Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Lights! Camera! Gospel!

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Lights! Camera! Gospel!

Article excerpt

When Alex Kendrick thinks about sharing his faith, he thinks about movie screens, not evangelistic tracts.

Kendrick, the associate pastor of media ministries at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., has coproduced "Facing the Giants" with the help of hundreds of volunteers--onscreen and behind the scenes--from his Southern Baptist congregation and local community. On Sept. 29, the movie about a Christian high school football team will premiere on 400 movie screens in 86 markets. In addition to cowriting the script with his brother Stephen, Kendrick plays the lead character of the movie, Coach Grant Taylor.

"This is a ministry tool," said Kendrick, who handles the television and video productions at the 3,000-member church. "I think churches are waking up to the fact that this is a valid avenue of ministry.... People still love a good story."

The California-based Barna Group found that 66 percent of adults say they talk with friends and associates about movies and TV shows they've seen recently. But most churchgoers "cannot even remember the theme of the sermon within two hours of leaving" church, George Barna said.

Now, this congregation in northwest Georgia is making movies itself with its own company, Sherwood Pictures. Barna's company is helping promote the movie.

"Facing the Giants" is built around the struggling Eagles football team at the fictional Shiloh Christian Academy. A local layman walks down a hallway of lockers praying for the student body. …

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