By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD – A movie filmed in Williamson County clearly presents the gospel and a correct biblical message, says veteran filmmaker Dave Christiano.
Though there has been an influx of faith-related movies in recent years, Christiano is concerned “about the deception in Christian films and the way Hollywood has invaded our space. I’m also concerned about the prosperity gospel and how it dominates films which do the best at the box office, calling themselves ‘Christian’ or ‘faith-based.’ They are very deceptive,” he cautioned.
He noted that the prosperity gospel dominates the Christian movie scene. “Films are made where marriages are restored, God answers all of your prayers, and everything always works out with God coming through for you. These movies make you feel good and they are doing big business at the box office.”
As he reads the New Testament, Christiano sees people who do face trials and tribulation. He noted that the movies he produces, along with his twin brother Rich, are not intended to “manipulate anyone to Jesus or even try to make God look good or attractive. We are simply trying to present solid biblical truth and let the Spirit of God take it from there.”
Christiano, who moved to Tennessee two years ago and has attended Southern Baptist churches, observed that “movies are the most powerful force on the planet.
“Christians go to a church and praise the name of Jesus on Sunday morning, and those same believers attend movies that curse His name on Saturday night. Which is it? Make up your mind.”
He noted that the world watches movies, so “it is a great place to present the gospel through a film. It’s much easier to get a person to watch a movie than to go to church. We need to use Christ-centered films to reach people,” Christiano said.
Christiano’s latest film “Remember the Goal” will premiere in August. The movie has one goal and that “is to change the youth culture through one Bible verse: I Corinthians 10:31,” he said.
“If a teenager can lock on to that verse, it will change his or her life from being so self-centered to becoming more Christ-centered. A teenager on fire for Jesus is a powerful witness for the Lord,” he noted.
The movie tells the story of a female coach who takes over a cross-country program at an all girls private Christian school and sets a goal for them to win their first-ever state titles.
Christiano noted that the five primary runners on the team all grapple with individual struggles commonly faced by teenagers today, including divorce, overbearing parents, romantic relationships, self-image struggles, and exposure to drugs.
Christiano is intentionally trying to connect with Southern Baptist churches. He attended Conclave, a regional Southern Baptist youth ministry meeting held in Chattanooga each year, and talked with a number of youth pastors. He is confident Southern Baptists want to see the gospel presented. “With that said, of the so-called Christian movies coming to theaters this year, I only see two that will present the gospel. ‘Remember the Goal’ is one of them,” he said.
“When a movie comes along that presents the gospel and a correct biblical message, support it,” he urged. If church members don’t support them they will cease to be, he added.