Of the many films that come to theaters every year, few carry a message consistent with the Bible, let alone clearly teach the importance of biblical creation. A Matter of Faith, set for release in theaters on September 26, stands out as an exception.
This uplifting production realistically portrays one father’s struggle to help his college daughter by publicly defending his faith in the Genesis account of creation.
Producer Rich Christiano has devoted more than two decades to Christian films. He is passionate about getting the gospel and the biblical perspective into the culture: “We feel the church normally just plays defense. The world does something we don’t like and we complain about it. We need to play more offense. We have the truth and we need to find ways to share it with our culture.”
In the film, a freshman college student faces multiple challenges to her Christian upbringing. Her father discovers the dangers almost too late. What is he to do? In a surprising turn of events, he is challenged to defend his Christian faith before a campus audience—and against his daughter’s will.
Christiano presents the clash of two worldviews in the same terms that creationist organizations have been trumpeting for decades: man’s words versus God’s Word. The drama forces each person in the audience to weigh what every eternal soul should put faith in.
The film’s Christian family faces the very real doubts and questions every family faces at some point. The unbelieving professor Kaman and the skeptical students are likable, sincere people—just like those Christians will encounter at secular college. Yet the film leaves no doubt about who is the Creator and about the only way to know God—through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rich has devoted nearly three years to producing this movie and refining the message. He says his goal was first to please the Lord. “You’re never going to reach anybody unless the Lord is pleased [see John 15:5].” Second, he wanted to reach church members who are trusting in the wrong thing for salvation. “I’m convinced the first mission field is in the church. Our audience is the hundred million people that go to church and anybody interested in spiritual things.”
Rich says the most difficult facet of film-making is promoting the finished film. People need to hear about it and get excited about it. Often a Hollywood studio will spend almost a third of its budget promoting the film. Yet even with additional free press from entertainment shows, few films attract enough viewers to break even.
Rather than spending millions on a marketing campaign, Rich has chosen a grassroots “sponsorship” approach that allows Christians to share in the promotion (as Fireproof did a few years ago) and also share in any financial rewards (which has not been done before). Working with local churches and individuals to book theaters, Rich hopes to see A Matter of Faith open in over 500 theaters across the United States on September 26.
You Can Have an Impact
Christian film producer Rich Christiano has been praying for what he calls a “Gideon army” to spread the message of A Matter of Faith. You can join that army at many levels of involvement. Visit http://creationdebate.org/matter-of-faith-movie to learn how you can reach your community with this movie.
The simplest step is to prepurchase a ticket from a local promoter. You can also promote the movie on social media. (That’s free!) Encourage people in your church to see it. Invite family and friends. If you commit to get a group of 25 friends or more to see the movie on opening weekend, you can make a big impact in reaching the prepurchase goal for getting the movie into your theater.
Be Part of a Sponsorship Team
Join with a few other friends in your community to bring A Matter of Faith to your local theater. The financial investment is not huge ($1250 sponsors a digital print of the film and promotional posters and DVDs), and part of the income from ticket sales goes back to the sponsoring family or church to defray their expenses. Your actual out-of-pocket expense will likely be zero. In reality, team members should earn a profit if they focus on preselling tickets.
Lead a Sponsorship Team in Your Area
The key leaders in this army are sponsors, dedicated people who head up a sponsorship team and work directly with the studio. Theaters won’t show a movie unless they know it will sell, so the producer is asking every sponsor to commit to preselling a certain number of tickets for the opening week. Significant attendance then will virtually guarantee the movie is held over for additional weeks. Theaters and the entertainment press respond to ticket sales, and God can use such exposure to greatly extend the film’s impact.
Get Your Church Involved
Pastors are in a special position to help this gospel outreach. Consider showing the movie trailer in your church. Churches can commit to buying a block of tickets or join other churches to sponsor the film. And if a single group buys out a showing, theaters will usually let you address the crowd before and afterward. Still not sure? Christiano’s studio is offering pastor previews so you can see the movie before deciding.