Engaging Culture

Is This What Christians Really Think About Hollywood?

For the last number of years, The National Day of Prayer Task Force has met annually with all of their volunteer prayer leaders from across the country, in a different city every year, in order to get a perspective on how to pray for the different areas of need in our nation. Last year they went to Washington DC for the first time, but they’ve been to quite a few other cities. For this year, they decided to hold it in Hollywood.

Called “The Summons,” it will focus on influencing the center of culture rather than the center of government. It’s a great idea, and as a Board Member of the Hollywood Prayer Network (a partner in the event), I’m looking forward to attending. However, this year, we noticed something unusual. Once the decision was made to move it to Hollywood, the registrations dropped significantly. We investigated, and here’s an idea of the many responses we’ve received from people who have attended in the past:

– Why in the world would we pray for Hollywood or the entertainment industry?
– Is it even safe to come to Hollywood? I’m not sure I feel comfortable there.
– Are all of the people you’re having as Hollywood speakers really Christians? Because I don’t want to sit under the spiritual authority of anyone who isn’t. (Interesting that this question hasn’t been asked about other cities.)
– Why should we focus on people in Hollywood when we should be praying for our government leaders?
And of course the obligatory:
– Will we meet any celebrities?

Obviously, not all attendees feel that way, and many are still coming.  But after seeing response after response from people who either don’t understand why Christians should pray or be involved in culture, or who have this notion that Hollywood is the Wild West, was a bit of a shock.

The truth is – there has never been a better or more significant time to pray for the entertainment industry.  Tim Keller has essentially said that churches can’t NOT be involved in culture. When we step aside, that simply allows other influences to enter that arena.

What about you?  I would love to see a record attendance at this year’s event. It’s not too late to register, and it will be an incredible time to meet with other Christians making a difference from the inside, and hear the success stories of how God is working in this industry. Come be part of something significant, and let’s show the world that God does indeed care about our culture – and the thousands of men and women who work there.

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8 Comments

  1. That is not very different from the situation in India either Mr. Cooke. Churches here don’t really believe yet that art and culture play an important role in shaping the minds and notions of the society. Bollywood and other film industries here feel out of reach for many Christian leaders. Plus more of them are interested in politics and governance rather than art.

  2. Wow – the level of ignorance among some Christians continues to astound me.

    Do they actually think movies have no influence on how people think and behave? Or do they just want to bury their heads in the sand?

    Of course people should pray for Hollywood and those in the media. It’s a complete no-brainer.

  3. Ridiculous objections when I consider my town, Wollongong, and its sordid recent history, I feel there is more to fear here than in Hollywood. Wollywood?

    It is certainly also sad that many Christian prayer warriors do not see the need to pray for the entertainment industry’s capital. Like the pastor I met recently and spent 2 hours trying to convince him that entertainment could contain a message and influence. He couldn’t grasp the concept. When I finally pointed to Jesus use of parables, he commented that ‘they weren’t entertainment, they had a point to them!’

  4. I have had some people think it was “evil” that we live here in Los Angeles. They were Christians. We feel like this industry needs so much prayer because of the effect it has on others all over. I think some Christians do not realize the devil lives in their town also. he disguises himself in many ways, very subtle also. It is so sad that people do not see things spiritually. Joanne

  5. I work and produce a Christian television program on a national basis. I desire to work in Hollywood and currently have 4 programs being pitched to various mainstream networks. The Christian network doesn’t know I’m working with the mainstream Hollywood crowd due to their ‘living in the Christian bubble’. The closed-mindedness drives me crazy and as a Christian I want to work in Hollywood and bring forth great programming with excellence. My pitches are not faith based, except for one of them. Mark Burnett didn’t produce faith-based until he had the resources to do it on his own. And Phil I appreciate all expertise you pass on to us on a weekly basis.

    1. Dear “Ghost” I like what you are doing, a lot. It is very important to get out of our Christian bubble and get involved in the big wide world out there. Producing quality films and TV programs should be what we are doing. Who we produce the programs for is important. I’m curious, for you, what is a “faith based” project? How do you define it? Another question, what is a project that is “not faith based?” How do you define that? Are they really different? If so, in what ways?

  6. Thanks, Phil, for the great reminder that we need to be praying for such an influential part of our world, and the people who inhabit that environment.

    I’m encouraged by more and more of us believers understanding and supporting people who lead the way into the broader culture: Makoto Fujimura, Tim Keller, Phil Cook, and some of the folks below.

    March on, soldiers, the world needs your courage and your talent.

  7. Phil, I recently interviewed, Karen Covell of the Hollywood Prayer Network and my eyes were opened a bit more to the situation entertainment types find themselves in. Her enthusiasm for prayer is infectious! I suggest people check out the web site.

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