This year has already seen a number of films with Christian themes in the theaters (e.g. “Caged No More,” “Risen,” “The Young Messiah,” “Miracles from Heaven,” and “God’s Not Dead 2”), and since these films are now available on DVD and streaming as well as for special church-licensed showings, they are continuing to impact even more lives. Thankfully, the rest of 2016 will continue this trend with a large number of new faith-based films lined up to appear in theaters. These films inspire and encourage believers. 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 like a carefully crafted illustrated sermon; it will grab people’s attention and then touch their hearts.
Upcoming 2016 Releases
Below is a list of the movies currently scheduled to open during the remainder of 2016. Each is unique and will impact people in a different way. Be sure to visit the movie websites for trailers, theater listings and other information and like their Facebook pages to receive updates. These films vary in quality, amount of spiritual content and number of theaters, so check my 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. The start date for each film is given below (or the date for one-night only events). 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.
“The Fight Within” (8/12) A young fighter grapples with choices to survive in world of MMA as he builds a life of faith and love. thefightwithinmovie.com
“Ben Hur” (8/19 in 3D) Mark Burnett and Roma Downey bring us a retelling of the classic book “Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ” about Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a Jewish prince from Jerusalem, enslaved by the Romans and trained (by Morgan Freeman) as a charioteer, and whose life intersects the unfolding story of Jesus. sharebenhur.com
“Remember the Goal” (8/26) A female coach at an all-girls Christian school sets a goal for the cross-country team to win their first ever state title. fiveandtwopictures.com
“Greater” (8/26) Brandon Burlsworth, perhaps the greatest walk-on in the history of college football, displays dogged determination in the face of staggering odds. greaterthemovie.com
“The Insanity of God” (8/30 one-night only) In this true story, missionaries Nik and Ruth Ripken are taught by believers living in persecution how to follow Jesus in tough times. insanityofgodmovie.com
“The Vessel” (9/16) After a tsunami destroys a small-town elementary school, a young man builds a mysterious structure out of the school’s remains. (With Martin Sheen) imdb.com/title/tt4083052
“Hillsong: Let Hope Rise” (9/16) This concert documentary captures the on-stage energy and off-stage hearts of the Christian band Hillsong United. hillsongmovie.com
“To Joey With Love” (9/20 one-night only) The true story of singers Joey and Rory Feek and their love story will inspire hope and faith. tojoeywithlove.com
“Queen of Katwe” (9/23) A teenager from the slums of Uganda, inspired by a missionary, becomes an international chess champion and transforms lives. queenofkatwe.com
“VANISHED Left Behind: The Next Generation” (9/28 one-night only) This suspense story was inspired by “Left Behind” and directed to young adults. thevanishedfilm.com
“Voiceless” (10/7) A former solider becomes an outreach pastor, discovers an abortion clinic across the street and struggles to stand for what is right in the midst of intense opposition. voicelessthemovie.com
“Priceless” (10/14) This suspense-filled love story reminds us that no matter what we have done, we are of infinite worth in God’s eyes. (Made by the Christian band, For King & Country.) pricelessthemovie.com
“I’m Not Ashamed: The Rachel Joy Story” (10/21) This powerful story tells about the first victim in the Columbine shootings who was not ashamed to share her love for Jesus. imnotashamedfilm.com
“Worship Night in America” (11/1 one-night only) In this concert documentary, Chris Tomlin calls America to prayer. christomlin.com/worship-night-in-america
“Hacksaw Ridge” (11/4) Mel Gibson directs a special WWII epic about an Army medic (Andrew Garfield) who braves the perils of war to evacuate the wounded from behind enemy lines. imdb.com/title/tt2119532/
Ways to support these and other Christian films
If each of us does our part, these films can be used to touch many lives in our communities and in the world.
Here are some ways you can help.
- 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.
- 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] 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.
Stanley Goldenberg has been involved in grassroots promotion of Christian films for 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.