Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Did Paul's Tents Have a Really Cool Branded Logo?

So you want to be a Christian filmmaker? You want to make money to support yourself. So is this a job? But it's Christian-- therefore its ministry as opposed to being a job? A career? This falls into what I call:

Ministry versus Tent Making.

Paul had an incredible ministry. And I'm sure his non-profit organization paid his salary some of the time. And Paul Evangelical Association probably had a call center in Damascus raising gifts. But I digress. Actually, what we do know is that, at times Paul *worked* so that the people he was ministering to would not have to support him. He did this also to set an example (which I don't think is followed much today).

2 Thess 3
6 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers[c] who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received[d] from us. 7 For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. 8 We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow.

Okay, so we know Paul was a tentmaker. I bet his tents were good. He worked night and day. And on top of that, he ministered.

There are some that have a ministry of making films for Jesus (stories). I think of the Kendrick brothers at Sherwood. They have a salary paid by the church. Clearly, making movies is part of their ministry. They work hard. They don't have to go get tentmaking jobs during the day and make movies at night. The body at Sherwood works and then tithes and from this, they can provide for their family.

My situation is different (not better or worse-- no value comparison here). First, my ministry is not telling stories. My ministry is discipleship. My family, the crew, the people around me. I don't believe a story (movie) can effectively disciple. I think it can raise questions. I think it can make a person think. I don't think a movie has the power to save anyone. So my ministry is not the films. Now if God decides to use a movie of mine for His ministry, then fine. In the meantime, I must work hard at whatever He puts in front of me to do.

So yes, at this point in time, my movies are my tentmaking. I'm sure Paul worked hard on his tents and sold them for what they were worth. I do the same here. I'm sure his tents ministered to people as they slept in them out of the rain and cold.

"The Imposter" has a powerful message directed to us in the church. Let's get back to the Author of Truth and pull down the masks we carry in front of our faces. I know I have some pretty serious ones. So do buy The Imposter and benefit from the rain it keeps off you. And maybe at some point, the merge of moviemaking and ministry will blur. Or maybe not. Whatever my Master decides is fine by me. I've got some more tents to sew. See ya.

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