping ahead of God
Every step of making a film should bring God glory. He knows what’s best in the order of His ultimate plan for your movie and your life. “We don’t know the future…God does.” said Stephen.

Landmine #2 Stepping around the counsel of others
“In a multitude of counselors there is victory.” –Proverbs 11:14 Be willing to accept advice, and don’t reject someone who tells you there are problems with your project. They can be red flags from God. That said, God’s counsel trumps other people’s opinions, and if He is giving you clear confirmation, don’t be scared of the nay-sayers. The best idea wins, and that’s always going to be God’s idea.

Landmine #3 Stepping into a foolish contract
Don’t be too eager. Have other people with you in meetings on contracts. “Surround yourself with godly counsel so this landmine doesn’t come back to bite you.” Stephen advised. If you’re not careful, you’ll be stuck in the contract and won’t be able to get out of it. Guard the stewardship of your movie as from the Lord.

Landmine #4 Stepping on hearts to accomplish your dream
Too many filmmakers abandon their families and use cutthroat methods. Stephen reminded everyone, “We’re in the people business.” The Great Commission calls for us to be making disciples. The Kendricks make sure their cast and crew have weekends off to love on their families. “Always be guarding the unity of your team,” he continued. “Be hard to offend and quick to forgive.” Stephen alluded to Psalm 133, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.” Fellow Christian filmmakers and crew are our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Landmine #5 Stepping into a prison of bitterness
This landmine often explodes in conjunction with the previous one. A lot of things can go wrong on a film. “It takes a lot of emotional energy to be angry at another person,” Stephen reminded everyone. “Do you have anything against anyone? Jesus wants you to forgive from your heart.” Romans 12 tells us to“be at peace with all men.”

Landmine #6 Stepping into sexual immorality
These things can and do happen on Christian movie sets. He admonished guys to set an open door policy for meeting with women. Stephen referenced a recent article that found pornography to be more addictive than cocaine. He also reminded the audience that victory can be found in Christ alone. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” –John 8:36 “Love and joy and peace are what our hearts are longing for. Those are the first three fruits of the spirit,” said Stephen. “Intimacy with God is the key to overcoming sexual temptation.”Our hearts have to be changed through intimacy with God.

Landmine #7 Stepping into a love affair with money
We need to be content like the apostle Paul in all situations. We are accountable to God for what we do with the resources He has entrusted to us. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 says “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” Stephen advised being generous because, “Generosity helps our heart not fall in love with money.”

Landmine #8 Stepping into a financial pit
For every dollar spent on a film, it takes $3 to get it back. Don’t have unrealistic expectations. Have low expectations instead. “Work with investors, don’t go into debt.” said Stephen. “If it’s God’s will, He will provide.”

Landmine #9 Stepping on third base before second base
Stephen advised, “Prove by faithfulness and success before jumping to the next level.” As Matthew 25 says, “You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.” The Kendricks have had to pray money in for their projects multiple times, waiting on God’s timing. Don’t take a jump that will come back to bite you later. “If you can’t lift the bar with a 100 pound weight on it, don’t tell them to put on the 500 pound!”

Landmine #10 Stepping into self-reliance vs the Holy Spirit
Oftentimes the work of the Holy Spirit is overlooked. Growing up Baptist, the Kendrick brothers didn’t hear much about the Holy Spirit. We need to yearn daily for the Holy Spirit. It’s only through Him that we can succeed in the Christian life, much less Christian filmmaking. “The Christian life is: abide in the vine. ‘Try harder, do better’ weighs you down: walk in the Spirit and you will supernaturally act godly.” Stephen stated. “Be continually being filled by the Holy Spirit. Because we leak.”

Oftentimes the work of the Holy Spirit is overlooked. Growing up Baptist, the Kendrick brothers didn’t hear much about the Holy Spirit. We need to yearn daily for the Holy Spirit. It’s only through Him that we can succeed in the Christian life, much less Christian filmmaking. “Be continually being filled by the Holy Spirit. Because we leak,” Stephen stated. It’s impossible for us to live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit. “The Christian life is: abide in the vine.”

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