Facing the Giants
A Box-Office Miracle?

Filmed on a shoestring budget using volunteers from a Southern Baptist church, the inspirational movie Facing the Giants racked up enough success in its first two weekends that one major newspaper labeled it "miraculous."

The movie comes from a church where brothers — and staff members — Alex and Stephen Kendrick are intent on using the silver screen to showcase family values and the need for a personal relationship with Jesus.

Facing the Giants, and an earlier release Flywheel, are ministry tools developed by Sherwood Pictures, featuring the Kendricks' filmmaking talents and the support of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia.

The squeaky-clean PG movie passed the $3 million gross mark October 12, which already makes it a success story for a film that cost only $100,000 to make. And while $3 million is mere change by Hollywood standards, the movie has more than held its own in the theaters where it has been shown.

It finished twelfth among all movies on opening weekend, but an amazing fifth on an average-per-screen tally ($3,046) among the Top 20 movies, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. In its second weekend, Facing the Giants ended up fourteenth among all movies and was ninth on a per-screen average ($2,407) among Top 20 movies, according to the Web site.

By comparison, MGM's School for Scoundrels cost $35 million to make and finished fourth on opening weekend while showing on three thousand theaters — the same weekend that Facing the Giants opened — but grossed only $2,863 per screen — less than Giants.

To be fair to the larger movies, Facing the Giants isn't showing in some of the larger, more liberal markets, where it might not do as well as it would in conservative parts of the country. Still, its success has caused others to take notice. The Washington Post ran a story October 10 with a sub-headline reading, "'Facing the Giants,' Shot On a Shoestring and a Prayer, Does Miraculously at Box Office."

Baptist Press



San Diego: SBC's Newest Strategic Focus City
by Mickey Noah

The North American Mission Board has named San Diego as the next Strategic Focus City — an initiative that will bring additional Southern Baptist attention, volunteers, and resources in an all-out effort to share the Gospel of Christ with metro San Diego's 3 million residents.

NAMB's Strategic Focus Cities (SFC) is a six-year-old strategy for leveraging the resources of the Southern Baptist Convention's 16.3 million members and 43,000-plus churches to win America's top eleven metropolitan areas for Christ.

While preliminary work already has started, 2007 will be the planning year for the San Diego outreach, with full implementation in 2008-09.

Fermín A. Whittaker, executive director for the California Southern Baptist Convention, said Baptists there are excited about partnering with NAMB to reach the lost and make disciples in the Golden State.

"With at least 33 million unchurched Californians, we must do everything possible to tell every man, woman, boy, and girl about Jesus and His saving grace. This is one more way to help California Southern Baptists' culturally diverse congregations be on mission and be Kingdom builders," Whittaker said.

San Diego — the seventh largest city in the U.S. — was named as a Strategic Focus City because it is a largely unchurched mission field, said John Yarbrough, NAMB vice president for strategic initiatives.

"Only 15 percent of metro San Diego's 3 million people attend church regularly," Yarbrough said. "We also chose San Diego because of its existing strengths. The major advantage of metro San Diego is its being home to many strong and dynamic Southern Baptist churches."

San Diego joins Phoenix, Chicago, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Boston, Seattle, New York City, Miami, Cleveland, and Baltimore as NAMB-designated Strategic Focus Cities.

Baptist Press

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