Action Research Findings Report: The Application of Biblical Principles to Live Production
By Josiah Way
INTRODUCTION OF THE PROBLEM
Christian production directors [technical directors, creative directors, directors, producers] have been in a long debate over the proper distinction between what is meant by true Godly production, and what is deemed as simply a means of entertainment, whether it is in the medium of film, music, theatre, pop culture, or worship services. Those in the modern church continually walk the line between liturgical tradition and being relevant to contemporary culture. The idea that God is the sole source worthy of worship in some instances has been usurped by contemporary secular pop culture, while in other cases some churches have experienced a decrease in membership because of a complete disregard for understanding the changing cultural impetus of today’s generation. I have witnessed this continuous battle in my own practice in both church production and the mainstream secular arts and production culture.
In the entertainment industry, there are common stereotypes that exist about the lack of moral standards within it. During the course of my twenty-year practice in live production, I have observed firsthand the destruction that flows from continuous involvement in an industry that thrives on the perpetration and glorification of sinful behaviors. The use of profanity, overindulging in alcohol and illegal substances, partying, and being sexually promiscuous are the norm. This is a stark contrast between the guiding principles I have found within church production. Therefore, the overall goal of my Action Research project is to improve the way I apply biblical principles that are inherent to church production to my secular arts production endeavors.
LITERATURE REVIEW AND WORK CONTEXT
Production arts are generally perceived as a secular endeavor. Yet, there is no doubt that they have played a significant historical role within the ecclesial community, formal church services, and faith practices. The Bible places a special impetus on musicians and artisans playing a high standard, and performing in places of societal importance, like that of the Temple and the throne of God. David wrote that his choirmasters were to produce a “joyful noise” to the Lord (Psalm 95:1, 98:4, 100:1), the Chronicler described David’s appointing of Levites as purposefully anointed to perform “regularly before the ark of the covenant of God” (1 Chronicles 16:4-7), the New Testament sites the Apostles utilizing “singing hymns” (Acts 16:25) as a method of evangelism, and the book of Revelation declares Heaven as a place of genuine, submissive worship through harps and song (Revelation 5:8-14, 14:2-3). Today, however, these biblical references have been pushed out of mainstream culture. Within the church, they are often reserved solely for pre-sermon worship sets, congregational hymnal singing, prayer meetings, and collection offerings.
Yet, the impact of arts production in religious culture is nearly immeasurable. An artist once realized that God’s story could be better told through converting a standard window into stained glass. Michelangelo eternally transformed how humanity as a whole views art with his paintbrush upon the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel and immortalization of David’s physique in stone. And in 1887, preaching forever changed when Emile Berliner converted Thomas Edison’s phonograph into the first usable tool for amplifying sound to large groups of people over long distances, simultaneously. While performing the literature review, I discovered a lack of scholarly work connecting biblical principles to the production side of worship services. Though there is much discussion in regards to biblical principles in worship leading, as well as blogs discussing audio-video principles and tech products, the connection of biblical ideology to production is largely silent. The traditional concept of art as “a ministry of the Word of God” has deteriorated over the past century into a blurred line.
Whereas the arts and religion in society were at one point inseparable, today, that is far from the case. Even though a select number of Christian production artists hold fast to their values, we find few practical methods of bringing personally held beliefs into the secular workplace. I had not fully recognized the extent of the lack of applied biblical principles to the entertainment industry until after my own salvation and subsequent leaving the secular field for production work within the church community. Where the entertainment industry thrives on the exaltation of sin for personal gain, production in the church focuses on service first: service for the glorification of God and the body of Christ. After having witnessed the many positive aspects of church-based production practices during my three years as the Technical Director at Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo, CA, I have no doubt that my current work context, the secular production industry and associated production directors and technical teams, can benefit greatly from the application of biblical principles.
In contemporary production, the mention of religion, and Christianity in particular, is reserved solely for a product genre. I foresee production arts, and specifically the revelation of Godly biblical principles through the production mediums, as offering an important addition to societal spiritual development, a spirituality that brings an individual into personal communion with God. By incorporating biblical principles into my practice of live production in non-church related projects, I seek to bridge the gap that is currently present between the church and secular production practices.
Action Research, the chosen research method for this project, is the systematic implementation of change in a specific area through a cyclical process of examination of ones practice. Margaret Riel outlines Action Research cycles as a four-step process:
(1) Study and plan;
(2) Take action;
(3) Collect and analyze evidence; and
As opposed to other common research methods, by its nature, Action Research is practitioner-based, self-reflective, and aimed at improving ones practice for the good of others in his or her work circle, while also adding to the body of working knowledge within a particular field. With this Action Research, I have two key goals in mind:
(1) Improving my practice of producing and directing live arts production through the integration of biblical principles; and
(2) Increasing my knowledge about biblical principles within contemporary production circles and locating the areas in secular production where these principles can be injected.
Action Research is therefore the optimal research method for this project.
CYCLE 1: REPORT
CYCLE RESEARCH QUESTION
Cycle 1 Question: If I interview other Christian production directors about how they understand biblical principles to apply to their practice, how will that affect my application of biblical principles to the secular projects that I produce and direct?
This question came about through a long refining process. I knew at first that in order to be able to apply biblical principles more to my production events in the secular realm outside of the church, I needed a different perspective on how others who perform my same role apply biblical principles. In my experience, secular production teams are rarely blatantly outward in the presentation of any biblical views they may hold, Christian or otherwise. This may be, however, because working an event is not necessarily the best setting for the conversations in the first place. As well, by nature of the position, producers and directors are the first to show up to an event and the last to leave. They are often already in a working mindset before there is any interaction with others. Therefore, I desire to explore if any specific ways do exist in which PD’s prepare themselves biblically for service in the church in advance.
My original intention was to establish a focus group where I could create a dialogue among ten to twenty Christian production directors. I initially assumed that schedule would be an issue, due to the fact that PD’s often work many more hours in preparation for an event than simply the hours of an event or service. This hesitation I felt was precisely correct, so I modified my scope from hosting a focus group to executing one-on-one interviews. I planned to drive to and/or Skype with various production directors from around the country, but schedule was again found to be an issue. Therefore, I finally settled on interviewing only those who I worked alongside during my time in church ministry, and I could conveniently drive to. I felt this was a good decision because the personal connection I have with each one of them, would more likely create an environment that is more conducive to open and candid discussion. As well, I knew firsthand their work habits, struggles, and body of work. I selected eight PD’s from four churches considered to be large-to-mega-churches, ranging in weekly attendance from 5,000 to 22,000 congregants. All four churches utilize contemporary production techniques, yet with varying worship styles and service philosophies. Due to a request for anonymity, rather than using names in the results section, I have assigned numbers to each production director interviewed and letters to each day-of event production tech. I did intend to use a survey, as well, in order to gain feedback and general demographic information after each interview, however because I knew all eight production directors on a personal level, that became unnecessary; I have therefore, disregarded the few surveys I collected at the beginning of the research process.
After interviewing each of the eight production directors, I analyzed the results by looking for particular trends and common themes, whether presented in a positive or negative manner. I tallied the results and came up with a plan of action as to how to apply these principles to two secular events I had scheduled. The plan I came up with included:
(1) Pulling the team together with an opening prayer during our start-up meeting;
(2) Playing worship music during the setup and teardown; and
(3) Continuously lifting up the team over the communication system throughout the evening with appeals for performing with excellence and serving the client well with a heart for their needs.
One of the two events was rescheduled, again demonstrating the difficulty of schedules within the field. I was able to apply the results to one production event, where I served as the lead PD for a high-profile wedding incorporating a VIP guest list, video presentation, DJ and live music, mic’d speaking, professional lighting effect, full AVL amplification, an afterhours lounge, videography, photography, and post-production editing. I coordinated the production teams, and reported to the day-of venue event planner, though I had full autonomy to run the technical show as needed. To maintain required anonymity of my client, any details of the event itself will be limited to conversations, actions, and reactions of my immediate team. After the event, I reached out to my team, to evaluate how they viewed the noticeable differences in team interaction as well as client satisfaction. The team included both Christians and non-Christians, making the results extremely interesting, which I discuss in the in the evaluation section below.
EVIDENCE USED TO EVALUATE THE ACTION
Below are the results from each interview with the eight local production directors. At each interview I asked each one to rank the three most important biblical qualities they associate with their roles and reduced each interview into a general summary of the conversation as it pertained to each one’s individual guiding principles [Table 1]. I then catalogued the eleven various themes given and assigned a point scale in order to establish which were the most important concepts between them all [Table 2]. Three points were awarded for a first place ranking, two points for a second, and one point for a third place mark.
TABLE 1 – PRODUCTION DIRECTOR INTERVIEW DATA
The concept of ‘worthship’ is his guiding principle, which he defined as “expressing the joy and wonder of God for who he is and what he has done.” There ought to be a sense of awe and satisfaction when the job is done well and our focus is in the right place. He prepares by praying through the set list and the call sheets for each of the other production roles serving. He puts in the extra time before others show, so that they can focus on being a team and not worrying about the tasks. He personally struggles with remembering that the team is mostly volunteers and thus it’s difficult to force them to put in extra time and effort. Due to their love for God, they usually do anyway. If this were in the secular realm, the team would be paid, so as PD’s we could expect more from them.
2. Being Current
He is in production because it is the best way to serve from behind the scenes: “I like the back side of the camera.” Being prepared and having the right tools continued to dominate the dialogue, as well as being able to stay up to date on skills and styles. He noted common distractions that are present and that it is normal to work all weekend and come away not even knowing what the message is even about, though he heard it three times. He makes a distinction between being at church to hear the message and to be there working. He said it would be nice to think we can get our spiritual growth from working, but it never works that way, and have to make sure to find our own means outside of working. I found him more concerned with attempting to move into more complex service styles than being content with doing something right, and therefore that does not allow him to even attempt to be spiritually prepared.
Understanding that the main purpose of production is to perform for God and lead others to do the same is his goal. We should not get so concerned with what is new and trending that we lose sight of leading others to Christ. He wonders why PD’s are always talking about the resources or equipment they wish they had, rather than focusing on getting the most out of what the church can offer. We need to be content with what the church leadership wants, may be different than our desires. In order to prepare for the day, prayer is the best way and often most overlooked. He admits that these are things that are easier to say than do, and he also easily gets caught up in the moment, often thinking later about it. Afterwards, he messaged me to say thank you for the conversation and was extremely happy to have had it. He wishes that there were a way to incorporate this type of open conversation into our inter-church production circles on a regular basis.
3. In Line w/ Spirit
The Spirit is what guides us as believers and therefore we need to recognize that it is not our doing that makes the service perfect, but God who does. We need to be “in line with the Spirit,” performing at our best because it is God and his church we are responsible for. He noted the importance of using hymns and lyrics that are Scripturally strong in order to help stay engaged during the service. He wonders why PD’s always desire to cover up the meaning with “show.” For 2000 years, there was no show and we just may be better off without all the tech. However, he noted that that is unrealistic and would disregard the reality of modern culture. Therefore, we have to use it, and use it well, but always remembering that our duty is to support the message on stage, and not just for the sake of being relevant. Production is the intermediary between the congregation and God. Our job is product delivery.
3. Build Up Body
He works off his concept of ‘spectrum,’ which he defined as the ‘range of style’ from most traditional to most contemporary. Where are we on the spectrum at the time? That is what we need to know in order to put out the best product. Both extremes and everything in the middle has value, so none is better than the other, and in fact mixing it up is good and helps cure the problem of monotony in the services. But, most important is that we all stay together as a team. As PD’s and tech teams, we are there to serve first and foremost, no matter the task or project in front of us. Serve, and serve well. By doing so, we build up the body of Christ. In the end, we need to help our teams to want to serve God. We must be good enough so that we do not create distractions for those worshiping, but should not go so overboard that we lose sight of the serving aspect. As PD’s we have probably the ‘coolest’ job, yet also the most intimidating. Because of the high profile, we must be strong examples and be able to lead in a manner that demonstrates Christ’s service. Our activities done well are often never seen, but done poorly are always noticed.
2. Being Current
He seems to be extremely negatively focused on the workload. He wanted to make it a positive spin by discussing teamwork and the importance of leadership in a high-stress situation, yet it continually came back to the overworking of production teams and tight schedules. It seems that the demands put on perfection and being current in style distracts from the overall purpose. I wonder if that says more about his church than him. Or, maybe if he focused more on Christ and his spiritual growth, then it would not seems as forbearing? He noted that good team rapport is key to serving the church and congregation well. I think though there is something to this in a secular sense, which he too came from. The goal of perfection is strong in secular production, and in fact if you do not perform perfectly, you can lose future work. I wonder if he has unintentionally brought that unrealistic standard into his church job.
1. Desire to Learn
Production is “to God and about God.” The equipment is just our toolset for serving Christ. I loved the positive aspect, and that really is his overall demeanor. I wonder if that is because of how he ranks his priorities. He is blessed to be at a church where there are so many resources at his disposal, but that does not mean that it all comes easy. He feels more pressure to perform because the bar is raised so high and so many look to their final product, both from inside and outside of the church. Thus, there is a need to continually work on his craft. The perfect PD has the desire to learn and continually learn, being careful to know the difference between new technology trends and simply new fads. He tied this in biblically by mentioning that the Bible has does not change even though the format (i.e. paper book vs. iPad) and method of delivery might. If we change the Bible’s message (i.e. prosperity gospel), then we risk losing site our main purpose. Because we choose to serve in the church, we have an added responsibility to do it well. Must be able to adapt, because the challenges change every day.
1. Build Up Body
Where does the truth lie? There is a difference between biblical truth and man-truth. Once we are saved, everything we do needs to glorify God. Production is a service aspect of the church. It should be seen as a secondary support role that works to build up the church body. We must be continually in prayer, because the devil is near. The devil loves unleashing the ‘tech gremlins’ to distract the audience from being able to properly worship. We never know what the service message will be and what will happen; therefore we must be on our toes at all times, eagerly willing to do anything at any time. I found it interesting that he seems to be one who is often posting pictures on social media about the major productions that he directs, however in our conversations, he only mentioned them as the final product of a team with a heart for God. He noted that he would never let anyone serve who is not saved, who does not tithe, and who has not been baptized in the church. There is a certain protection he seems to have, which I think is respectable and really backs up his claim at the tech production side is about building up the church and body of Christ.
TABLE 2 – TALLIED RESULTS FROM IMPORTANT COMMON THEMES
Build Up Body: 4
Being Current: 4
Desire to Learn: 3
In Line with Spirit: 1
As stated above, the action plan for application of the biblical principles to my practice was three-fold:
(1) An opening prayer with the team during our start-up meeting;
(2) Playing worship music during setup and teardown; and
(3) Positive reinforcement throughout the evening of the common themes discovered through the eight Christian production director interviews, which were excellence, service, and teamwork.
The data collected from the application of the biblical principles to the live production event is noted with two aspects [Table 3]:
(1) Summary from the notes during participation at the event; and
(2) A phone conversation after the event to seek to discover any feelings about the applied research.
It is important to recognize that the circumstances did not allow for me to create a baseline of what the production techs would have been like without the application of my interview findings. Because I could not host an event with this team without applying the biblical principles, my observations and conclusions are based on my preconceived notions of each team member, as well as my professional knowledge of what would be considered the norm for a production event of this type with these particular team dynamics.
TABLE 3 – PRODUCTION TEAM EVENT DATA
I knew ahead of time that he is Jewish, though he is always dating women of all religions, therefore not practicing. He said ‘Amen’ after prayer, but questioned the musical choice during the setup. I think it was more shock, as if wondering what got in to me. By the end of the night he was very pumped up with the positive results and noted how smoothly everything went. He added that we ought to try to get this same team together again at a future event. He made no comments about the worship being played during teardown.
I asked him what he thought about the dynamics of the team and what he thought about the prayer. I asked if as a Jew he was offended in any way and/or if it helped the team. He said that he did not mind at all, but did not put the two things together. He did say that it was different and originally thought it was a request of the client. He brought up that it was interesting about Tech-C, but just thought it was a normal random conversation. To him, it could have just as much been any conversation, it just happened to be about church. He reiterated that the team had a great rapport, especially for being such a high-pressure event.
She was extremely difficult to read. She made no obvious comments, nor showed any indifference to the obvious Christian overtones to everything. She did seem very easygoing once everything got rolling, while she is usually pretty intense when working camera at high-profile events. I do not know, however, if I am searching for a positive sign, or if it was really the case. Because I am the boss, maybe she was just going along with what I doing because of obligation? I noticed a different in the way she interacted, even being joking, when normally serious, and the other team members commented about it, making a joke if she was hitting the bar on reach go-around (which of course since work was not).
She was back to her normal self. She did not at all tie the biblical overtones to being the reason why we worked well together as a team. In asking if she took offense to the prayer and music, she was non-responsive and said it was fine and did not matter one way or another. She mentioned the night was fun, but made no connection to the application of biblical principles.
During the event, he mentioned on break that he used to be a pastor twenty-five years ago at a church. I have worked with him for nine years and had no clue at all. The atmosphere opened the door for him to express that to us. Under normal circumstances, he would not have brought up his religious beliefs. The other team members continued to ask him more, with Tech-D interested in knowing more about his working as a pastor and Tech-A making jokes about him having two very different lifestyles between now and what he would have been like then. His beliefs have been swayed and his theology is not solid, but the fact he opened up is a positive. He had a “God doesn’t really care” attitude, so I am considering him a Non-Christian.
He made almost no connection from the positive outcome of the event to my attempted application of biblical principles. To him, our conversation about being a former pastor was simple shoptalk. He mentioned it because I was bringing up church. Once I mentioned I was being purposeful in bringing biblical principles into the event, he said he liked the focus, but did give caution that the team was one that would be more open to it, and that there are some situations that I may not want to do that again with. It seems that there is some reason why he left the church, but I could not get it out of him. To him, it was all coincidence and a good team that things went so smoothly.
I knew that he was a Christian and attends church regularly from his Twitter account. He was a bit shocked when I began to pray. I think it effected him more than the Non-Christians because it was out of place from the norm, and it had a personally connection to him. He sang along to the worship songs, and was always coming on the communication system with me to say positive things directly after I did. He engaged Tech-C as to his past, liking the conversation a lot. There was a sense I got from him that it was very freeing. Normally he is easy going, but he was much more so that evening.
He thanked me for being so bold. He said that he knew I was in grad school and studying at Moody, but mentioned that it was interesting that I would bring that into the event. He loved the opening prayer and wishes that that could become a common practice. He noted how football players often begin games through a group prayer, and wishes that taking a moment to pray was accepted in our field. I asked what he thought about the worship music, and answered most people would not have noticed because it was just background and unless you knew it was a Christian song, it would not mean much. He was adamant that because as the leader I was focusing on performing with Christian standards that that is why the team worked well and had a good rapport.
I was not aware of his Christianity before prayer but when he started singing along to the worship music, the door opened for me to ask about his religious beliefs. He said he and his wife attend a local church, but wants to find something that allows for getting more involved. So he is a closet Christian in the business. He mentioned privately how difficult it is for his family to understand the situations he has to work in, but it pays the bills. He is challenged with working in a field he loves, yet being around so much sin, specially the nudity on many sets and the wrap parties. He said he would love to work in a church and asked me why I left the church, but also noted that realistically the pay probably just would not enough for the stage he is in his career. That struck me, because here is a man who wants to outwardly share his Christianity in the secular world and/or wants to work for a church, but does not feel that he is able. I think I gave him some hope that it is possible if he just keeps faith.
We had a very open talk about finding a good church for he and his family. This conversation would never have happened if I did not bring outwardly Christian principles into the event. He believed that we worked well together because of the focus on building up the team and striving to “serve honorably with excellence” as I said in the opening prayer. It is interesting that he remembered that exact phase. To me, that means that it meant something to him. He like that I played all the worship songs during the setup, saying that it put him in a good mood for when the event started. He also noted the difference between them and the set list songs that the client had us playing that are full of sinful lyrics.
In evaluating the successes and failures of this research cycle, I see the conversations that came about because of undertaking the Action Research as the best gauge, because of not being able to have held a baseline-setting event.
First, in regards to the interviews with the PD’s, in five of the eight interviews, the PD thanked me for the conversation. I was originally seeking information from them, however the five felt that this served as an opportunity to reflect on their own practice. They all noted that it is easy to say what they believe, but do not think that they completely do it when it comes to actually performing their roles. All of them brought up that they would go back to their churches and be more active in leading their teams according to what they say is important. I could tell specifically from PD-6 that he wanted to get a lot off his chest, and this offered that opportunity. PD’s are in a leadership position, but not one where they are normally seen as spiritual leaders; that role is reserved for the pastors. I believe that because there is no formal avenue for PD’s to have these types of one-on-one conversations focused on the application of biblical principles to production with other PD’s, there is most definitely an opportunity and need to develop a platform. This is a possible direction for my second cycle.
Second, as far as the event is concerned, it seemed to build up the Christians more than it did the Non-Christians. The Christians wanted to find a way to do this more, whereas the Non-Christians were not swayed either way. I am happy that it did not have backlash, but there is a chance that Tech-C is correct that this could be an anomaly with the group, and may not work in another setting. I do wish I had another event during the course of this cycle in order to see if similar results would come about. This too is worth attempting in a further cycle. I do consider it a success in the sense that the body of Christ was built up through the action, as I saw with Tech-D and Tech-E, even if my original intent of finding evangelistic avenues to the Non-Christians did not fully come to fruition.
Now possessing the acquired action data, I believe that even though there may exist a need for application of biblical principles in secular productions, there is a definite need for the creation of a platform for Christian PD’s who work within the church community to assist them in applying the principles to their field, which in itself would strengthen Christians in secular production for work in their respective fields. I do believe the conversations I had during and after the secular event with the technical staff were positive. However, if I were to have done this Action Research project over again, I would have limited the scope to interviewing the PD’s and then working out a plan to create change within that community. As well, I should have paid more attention to my gut feeling that scheduling was going to be an issue. Therefore, my plan changed too many times at the early stage. If I were more aware of this, I could have focused on the issues that schedule cause, like PD’s not able to have a solid outlet for discussing biblical principles among one another. A much needed ministry opportunity has been exposed, which will be the focus of my second cycle. Finally, I learned a lot from the interviews and discussions, but because they are subjective, I feel that I did not have a solid way to quantify the results, even though I did come up with a workable method. I am relying completely on the fact that I can take in the information in a reasonably unbiased way, and formulate correct conclusions based on facts, and not what I desire the results to be.
Two aspects that worked best were:
(1) Giving current Christian production directors the ability to discuss their views on applying biblical principles to church production, causing them to recognize that there is more they can do to improve their own practice; and
(2) Opening a secular event in prayer allowed for open and non-threatening conversation about personal religious beliefs.
Though the results were generally positive, having only one secular production event as the sole sample size is not sufficient to draw larger conclusions about the application of biblical principles to the field.
A couple findings surprised me. First, the technical artists, who I view as people that in general are often looking for the “latest and greatest” technologies or styles, placed “tradition” higher than “being current” when they ranked importance. Tradition and being true to the spirit of worship and the body of Christ was at least mentioned in all interviews, even if not placed on someone’s list. Rarely was being current given importance, and when it was, it was in the context of performing with excellence. Being current in style was cited in the context of understanding the congregation and the art of production to create the best experience for the congregation. Second, though I should not be too surprised, when discussing in follow-up phone calls with the event production team why the team worked well together and why the event was a success, none of the Non-Christians made the connection to the application of biblical principles, while the Christians directly stated that that was exactly the reason. I wonder if the research truly suggests that people see things because of who they themselves are, and not necessarily because of what I had done.
Reflecting on how I may have added to or changed my field on a scholarly, organizational, or even personal practice level, I would say that this Action Research project had no majorly significant effect as of yet. However, some positive insights were exposed during this research cycle, which reveal specific areas where changes are possible through future Action Research cycles.
On a personal level, I learned that I can and should be more outspoken regarding my faith in secular circles. The entertainment industry thrives on the glorification of sinful behaviors, making for uncomfortable workplaces for practicing Christians. Even with a small sample size, I recognized that the people involved overall, however, are people who desire to lead good and righteous lives. Mistakenly, I had a tendency to align the people with the product. Because those on my team mostly took well to opening our time in prayer, as well as responded positively to my calls for excellence and a strong team focused on serving the client, I know that is something I can incorporate into my practice. Even though in some instances it may cause backlash, the findings tend to demonstrate that the reward is greater than the risk. I found it empowering, as well as allowed me to keep focus on God while I doing my job. Normally I would have been so focused on the client and my team that I would not have made a conscious effort to focus on Christ. I do wonder, however, if because I wanted to see a positive change, I found it to be the case, whereas possibly performing at my best as the leader would have lead to similar results either way. Were people responding to my leadership or to the focus on God? Regardless, I know that I can be more outwardly open with respect to my reliance on God in my practice.
On an organizational level, I do wonder if those on my event production team only went along with my Christian prayer, music, and pep talks because I was the boss in charge. My actions did open up conversations about God that would not have existed otherwise, which is a positive first step. At a minimum, I strengthened the two Christians on the team and at least made the Non-Christians think about their beliefs in God and my reliance on Christ for success. I established in an obviously open way that a believer can proclaim Christ in a secular work environment within live production. There is no doubt a lot room for growth in this area, and there was much less resistance than I had originally thought there would be.
In the field of church-based production, I uncovered a desire for Christian PD’s to lead their teams in a more faithful manner, desiring to be more dedicated to leading their teams in what they say they believe. The conversations caused each PD I interviewed to think more about his individual practice. Even with anonymity issues shared with me, which I had to agree to in order to get the honest answers, I do believe that the industry as a whole could both learn and be empowered by reading the thoughts of these production directors. It would be nice to see some of the PD’s who work in the church context begin to add to the field on a scholarly level, and not just in their immediate work context. A good next step would be to create a platform where they can share among one another in a safe and uplifting environment, while also encouraging thoughtful, knowledgeable, and researched literary works. In general, PD’s and technical crews use conferences as opportunities to talk and/or complain to one another, because we know the listeners care and go through the same struggles back home at their individual churches. Yet, I believe technical team members who are saved would welcome a resource that allowed them to view their practice from a biblical point of view. I think that the creation of a platform like a community board or private social network would offer a safe opportunity to openly discuss biblical principles, challenges, and praises. That will be the focus of my second research cycle.
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