FamilyLife Today®

Show Me The Father

with Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick | September 10, 2021
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Christian film producers, Alex and Stephen Kendrick provide a teaser discussion and behind-the-scene stories for their upcoming movie, "Show Me The Father."
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Christian film producers, Alex and Stephen Kendrick provide a teaser discussion and behind-the-scene stories for their upcoming movie, “Show Me The Father.”

Show Me The Father

With Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendr...more
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September 10, 2021
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Ann: Hey, before we start our program today, let’s tell them about our special offer.

Dave: We’ve got a 50 percent off the Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway right now. You can go—half off—I mean, there is nothing better. Sign up, right now, at FamilyLifeToday.com.

Dave: Okay, I’m pretty excited; it’s movie date night.

Ann: Oh, it’s one of our favorite nights.

Dave: I don’t know if our listeners know how excited I get to go to the movies.

Ann: It’s like your favorite thing.

Dave: I love popcorn with real butter and the Diet Coke® that cancels that out; right? [Laughter] You [Ann] know this—I love going to movies—in fact, in our church, people are now texting us to get movie reviews.

Ann: —because we go to so many. There is such power in a great story.

Dave: Everybody knows this—we love thrillers, action movies, comedies—that are a break from real life, especially during this pandemic; that’s been nice. But when you get to go to a movie that is literally life-changing—I mean, that changes you for the future—the best movies ever.

Ann: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Ann Wilson.

Dave: And I’m Dave Wilson, and you can find us at FamilyLifeToday.com or on our FamilyLife® app.

Ann: This is FamilyLife Today.

Dave: So today, we have two movie directors, producers, writers. The Kendrick brothers, Alex and Stephen Kendrick, are with us today. Welcome to FamilyLife Today.

Stephen: Thank you.

Alex: Hey, good to be with you guys.

Stephen: It’s good to be with you guys and to talk about this. This is fun.

Dave: And I’m guessing a lot of our listeners know you two. But you guys—I did not even know this—when I am looking up your bio, you have written and produced a whole bunch of movies, not just one or two. I’ve seen them all, but I can’t remember them all; so I’m going to list them—the movies—Overcomer, War Room, Courageous, Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Flywheel. Did I get them all?

Stephen: That’s it.

Alex: Yes, and the new ones we are working on; yes.

Ann: You both coproduced and wrote all of these movies together?

Stephen: We tag teamed on every movie and, really, starting with prayer on every film. We’ve learned there is a big difference between a good idea and a God idea. The Lord’s ideas are always way better. We’ve found that, when you really seek the Lord—He knows what is going to happen in the culture; He knows what is going to happen in the future—so you just trust Him and walk by faith. That’s been the journey for us.

Alex: And I will add to that. It’s interesting—when the Lord is pleased with something—I don’t know if you want to call it an anointing, or blessing, or extra grace, or favor, or whatever He does to it that touches people’s live—and we would rather have that ingredient on our movies than any budget that man could provide us. We’ve learned, when we seek after the Lord, and He does that thing to it that only God can do, people are drawn to it. It changes hearts and lives, and we’re just amazed at what He does.

Stephen: Another way to say that is: “Instead of being the best caterer in Jerusalem, I would rather be the boy with five loaves and two fish, handing it in to Jesus and watching Him do something great with it.”

Alex: That’s right.


Dave: Just based on how you said that Stephen, you guys are incredible communicators, preachers, authors, pastors—married; you both have six kids—I don’t know; are you guys clones?—I mean, you’ve got the same number of kids.

Stephen: Not at all. Well, we have a praying momma, who gets up early every morning, and is crying out to God on our behalf and all of her 19 grandchildren. We’ve got a dad—who I think we are going to talk a little bit about today—

Ann: Yes.

Stephen: —who really deeply impacted our lives and prayed over us/blessed us; and then, through his scars and brokenness, pointed us to Christ. We’re just so grateful for the Lord’s mercy, really.

Dave: Now, how did you end up getting into writing, producing, directing movies? Was that something you knew in middle school/high school you wanted to do, or how did you end up where you are?

Alex: Well, the Lord has gifted each of us with a different bent. It was in high school that the Lord got a hold of our hearts; and we said, “God, whatever we do, we want to do it to honor You. We want Your blessing on it.” That kind of changed our trajectory from just wanting to make entertainment to wanting to make something that was purposeful, that would draw people to a closer walk with God.

We have enjoyed going into ministry—both of us are ordained—been to seminary, and spent a number of years as youth pastors; but over the last 20 years, we have developed a love for telling stories in movie form. Each one, the Lord has stretched us and taught us; and now, here we are, making movies that the Lord has allowed to go worldwide. We are very, very grateful.

Dave: Now, what does it feel like as you release a movie? We’ve released a couple books; but when a book goes out, we’re afraid. Is it the same with a movie, or is it different?

Stephen: Well, I think we have the benefit of screening it dozens of times before it comes out in theaters. It is always a joy to sit on the second row, over on the side, and to watch the audience watch your film.

Dave: Wow.

Stephen: We try to take cues from that, sometimes, and walk out, saying, “That joke didn’t work; let’s edit that out”; you know. [Laughter]

Dave: Yes.


Stephen: Or the ending is good, but it needs to be sped up or whatever. But when the movie comes out itself, we are praying and just asking, “Lord, do something with it.” But it feels like we’re sending our children off into the world, and it’s completely out of our control at that point. It’s just: “Lord, whatever You want to do with it.”

Dave: We’ve got to talk about the movie that is coming out today, Show Me the Father.

Alex: Yes.

Dave: Is it your first documentary?

Stephen: It is. We love documentaries, and I love watching them. I love the amount of information you can pack into such a short amount of time. We’ve been focusing on the feature films/the bigger-budget feature films; but there are so many different powerful messages that need to be communicated to every generation.

We talk about the Bible being the Word of God, salvation through Christ alone, standing up for unborn—there are other things—but this one, specifically, was so dear to our hearts. It was so jugular vein for us, and that’s the issue of fatherhood in Scripture and in practice in everyday life that translated into Show Me the Father.

Ann: Well, I have to tell you that we got a chance to preview that.

Dave: Yes.


Ann: I am telling you: we were crying the entire time.

Dave: It is powerful, powerful.

Stephen: Praise the Lord.

Dave: I mean, I can’t wait for our listeners to get to the movie theater and watch it; and then, they are going to go back and take friends.

Talk about it a little bit: “What is the inspiration behind why the movie about fatherhood?”

Stephen: Well, when we made Courageous ten years ago—and we’ve got Courageous Legacy coming out in theaters soon as well—but the movie was so dear to our hearts, because we saw God transform our family tree when our father surrender his life to Christ. The statistics show that, when a man is being placed in the driver’s seat of his home—whether he realizes it or not—when he surrenders his life to Christ, everything changes. He’ll begin to lead his family spiritually and step up a thousand different ways as the Holy Spirit enables him to do that.


But our father made a resolution; and it was: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” His own father had been an alcoholic. His grandfather had been wild and away from God; and our dad said, “The buck stops here. I want to be faithful to my wife. I want to be faithful to the Lord and to my kids.” Because of that, we made the movie, Courageous, showing: “What does it look like when men make this resolution/this kind of commitment?” and “How will it affect their lives?”

Out from that, launched the Fatherhood CoMission—over 150 fathering ministries, from across the nation, for the last ten years have been meeting every year together—praying together, supporting each other, and talking about the crisis of fatherlessness and the need for fathers to step up. So many amazing stories came out of that; some of the stories that are featured in this documentary came out of our relationships in the Fatherhood CoMission.

We are so excited about people getting to see the stories in Show Me the Father—and then you talked about crying the whole way through—it’s not because it’s sad.

Dave: No.

Stephen: I think it’s because there are so many inspirational moments in this.


Ann: And that is exactly what I felt as I talked about that we were crying. There were tears of inspiration of: “Our heavenly Father has always been there. He loves us so much, and He is always drawing us and calling us to Himself.” Because every listener has either a great, a mediocre, or a bad experience with fatherhood—and it maybe not even having a father—but there is such a goodness of Father God, who is continually wooing us to Himself.

That is what you guys did—you made me yearn even more to know our heavenly Father in that way—so well done.

Alex: Praise the Lord.

Stephen: It’s not just for men. Some people may think—


Ann: Yes.

Stephen: —this documentary is only for men to go; learn how to be better dads. That’s not really what it is about. It’s about: “Everybody has a fatherhood story.”

Ann: Right.

Stephen: God wants to be the Father of everyone, and all of us have broken fathers on earth. Scripture actually uses the word, “perfect,” tied specifically to the Fatherhood of God—that “His will is good, pleasing, and perfect”; His provision: “Every good and perfect gift comes from Him.” Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” God wants to be the perfect Father to all of us, that we haven’t had on earth, but He longs to be that in our lives.


What we wanted to happen—and what we prayed from the very beginning, even before we shot the first interview with this—is we prayed: “God, would You let this documentary be an introduction, through Jesus, to the heart of our heavenly Father?—and cause people to walk away with a new revelation of the Holy Spirit when they watch this?—that ‘God wants a relationship with me,’ and ‘Through Jesus, I can have it,’ and ‘His heart is for me; He loves me,’—and for people to walk away, saying, ‘God became my Father,’ or ‘…intimately stepped into that relationship as Father after I watched that documentary.’”

Alex: Both Stephen and I have six kids each; and when we began understanding that this perfect Father, who is God—when I am reflecting His attributes, His love for my children—then they have a better picture of who God is. We all know there is no perfect father on earth—all of us have flaws—but to the degree that I can reflect the desire of our heavenly Father to love and want a relationship with us—to help us to be there, to walk through life with us, and I can demonstrate that to my own children—it will help position them to have a closer walk with God.
 

All of us get our first concept of God through our earthly father. If your father was distant, you imagine God to be distant. If your father was there for you, you imagine God being there for you. It’s important for us—and all of us are at various places in our growth and maturity in understanding this—so whether you feel like, “I’ve failed as a dad,” or “I’m figuring it out,” or anywhere in between—we hope that this film and the stories that we tell will draw people and stir up that desire to say: “Not only do I want to view God the right way, and know God more intimately as my heavenly Father, but I want to reflect His goodness, His love, and His attributes to people in my life, especially my children.”


If that’s the outcome, we would count that as a success. I would also say—Stephen as a storyteller—I love watching people, as Stephen said earlier; I love watching people watch an early cut of the movie. When we showed Show Me the Father to an early audience, I loved watching them gasp at a couple different moments in the movie, because they didn’t see something coming.

Stephen: Right.

Alex: They literally gasp and say, “I can’t believe what I’m watching.” We love the storytelling aspect of this too. So yes, it’s a documentary; but at the end of day, it’s four powerful stories that will move your heart. And all of these are true.

Stephen: Yes, they are all true stories.

Alex: We didn’t have to change anything. We just had to tell the stories as they happened and what God did through these peoples’ lives. These father connections were just astonishing, even when we were putting the film together.

Dave: The thing that I loved is it’s called a documentary; but it doesn’t feel like it. It feels like a film. I’m wondering, “How did you do that?”—because, often, when you watch a documentary, it just feels sort of, I don’t know, stale. This one, I felt like I was watching a feature film.

Stephen: That’s really encouraging to hear—[Laughter]

Alex: Yes.

Stephen: —because that’s what we went for. We are used to making feature films, so we were trying to capture cinematic footage. We actually hired a guy, who does cinema score, to do all the music behind the scenes. We’ve been behind the scenes, constantly pushing, saying, “How can we make this more cinematic so it does feel like a feature film?” Thank you for saying that.

Dave: Yes; I’m the expert on films. So if I say it…[Laughter] I do want to add one other thing that really inspired me—was your dad.

Ann: Yes.

Dave: I didn’t know that last little backstory that he had to change the legacy; but when you watch his story in your movie, I was so inspired by his heart. How has that impacted you, just your father’s life and fathering of you guys?

Alex: We watched our dad do things that we thought were impossible once he was tracking with God. He would lay the groundwork in prayer. We watched him build—kindergarten all the way through 12th grade—and then graduate hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of people [who] are now making a difference for the kingdom.

When we saw what he did, with almost nothing but prayer and walking in faith, we said, “Okay, we can make movies,”—because we didn’t have budget; we didn’t have film degrees.

Dave: Wow.

Alex: Dad influenced almost every aspect of our ministry, and filmmaking, and storytelling. He laid the groundwork in faith and obedience to the Lord and made us want to do the same thing.

Stephen: And he did it after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and after going through 16 months of depression. When God brought him out of that, through the revelation of God as a loving Father, that was—

Ann: Wow.

Stephen: —a key turning point for our dad, when God pulled him out of depression through that revelation.

Dave: That aspect of a man, struggling with the goodness of God, and coming to terms with “He really is a loving father,” that comes through.

Alex: Yes.

Dave: I just can’t wait for people to see that; because so many of us struggle with that, especially when things don’t go the way we want. That’s a big theological dilemma for people: “Is He really good?” “Is He loving?” Your dad is wrestling with that impacts greatly through the movie; but obviously, has impacted you; and now, is going to impact millions. It’s going to be powerful.


Alex: When you come to a realization that, even if you had a good father, your dad is not like God—

Dave: Yes.

Ann: Yes.

Alex: —in many ways—God is faithful; He is eternal; He is completely right; He is completely holy; He is completely loving; He does see the future—so God is the ideal and perfect Father.

For an earthly father to say, “Well, I can’t be all those things perfectly; but if I can just reflect/if I can grab ahold of as many of those principles, apply them to my life, and then point my kids to God,” then your kids already have a jump-start on a more fulfilling, purposeful, and spiritual walk with the Lord.

God is an amazing Father, and we too often just look at Him as God and not Father. Of course, He is both; but when you know Him, through Jesus Christ—and we are spiritually attached and saved through Jesus Christ—then you are a part of His family; we are adopted into His family. Then Jesus is the bridge; He is the one that connects us in a right relationship to God the Father. When you tap into that, and are walking in that—begin understanding what that means—it makes all the difference in your life.

Ann: You guys, that whole theme was really in your movie, Courageous, too; because that was about fathers. It was kind of that same experience in wrestling with God, so you are re-releasing Courageous.

Stephen: That’s correct. We’re coming upon ten years since the original release of Courageous.

Dave: Wow.

Stephen: It has had an international impact with mind-blowing stories as to what the Lord has done with it around the world. We actually are re-releasing a new cut of the film; it’s remastered. We really want this to be for a new generation, because millions of young men have become dads over the last ten years.

Ann: Yes.


Stephen: They are going to be seeing this movie through a new lens. It’s recolored; there are music changes. We’re very excited about Courageous Legacy and how it will work together with Show Me the Father.

Alex: So Courageous Legacy will look familiar but still be fresh—so 70 percent of it, we’ll say, “Okay, I am familiar with this story. I saw the original version of Courageous,”—but to see actors, literally, age ten years by the end of the film; to watch how these families turn out; and have a brand-new, surprise ending scene in it—and all the powerful moments are still there; but they’ll be, hopefully, encouraged by the new ending—where you see: “What does it look like, even one decade later, for fathers to implement these biblical principles for their families?” Yes, we can’t wait to release it.

Dave: Are you taking the characters in the movie, and you are updating them or aging them ten years?

Alex: We literally waited ten years, and shot some new scenes, and new ending to the movie. When it gets near the end of the movie, it literally jumps forward ten years; and you catch up with everybody ten years later. We have some exciting twists along the way that we can’t for people to see.

Stephen: We’re hoping that people will—if they’ve seen Courageous in the past—they will take their neighbors, their friends, these young men/young fathers that they know to see the movie; and then, after they walk out, they are going to be thinking, “How do I live this out? What do I do?”

There [are] still the resources and discipleship resources that are connected to that; but Show Me the Father picks up also with the theology of the Fatherhood of God. We’ve got both of those kind of tag teaming together, and we’re hoping it will be a great one-two punch that the church can use to really impact families.

Dave: Yes; it’s the kind of, as you know, all your movies are this way; it’s the kind that you go, and you watch, and then you go talk.

Ann: Yes.

Alex: Yes.

Dave: You can’t not talk. You want to see it in community. You want to go somewhere, and not just talk about it for one hour, but spend some time to say: “Okay, what kind of dad am I going to be?” I mean, there are all kinds of questions that are going to be raised. That’s why I started our program, saying, “I love movies that change lives”; because your movies change lives.

I just want to say, from one movie viewer, “Thank you. Thank you for what you do, what you’ve done, what you’re going to do.” I mean, I’ve been a preacher for 30 years, and it’s just one mode—a talking head—but to sit in a theater, and watch story literally go right to the heart, or to the soul, is a different way to impact somebody’s life. You guys have been gifted by God and anointed by God, and He’s anointed your writing and your film. I just want to say, “Thank you.”

Ann: I just want to thank you guys—because not only are you creating these beautiful stories—but you guys are the real deal in terms of your passion and your love for Jesus. I think, every time we’ve been around you, that’s the thing I walk away with: “These guys—their love for God, their passion for Him, and their love for others—is the real thing.” You are really living it. You can tell that you’ve spent time with God, and that comes through in everything that you’ve produced; so thanks.

Alex: Wow; that’s very encouraging for us. We hope that is always the case. We would like to finish well.

Stephen: Yes.

Alex: We would like to end our lives honoring the Lord, and nothing can replace the joy of knowing that you are walking with Him and that you’re watching Him do what only He can do. We just get to be a part of it.


Stephen: And we know every good thing about our lives is really the Lord. We have so many people—the body of Christ—praying for us on every project, and just so grateful that we have accountability, and our pastor preaching the Word unapologetically, calling us to repentance/calling us to humility. I tell people, “If you hang out with us, you’ll be less impressed with us, and you’ll be more impressed with the God that we serve; because we serve a mighty God.”

Bob: Well, Dave and Ann Wilson have been talking today with our friends, Alex and Stephen Kendrick, the filmmakers who have a new film that is coming out in theaters this weekend. It’s a documentary called Show Me the Father. Let me just say, “This is a movie that you will find compelling, and moving, and challenging. It’s really a remarkable film. It’s probably been a while since you’ve been to a movie theater. This is a great weekend to head back and to see the new movie, Show Me the Father, from filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick.

There is information about the film on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com. There is also information about the ten-year anniversary re-release of the movie, Courageous, that happens next month in theaters. The Kendricks have added a continuing storyline to the movie we all loved when it came out ten years ago. So there is information about Courageous, the ten-year anniversary re-release, at FamilyLifeToday.com as well.

Of course, Alex and Stephen are going to join us on the Love Like You Mean It® marriage cruise in February. We’re going to see a sneak preview of their latest movie, which will be out next year in theaters; so a lot going on with the Kendricks. Again, you can find out more at FamilyLifeToday.com. If you’re not signed up for the cruise, you can still sign up to attend the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise in February.

Speaking of signing up, our Weekend to Remember marriage getaways—we’ve got about 30 of those happening this fall in cities all across the country—and this is the last weekend for you to sign up and save 50 percent off the regular registration fee. This is a great getaway for couples. We’ve had millions of couples, who have joined us in the

45 years we’ve been hosting these events. They would tell you this weekend has been transformative in so many of their marriages. We could all use a getaway right about now, I think.

You can find out more and register for the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway when it comes to a city near where you live. Go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, to find out when and where the getaways are being held. You can register online; or call if you have any questions or if you’d like to register by phone: 1-800-358-6329; 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.” Plan to join us at the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway coming to a city near where you live this fall.

With that, we’ve got to wrap things up for this week. Thanks for joining us. Hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend, and I hope you can join us back on Monday. Jim Elmore is going to be here, and he is going to share with us about the mess that his life was. He was involved in substance abuse, and destructive behavior, and really was right on the edge when God got a hold of him and turned things around. It’s a powerful story. Hope you can be here for that.

On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. Have a great weekend. We will see you Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

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