Have you had the opportunity to watch the movie Courageous? If not, I encourage you (especially fathers) to go rent a copy from a video store or purchase a copy of this fourth release from Sherwood Pictures, a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany.
Courageous is about four men with one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: Fatherhood. While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they’re quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.
Other movies produced by Sherwood include Fireproof, Facing The Giants, and Flywheel.
It has been amazing to watch how God has influenced this Georgia church to think outside the box through this ministry. There is no telling how many lives have been changed around the world by this ministry. Another amazing aspect to these films has been the response. Fireproof for instance had a production budget of $500,000.00, and majority of the production was performed by members of the church (1,200 volunteers were involved in the filming).
Once the movie hit the big screen, Fireproof far exceeded all expectations with box office sales of $33,000,000.00. The movie then went on to garner around $28,000,000.00 in DVD sales. At $61 million, who says there is not a market for Christian films? In case you are wondering, Courageous has exceeded Fireproof in box office sales.
Thank you Sherwood Baptist for producing these movies that are proving to be a shining light in a more or less dark industry.
The following is a brief history about Sherwood Pictures given by Sherwood Baptist Senior Pastor Michael Catt:
I met Alex Kendrick while preaching at a youth camp one summer and was impressed with his videos and media talents. When the time came for us to fill the Media Minister position on staff, I contacted Alex. Though Alex was using his gifts and talents in ministry, he was not the director of media for his church. I saw a diamond in the rough. Alex came on board in 1999, and we called his brother Stephen in 2001.
God had been preparing these two from childhood to make movies. As kids they lived next door to a man who was interested in technical gadgets. He bought stop-and-go animation cameras, and Alex and Stephen used his equipment to make short videos. For years the boys put together homemade “chase ‘em down and beat ‘em up” movies. Later they produced commercials, movie trailers and even school projects.
All along, their parents supported them through prayer and by modeling authentic Christianity. As a result, Alex has long had a deep desire to make Christian films.
The Kendrick brothers are an asset to our staff. They have a great respect for pastoral authority and are very teachable. They have put aside egos and brotherly competition to produce movies that have made a mark on our church, on the culture and around the world. Through His sovereignty, God even placed their families in the same neighborhood in Albany. This has allowed Alex and Stephen to work on story ideas or write scripts more easily.
After reading an article from George Barna listing the top cultural influences, we learned that church was sliding down the scale while movies, media and music were becoming the predominant means of influence. Since the church was listed behind sports, education and movies we concluded we could either complain about this or address it. This mindset has been the key initiative behind the development of the Sports Park, Sherwood Christian Academy and Sherwood Pictures.
In 2001 we went to Orlando, Florida, for staff retreat and took a day off to hang out at Disney World. We took a behind the scenes tour and learned about their “imagineers.” As we walked around the park observing the attention to detail everywhere, we were challenged with this thought: If a secular company can be this committed to excellence, why can’t the church of Jesus Christ?
While in Orlando, I talked with Alex about where he wanted to be in five to ten years. He said, “I want to make movies, but no church is going to let me stay on staff and do that.” I replied, “Why not? Bring me a script and a budget, and let’s see if God is in it.” That conversation was the genesis of Sherwood Pictures. Our goal from day one has been to make family-friendly movies that build on the Judeo Christian ethic and communicate the gospel without compromise. We want to make movies you could take your girlfriend or your grandmother to without embarrassment.