Why The Crossing is a Sponsor for True/False

A question I get from people who attend The Crossing is, “Why would we give church money to something like the True/False Film Festival?” They ask it either as a result of hearing The Crossing’s name mentioned as a sponsor in ads for the T/F festival, or from listening to my sermon last Sunday. And it’s a good question. Why would a church sponsor a film festival like T/F?

One very practical “financial” answer is that we consider this good advertising for The Crossing. Every year we set aside a certain amount of advertising dollars in our annual budget. We kept that budget amount the same for 2009, and have decided to use part of these allocated funds to sponsor T/F as advertisers this year. And, at this point, we consider this a good use of advertising dollars. Many, many people have already told me that they’ve heard “The Crossing” on the radio at the end of T/F ads. That’s a good thing.

But a larger reason why we want to sponsor T/F is because we believe part of our mission as a local church is to help our local community to prosper in important ways. A biblical passage that has always interested me is what God tells the exiled Jews who are captives in a foreign land.

Jeremiah 29:4-7 TNIV
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Of course, there are many significant parallels to what God is calling us to do as Christians in our local communities today. One of the metaphors the New Testament uses to describe Christians is that we are “exiles,” or “sojourners” in a foreign land awaiting our entrance into our new country—our new land—of the Kingdom of Heaven (see Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11 for examples of this). We are not to see “this world” as our ultimate “home.” We are to always look to the coming of Christ and his kingdom (Matthew 6:33) as our greatest hope and investment.

But this passage gives us some practical wisdom of what that means for the church and Christians in our local communities today. We are to commit ourselves to “build houses and settle down” as productive and good citizens who are committed to seeking and praying for the long-term “peace and prosperity of our city”—our local communities. We’re not to live like those who are uncommitted to and unmindful of our community’s “prosperity.”

Surely a community’s “prosperity” is far broader in scope than just economic (although it certainly includes that—and God wants us to seek and pray for that). But because we are Christians who believe a human being created in the image of God is more than just an economic consumer for survival, our definition of true prosperity must also include cultural prosperity and artistic prosperity and recreational prosperity and family prosperity and relational prosperity and educational prosperity and health-care prosperity, and of course spiritual prosperity. You get the point. All this is what God calls Christians to seek and pray for and work toward in their communities.

We believe artistic investments like the T/F Film Festival are excellent means of greater cultural and economic and artistic and relational and recreational and educational prosperity for our community. And we believe Christians are not called to be cultural separatists, but cultural partners in our cities. This is important to God! And it should be important to us so that our cities are the kind of communities where our cities and our church can “increase in number and not decrease.”

Personally, I’m excited not only for this opportunity The Crossing has to partner with T/F financially, but also there are many of our members and our church staff who are serving as volunteers for T/F. That’s a biblically wonderful thing for them to do. Good for them!

One way to think of our sponsorship of T/F is advertising dollars with a much bigger, much more important, much more biblical and better “benefit” than just advertising.

Thanks for reading.

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