In 2008 Marketplace Leaders held our international Reclaim 7 Mountains Conference. One of our speakers was Dr. Larry Poland, founder of Master Media International, a non-profit organization which provides professional consulting and personal counseling to media professionals. MasterMedia maintains a prayer bulletin that features Hollywood executives in the industry that are being prayed for. MasterMedia also hosts an annual prayer breakfast for those in arts, entertainment and media in Hollywood. During Dr. Poland's presentation he made some very insightful observations about the Church's approach to influencing Hollywood.
Hollywood is controlled by mostly media moguls who operate in Hollywood and New York City. These change agents are largely Jewish in their makeup but more from a secular worldview than orthodox. Their orthodox brothers are actually as upset with them as many evangelical Christians are. They do not reflect our values for one simple reason: they are lost. They are simply modeling and reflecting a worldview of a lost person. What more can we expect? At MasterMedia we try to "catch them, then let the Lord clean them. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar," said Poland.
Some people think that it is the actors that make decisions; that is not correct, it is the executives in the movie studios that make the important decisions about what movies will be produced. In fact, only 5-6% of all actors in Hollywood make $50,000 or more annually. There is a very small group of very successful actors.
Dr. Poland cited that Hollywood's relationship to Christianity has gone through four distinct phases:
1900 - 1950 - During this phase the Church isolated ourselves from Hollywood completely and condemned all movies. We called anything that came out of there as "evil".
1950s-1970s - During this phase we were "separate but equal". The Church began producing Christian movies with Christian themes and Christian merchandising arose. We did little to change Hollywood through these initiatives.
1970s - 2000 - During this phase we demonstrated "Anger" more than anything else. The gay and lesbian agenda took root in Hollywood by a multiple of 10. We began to see more boycotts and hate mail being sent to studio executives. One studio executive said in response to one campaign in the form of postcard responses, "These don't impact us at all. They are just Christian fundraisers." Poland cited that genuine letters that are grace-filled but share their concern do much more good than these kinds of campaigns.
Since 1980 Poland has been building genuine caring relationships with entertainment and media executives in Hollywood and New York. He becomes their friend in an effort to demonstrate the love of Christ personally to them. He has seen many powerful men and women in the industry come to Christ and says, "You know, it is an interesting thing. When someone's heart changes, their behavior changes." He has seen this show up in the type of product these people begin to put out. There are now more than 25 ministries in Hollywood that are seeking to impact Hollywood through a strategy of praying and loving those in this industry. We all work together and we all have a unique contribution," said Poland.