Tomorrow, coinciding with the 37th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, a new independent film hits theaters. It's entitled, To Save a Life. It honestly portrays the enormous challenges facing our teens today. Written by a seasoned youth-pastor with a degree in film, this story doesn't shy away from the real life-and-death issues our young people face.
The film tells the story of Jake Taylor, a young man who has it all: a basketball scholarship, the ideal girlfriend, and the right friends. But faced with the demands of the in-crowd, Jake has written off his childhood best-friend, Roger. Isolated and mistreated, Roger finally takes his anger to the extreme when he shows up one day on campus with a gun.
Jake's last-ditch effort can't stop Roger. And the events which follow rock Jake's world. He begins to question everything. But most of all, he can't stop asking: Could I have saved Roger?
In his search for answers, Jake finds himself looking for the next Roger. He reaches out to geeks, losers, and loners. But crossing the strict high school caste lines threatens everything Jake values. And pushes him to answer the most important question of all: What do I want my life to be about?
As I said, this film doesn't shy away from the real struggles facing our teens.. It is rated PG-13 because it portrays some of these issues accurately: from teen sexuality, to abortion, to cutting, to drug and alcohol abuse, to suicide.
But because it does so, teens are praising this film for its realistic and relevant portrayal of their world and responding enthusiastically to its message. As teen author and speaker Zach Hunter comments: "It conveys the raw emotions of life and the ups and downs of high school…My friends who have seen the film are already talking about it and encouraging others to go see it."
Happily, the writers and producers of this film have realized what enormous outreach potential this kind of movie has for reaching teen audiences. Outreach Films and film writer Jim Britts have created a movie-based curriculum complete with leader's guide, movie clips, an interactive audio devotional for teens, and invitational tools. They also spell out steps people can take to bring the movie to their own community if it is not already there.
To find out how you can get a hold of the youth curriculum kit or to bring the movie to your area, visit BreakPoint.org.
Teens today face more challenges than ever before. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control revealed that almost 15% of students in grades nine through twelve had seriously considered suicide in the previous 12 months. And four out of five teen suicide attempts have been preceded by clear warning signs.
Your teenagers may not be ones who struggle with suicidal thoughts or serious depression. But chances are they know kids who do.
And the point of this film is that by following in Jesus' footsteps, teens can reach out to the hurting and the outcast. Their compassion may help change the course of their peers' lives - both now and for eternity. That's a message that could save a life.