“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.“ 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)
“Let all that you do be done in love.“ 1 Corinthians 16:14 (ESV)
If you have spent time on a film set, you have probably heard the saying, “Pain is temporary, film is forever.” While most of us would agree that the struggles endured during a film production pale against the impact and legacy the film can leave, as Christians we must remember that it is not just what viewers see that will impact the world. Our conduct behind the scenes is a powerful influence, and it indicates just as much or more about our hearts. Peter admonishes us, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:12, ESV)
Whatever we do, we must not miss the point that God cares as much and even more about our witness as we create something for His glory as He does about the impact of the final product.
Serving God by Loving Others
Any time we assign higher value to methods, goals, or results than to caring for others and guarding our witness, we enter a danger zone. We see this exemplified in the parable of the Good Samaritan, where the priest and the Levite, the ones entrusted with carrying out ministry work, passed by the Samaritan in need so they could stay away from the ethnically unclean and continue their tasks uninterrupted. In doing this, they missed the entire heart of the Father, the One who instructed them, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8, ESV).
In regards to carrying out the specific ministry duties prescribed in Scripture and caring for people, Jesus says that the Jewish leaders of the day should have “practiced the latter without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23b, ESV) If we are “doing ministry” but aren’t showing God’s love to those around us, what are we actually accomplishing? (See Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13)
Reflecting Christ in Our Conduct
Both sides of this equation are needed: We must be effective in the calling we have been given (make excellent and powerful content), but we absolutely cannot drop the ball on showing others who Jesus is and what He is about (especially in taking care of people). Why would we think that just because we are doing something for Christ, we would get a pass on how He has called us to live?
This applies to every aspect of film—caring for crew members, being honest in business, meeting obligations, honoring agreements, walking in humility, respecting coworkers regardless of position, maintaining a Christ-focused attitude regardless of circumstances, and the list goes on. As we speak and act and serve, we must ask ourselves, “How am I representing Christ in this moment?”
Our Higher Calling
When we face the facts, the film industry often burns people out and creates relational carnage, and unfortunately, the Christian segment of the industry is not much better than the secular in this regard. We have the chance to make a difference for people behind the camera, in the business sector, and everywhere in between—people who are tired and worn, who are familiar with the backhandedness common in business, and who need the love of Christ. This is an incredible opportunity to impact these groups of people with the power of the Gospel in addition to our end audience. We may be called to filmmaking, but we are called to more than that—to a walk that shows Christ to the world. How could we ever pass this up?