Moving Pictures
by Jeff Walden
I

N 1942, Walt Disney’s classic animated movie Bambi persuaded many Americans that hunting is evil. Some hunters protested against the film, while others vowed never to hunt again. Today if a person is opposed to shooting a deer or rabbit because it is “cute” or “adorable,” this is called “the Bambi effect.”

Filmmaker Randall Wallace said at the 2011 National Prayer Breakfast, “Movies are America’s most influential export.” In the late 1990s, Wallace found out just how influential this export could be. His epic movie Braveheart returned far more than a monetary profit. This story of a Scottish hero from the days of yore was a factor in Scotland reconvening its parliament for the first time in 300 years! Today Scotland is discussing independence once again . . . with some of the credit going to Braveheart.

    A Modern Mars Hill

Most American Christians are familiar with the success of Sherwood Baptist Church’s movies Fireproof and Facing the Giants. There are other Christian organizations investing their time, treasure, and talent into filmmaking. Why? We believe the 21st-century “Mars Hill” is the local movie theater.

In Acts 17, the apostle Paul was provoked in his spirit to see the city of Athens given wholly over to idols. What was his response? He used an idol to introduce people to Jesus! He said, “The One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you” (v. 23 NKJV). We have an opportunity to tell the old story in a new way—by making films which will cause people to do just what they did that day on Mars Hill: “We will hear you again on this matter” (v. 32).

    Beyond Sheep and Fish

Sometimes we speak reverently about sheep and fish because Jesus used those images in His teaching. Why did the Lord choose those two animals? Are sheep and fish the most holy of all animals? Did He intend for us to speak about fish and sheep for the next 2,000 years? The reason we find much discussion about fishing, shepherding, nets, folds, and lambs is that He was talking to fishermen and shepherds!

Jesus does command the Church in every age to “go.” Yet, our model has evolved into expecting the world to come to us—and those who do come wonder why we are talking about fish and sheep instead of iPods and bailouts. Years ago, the Gaither Vocal Band sang, “Don’t want to spend my life a’ writing songs that answer questions that nobody’s even asking anyhow.”

    Moving Pictures

In 1980, Jeff and Darius Walden, Mike Bayer, and Murice Watson formed a comedy-drama troupe called Good News Express. Some pastors referred to us as the “Christian Saturday Night Live.” We traveled from coast to coast, taking our costumes, puppets, and songs of joy to housing projects and youth camps. Although we only traveled for two years, we still hear testimonies today of the impact our seemingly silly skits and characters made on people’s lives and ministries.

Jeff is now a Church of God chaplain in the U.S. Army. Darius, Mike, and Murice are all pastors of Church of God congregations. The passion to communicate the gospel to the current generation still burns within us. So, it is time for the Church of God to view the white fields in movie theaters. The purpose of “Moving Pictures” is to gain the ears and eyes of the postmodern generation, and by doing so, make an impact worldwide. Moving Pictures is the filmmaking ministry of The Tabernacle in Warren, Michigan. Their first film, released last year on DVD, was titled Sweet Gherkins. Although produced with virtually no budget, it received the Dove Seal of Approval.

    Film Camp 2011

Moving Pictures is filming its next feature during its film camp, August 8-13, 2011. The camp will be held at the Church of God campground in Fenton, Michigan. Our camp will give every camper hands-on experience and instruction on filmmaking. Yes, we will be making a real movie in the process.

Our production is called God, Don’t Let Him Come to Camp. This “mock-umentary” is a satire of anti-Christian documentaries which have come out recently. We are
also poking fun at movies such as High School Musical and Camp Rock, which are based on the notion that every teenager in America wants to be a famous singer
or dancer. One of our main characters, a false prophet by the name of L.W. Mammon, is going to be played by Tim Hill, our first assistant general overseer. There are other names and faces you will recognize from music and television that we cannot mention at this moment.

We need crew and actors. The entire experience will cost only $300 per person.
The Lord has chosen us for such a time as this.

Hear His call, and step into ministry that will have a lasting impact on our world.