Last night Kathleen and I attended the Oscar party at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. Beacon is Bel Air’s ministry to the entertainment and media industries, and they partnered with the Hollywood Prayer Network, The Greenhouse, The 168 Film Project, and Christian Women in Media to host the event. More than 1,000 people showed up to see the Oscars, discuss the films, and have a really fun night. We even had a huge contest to see who could predict the winners. The question is – Why should churches host Oscar parties?
1) Hollywood is ground zero when it comes to creating a global culture. As such, whether you like everything that comes out of Hollywood or not, Christians should be part of that conversation.
2) What better opportunity to start discussions about faith, than with great movies? I can’t think of a better starting point for discussing your faith with co-workers, family, or friends. What role does faith play in movies like Les Miserables? How about Lincoln for a conversation about virtue, commitment, and ideals? Life of Pi for discussing God and how other cultures view religion? You don’t have to agree with a movie’s viewpoint to use it as an example to start talking with people.
3) We should stop criticizing Hollywood and start viewing the entertainment industry as a mission field. Karen Covell at The Hollywood Prayer Network has been preaching this for years, and it’s time to start listening. When was the last time you actually prayed for the people who have such incredible impact creating the direction of our culture?
4) God is working in Hollywood, whether you approve or not. Thousands of committed Christians are working inside Hollywood to impact the industry in a positive way. One director of a dramatic, episodic series told me: “I don’t make a big deal about being a Christian, but it’s interesting that when anyone on my crew is struggling with a divorce, alcoholism, wrestling with their purpose in life, or simply having a bad day, it’s amazing how they seem to find their way to me.”
For hundreds of years, Christians not only valued the arts, but were patrons of the arts. They funded the great painters, musicians, sculptures, writers, and other artists of their day. But today – where are those committed Christian patrons? Who are the people that not only recognize the power of media, entertainment, and the arts, but are willing to fund talented Christians in those areas? It will only happen if we join together as one.
Last night, Beacon Entertainment Ministry’s Oscar party reminded me of the critical importance of engaging today’s culture right in the heart of where that culture it’s created.
What’s your opinion? Is this a legitimate ministry outreach for churches today?