Middle East (MNN) – One of the main functions of art has always been to serve as a conversation starter about life. And, even if the artist didn’t intend it, these artistic creations tend to point towards our Creator. This is why when we’re talking about sharing the Gospel with people all around the world, we have to consider the effective role art plays.
A ministry of art
Jesus Film Project has nailed this concept, and their productions have impacted countless lives in over 1,500 languages. That’s why they have partnered up with their parent ministry, Cru, which is referred to as Agape in the Middle East.
Scott Santee of Jesus Film Project says that in the Middle East, “people love videos [and] love short-films.” So much so, he explains, that viewers from this region make up a major chunk of the audience on YouTube for short films. And so, the Jesus Film-Cru duo decided to create a resource for film-minded believers in this area.
Santee says, “The Agape4Media Film School trains young filmmakers in both filmmaking skills and outreach strategies to create some of the most effective ways to reach their countries for Christ.”
Over the last two years, they’ve taught 16 filmmakers from five different countries about the essentials of film. The participants in this program have learned how difficult filmmaking can be, but they’re doing a wonderful job. In fact, they’ve already been honored in a number of film festivals and are making connections with other film schools in the area.
But these films aren’t primarily about receiving recognition in the film world. They’re about making an impact. For example, Santee says a couple of the films set in the Middle East have focused on raising the value society places on women.
“One film, called ‘Out of the Box’, is about a young gal in a marketing industry. She has to think quickly on her feet when a coworker sabotages her presentation. Her ‘out of the box’ thinking impresses the clients to accept her campaign.”
Santee says films like these will be great resources during the next International Women’s Day.
“We can offer several films that show the value of women in society and connect that to the fact that Jesus did more to elevate the status of women than any other person,” he says.
A partnership in film
Santee says Jesus Film Project is excited to be an international resource and contributor for the Great Commission.
The work they’re doing with Agape is better done together than separately. Santee explains, “Jesus Film Project is all about capturing the watching world with the person of Christ. And so, this chance to partner with Agape in the Middle East has been perfect for both sides. We can bring some of our experience and expertise in the filmmaking side, and they can bring their cultural expertise and understanding of the Arab world, and together we can produce the films that will get the attention of their countrymen.”
And while it could take years to see some of the face-to-face impact these films have on the larger population of the Middle East, it’s a huge motivator for Christian filmmakers at this moment.
“It’s been very encouraging for fellow believers in the country to be able to share something that’s theirs, that represents them, and to be able to use that as a platform for sharing the love of Christ,” Santee says.
Online, the collection of 30-plus films already made has been a catalyst for deeper conversation about spiritual things in the context of the Bible.
But, as the participants in this training have learned, filmmaking is difficult. Because of this, Santee asks you to pray. “We sure are dependent on the prayers of the Body of Christ to see things move forward, especially in some of the more challenging areas of the world.”
He asks that you also pray for the filmmakers to remain bold, and for hearts to be open to the message they share so that many would be won to Christ.
If you would like to support Jesus Film Project financially, click here.
To see a sample of how the short films fit into an outreach strategy, click here.
You can also watch the previously mentioned short film “Out of the Box” below in Arabic. This short film was created by a student from the Agape4Media Film School.