Several years ago, somewhere in Georgia, an associate Pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church read a newspaper…a newspaper with a report that would change his church and life forever. Upon reading a survey that stated films had become more influential than churches, Alex Kendrick, my hero for this essay, set out to change the themes of movies in mainstream America. Within only a few years he had produced three movies, written several books, and had changed America’s view of the church’s general separation from the video media. His first movie, co-written with his brother Stephen, called Flywheel, was produced with only a budget of $20,000 for production costs, and they used church members as the cast and production crew. Their film ultimately grossed $37,000, and eventually his story hit the stores as a novel. But, of course, the main goal of Alex Kendrick was to get the church involved and to get the Christian message out to the public, which he did, and continued to do, dramatically, in the two movies following his first, Facing the Giants and Fireproof. The two movies together grossed 43.5 million dollars, and his Church’s film company, Sherwood Pictures, did what he intended, touching people all over the world.
I consider Alex Kendrick a true hero, because of his willingness to challenge what had been the norm. He is also worthy because he did it in such a way that made massive waves that smashed through the walls that had confined church away from mainstream media. His movies inspired others to follow in his footsteps, to promote good values, and also to begin a series of movies with the same values. By giving his church the affirmation that they too can produce theater-worthy motion pictures, he gave them the confidence to help and make all three of the movies…and still one prepares to come out, called Courageous. Many of us have seen his movies and we felt touched by the film crews’ devotion to prayer, the heartwarming family scenes, the humor, the victories, the profound messages...and then we realize that a church in the middle of Georgia produced it, using materials that anyone could easily acquire. Alex inspires people to do what may seem hard, or beyond their ability…and look at the results!
You can define hero in many ways. I, for one, found a definition reading: Hero: A man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength. Under this, many of the things we associate a hero with we should possibly consider wrong. A hero doesn’t need to kill the bad guy, or risk his life to save a beautiful princess. By the definition above Alex can consider himself a hero; he distinguished himself by courageously attacking Hollywood’s dominance, showed his strength when times got hard, and nobly stood up with his Christian values, even in the face of the uncertain results. Whatever your definition or view of heroes, you face difficulty if you try to count Alex Kendrick out of them. Perhaps you will never place him among your heroes, but he will be placed among mine.
Wikipedia. "Alex Kendrick." [Online] Available http://www.wikipedia.org.