Last Friday, a group of women from our church got together for a movie night where we went to see Do You Believe? the latest release from the Christian production company, Pure Flix. My daughter and I were among the attendees, and I must say, we had a wonderful time. The message of the film was inspiring and convicting, and I immediately found myself praying for the courage to be bolder in living out my faith.
I think we are seeing in Christian film what the Christian music and book industry have already gone through – the evolution of an art. I can remember back in the 1980’s when Amy Grant became the first known name in Christian music. Did it exist before her? Sure. But she was the first breakthrough artist. Over the last three decades, the Christian music industry has grown into a reputable business with talented artists using their gifts for God’s glory in an excellent way. So many styles and genres of faith-based music of the highest possible quality.
The Christian fiction market has gone through much the same process. Perhaps Catherine Marshall’s Christy (1967) can claim the beginning of the success of the genre, but it wasn’t until Jeanette Oke first published Love Comes Softly in 1979 that the industry began to gain traction. Frank Peretti had another breakthrough novel with This Present Darkness in 1986 that opened the door further and the door finally flew open wide with the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in the mid 1990’s.
In both the Christian music and Christian fiction industries, critics often found little to praise in the early works. Many artists/authors were considered sub-par or lacking in professional quality when compared to their established mainstream peers, and many times the critics were correct in their assessment. Over the last few years, we’ve seen the same comments extended toward the Christian film movement. However, as birth pangs give way to growth and increased maturity, the quality rises, and more talent is attracted to the new line. I believe we are seeing that happen now in the realm of Christian film.
More and more consumers are “buying in” and supporting faith-based films. This allows the industry to attract better talent both in actors and screenwriters. It’s very exciting to me to see this growth occurring. Of course, there have been other mega-hits that came from faith-based sources – The Passion of the Christ, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Rings to name a few. I think these movies helped pave the way for companies like Pure Flix to find a niche in the market, proving that people will pay to see movies with messages from a Christian worldview. With movies like God is not Dead and Do You Believe? having such overt Christian messages and still finding a level of success in the box office, I sense great hope for the continued maturity of the industry.
So let’s get down to it – Did I enjoy the movie? Yes. I truly did. The characters were engaging and the story built to a satisfying ending that was full of action and suspense. Was it the best movie I’d ever seen quality-wise? Not even close. But I found that I didn’t really care. The message spoke to my soul and prodded me to prayer and self-examination. It has lingered in my mind.
I believe the Christian film industry is growing and maturing, and I plan to support it with my box office dollars so that hopefully in another decade we’ll see the kind of transformation in talent and quality of craft that we have seen in music and fiction. One more way we can touch lives for Jesus.
- Have you see Do You Believe? What did you think?
- Do you expect faith-based films to find a permanent niche in Hollywood in the near future?
May you all have a blessed Easter!