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ALEX KENDRICK: SPREADING THE WORD ONE FILM AT A TIME


Alexander Kendrick, an American Christian pastor, writer, producer, director, and actor of faith-based films grew up in Georgia where he now lives with Christina, his wife of 27 years, and their six children. It’s also where he and his brothers, Stephen and Shannon, began their ministry through the Kendrick Brothers production company.


The son of a pastor and school teacher, he recalls his parent's unwavering faith.


“That’s the atmosphere we grew up in. We saw our parents sincerely honor the Lord, on good days and bad days and during hardship. We grew up thinking, we want to be like our parents,” reflects Kendrick of the foundation that he and his siblings have based their life’s work on.


“It started with a home video camera. Us running around the neighborhood filming stuff. Little by little, we began understanding how to shoot and edit things,” he notes. It wasn’t until later that the three brothers realized that they could reach more people through film.


The brothers took their inspiration from the films they watched as children: classics, including the “Sound of Music,” “Chariots of Fire” and “Ben-Hur.” “Watching all these movies we thought, ‘We can do this one day,’” recalls Kendrick.


After earning his communications degree from Kennesaw State University and later attending the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Kendrick started doing small film projects at the church where he worked with his brother Stephen as an associate pastor. “Then we asked our pastor if we could make a full-length feature film. It was way harder than we thought.”


That movie was “Flywheel,” which was released in 2003. It’s the story of a dishonest used car salesman who turns his life around, working to become the person God wants him to be and to earn back his family’s love and respect.


After the success of their first several films, the brothers formed their own production company, Kendrick Brothers Productions. Since “Flywheel,” they have released six more faith-based, feature films. Among them are “Facing the Giants,” “War Room,” “Overcomer,” “Courageous,” “Fireproof,” “Lifemark” and the documentary “Show me the Father.”


The Kendrick Brothers continue to rely on the support of the church community to make their films. By working with churches where they are filming, the production company can create quality films and reach a broader audience without overshadowing the ministries at any single church.


More importantly, their relationship with Sony has enabled the distribution of their films to 76 countries in 40 languages. “As a missionary, I could never visit that many countries and minister in that many places; but I can send a movie that tells a story and gives hope and truth,” says Kendrick.


“Lifemark,” their most recent film, came to their attention when actor and evangelist Kirk Cameron called the Kendrick Brothers and told them about a YouTube video called “I Lived on Parker Avenue.” Having adopted four of his six children, Cameron was moved by the powerful, short, testimonial film that shares the story of an 18-year-old girl who “rolls off the abortion table at the last second before the procedure starts,” recalls Kendrick.


Fast forward 19 years later and that mother meets the boy she did not abort. “It’s a true story. We just tell the story as it happened,” adds Kendrick.


Their mission? To honor Jesus Christ and make His truth and love known among the nations.

“Twenty years ago, I wanted to be one of those filmmakers that makes cool projects that might impact people. The Lord slowly changed the way I view it. I’m not out just to make cool stuff. I want to make stuff that impacts people. That’s what drives us,” shares Kendrick.

“We do this because people everywhere need hope. They need inspiration and encouragement to keep walking when they’re going through hardship. They need truth and they need to know the love of God,” continues Kendrick.


While a sermon can be very helpful, Kendrick explains that watching something being played out on screen is more relatable. Through film, they can show viewers that “truth can transform and change lives. It is not easy but it can happen.”


Now, the trio looks to God for direction. “We ask God to tell us what direction to go, what theme to focus on, what story He wants us to make. He turns our hearts in a direction and confirms it. Then we start walking in that direction,” explains Kendrick of their process.

Each film has a central theme, continues Kendrick. “‘War Room’ is about the power of prayer; “Overcomer” is about identity in Christ; “Courageous” is about fatherhood and parenting; “Fireproof” is about marital love and how to fight for that; “Facing the Giants” is about faith; and “Flywheel” is about Lordship.”


“It’s been wonderful and difficult but very fulfilling. We’re going to keep walking that direction as long as the Lord lets us,” says Kendrick.


The Women’s Refuge invited Kendrick to be the keynote speaker at the nonprofit’s annual Christmas Banquet on December 9. The banquet supports the Women’s Refuge, a residential, Christian program providing help, hope, and lifelong healing from emotional, spiritual mental woundedness. Through its residential and community counseling center help is available for men, women and families dealing with depression, anxiety, and broken relationships.


Having grown up with only males on both sides of his family, Kendrick says it has been a joyful journey to have four daughters, making the work the Women’s Refuge does all the more important to him.


“The Women’s Refuge does a type of ministry that is not easy but is so sorely needed. They meet these women where they are and speak into their lives. They counsel them, pray with them and help them. That’s what we want to do with our movies,” said Kendrick of the importance of the work the nonprofit does for the women and families of Indian River County.


“Their ministry is something that resonates with me. It’s often a messy and hard ministry because everybody’s story is different and can be very, very difficult. When you’re trying to help people get past scars and emotional pain to inject life, hope, and joy, and to help them to connect with the Lord, that’s no easy task, but it can be done,” continued Kendrick.


The Women’s Refuge will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the annual Christmas Banquet on December 9 at the Corporate Air Hangar at 5:30 p.m. with dinner catered by Wild Thyme Catering.


Top Sponsors include the Bernard A. Egan Foundation, George E. Warren Corporation, Corporate Air Inc., Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company, Tim and Bernadette Longden, Bill and Langie Mannion, Next Level Productions, and Wild Thyme Catering.


To learn more about Kendrick, visit kendrickbrothers.com. For information about the Women’s Refuge, visit womensrefugevb.org.


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