Christian Media Gains Momentum Part 2, Behind the Scenes

Christian Media Gains Momentum, Part 2: Behind the scenes

Christian Media Gains Momentum: Part 2

Actress Amber Nelon Thompson is a Dove Award recipient and the third generation of the famed gospel singing family The Nelons, (founded by her grandfather Rex Nelon). In Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine’s September issue, Amber talked about her transition to acting and important observations about her generation.

On her role in A Question of Faith…
Being in the movie A Question of Faith was a dream come true for me. I had always wanted to act. I never really thought much about it because I knew my gift from God was singing and that is the path I’ve chosen. But this opportunity came about and I didn’t know if I could do it. I didn’t know if I’d be good at it. I was a nervous wreck.

At the time I was dealing with some vocal issues. I had nodules on both my vocal chords. That means a long rest! So when I read the role for Michelle, it talked about how she lost her voice, and she went through a really hard struggle of finding her identity. I know what that felt like, that you are supposed to be using your gift that God gave you. When you cannot use it at the moment and there is nothing you can do about it, you feel helpless. And you feel the depression setting in. I feel like I can’t do anything for God anymore because my gift is gone. By going through that situation, I learned that there were other gifts I could use for God. And I figured out that God does not need me to have his glory shown. I’m just a vessel. But if I’m open and willing to be used as a vessel, he can make his glory known to anybody.

 

A Question of Faith has been a blessing … an honor. The cast has become a family and we all keep in touch. It’s been an amazing journey and maybe someday down the road God allows me to do it again.

On her dream role…
I would love to be a Disney princess in a movie … I want to do the voice. I know every Disney song, I have every DVD … We go there (Disney World) every year. We have season passes. I just love the family environment … I think it’s because it’s a happy place, it’s always positive. It was always an escape when I was younger. If I had a bad day, I could watch a Disney movie and escape for a little while and go to this magical place.

On reaching millennials…

I’ve talked to so many kids about this. Often times the church can seem so judgmental — there is just no better way to put it. Not all of them, but they can look at these millennials and this generation is so different. They are very opinionated. They study everything. There is information fed at them all the time, 24 hours a day. It never stops. There is the internet, TV, Facebook, Twitter, any social media. But no one is listening to them. And what I think we need more of is just sitting down with young people and hearing what they have to say. We don’t always have to agree, but at least if we are willing to just sit down and listen to them, they just might be willing to listen as well. I went to school and got a degree in counseling and I hope to get a master’s degree because I want to help kids who feel misunderstood … like nobody cares and nobody is listening. That is what God does for us. He listens. And that is why we pray to him because He does listen when nobody else does. And we are supposed to be that to other people.

Dr. Cameron Lewis grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and practices oral surgery in New York. He felt called to use his talent in other areas and became the executive producer of A Question of Faith, which starred Heather Nelon Thompson. As a man of God, Dr. Lewis spends a great deal of time supporting charitable organizations, including the Mississippi Center for Autism, where Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine caught up with him for an interview.

On his faith…

My faith is unwavering. Sometimes we question our faith, but God is always there for me. When we go through trials and tribulations, setbacks and disappointments, I know who I can call on and who is always there for me. At the end of the road, He is the one who will give me that push so that I know I can make it through. You know that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.  A lot of times we increase our faith and get stronger and stronger as life takes us through different situations.

 

On his upbringing…

We were born and raised in church, but one thing I thank God every day for is that my parents did not throw it in our face. They did not push us in our faith. They wanted us to know God for ourselves. You need to know God for yourself. A lot of times people think that they want to throw faith at their kids when they are like five years old … I had heard about Jesus when I was little but I didn’t know it for myself until I was fourteen. Then I knew for sure that God is real; there is a God out there. I thank God for my parents who let me understand so that I could make a decision for myself. It’s one thing to give children the information that they need, but it’s another to let them decide for themselves.

 

On his career…

My vision does not stop with oral surgery. God has so much in store for me to do to serve his people. Where did you want to take my career? As I was reading about starting a business, it was right there in Deuteronomy 8:18 — “Remember the Lord thy God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth … which he may establish his covenant which he shares with his Father as it is this day.” Once I realized he gave me that Word …. He gave me the power so I need to go out and reach what I need to do. And don’t just be a talker; go and do the work. If you say you are going to do something, do it. Don’t stop when it gets hard. You have to persevere, dedicate yourself. You’ve got to be very strong-minded in what you want to do. Faith without work is completely dead. We are not here to be served; we are here to serve. So if everyone would realize that we are here to help one another … we are here to bless others as we are also being blessed.

 

Michelle Duffie is the CEO of the D3 Entertainment Group in Nashville, along with her twin brothers. She is considered the premier liaison, deal-maker, marketing strategist and quarterback between the African American faith and family consumer and the corporate, entertainment and sports world. She has structured marketing strategies generating $1.3 billion in revenue for various companies. Born in extreme poverty just outside Chicago, Michelle credits the strength and faith of her mother, the support of her five siblings and the lessons from her mentors as the fuel for propelling her forward. In the midst of promoting her new venture as executive producer of the movie Beautifully Broken, she found time to talk with Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine.

On her background…

My brothers and I grew up singing in church. My mom actually birthed that music and entertainment in our system by always pushing us in that direction. After many years of working in the music industry, I was running a record label for CeCe Winans (probably 2003). I envisioned getting into the television and film industry. Wrote it on my vision board. Started doing research on how to get involved. I took a Hollywood 101 class, which sounds so simple, but it helped prepare me for what I didn’t know was right around the corner. Because we’d been doing independent marketing for music for so long, the industry as a whole recognized what we did. A movie marketing company came to me and said, “You guys know everyone in this African-American faith and family space. Do you think you can lend your expertise?” Without even thinking about I said yes. That movie was very successful for us and from there the floodgates opened. So God really was the wind behind our backs.

On living in God’s will…

Where God has you in life, especially if you are participating in His plan, it’s for a reason … and He needs you to be in certain positions, certain stopping points so He can show Himself strong. It’s the children of Israel at the Red Sea. If they had taken a left turn or a right turn, you miss the whole opportunity for God to do something incredible — to part the Red Sea. A lot of us try to run from our story and from our situation. But if you just stay the course, that story will turn into one of the great stories of all time. And that story turns into one of the movies we’ve seen today. It’s important to own your truth, to own your story, to be comfortable in it, to not compare yourself to anyone else’s journey. Then you get to where God needs you to be so that He can absolutely flourish what He’s planted in you.