(Photo: Don Haynes)
Best-selling author and pastor Rick Warren plans to give an exclusive preview and behind-the-scenes look at the production of "The Bible" TV series, created by Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, during a live webcast on Saturday. The event comes one day before the much-anticipated first episode premieres on the History Channel this Sunday.
The 90-minute simulcast hosted by Warren will feature an overview of the series with not-yet-seen portions of the series and the "why" behind the series with Burnett and Downey, according to Pastors.com, a website dedicated to providing guidance and resources for Christian leaders.
"One way to build a bridge between God's Word and the issues of our day is to tie a sermon series into some cultural event, something that has already caught the attention of many people," Warren stated. "For instance, when we enter the current economic crisis, I preached a series on God's principles for money management. It taught people that the Bible offers wise and practical advice on how to handle your finances.
"Another example is when Mel Gibson released his movie, "The Passion of Christ", we preached a series, "How Love Speaks: 7 Words From the Cross," he explained.
Warren wrote that "The Bible" miniseries is a great opportunity for pastors and church leaders to reach out to people who will be watching the series, but may not attend church. He plans to incorporate the History Channel TV series during the next five weekend sermons. Plans are for Saddleback Church's Sunday evening services to be followed by a viewing of the series on big screens at the main campus in Lake Forest, Calif.
He is encouraging other churches to do the same.
"Every Sunday night for five weeks – from March 3rd through Easter Sunday on March 31st – millions of viewers will see the Bible come to life in a whole new way," he wrote. "You can make the most of this opportunity to reach out to the people in your community who will be watching … plan a sermon series, small group and outreach campaign and help viewers go deeper and learn even more about the Bible."
Producers of the epic 10-hour/five-part docudrama say the series promises to be a landmark television event, combining one of the greatest collections of stories ever assembled with live action and state-of-the-art CGI (Computer generated imagery).
Earlier this month, hoping to encourage viewers of the "The Bible" to delve into the Word of God by easily accessing scripture through the latest technology, Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, announced that the Bible App by YouVersion will host the official companion app for the series.
"Our prayer has always been that the dramatization of these stories will drive viewers to go to the Bible itself and drink in the actual text, because it is a book that changes lives," said Downey, who co-executive produced the series with her husband and also plays the role of Jesus' mother, Mary.
Burnett, who is the creator of such reality TV shows as "Celebrity Apprentice," "Shark Tank," "Survivor" and "The Voice," said that although he and his company have many series currently on TV, "The Bible" is the most important.
"Over the next decade, more people will view our Bible series than all of our other TV series combined," he said.
A link to RSVP for the "Behind the Scenes" webcast event, which begins 9:30 am PST and is hosted by Warren, is available at the end of his blog post, "Build a Bridge Between God's Word and Issues of Our Day."