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Courageous could spark nationwide men’s movement

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — “Courageous,” the fourth feature film from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., opens this weekend, and seldom has the pathway been so ready to help men launch a movement within their churches.

The movie follows the story of five men — four of them police officers — as they seek to become better fathers.

With more than one-third of children growing up without a father, dads in today’s society, producer Stephen Kendrick said, need to step up.

“The dads have fallen asleep at the wheel, and the mom is reaching over and grabbing the wheel and trying to keep the family alive and going,” Kendrick told Baptist Press.

Government statistics reflect that reality. Almost 40 percent of inmates grew up without a father, and children without a father are twice as likely to drop out of school, according to Department of Justice and government statistics.

Churches already are on board in using the movie.

“I believe this [movie] is a great tool to gather men together,” said Scott Overby, a men’s ministry leader at Heritage Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. “It is full of great, godly man lessons, team building, accountability, and most importantly the Gospel. This movie presents the Gospel better than any I have seen.”

Overby has been working with his pastor, Teman Knight, and other men’s leaders at the church, which used Sherwood’s “Facing the Giants” as a men’s movie night in 2008. The church is using the Courageous Church Campaign Kit, which includes a study guide.

“Courageous is a great gathering step. The four-week study is good for grouping men,” Overby said. “One of our ‘going’ aspects will be to reach out in the community, especially to first responders, and offer tickets to the movie. We plan to follow up with them, too.”

The efforts of the men of Heritage will be multiplied across the nation. Men at Gasburg Baptist Church in Mooresville, Ind., will be among them.

“If we want to see revival in this country, it will only happen if the men who call themselves Christian start responding to God’s call on their lives,” said Gasburg men’s ministry leader Jim Shields. “The movie is a great visual of what it means to do these things — that our disobedience can cause repercussions and consequences, that redemption and forgiveness are possible, and that we cannot go it alone.”

LifeWay Christian Resources is partnering with Sherwood in promoting the film and the resources. The North American Mission Board’s Baptist Men On Mission also is promoting the film.

“God is already using Courageous as a challenge and wake up call to men and families around the world,” said Jason Ellerbrook, LifeWay’s director of Training and Events Production and Adult Ministry.

The hope and desire of LifeWay Men and NAMB’s Baptist Men On Mission, reflected in the joint promotion of Courageous, is that a deeper partnership will lead to more coordinated efforts to equip men for ministry and missions.

“Our combined efforts are in hope that God will lead us to experience more than a ministry, but a movement and a miracle among men,” Ellerbrook said.

Said Joe Conway, leader of Baptist Men On Mission, “We owe it to Baptist men — we owe it to the Southern Baptist Convention — to deliver coordinated tools to help equip men to be the godly men, husbands, fathers and leaders God has called them to be.”

So after men have seen “Courageous,” then what?

“We plan to use the eight-week follow-up study and complete it with a ceremony service, including the Resolution from the film,” said Overby of Heritage Baptist Church. “We hope to host a Courageous breakfast and use this to group our men for further accountability.”

Said Shields, of Gasburg Baptist Church, “We need to be a band of brothers. We need to be authentic men of God, surrendered to our Lord. Then and only then we will be able to lead our families, our churches, our communities and our country forward into a Great Awakening.”

Jim McBride, the movie’s executive producer, said the film is desperately needed because of the “state of fatherlessness in America.”

“In 36 percent of all homes, the children are fatherless,” McBride told Baptist Press. “But all of us know that even beyond that there are a lot of homes where the dad is present physically but not mentally. I think this movie is much-needed because it’s going to challenge dads to step up into their role as husband and leader and father in the home.”

Interest in Courageous is running ahead of that of “Fireproof,” the most recent film from Sherwood Baptist. As of Friday it was No. 1 in ticket sales among all movies according to a Fandango.com, a leading ticketing website. Courageous was No. 1 in its “Fandango 5” list of the week’s hottest tickets, followed by “The Lion King 3D,” “Moneyball,” “Dolphin Tale 3D” and “Drive.”

Courageous is opening in 1,126 theaters in the United States.
Kerusso, which makes Christian apparel, says it has sold five times more Courageous T-shirts than it sold Fireproof T-shirts.
Courageous is rated PG-13 for some violence and drug content. The movie contains no foul language or sexuality. Compiled by Baptist Press and NAMB staff.

Read how your church can get involved in Courageous at http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=35942.

Read Baptist Press’ review of Courageous at

Read what Tony Dungy said about Courageous at

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