Along with Facing the Giants, in which the character of Larry is based on their dad, Alex and Stephen have co-produced Flywheel, Fireproof and a new film, Courageous, which depicts the struggles and triumphs of fatherhood.
In many ways, Courageous is a love letter to Larry Kendrick.
“We saw a consistent father figure in Larry Kendrick, our earthly father,” said Alex during a recent visit to the set of Courageous. “We saw that he was very passionate about pursuing the Lord and living a life to honor Him. We’ve seen him go through Multiple Sclerosis, which is a frustrating disease. We saw him really fight and strive to cling to the Lord through some very hard days – and then to give God credit when the Lord brought him through it.”
A minister since the 1970s, Larry founded Cumberland Christian Academy in 1989, five years after being diagnosed with MS. Alex said of his father’s example, “We saw that even in hardship, he obeyed the Lord and was very bold and courageous in his faith. So that really was fuel in our lives to do the same thing. We are very grateful for that example, and hope to do nothing less than to give God honor with Courageous.”
Stephen added, “We would not stumble on our dad watching pornography. We would stumble on him reading Scripture. He broke the chain that was passed down to him.”
Alex and Stephen, who have 10 kids between them, hope the film will inspire and challenge men in their roles as fathers. The story of Courageous is about four different fathers from four different backgrounds. We see from their vantage points their struggles in facing the issues of fatherhood and how their decisions in life affect their children.
“Our hope is that as you see these men, you will identify with one of them,” said Alex. “And when you leave the theater, you will say, ‘Not only do I need to step up my role as father and have a strategy for my children, but I need to live a life of consistency, seeking the Lord where my sons and my daughters will want to do the same thing.’
“If we can do that for men,” he added, “then from the grassroots effort, you will see families change as they pursue the Lord. Therefore, churches, communities and nations will change.”
The entire Sherwood Pictures leadership team, which includes Alex and Stephen Kendrick; Michael Catt, the senior pastor of Sherwood Church, and Jim McBride, the executive pastor, have a growing burden for fathers.
“We want men to take their crucial role of influence in their homes,” said Alex, “and apply the standard God lays out in Scripture so that the next generation would seek the Lord with passion and fervor. If men stand up and do that, then our culture will change.”
Michael Catt talked about how churches can help fathers after the movie ends: “Everything rises and falls on leadership. If pastors and key men in the church model what it means to be a godly man, then it affects the rest of the church. That has nothing to do with size. It has to do with the quality of a man’s heart, a man who is willing to be accountable, willing to step up.
“We are hoping we will see with Courageous what we saw with Fireproof, ” Catt added. “We hope men will say, ‘I’ve seen a movie; that’s the event. Now what’s the process?’ Hopefully, we can help them with the process of equipping men to be godly.”
Don’t miss interviews with the lead actors next week!
Please check out our video from the set visit (upper left of this page), and visit CourageoustheMovie.com. In addition, you can follow the production process on Facebook and Twitter.
Most importantly, pray!
Cover photo courtesy of Todd Stone
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QUICK FACTS ABOUT FATHERHOOD:
- Some 24.7 million children (36.3 percent) live without their biological fathers;
- Nearly 1.9 million single fathers have children under age 18;
- 26 percent of absent fathers live in a different state than their children;
- About 60 percent of children in fatherless households have seen their fathers in the past year;
- 50 percent of children living apart from their fathers have ever been to their biological father’s home.