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Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
September 5, 2021 1:50 am


Words of Life / Salvation Army

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September 5, 2021 1:50 am

In our third episode of this series, CRAFTED, we are joined by filmmaker, Jon Avery. He shares his story of finding his passion for film and talks about some of his favorite projects. He loves how film can simply be used to tell someone’s story and evoke empathy through the medium.

Our American Stories
Lee Habeeb
Words of Life
Salvation Army
Words of Life
Salvation Army
Words of Life
Salvation Army
Words of Life
Salvation Army

Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. As Hurricane Ida made landfall on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Salvation Army is prepared to meet immediate needs of food, clothing, cleanup kits, and emotional and spiritual care. Right now, the best way to support response efforts is by making a financial contribution. This allows necessary items to be purchased and ensures disaster survivors and first responders receive assistance quickly.

To make a financial gift to support Hurricane Ida relief, donate online at or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Welcome to Words of Life. I am Chris Benjamin. I'm the producer of the show and director for the Salvation Army Soundcast. We're now in our third week of a new series called Crafted and throughout this series, we're speaking with different artists of all types of mediums and learning about their craft, learning about their passion, and then also finding out how they use their art as an act of worship. In this episode, we speak with a good friend of ours, John Avery, and he is a filmmaker. We actually get to collaborate with him a lot with Soundcast and a lot of our ministries here. He just has a really cool story and his passion in filmmaking. He's very aware that we can use this art to just tell people stories.

And through that, we can really invoke empathy for people that otherwise we would have no idea what it's like to walk in their shoes. So we really hope you enjoy this conversation with John Avery. John Avery, thank you so much for joining us in Words of Life. We're happy to have you. We are currently in a series called Crafted and in this series, we're interviewing different artists of all kinds of different mediums. We've brought you on because we know your passion and your talent for videography and filmmaking.

So we just wanted to sit down and talk to you about your passion, your gift. First of all, what is your current role with the Salvation Army? So my current job title is Media Ministries Editor. And so I do mostly videography, some motion graphics.

We kind of travel around the territory because we're at THQ and we get to see what's happening in different divisions and at big events and we do live streams and it's really fun. How did you find the Salvation Army? What brought you to this position anyways? So my parents are officers in the Salvation Army actually, as were my grandparents and my great grandparents and there's a big long line, very involved from the beginning. So I grew up going to church at the Salvation Army and that just kind of led from one thing to the next to me working here at the Salvation Army as well. Like we said, your passion is videography, filmmaking.

That's your current role. How did you first fall in love with that? Like what led, who inspired you or films that inspired you?

How did you find this? I mean, it's kind of a long story. I don't know how much you want to hear, but growing up, I actually, this isn't what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an architect, which is very different.

I mean, it's still very creative role. And I decided I wanted to be an architect because I liked to draw and I like to build things. I built like- This was high school or before high school? Before high school, all the way from like fourth grade on. I like decided architecture is what I was going to do.

I loved building like tree forts in the backyard with my brothers and everything. And so that's what I planned for. I took all the classes, got straight through up until my first semester of college. I started at a school in Michigan and like within the first month there, I was just like, what am I doing? This is not what God has called me to. And I don't know like what exact moment that was that made me realize that, but I was just like, I need to change.

I need to stop and listen to what God is telling me. And so through that, that wasn't even the moment where I decided like videography was really where I wanted to be either. I went to another school studying media communications in Kentucky, Asbury University, and I wanted to work in a recording studio. And I thought that's where God was calling me to. But the moment that I really realized that this is what I wanted to do was after I quit that college to do media communications there, I went on an 11 month missions trip and it was to 11 different countries. And as I was out there, like there was just these amazing things happening and I took a camera and at that point it was my first camera that was like semi pro level. It was still very beginner, but and being able to just capture what was going on in these other countries and what God was doing in these countries, I was just like, this is amazing.

Why don't more people know about this? And it's like, I wanted to be able to take that and share it with others. And so that's what ultimately pushed me on to what I do today. I think it was probably my month 10 or 11 on that 11 month trip where I realized like this is it, this is what I want to do.

But then I came back and it was 11 months of no income. So I was just like, I had to get a job and figure out how to make that happen. So I ended up working at the Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters in Philadelphia for a little while in their youth department. It was there that I was kind of able to fit all those pieces back together and make a plan from there. And I worked there two years and I was able to start incorporating like the video into my job there while I was working there at camp, especially taking videos. And from there though is when I applied to Full Sail University and their media communications program, which is very different than the media communications program, the first time I studied media communications. And so it was that that ultimately then pushed me into this role here. With that much experience, that degree, the powerful thing that I think is with that amount of talent that you have, you could have gone to any number of paths that would have taken you to like anything in the film world, not necessarily in the Christian world, and made a lot more money. So how did you decide that, well, this is more important to me than that?

Yeah. And I think a lot of that does go back to the mission strip that I was on too, because I mean, Full Sail isn't a Christian university. And so I was really in the minority even there. But fortunately, the way that the media communications program worked is they had these portfolio classes and they were really self-driven classes where you could do whatever you wanted as long as it fit within the guidelines. And so I was able to even then still keep my focus on God and like what God was calling me to and work towards that side of it, because really everyone else was looking for these secular positions. And it would have been really easy. I made tons of connections while I was there that I could have even jumped into the film world and started making movies, working on who knows what even here in Atlanta, that's huge movie scene.

And I could just as easily jump out now and find something more. But I know that this is what God is calling me to especially right now to be able to use the gifts that he's given me for his ministry and to really help build his kingdom and move forward. That's amazing. And I will say too, and I'm sure you agree, even if that is where God takes you is into a secular world, even making non-Christian film, there's something to just being a light wherever you are. And like you said, even in Full Sail, you're with the minorities as far as wanting to be a Christian artist. And I think being able to still know that my craft is this is part of my worship no matter where I'm planted. And so I think it's amazing and the Salvation Army is better for it that you're here. But I just in case anyone's listening, like that's still a valid path.

Yeah. And I think that's in a lot of ways just as important because it is the minority out there. And so it's like to be that light out there in those areas is super important. God will use you. Even in like to this day, this is three, three and a half years later after I graduated, I'll still get messages from our program director, like, hey, there's this Christian student coming through, like, could you reach out to them or just like encourage them and help them because I know that this is what you were very much involved in. And I think you'd be able to just be that word of encouragement to them. And so it's great. Are there specific projects, opportunities that you've now had with the Salvation Army that you've been able to create something that really stands out in your memory, something that you're really happy that you were a part of?

Yeah. So some of the other projects that I've been drawn into while I've been in this role have been disasters at the territorial level when they're the bigger ones and they need the extra support from our team. We get called out and in order to really kind of share what God is still doing in those disasters, because it's this horrible thing of destruction and loss and it's really incredible to still be able to see God moving because we get called out to the worst of the worst as well. And God is still there seeing people help others and clean up and help feed. And it's just, it is very encouraging. And I love being able to take what is like this horrible event and circumstance and be able to show God redeeming it and ultimately bringing himself glory through all of it. Are there a couple of things that God has taught you through the process of your craft that really stick out?

Absolutely. One of the biggest things when we're out filming something or filming a project or filming something that's happening, anything, one of the things we always say is like, if it moves, shoot it, like get it on camera because we're always looking for more at the end. It's like, we've used up these clips.

What else can we throw into this video? And so being on the lookout for just like anything that's moving kind of really opens up your eyes to what God is doing too. It's like, because God is always moving and you just have to really open your eyes to see him moving in every situation.

And so it is looking in every little aspect of your life for where God is moving. So when you're obviously you're out in the field and you're filming, you don't have a whole lot of time for reflection or rest. Is there a part of your craft of your art that you enjoy because you're able to use it as a moment of rest for yourself?

Yeah, there's probably two sides to this. There's one side where I'm actually editing what it is that I have gone out and filmed, especially if it does involve an interview of some sort because like when I'm editing an interview, one of the things that I do is I sit there first and I literally just type out the entire thing. And I know there are like programs that will do that for you and make it a whole lot quicker, but it's really helpful in my process to literally listen to it and type it out word for word so that I can get every piece that is in there and kind of pray over it and figure out God wants me to pull out this section and follow up with this and just kind of piece it together to tell the story that he's telling through that person rather than like the story that I want to tell. And so I think that that is one of those moments where I can just kind of really sit back and rest and listen to him and hear what he's speaking to me. The other side of that though is when I'm not necessarily working with footage, but I do a lot of motion graphics stuff too and design, that's creating something out of nothing really. And so it really is, it's a lot of praying over it and trying to figure out a lot of times for that we will have a script.

And so it's going through word by word, how can I visually represent what's being said in the audio? And so it's important for me to just kind of sit back and pray over it and rest and just visualize that myself before I even put anything out onto the screen. Well, I even have this quote up on my monitor that I pulled off the internet somewhere and I edited it a little bit just so that it was more applicable to what I do.

But I have it and it says, create, but do so in a way that you can't run fast enough to place it at the foot of God. The Salvation Army's mission, doing the most good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit to offer your support.

And we'd love to hear from you. You can email us at radio at Call 1-800-229-9965 or write us at P.O.

Box 29972 Atlanta, Georgia 30359. Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or share your testimony. We would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store and be sure to give us a rating. Just search for the Salvation Army's Words of Life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake inviting you to join us next time for the Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-03 17:03:01 / 2023-09-03 17:08:52 / 6

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