'War Room' star T.C. Stallings a product of talent company focused on Christ

by Nancy Bethea |

ATLANTA (Christian Examiner) – In an industry where most performers seek the spotlight, a talent executive who has worked with such stars as faith-based blockbuster War Room's T.C. Stallings, guides her company to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ in film, fashion, music and theater through servant leadership.

Carey Lewis has led Actors, Models and Talent for Christ (AMTC) for 33 years, signing the likes of Stallings, Megan Fox, Mena Suvari, Matthew Underwood, and Abbie Cobb. 

The "C" in AMTC didn't always stand for Christ, though, and neither did Lewis.

Carey Lewis

A personal transformation

As a young woman coming of age in the early 1970s, Lewis watched her mother run a successful talent development company in South Carolina. Her mother, a former model, also championed political causes, such as civil and women's rights, which made an impact on young Lewis contributing to her drive to achieve success. 

Soon, Lewis joined her mother in the family business, starting with a talent convention in Charleston, South Carolina. From there, the talent conventions grew as did AMTC.

Success followed, but Lewis had no grounding in faith. Growing up as what she calls a "cultural Christian" who believed in God and went to church occasionally, Lewis now says she wasn't a true Christ-follower.

"I valued myself and my life by how much I could achieve," Lewis said. "I was what the world might call successful. I had good income, a nice house, great cars, good kids, and a husband with a seemingly wonderful job. I looked reasonably good. But all that being said, I've now decided that no successful person in the world is truly happy without Jesus, not truly happy," Lewis said.

She had gained outward success, but she lacked inner peace. Six nights out of seven, Lewis said, her fears woke her and caused panic attacks. She now realizes she was missing a basis for her life.

In 2006, at the age of 51, Lewis became a Christian. New definitions of happiness and success followed.

"No successful person in the world is truly happy without Jesus. I think it all goes down to a foundation of joy. I don't believe people who have not met Jesus can have a foundation of joy," she said. Though she still awoke in the wee hours many nights, she turned to prayer instead of worry.

Now, her worth is not tied to making money or amassing material possessions. Instead, it's about representing Jesus Christ to the best of her ability in all she does. "My success is now found in Jesus," Lewis said.

Lewis's leadership style also changed after she became a Christian. She now strives to lead by serving others with humility, the way Jesus did.

"I want to be a humble leader," Lewis said. "I want to be a servant leader, like Jesus was. Not that I can achieve that goal, but I will continue to work at it. I think that's a challenge for anyone who's been blessed with talent or position, or who has achieved success in the eyes of the world," she said.

Lewis's changes didn't stop with her personal life, though.

A professional transformation

A few months after she accepted Christ as her Savior, Lewis had a revelation while exercising on a treadmill. Her 'treadmill experience' resulted in changing the – "C" in AMTC from Actors, Models and Talent Competition to Actors, Models and Talent for Christ.

As a result of Lewis's conversion to Christ, she soon saw her two adult daughters and her son-in-law become Christians. Her son-in-law, Adam She, now serves AMTC as Executive Director

Gradually, AMTC made business changes to reflect their new calling as a Christian ministry. "We were doing business as Actors, Models and Talent for Christ, and then we legally changed the name, which is a big deal when you're a corporation. Then, in 2012, we became a non-profit, which was the biggest move of all," Lewis said.

AMTC made changes to its mission and vision statements, too. "Our mission statement is to make good bolder in film, fashion, music and theater, and to see the Great Commission of Jesus Christ fulfilled in entertainment," Lewis said. 

Calling Out Media Missionaries

The way to make good bolder in entertainment is by calling out talented people to be media missionaries, according to Lewis.

Mission trips to foreign countries to help various people groups build houses or have access to clean water are important, Lewis said, but there's another field ripe unto harvest, and it's media.

Citing statistics showing that teens spend nearly 75 hours a week consuming media with a screen in their hands or in front of their eyes, Lewis said, "AMTC feels extreme urgency to 'call out' performers to be media missionaries." 

Though many churches may not think of entertainment a mission field, Lewis believes this perception is changing. "I think we'll see more and more churches understand that media is a mission field," she said.

"I think churches are going to understand they need to help their people in their congregations who have that kind of talent and that kind of call [on their lives]. They'll help them with funding, with encouragement and by being prayer warriors and sending them into the mission field," Lewis said.

"Media missionaries are needed desperately," she added.

Future of Entertainment

The future of entertainment is exciting for Christians, Lewis said. "It's cool to be a Christian right now in the entertainment industry, and Christians are receiving favor like never before in my lifetime, and I'm 60," she added.

Lewis predicts that more and more faith-based films will be produced and that more 'quiet Christians' will decide to step up and be bold about sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in love. She hopes AMTC's transformation has helped in some way to make this happen.

"I grew up with the entertainment industry. When I was a kid, we had three TV stations-ABC, NBC and CBS-and now we have what we have where media covers the earth," she said.

Because of media's widespread influence, Lewis hopes Christians in America who have talent will join the entertainment mission field and bring the light of Jesus Christ to it.

"Give kids who don't have wise parents, or give adults like me who didn't really know Jesus, but who were watching movies and watching awards shows, give us a choice," Lewis said. "Give us a fair chance and a clear choice.

"Get on the screens that people are watching like never before. That would be my hope," she added.