This reading group guide for Produced by Faith includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
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Life is like a Hollywood movie, filled with twists and turns, highs and lows, ups and downs, comedy and tragedy. And just like a feature film, God moves us through life from the Big Idea into Development, then into Production and Distribution. No one knows this better than DeVon Franklin, a successful Hollywood producer and a follower of Jesus Christ. In Produced by Faith
, Franklin encourages people of faith to let God write their story and to build a thriving career without compromising their faith. Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Have you ever experienced tension between your career and your faith—either inner tension, such as a clash in values, or outward discrimination from others, or both? If so, describe how you handled the situation. If not, why do you think that is? If you can, share some practical tips you've discovered for successfully integrating career and faith.
2. DeVon Franklin writes, “It’s my experience that people handle the intersection of faith and career in one of two ways. Some conceal their beliefs at the workplace, dumping their Christian principles on the kitchen table like a spare set of keys when they leave the house in the morning. Others refuse the command to be ‘in the world but not of the world’ and work only in environments run by and for other Christians” (p. 5). Have you found this to be true in your experience? Discuss the possible benefits and problems associated with each approach.
3. On pages 6–7, the author lists some guiding principles that he lives by. Do you, too, have a set of guiding life principles? If so, what are they? If you haven't ever written them down, try doing so now.
4. Do you think that your current job or life circumstance (as a student, a homemaker, etc.) supports those principles or competes with them? What could you do to bring your job and your life principles into closer alignment?
5. What stage do you think your life is in? Are you in Development? In Production? In Distribution? What are some signs that indicate which level you're at? Where would you like to be? What will it take to get there?
6. Discuss why God allows us to undergo struggles and setbacks. Can you think of a time that God used a setback to further your development? If so, describe it. Imagine how your career or your life might be different today if that setback had not happened.
7. Do you have a Big Idea of what you'd like to do with your career and your life? If so, share it with the group. If not, think about and discuss the questions found on pages 25–26 and 32 of the book. Be open to hearing what others in the group have observed about you—sometimes others can see qualities in us that we can't see in ourselves.
8. Do you think that Christians who rise to positions of prominence face special challenges? If so, what are they? Do you think that these challenges are good reasons for Christians to keep their aspirations modest? Discuss.
9. On page 147 the author says, “Jesus is a warrior and a fierce competitor. He's competing for the souls of an entire world and he's determined to win as many as possible. . . . There is nothing passive about being a Christian!” How does this description compare to your understanding of Jesus?
10. Is it possible that a person's Big Idea might not be God's intention for them, even if they really want it? How can someone determine whether to persevere and press forward, or to step back and pursue a different plan?
11. What does it mean to practice "quality control" on the job and in life (p. 166)? Is it more important to do things fast or to do them well? Why?
12. The author writes, "God has a plan to distribute your impact farther and wider than you may believe possible to the audience that needs it most" (p. 209). Discuss how God's distribution plan might work with your Big Idea.
13. Do you think you're good at accepting and responding to feedback? Why or why not? If not, how can you improve in this area?
14. Some Christians are wary of marketing and promotion, associating them with a hunger for fame and feeding one's ego. Discuss how marketing and promotion might work with God's purposes and not against them.
15. What does it mean to you to know that God is collaborating with you on your story? Enhance Your Book Club
1. Watch a special video message from DeVon Franklin at www.producedbyfaith.com.
2. Enjoy a group movie night. Choose one of DeVon's movies mentioned in Produced by Faith
(The Karate Kid
, Jumping the Broom
, etc.). Discuss the ways in which his Christian values are portrayed on the screen.
3. Consider making movie night a regular feature, maybe once a month or a few times a year. Read reviews in advance and be discerning in your choices. Afterward, discuss the values that were conveyed through the movie. Encourage one another to become discerning viewers instead of passive consumers. Support studios, producers, directors, etc., who promote values that align with yours.
4. Form a "Big Idea" group. Meet regularly to encourage each other's Big Ideas, to brainstorm ways to move through Development into Production and Distribution, and especially to hold one another accountable to honor God all along the journey