I like to connect the dots, especially when it comes to the history behind the production of movies with positive and redeeming messages.
You’re likely already familiar with Alex and Stephen Kendrick – entrepreneurial brothers who have written and produced a series of award-winning faith-based films including Facing the Giants, Courageous and Fireproof.
The brother’s latest creation, a documentary called Show Me the Father, opens on Friday in theaters everywhere and is arguably their most important project to date.
It would be impossible to overstate the importance of fathers, men who cast long shadows across our lives from first to last breath. Good dads set us up for success. Bad ones can be like heavy weights on our ankles, making every step more arduous than the last.
Alex Kendrick began his movie career as Associate Pastor of Media at Sherwood Baptist Church. He shared with Michael Catt, the church’s senior pastor at the time, that he had a vision to make films that would draw people to Christ. He wanted to counter the seemingly endless deluge of destructive, offensive and mindless content so common on the big screen.
Pastor Catt affirmed Alex’s passion, as did several church members who helped fund his first film, Flywheel. Sherwood Pictures was born.
Twenty-one years have passed and Alex, along with his brothers Stephen and Shannon, have continued to minister to millions through the medium of their motion pictures.
There’s a story behind every film they’ve made, but the origins of Show Me the Father are rooted in the aftermath of Courageous – a powerful movie about five police officers finding their way through personal tragedy, along with having to confront their hopes and dreams as husbands and fathers.
Coming out of that film back in 2010, the Kendrick Brothers began to explore how they might further encourage men to live into their callings as fathers.
The question was raised:
“What would happen if we as organizations worked together after Courageous to mobilize, strengthen and encourage churches to strengthen fathers?”
The answer to that question was the creation of the Fatherhood CoMission – a coalition designed “not to highlight or promote any one organization or project but serve as a convening, empowering entity so national, regional and groups could do their work more effectively.”
WinShape Marriage, a subsidiary of the WinShape Foundation – a philanthropic organization founded by Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, began hosting gatherings of these influencers willing to collaborate on solutions to these very same challenges related to the family.
According to their website, “The Fatherhood CoMission hopes to accomplish a similar task around one of our culture’s most precious resources – Fathers.” The WinShape Foundation has strongly supported the fatherhood effort for nearly a decade.
It was then out of the Fatherhood CoMission discussion that the idea for the Show Me the Father documentary was born.
Are you following?
God gave Truett Cathy a dream to open a small restaurant back in 1946 called the Dwarf Grill in Hapeville, Georgia. One of the items on the menu was a chicken sandwich that would go on to become the signature item for his expanded chain that was renamed Chick-fil-A. It made him fabulously wealthy, but instead of keeping all the profits to himself, Cathy’s Christian faith encouraged him to invest in faith-based philanthropies.
Fifty-three years later and 175 miles away in Albany, Georgia, Pastor Michael Catt empowered a young film maker named Alex Kendrick to pursue film-based evangelism.
In time, Kendrick’s passion for ministry perfectly complemented the Cathy’s commitment to marriage and the family – and several films have been born out of discussions sponsored by the Cathy’s WinShape Foundation.
John Donne, the English poet, famously wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
Indeed, no Kendrick movie is a singular effort but instead the culmination faithfulness to God’s call and many years of collaboration – including with a generous rural Georgia chicken restauranter named Truett Cathy.
Photo from Shutterstock.