A Christian talent company is set to launch its weeklong talent showcase "Shine" on Tuesday at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando where participants will be able to meet top industry agents, managers and talent scouts.
AMTC (Actors, Models & Talent for Christ) is proud to call itself a company and a ministry for talented Christian performers looking for guidance to move into the entertainment industry.
The company has been helping people for 29 years but it wasn't until 2007 when it went public as a Christian company after its CEO, Carey Lewis Arban, turned her life to God.
Arban told The Christian Post, "I had a late in life conversion; at the age of 51 I became a committed Christian and I brought AMTC with me."
AMTC, founded by fashion model Millie Lewis in 1982, was always a business based on Christian values but it was "quietly Christian," as Arban put it, for the first two decades. "We thought business and faith should be separate," she said.
Now, AMTC is a "born-again company, a company publicly for Christ," she declared.
"I'm a new Christian," the now 55-year-old believer said. "I can't say I was raised in a church or that my dad was a preacher but I'm an excited, bold and passionate Christian."
Her personal reflections and mission statement for the company are focused on the careful observation that media and entertainment are a major influence in the world.
"It's undeniable that the mountains of media and entertainment are the most influential mission fields in the world. This is the way the bad has reached millions of people," she said. "But it is also the way that God can reach millions of people and that's why performers need to stand up now and sing, and dance, and act, and model, and represent Christ."
Manifesting her concern and anticipation to see talented people be the light for Christ, she posed, "How can they be a light for Jesus if they only stay in church? How can they be a light for Jesus unless we do what he told us to do, and that is to go into the world? How else can light shine against the dark background?"
"We believe in AMTC, that it is time for performers who love God to stand up and stand out in the entertainment industry," she asserted. "It's time to follow the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and that commission is to go out into the world. I think that some of the best Christian performers have not gone out into the world. I think they stay closer to home. Maybe they looked at the entertainment industry and thought 'oh, this isn't good.'"
Of course the question rises on whether Christian actors, models or singers can truly be at the top of the glitterati status without stripping down and without the sexual innuendo that most projects require. In response, Arban comforted those concerned.
"I understand. I understand that is bold. But I know the entertainment industry and there are always choices; they have the right to say no to anything," she said. "We have Christian fashion models, and you think, 'well, gosh how can anyone be a top fashion model and not be half naked?' But they aren't. They are Christian fashion models who are beautiful and stunning but choose to take what jobs they take and what jobs they don't take."
Her familiarity with the entertainment industry before and after becoming Christian has allowed her to recognize the importance of having positive role models for Christians and non-Christians when "90 percent of the content and media is generated in the U.S."
"Even people who don't know the light and love of Jesus Christ still can see that something is terribly wrong in the world and I think it's a great place and a great time to enter. I believe God is calling His performers to rise up all over the world."
She believes they are at a "pivotal place and time" because the U.S. has a big influence over the media. "Our news, our models, our actors, our singers are known all over the world," she pointed out.
The entertainment industry, she said, is ready to be a Christian influence. "Christians know it's ready and needs a faith lift," she said.
"I think the greatest role of the church in the U.S. is to retake those mountains of media and entertainment."
This week, AMTC is hosting "Shine," a bi-annual talent showcase bringing together some 500 talented Christian performers who desire to impact culture as positive role models with top Hollywood and New York talent scouts and agents. "Shine" performers were selected from auditions held in more than 20 cities across the country last fall. Performers who were called back completed a comprehensive training program before heading to Orlando.