What are you sharing with your audience?
Wednesday morning’s main session at the Christian Worldview Filmmakers Guild featured Rich Christiano. He began by saying that “this is the number one Christian film festival in the world.” Rich’s fervor for things of God and sharing the Gospel through film were evident throughout his address. Starting out with some light-hearted joking, he cured the audience of drowsiness caused by the fast-paced days they’ve experienced.
Rich’s most important question of the audience was, “How serious are you about your relationship with the Lord?” He encouraged them to diligently think over it in the coming days. He shared his own testimony as God led him from the Roman Catholic church in New York, to false starts in Hollywood, to college in Arkansas, and here to San Antonio where he and his brother were encouraged to make Christian films.
One of their first came out in 1987 called The Pretender. At its premier, one little girl walked down the aisle and said she was a pretender and wanted to know Jesus. The Christiano brothers’ Hollywood dream died in that moment, and they knew they were to make films to bring people to Christ. “God said to make Faithful films with good messages,” Rich remembered.
He said that every christian’s mission starts with the church by preaching to the choir. After all, not every person in the choir is saved. “I have led no one to the Lord,” Rich stated. “Only God’s spirit can do that. Our job is to water and plant.” Of the 78% of Americans that claim to be Christians, 40% say that Jesus isn’t God.
After showing a clip from his movie Time Changer, he reiterated one of the lines: “Satan is not against good morals, he’s against Jesus Christ.” Christian filmmakers not only should include good morals in their movies, they must attribute them to their author, Jesus Christ. Rich said, “I don’t like the term faith-based, faith-based on what? We don’t make faith-based films, we make Christian films.” Jesus has to be first in our lives, and that means first in our movies.
Rich drew comparisons from Genesis 13 when Abraham and Lot went separate ways. Lot chose to go the way of the world. He suffered major consequences, while God blessed Abraham. We live in a modern Sodom and Gomorrah. Forget Hollywood and keep your eyes focused on the “prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
Rich asked a thought provoking question of the filmmakers in the audience, “What thought excites you more: someone to look at you and say “great film” or say “great truth in that film?” We serve an audience of One.