Scott Anderson: Salt and Light Entertainment
Scott Anderson: Salt and Light Entertainment by Debbie Fuller
After being sick for some time I jumped at the chance to get out of the house and when my husband asked me to go to a Christian film festival with him, it was a date. I had thought this should be fun but honestly I didn’t expect it to be what I found at all. In my mind I pictured it being one screen that featured a low budget movie, but that was ok, I was out of the house. As soon as we got there I learned how wrong my assumption was. This was a huge event with a large variety of films to choose from. They offered children’s films like, "Veggie Tales", adventure films like, "Time Changer," and historical films like, "Luther." The festival was packed. In fact, for some of the showings they had to turn people away for lack of seating.
A ministry called Salt and Light Entertainment hosted this free Christian film festival. This ministry grew out of the vision of a young man named Scott Anderson. Scott was working his way through college working as a manager for a movie theatre. As a maturing Christian he grew in the Lord and became more and more unsettled about working for the theatre. He was witnessing and ministering to the people he was working with but, with a true heart for God, he hungered for more. His heart was to be a light to impact a lost world. He found himself struggling with the things that the theatre was offering their audiences as entertainment. He was torn to the core witnessing the morally deteriorating influences in the films he was showing that seemed to be numbing his audiences. In frustration that his life wasn’t making a positive impact, Scott decided that it was time to get out of the industry, so he tendered his resignation. But the Lord had a different plan, and while he was explaining the reasons for terminating his employment he voiced the idea, "why couldn’t we do something positive and use the theatre to offer free Christian films once a month?" His boss liked the idea and the two men came to an agreement. Scott would stay on as the manager of the theatre and would be permitted to offer a "free Christian film" once a month to the moviegoers that frequented his theatre.
Salt and Light was born on October 14, 2000 with the showing of "Revelation" at the Carmike Cinemas 5 theatre in Dubois, Pa. Within a few years the outreach had expanded to multi-day free Christian film festivals. The outreach has expanded into markets like Pittsburgh and Altoona with a vision to grow to a nation wide outreach. In fact, they are currently working to put together a 100-city test market where festivals would take place in those 100 cities all on the same weekend. The numbers of people that these events have already attracted have been awesome. Each event draws more than 5,000 people. With the turnout that they are experiencing they are finding that Christians will come out to the theatre if they are given good films that are wholesome. Christians will show support for good films even at the inopportune times. Sometimes Salt and Light can only use the theatre during non-operating hours (with some showings starting as early as 10am), and even then the movies are packed, which is unheard of in this industry.
While we talked, Scott shared a brief history of the film industry. He explained that prior to the 1960′s Hollywood had a censor board in place that consisted of the churches. The board was responsible to police the moral content of films. The system worked well until Hollywood in the 60′s tired to push the envelope of decency. Instead of drawing a line in the sand and pushing back, the church just walked away letting Hollywood open the envelope wide. This has left a big hole in the film offerings for the Christian community. In great excitement Scott went on the say, "The potential to use our local cinemas to reach many who would never think of setting foot in a church is tremendous. The entertainment industry holds the awesome power to shape not only the mentality of our culture but to change its future." The went on to say, "Non-Christians are working hard to express their point of view while the church sits back and virtually ignores the powerful, potentially edifying, evangelistic tool. The recent success of the Passion of the Christ clearly illustrates the impact that films of faith can have on culture."
Scott explained that the mission of Salt and Light is actually two-fold. First they are working to heighten awareness in the Christian community to the wealth of high quality, clean entertainment that is available. Secondly, they plan to use films as an evangelistic tool to reach the lost. A statement by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association sums it up best, "Film evangelism works. Movies reach people in a place where they feel comfortable. People embrace movies for escape, for entertainment, and sometimes, unknowingly, for education. Using such a popular, mainstream vehicle to share the good news of Jesus Christ just makes sense. Movies: it’s the language of the mission field in your back yard."
Salt and Light Entertainment is just that, salt and light in a dark world, using the tool of film to make a huge difference in this generation. Like all ministries, this one has needs. They need your prayers, volunteers to work to make the multi-city viewings a reality, and the need financial support to see the vision come to pass. Scott Anderson, President of Salt and Light Entertainment can be contacted at christianfamilycinemas.com or:
PO Box 126 Dubois, Pa. 15801 (877) 716-4882 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch Salt and Light Entertainment as they work to changes lives one movie at a time.
Photos copyright their respective owners.