Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

Hiking during staff meeting

Staff meetings at Richmond’s First Baptist Church take place at 9:30 Tuesday mornings. Never having been a big fan of them, I decided the best way to spend my first Tuesday morning of retirement was by taking a long hike. So this morning, rather than sitting at a big table in a windowless room, I enjoyed the scenery along the James River.

James RiverAs I began my hike, I prayed thanksgiving to God for His immeasurable blessings: for the beautiful world He created, for good health to be able to enjoy this morning’s activity, for the extraordinary 46 years I’d been able to ply my trade in broadcasting and communication, the 33+ years I was able to serve in His church… the last 20 of them at FBC Richmond, and for the promise and challenges that are ahead as we launch Belltower Pictures and produce our first feature film.

Then I began to think about my friends and former colleagues sitting around the staff meeting table at that very hour. And the feeling that swept through my mind was not at all what I expected.

I had eagerly anticipated this moment: a Tuesday morning when I would be out in God’s creation, breathing the fresh air, and grinning with relief because I wasn’t sitting in a meeting. But the emotion I felt instead was deep gratitude for those folks with whom I’d shared so much of my life for the last 20 years. And just a touch of sadness that I would no longer be a part of that family.

If I could have immediately transported from the trail to the conference room, I would have done so… but just for a moment. Long enough to encourage my dear friends to cherish every minute of their time at that table. Because those precious times cannot be re-lived.

As I returned my focus to the trail and my long-anticipated hike, I once again gave thanks to God for the opportunities He’d provided me in the past. My pace quickened as I thought about all that is to come… a new chapter and an exciting new adventure.

And I thought of what Dr. Seuss once said…

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Why would a church group want to make a movie?

Why does the church need to be involved in producing movies? I hear that question often… especially when we talk about how much it is going to cost to produce “The Prodigal Project.” (read more about that…)

“Doesn’t Hollywood already do a good job of it? And aren’t there other churches producing Christian films?”

The most obvious answer is that we have a story to tell – the story of God loving us so much that he came to live among us, showing us how to truly live. It is the story about God searching for the lost… and throwing a party when we’re found! If it isn’t the church’s job to tell that story, then whose job is it?

Unfortunately, most of the Christian films produced by churches speak primarily to a Christian audience. They tell powerful stories filled with the Gospel, but they’re done in such a way that “secular” folks will never see them.

Another answer to the question, “Why are we doing this?” appeared in a recent blog post by John Stonestreet.

He reminded his readers of the famous quote by Scottish politician Andrew Fletcher, “Let me write the songs of a nation, and I don’t care who writes its laws.”

He elaborated,

We’ve got to realize that the ideas that most effectively shape a culture are not necessarily those that are argued, but those that are embodied. They capture the heart and mind because they capture the imagination.

So let’s embody God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and opportunity for second chances. And let’s tell compelling stories which reveal that truth. Let’s pour our energy and resources into capturing imaginations… Like Jesus did when he talked about wedding banquets… and travelers mugged on the side of the road… and farmers sowing seed… and fathers welcoming home lost sons.

Prodigal Project gets major boost

The Prodigal Project received a huge boost this week when the First Baptist Church Endowment Fund committed to a major financial contribution.

We still have a long way to go, but this commitment brings us to 30% of the cash we need for the movie.

All of the seed money and in-kind support so far has come from Richmond’s First Baptist Church. But we believe this project provides an opportunity for cooperation beyond a single church, among many individuals, organizations and congregations in our community and beyond.

If you want to contribute to the costs of production, help with fundraising, provide in-kind support, volunteer to help on the crew or in the production office, or join the prayer team, contact me and we’ll send you more information.