Interview: Rev. Forrest Wallace, executive director of Victory Video Ministries

( [email protected] ) Jun 09, 2004 09:32 PM EDT

Last weekend, The Underground, a Christian club estimated to have cost $1.2 million in renovations, opened to a group of 65 on June 4 and 90 on June 5. Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, the new location for The Underground, which used to operate in the basement of a church, will also be the filming site for a music video show The Zone, broadcasted on 200 T.V. stations worldwide. Both ministries are part of Victory Video Ministries, a non-profit ecumenical organization which strives to be both an advocate and a provider of media and entertainment as a means to influence today's culture with a relevant, life-changing message, according to Victory Video’s Web site.

Although the building housing the club and music video studio has been completed fully, the vision of Victory Video Ministries for the new project is being crystallized.

The Christian Post received a chance to talk to Rev. Forrest Wallace, executive director of Victory Video Ministries, on the how the new partnership will create a positive culture for Christ.

1. What are some of the visions of Victory Video Ministries that will be fulfilled through the new location for The Zone?

Our initial vision for the Underground is to create a Christian-based club, where we can have Christian music from national and local artists in a coffee house environment. Second part of the vision is to create a place where we can originate The Zone T.V. program, adding more energy with a live audience. We will tape The Zone television program at the Underground. The Zone airs on more than 200 T.V. stations worldwide. The Undergrouond will give a fresh look to the program and create interesting programming for the people who visit the Underground. I want people to know that the audience becomes part of the television show like the American bandstand of old.

The third part of the vision is the Media Training Academy. We want the television show to be created by the volunteers, interns, as well as the local professionals that are here in Cincinnati. We want to create a programming academy that will equip young folks that will go from high school and university life to career on a career in media, with a Christian perspective.

We hope to create an environment where young people will learn to create good programming, make good decisions, and become media missionaries.

2. Can you please describe what visitors can expect at The Underground? Why is it important to have a club centered on Christian values in today's culture?

What people can expect in this environment when they get there is a state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line, terrific atmosphere for a club environment that's open and pleasant, that's based on Christian values so that some of things you may not want to deal with in terms of language and inappropriate behavior are not going to be there. This is a place people can go to and expect to have a good time. This is for everyone to enjoy not just Christians.

3. How will partnership between The Zone and The Underground provide a platform for the media to be used for positive influences?

We believe there is a synergy between the two approaches in that we are going to have a lively and enlivened environment, create a great event that we can transfer to media and broadcast worldwide. It is exciting to see a show where people are having a great time.

It provides a platform for the media to be used for positive influences because the media is an objective thing. It isn't good or bad. What is seems to lack is content that is enriching and enlivening. What really is going to make a difference is that we have got to have a great program. We're going to have a great environment, and we'll also have that platform to go create excellent programming that people are going to want to watch. We see that Christian bands are crossing over and being picked up by secular media. It is because the quality of their entertainment is great.

4. Christian music is prevalent in all the ministries of Victory Videos from the show to the club. Why is Christian music such an effective tool in reach out to people?

It's so highly effective because music doesn't just speak to our heads. It speaks to our hearts. Music is a way we transfer and transmit our love of God. There is a saying, "When you sing, you pray twice," because God hears that your heart and soul come out in music.

5.How would you envision the culture of Christ to be like?

The culture of Christ is the Great Commission, it is where we create a world where we love one another like Christ loved us. That's the end game. The road to get there is something that we're all working on right now. We're all on the Christian journey and the culture that we are trying to create -- for ourselves, our children, and eventually for our children's children -- is one that represents the ideals of Christ, that represents the life of

Christ and one that is fun, because you know, the Lord was a happy guy.

That's really important. We have to let people know that being in love with the Lord is a happy and enlivening experience. It's not depressing but it is enlivening and a great thing to experience. It will change your life. What we envision is that we change the culture because Christ will change every life he touches. And he'll change it for the better.