Shane Sooter is the Artistic Director/President of City on a Hill Productions. He is responsible for charting the long-term artistic and ministry goals that will guide the company, project selection and development, and directorial duties in all productions. In addition, he serves as Director for the Southeast Easter Pageant, enjoyed by more than 70,000 people each year. Shane has served as Director on all 7 City on a Hill Productions films to date.
1. NSR - What is the background of City on a Hill Productions?
City on a Hill was born out of the drama ministry from Southeast Christian Church. We are called to serve God’s purposes through the gift of visual media. God has called us to serve Him through these 3 focuses…
1. Equipping Churches
Providing resources for churches to supplement the sermon and music with a third dimension.
2. Supporting Ministries
Many ministries need fundraising and awareness tools, we are here to provide a resource video that they could not otherwise afford.
3. Reaching Out to the Unchurched
We believe that media is a tool and weapon that can be used in the fight to win people's hearts to Christ. For far too long a generation of media savvy individuals hasn’t been effectively taught about God’s love in the way that they understand it…through media. We want to influence today’s culture through evangelism that speaks the same language and is best suited to the needs of the gospel.
2. NSR - What led you to write & produce H2O?
If you were to be a missionary to China, you would learn Chinese. Well, media is the language of the culture today. The Church is not equipped to speak to culture today, in fact, much of Christian media has done a disservice to the lost.
We have a passion for the unchurched & wish to equip the Church to do the job they are doing more effectively.
I came to know the Lord through Alpha, but really feel that what was needed for the Church was dramatic content – the kind that Jesus used. He told stories that engaged people, & that is what we are trying to do.
3. NSR - If participants could only take one idea away from H2O, what would you like it to be?
Our ultimate hope is that people would come to a new relationship with Christ through this material. We want people to understand the relational nature of Christ
4. NSR - What authors have influenced this project &/or your spiritual life?
Blue Like Jazz has monumentally influenced my of late. That book has also influenced this project – both language that is “non-churchy”, & hopefully speak to the nonbeliever.
5. NSR - How do you see H2O ideally used in a church?
H2O is a small-group, DVD-driven resource meant to bring Christ to people, instead of people to the church to reach them. H2O activates the body of Christ to evangelism.
Crossroads Christian Church in Arlington has used H2O as a community outreach for the entire church. They trained 100 people as leaders – how to use H2O, what H2O is, and equip them each with a curriculum kit. The church members then are responsible to invite their friends to their home & eat together & go through H2O for 10 weeks.
6. NSR - Would you use the Storm DVD’s in the same manner as the H2O, in a group setting, or, as mentioned in the leader’s guide, loaning them out to those asking specific questions?
H2O is a pure Gospel journey. Storm goes over the tough questions for believers & hopefully help the individual believer more comfortable sharing their faith.
Storm is not meant to be an evangelistic resource, but a step-by-step series of concepts which explain the tough questions so Christians can be bold in sharing their faith.
7. NSR - What do you see as a crucial topic facing the evangelical church at large today?
The main objection to Christianity that I see most people holding to is that people do not want to be like Christians. The Church needs to get real – we need to be willing to be not so pretty, & admit that we do not have it all together – as well as loving those in the world who do not have it all together.
A wrong and bad issue is that people assign relevancy to a church largely in how they use media. That issue, regardless of being unfair tells me that the Church needs to communicate effectively to culture through media. The Church needs to embrace media, drama & the arts.
8. NSR - Do you have a favorite episode, or a backstory from one episode which really hits you?
Probably episode six…I connect emotionally with the character, mainly because she is my wife!
9. NSR - Do you have anything in the works currently which we can look forward to?
We are going to begin a similar type of resource which would be a next step after H2O on discipleship. It will be based on John 10.10 – here’s the life you can have, not, here’s your rule book.
10. NSR - What is your favorite feature of H2O?
I am most pleased that once people see it, people open up to it, Christian or non-Christian. This is also one of the most frustrating things – just getting people to see it, so they can get on board with it.
I also like the conversations it generates & the fact that it brings the Gospel to people, rather then the old model of bringing people to the church.
Pick up an H2O Curriculum Kit here for 20% off. See a review of H2O on this blog here.
For more information on City on a Hill & see a preview of H2O visit their website here.