Millions of people who value their Christian faith are often upset with the movies and TV programs that come out of Hollywood. Contemporary films and network television seem to be filled with violence, profanity or sex. It's understandable, then, that denominations or religious organizations call for boycotts in an effort to prevent crude entertainment from entering our homes or being shown in movie theaters.
On the other hand, as a working professional in Hollywood, I can tell you there's a better way to effect change than protesting and boycotting. Many ministry organizations are working behind the scenes to change the entertainment industry from the inside. And the really good news is, you can help! Here's how:
The Hollywood Prayer Network (www.hollywoodprayernetwork.org). This organization welcomes individuals who want to be prayer partners with working professionals in Hollywood. At its Web site, you can sign up to be a personal intercessor for an actor, a director, a writer or another Christian in the entertainment industry.
Because of their faith, these men and women sometimes work amid hostile professional environments. You get to pray for them individually and intercede for God to make a difference in the industry through the life of your prayer partner. I know of one man confined to a wheelchair who has found a renewed purpose in life by lifting up in prayer each day a Christian television actor. Becoming a prayer partner is a chance for you to make a true difference in Hollywood.
Mastermedia International (www.mastermediaintl.org). This organization discreetly reaches men and women at the highest levels of the entertainment industry to educate them about the Christian audience.
Without fanfare, founder Larry Poland, Ph.D., is making a dramatic difference in Hollywood's perception of people of faith. In the process, he's also reaching the decision-makers of the industry with the message of the cross.
Mastermedia publishes the Media Leader Prayer Calendar, a guide that will help you pray throughout the year by name for the major leaders and influencers in the industry. The small calendar fits easily inside a Bible. It's an effective, practical reminder to pray for God to touch the hearts of the most powerful people in the industry and bring them to salvation.
Hollywood Connect (www.hollywoodconnect .org). If as a Christian you have ever dreamed of working in the entertainment industry, this organization should be your first stop.
Hollywood Connect's Web site is filled with practical information, encouragement and resources. It can answer many questions Christians have about working in the industry. I'm a strong advocate of training and sending more Christian professionals to Hollywood, but only when they're armed with the right information, the best skills and a strategic plan for success. Hollywood Connect is an important step in the process.
I encourage you to contact all three organizations and investigate what you can do to make a difference for Jesus in the entertainment industry. Each group I've mentioned is funded by donations. Consider supporting them just as you would a missions outreach.
Hollywood and the larger entertainment industry influence our culture more than we imagine. But you don't have to be a professional actor or producer to change the direction of the entertainment culture—and thus, perhaps, change the course of history. All it takes is joining your passion to reach the culture with your prayer and faith in God. Your desire to make a difference can make a difference.
Phil Cooke, Ph.D., is a media consultant to ministries and churches worldwide. He publishes a free monthly e-mail newsletter, Ideas for Real Change. Find out more at www.philcooke.com.