One of the most frequent questions people ask me about hiring my media production crews is “Do you only hire Christians?” Whether it’s hiring a crew for a video, TV program, short film, or other media project for a church, ministry, or nonprofit, people often wonder what’s the best policy? Especially if it means hiring an unqualified Christian versus a qualified non-believer? Beyond the scope of the legal issues surrounding hiring these days, here’s my personal policy:
I always prefer hiring Christians for my projects because when you’re creating a faith-based project, it often takes a practical knowledge of our faith to accurately understand and express it. In the heat of the moment on a film set, I don’t have time to explain Christian terms, worship differences, or outcomes a church needs, or what the purpose of the project is about.
However, having said that, I’m happy to hire non-believers in those cases where I can’t find a qualified Christian, or cases where I need a non-believer’s unique perspective – and I’ve done that many times.
I always want to hire the best people, and I’ll never hire an unmotivated or untalented Christian over a motivated and talented unbeliever.
The only caveat? The non-believing crew members I hire have to respect what we’re doing. I absolutely will not tolerate anyone on the crew (Christian or non-Christian) who doesn’t have respect for the project, it’s purpose, or other members of the crew.
Years ago, I worked with a large media ministry who was convinced they needed to hire union members. So they hired union freelance camera operators and other crew members from Hollywood. The problem was that these freelancers not only weren’t Christians, but they openly ridiculed the pastor and the ministry. On the headset during taping, they would make jokes about the pastor, and make fun of the media outreach – worse, all within earshot of church members.
I begged the in-house producer to fire them and hire qualified people who would respect the ministry, but he refused. He was absolutely convinced that it took highly priced union members to run the cameras and operate the other equipment well.
Needless to say, because of that and many other bad choices, that particular media ministry doesn’t exist today.
Hiring the right people for your project is one of the most important things you will ever do. Find people who are the best – but make sure they respect the work, and want to produce the best possible project.
And who knows? If they’re non-Christians, the experience may even change their lives.
What’s been your experience or recommendations for hiring Christians versus non-Christians for faith-based projects?