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Famous Christian singer worries about the impact of entertainment on youths so he's taking action
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A screen shot from the movie poster for "Priceless." - photo by Billy Hallowell
Popular Christian singer Luke Smallbone believes that too many people today are being negatively affected by the entertainment they're consuming.

So, Smallbone, who is one-half of the Grammy-winning music duo For King & Country along with his brother, Joel, is engaging culture on multiple fronts and he's encouraging other Christians to do the same.

In addition to producing and performing music, Smallbone recently released a book he and Joel coauthored, titled "Priceless: She's Worth Fighting For." It's a novel based on a feature film by the same name that is set to release in October.

Smallbone recently told "The Church Boys" podcast that he and his brother feel compelled to make Christian-themed music, movies and books that truly compete in terms of quality and impact with mainstream entertainment projects.

Watch the "Priceless" movie trailer here.

"I believe that today's day and age is being discipled by what's coming through the headphones, their speakers and what they're seeing on screens," he said. "We have to make content that competes with everything. The church should not be second class in the art that we deliver."

Listen to Smallbone discuss these issues at the 1:04 mark here.

He spoke specifically about young people, saying that many youths today are "identity-less" something that he's hoping to combat through his work.

"They don't know their worth, they don't know who they are, they're being told by everybody else, 'If I dress like this, that guy might be interested in me. If I say that or I go to that party, then maybe I'll be considered good,'" he explained.

And while Smallbone believes these messages are pervasive, he also contends Christians have fallen behind in the arts over the years, as secular messages resonate with not much available in the way of entertainment to counteract them.

"I think that the church got caught off guard years ago by secularism," Smallbone said. "We haven't had a plan on how to counteract the smartest brains in the world in media."

While he said that the Renaissance produced many beautiful works of art that were religious in nature, he believes the Christian world has "gotten soft" on art.

"I feel like there's been a little bit of a degree of, 'Hey, if it's got a good message then we'll play it in our church,'" Smallbone said.

But he and his brother Joel are hoping to up the ante on entertainment quality, while also dealing with some broader issues of concern, including the way women are treated in modern culture. Smallbone said that girls, in particular, should be treated as though they are "priceless" and deserving of respect.

Fixing the problem, he said, depends on every individual choosing to stand up and do what's right.

"We need to be people who are treating others like they're worth something significant for that message to spread wider," he said.

For King & Country has brought this very message to their fans over the past few years. During a 2013 interview with The Alabama Baptist, Joel Smallbone said that the "Priceless" campaign's intent has been to teach young girls not to "settle for second best and not to let any man disrespect them."

The effort also encourages young men to step up and show respect to be "men of integrity and men of chivalry."

The movement started when the duo began singing at women's conferences alongside their older sister, famed Christian artist Rebecca St. James.

One day while Luke and Joel were at a conference to offer vocal support, their mother came up to them and said, "You should say something from a guy's perspective."

After they pondered the prospect of speaking to the female audience, the two decided to give it a shot and their message made a big impact.

"We started talking about this priceless movement ... (that) culture says for you to talk, dress and act like you're cheap, but we believe that there's a God who says you're priceless," Luke Smallbone said. "And then after the women's conferences it kind of started to pick up some steam."

Watch For King & Country perform here.

That's when he said that his other brother, Ben, floated the idea of producing a movie based on the movement. The siblings agreed, which led to the release of the "Priceless" book this month and to the coming release of the movie in October a film plot that focuses on human trafficking.

With the band's projects spanning the literary, film and music world, Smallbone offered his advice up to other Christians who might want to make an impact on culture, telling them to apply themselves to their craft.

"If you want to get involved in film, put in your 10,000 hours, be world class at it," he said. "If you want to get involved in journalism, be world class at what you do at journalism."

Smallbone extended this advice for music as well, saying that it takes great effort to truly be good at something.

"If it's easy, it's probably because it's not all that good," he cautioned. "You've got to be willing to sacrifice for things that are great, and I think that the secular side of life understands that."
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