One thing I think about a lot as a parent is how to help my kids live for God. But more important than that, according to the Scriptures, is that they live a life with God.
That's the theme in the newest project out from Phil Vischer and the good folks at What's In The Bible? I recently corresponded with Melanie Rainer, who helps to develop curriculum content for Phil's team. Here are her answers.
Jared: Melanie, tell me a little about your job. What does a director of content and special projects for Creative Trust do?
Melanie: I serve as the Director of Content for Creative Trust, a company based on Nashville that specializes in brand management and audience development for Christian artists and media properties. We are partners in Jellyfish Labs, Phil Vischer’s film studio. I spend the vast majority of my time deployed against Phil’s projects, including What’s in the Bible? and now Galaxy Buck. We’re also in the process of relaunching JellyTelly, a streaming video site for Christian families. As Director of Content, I focus on creating amazing experiences for families using and creating our content! I served as the producer and editor of the What’s in the Bible? curriculum, and I’ve written several family activity books and a series of family devotionals called The Bloom. I love dreaming up ways to help families connect to God and each other in their everyday lives.
Jared: Can you tell me a bit about your latest project? What's the basic premise and goal of Galaxy Buck? And what is your role in the project? (Are you a puppeteer?)
I am not a puppeteer! Phil is the brilliant mind - and voice and arm - behind all of our characters. If you’re familiar with the What’s in the Bible? series, our 13-video series that introduced Buck Denver and Friends and goes all the way through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, you’ll recognize the characters in Galaxy Buck. Galaxy Buck is a classic space adventure story with a Gospel-centered twist … what if there were people on other planets who had never heard about Jesus? And what if there was a Galactic Mission Board to send space explorers (like Buck Denver) to tell the Good News across the Galaxy? Galaxy Buck helps kids imagine what it’s like to bring their faith to life - to share the Good News, but also what it looks like to walk with God every day.
Jared: Without getting too much into the teaching content of this series, I understand that it involves some pretty big concepts. What is your team's process for making complexities simple enough for children?
This is one of my favorite parts about my job! I love working with the amazing content that Phil creates to help craft meaningful family experiences off-screen. Phil really inspires and directs the big teaching concepts - he’s an extraordinary writer, teacher and editor. Sometimes we partner with other writers and teachers to create curriculum or other resources, and sometimes I write or other folks from our team. It’s always an amazing collaborative experience with people who are passionate about the spiritual formation of kids.
Jared: The project is designed to help answer kids' doubts. Do you run into a lot of young kids (Buck Denver's mail bag, etc.) who have questions and doubts about their parent's faith? Apart from pre-ordering a DVD, how would you counsel parents to answer those questions?
Wow - this is a GREAT question! One goal we always have as a company is to partner with parents to build resilient faith in their kids. We know that faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, but we also know based on research that parents’ faith is the single biggest indicator of whether or not kids will stay Christians throughout college and beyond. What a huge responsibility! One of the things I love about Galaxy Buck is that it encourages kids (and parents) to focus on life with God instead of doing things for God. I think we often emphasize works for kids because we think that’s easier for them to understand. Being a Christian means being a good person - rather than what you and I know it to be, which is being a Christian means growing in Christlikeness and growing closer to him! (And of course out of that flows the fruit of the Spirit and the other good things that come from pursuing Christ first.) For parents, I would say the best thing you can do to encourage faith in your kids is live faithful lives transparently. Pray together, talk to them about your doubts and fears, involve them in your wrestling with and worship of God. Talk to them openly about how God is working in your life. As parents, we often believe that we have to model perfection for our kids, but other than Jesus there is no model of perfection anywhere! So we model for them what it means to follow Jesus and point them to him in everything.
To find out more about the Galaxy Buck project, check out their website here.