The good news in the world of faith-based films is that we are continuing to see increasing numbers of these films coming to theaters, touching millions of lives with their messages. Although there are occasional Hollywood-produced pseudo-faith-based films (e.g., “Noah” and “Exodus”) that distort the message, there has been no lack of truly inspiring, uplifting films with biblical faith messages. These movies inspire and encourage believers, providing a special opportunity for an uplifting experience for families. And since many people who are hesitant to come to church might accept an invitation to see a movie, these films often help reach the unchurched. A well-made, faith-based film is much like a carefully crafted illustrated sermon; it will grab people’s attention and plant seeds of faith and hope in their hearts. The amazing thing is that even with the increasing number of these films coming to theaters each year, the stories and messages in these films are wonderfully diverse.
Life changing messages
While most of these movies inspire and entertain, some have core messages that will be totally life-changing (and even life-saving) for certain individuals. Films like “To Save a Life” shared the message to reach out to hurting souls around us and offered hope to those contemplating suicide. Films such as “October Baby,” “Bella,” and “Voiceless” creatively presented a pro-life message, and many who saw those films decided not to end the life of their unborn child. “I Am Not Ashamed” and the “God’s Not Dead” films urged viewers to not compromise their walk for the sake of acceptance by others but instead to be his light to those around us.
Movies like “Home Run” and “Where Hope Grows” gave encouragement and hope to those struggling with alcoholism and other addictions. “Home Run,” which highlighted the ministry of the Christian 12-step group “Celebrate Recovery” influenced me to start attending that group to receive help with some of my struggles. “Old Fashioned” (one of my favorites!) shows an example of godly courting in a very modern world. It was actually released the same weekend as the very wordly “50 Shades of Grey.” What a contrast of light vs. darkness! And many of these films and others such as “Is Genesis History?” and “The Case for Christ” present clear reasons to believe that the Bible is truly the word of God. And films from the Kendrick Brothers have inspired, challenged and delighted millions with a wide range of messages such as the importance of Fatherhood (“Courageous”) and prayer (“War Room”).
And some of these films even present a clear gospel message with many getting saved as they watch or being led to the Lord by believers who brought them to the theater. After a recent outdoor showing of “Woodlawn,” a football-themed film that tackled many topics like racism, salvation, revival and more, the organizer of the event was able to lead a Muslim lady to faith in Christ. So let us all continue to support these films by our prayers, spreading the word and seeing the films in theaters, especially during opening weekend).
Below is a list of the movies currently scheduled to open during the remainder of 2017. Be sure to visit the movie websites for trailers, theater listings and other information and “LIKE” their Facebook pages to receive updates and also check my special movie Facebook page (LightInDarkPlace) for the latest news. Some films are regular releases and will play one or more weeks in theaters while others are one-night only events*. If available, the start date for each film and the dates for one-night only events* have been given below. Release dates are subject to change, and additional films might be added later. If you have a strong interest in a particular film, you can even help bring that film to your community by following instructions on the film’s website.
“The Shack” (3/3/17) A grieving man receives a mysterious, personal invitation to meet with God at a place called “The Shack.” Based on the inspirational and yet controversial best-selling book. Cast includes Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer and Tim McGraw. theshack.movie
“Slamma Jamma” (3/24/17) Wrongfully accused and sent to prison, a former basketball star prepares for the national slam dunk competition while finding redemption in himself and in those he loves. slammajammamovie.com
“Facing Darkness” (4/10/17 one-night only*) The true story of Samaritan’s Purse fighting the West African ebola pandemic. facingdarknessmovie.com
“The Case for Christ” (4/7/17) Based on the true story of Lee Strobel, an atheist, investigative journalist is transformed as he tries to disprove the newfound Christian faith of his wife. thecaseforchristmovie.com
“Chonda Pierce: Enough” (4/25/17 one-night only*) Christian comedian Chonda Pierce urges people to begin a more fulfilling life journey by showing that Christ is “enough.” chondamovie.com
“JONAH: On Stage” (5/2/17 one-night only*) This musical extravaganza, filmed in front of a live audience, brings to life the journey of this lovable, yet stubborn prophet. jonahonstagemovie.com
“Champion” (5/19/17) In the world of dirt track racing, a single mistake forever changes the lives of two men. This powerful story of forgiveness and redemption features Robert Amaya (“Courageous”) and Andrew Chenney (“Beyond the Mask”). championthemovie.com
“All Saints” (8/25/17) Based on a true story of a salesman-turned-pastor, a tiny church he was ordered to shut down, and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia, who together risked everything to plant seeds for the future. allsaintsmovie.com
“Because of Gracia” (9/15/17) Four teenage high school seniors make life altering decisions that they have to make. becauseofgracia.com
“Same Kind of Different as Me” (10/20/17) An unforgettable true story about an international art dealer who befriends a homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage. With Renée Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Voight and Greg Kinnear. samekindofdifferentasmemovie.com
“The Star” (11/17/17) An animated film about a small but brave donkey and his animal friends who become the unsung heroes of the first Christmas. thestarmovie.com
“Mully” (Date pending; one-night only*) A rags-to-riches story of Charles Mully, whose rise from orphaned poverty in Kenya leads him on a journey of selflessness. mullymovie.com
“God Bless the Broken Road” (date pending) A young, widowed mother struggles to raise her young daughter. This movie combines faith, country music and stock car racing while paying tribute to those who serve in the United States Military. godblessthebrokenroad.com
“Let There be Light” (date pending) An atheist experiencing a near-death experience converts to Christianity. Starring Kevin Sorbo (“God’s Not Dead”). Produced by Sean Hannity. facebook.com/Lettherebelightthemovie
“An Interview with God” (date pending) A journalist whose life is falling apart is offered an interview with someone who claims to be God. What would you ask? aninterviewwithgod.com
“A Salted Christmas” (date pending) Inspirational comedy filmed in South Florida highlighting adoption and foster parenting told through a day in the life of a family just prior to Christmas. manifestpictures.com
Help these films touch more lives
Here are some ways you can help these films can be used to impact many lives in our communities and in the world.
- Pray! Successful ministry needs effective prayer (and even fasting) behind the scenes and it is the same with these movies.
- Help spread the word via social media, fliers, posters, church bulletins, etc., since the secular media normally ignores these movies.
- See the film on opening weekend and try to organize a group (large or small) to attend. It does not matter to the theater how good a movie is; if enough people do not see it opening weekend, the theater will not keep it for the next weekend. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like information about obtaining group discount tickets or how you can become a movie contact person for your church or ministry.
- Purchase tickets as early as possible. The simple act of planning ahead is far more important than people realize. Successful advanced ticket purchases can expand a film’s release to additional theaters and larger auditoriums.
To receive notices about upcoming releases, leaders advanced screenings, group discount tickets and more, email your contact info to Stan at [email protected] (with “SUBSCRIBE” in the subject line) to be added to a Christian movie email list. For more information, like Stan’s Christian movie Facebook page (facebook.com/LightinDarkPlace) and Twitter @LightDarkPlace.
(*) Note that when attendance is high for one-night events, they sometimes have 1-2 encore showings in the following few weeks. Check the film’s website for additional information.
Stanley Goldenberg has been involved in grassroots promotion of Christian films for over 10 years. He hosts a regular “Movie Connection” show on LIFE-FM (90.9 FM) in Miami. He is also a federal hurricane research meteorologist who has published scientific articles and appeared in TV hurricane specials.