How the Gospel Affects the Work of Filmmakers - Radical

How the Gospel Affects the Work of Filmmakers

Is the contemporary entertainment industry absent of the Gospel? Is it possible for Christians to integrate and share the Gospel in movies and other forms of entertainment media? In this conversation, brothers and filmmakers Andy and Jon Erwin discuss how their career in filmmaking offers unique avenues to share the Gospel. As young people, both Andy and Jon recognized their unique talents and abilities in filmmaking. After a short time in national broadcasting and helping direct films, Andy and Jon began to discern God’s calling on their lives to become filmmakers. Since then, Andy and Jon have directed well-known, Gospel-centered movies such as October Baby and Mom’s Night Out, demonstrating that it is possible for the Gospel to be shared in today’s entertainment industry.

1. God’s Calling

2. Using His Gifts

3. Filmmaking for the Gospel

How the Gospel Affects Work

Hi, I’m Andy Erwin. I’m one of the Erwin brothers, filmmaker. I directed October Baby and Mom’s Night Out.

Well, I’m Jon Erwin and my brother and I make feature films.

It wasn’t until later on in my career that I really realized that I could use my gifts for him. For a while, it was just a career.

I was going to Bible college and they had a big missions conference. They were trying to, they were having commitments for people that wanted to become missionaries. I felt the urging that I needed to make some sort of commitment to that as well because everybody was, and I called my dad right after that and I said, “Dad, I’ve decided I’m going to go translate Bibles overseas somewhere.” And he’s like, “Is that what you want to do?” And I said, “No, not at all. It’s not what I want to do at all, but I think that that’s what I have to do to be a good follower of Christ.”

And he said, “Andy, what do you enjoy? What’s in your hand?” And I said, “Well, a video camera, but I don’t know how God could ever use that.” He said, because he really encouraged me. He said, “Andy, give God what’s in your hand. Let him figure out how to use it.” And I said, “Okay.” I said, “Lord, all I know how to do is make videos, so if this is really what you want me to do, then you’re going to have to show me how.”

The Gospel in Careers

Got to work for ESPN because somebody got sick when I was 15 years old and nobody really knew how old I was or that I had never done it before, and I just fell in love with television. That started a path in career in film, which led to my brother and I starting a company together, doing music videos and a lot of Christian music videos and things like that. But it was still just a career.

I remember working on a movie called Courageous. I directed second unit for that movie, and it was Alex, the director of that movie that said, “Jon, what’s the purpose of your work? What’s your purpose, and what’s the purpose of your work?” I had a hard time answering that question because it was just a career for me up to that point, and it was, my purpose is to get paid.

I realized that God was calling me to use my gifts for him, and instead of just being a hired gun and trying to make a living, that he could use the gifts that he had given me to give truth to culture and really send the gospel around the world in a new way through the medium of film, which is a very powerful medium.

Christian Film

The idea of doing filmmaking in an industry that really didn’t exist here in the state and telling stories was pretty scary to me at first. But I think God just laid a passion on mine and Jon’s heart that, what are we going to do to make an impact? I think that God doesn’t really need greatness in a person. He doesn’t require greatness. I think he requires submission and I think in that then he can sometimes trust you with greater things.

There’s a lot going on in Christian film and we’re very grateful to be a small part of it and having a blast. I think God gives us all gifts and he plants one here and another there. I think we’re most useful to him when we’re most satisfied. I think I just have a blast with what I do and I’m blown away that it can be used for a higher purpose.

Jon serves as Chief Executive Officer at Kingdom Story Company as well as writes and co-directs feature films with his brother, Andrew.

Andrew helps lead at Kingdom Story Company as well as writes and co-directs feature films with his brother, John.


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