GRAPEVINE, Texas — Everybody has a fatherhood story, whether good or bad, and every person’s identity and beliefs about God are profoundly connected to that relationship.
That’s according to filmmaker Stephen Kendrick, who, with his brother, Alex, is behind the forthcoming documentary “Show Me the Father,” releasing in theaters nationwide on Sept. 10. The film weaves personal stories of fatherhood with truths about the fatherhood of God to point viewers to the perfect Father.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Kendrick revealed that “Show Me The Father” from Sony Pictures' Affirm Films was birthed in prayer.
“God said, ‘You need to make this documentary about fatherhood.’ So we moved forward by faith, and we were able to connect with some of the coolest, most emotional stories about fatherhood. We took some of the most powerful truths about the fatherhood of God, put it all together and prayed over it," he said.
“We want people to learn how to relate to God as the perfect Father they've always wanted and longed for, but never had,” the father of six added. “The fatherhood of God was the design for God creating fatherhood on Earth. All the roles that dad is supposed to play on Earth come from God's roles in our lives.”
Fatherhood, Kendrick added, is “something that is very close to our hearts,” as it was their own father’s commitment to Christ that transformed their family tree.
“Our dad grew up with a 7-foot alcoholic father. During his formative years, he was disconnected and couldn’t give my dad the emotional support, the encouragement, that protection, and the provision he needed. And when he did come home, he was intoxicated," he shared.
After hearing the Gospel and coming to know the Lord as a teenager, the Kendricks’ father was able to forgive his own father and rely on the Scriptures and other godly men for wisdom as he raised his own children.
“I didn't stumble upon my dad looking at pornography growing up. I stumbled upon him on his knees in prayer, crying out to God,” Kendrick emphasized. “I saw his faithfulness to my mom because of what Jesus had done in his life. I saw him keeping his promises. He never lied to me. His legacy is what transformed our family."
Statistics show that many of the issues seen in society — from teen suicide and the incarceration rate to drug addiction and atheism — are directly related to fatherlessness, he contended. That’s why, throughout Scripture, God instructs His people to care for the “fatherless” and widowed.
“The analogy that I like to use is, if the bus driver that God has placed as the head of his home jumps off the bus, what's going to happen to the people on the bus? Because that's what you're seeing happening,” he stressed.
“You're seeing families in a ditch. God's design from the beginning has always been a mom and a dad, like two wings on a plane balancing each other out, working together in a home to raise their children. And God says that He's a Father; that He created fatherhood on Earth to represent Him.”
In addition to an original score, “Show Me The Father” offers wisdom from bestselling author and Pastor Tony Evans and features a father’s blessing that viewers are encouraged to emulate in their own families.
“We show how a father’s blessing is modeled in Scripture, and Tony Evans talks about how he gives men at his church a father’s blessing. It’s an emotional part of the story because everyone longs for that,” he contended.
Though it's about fatherhood, “Show Me The Father” is for everyone and will impact viewers differently, Kendrick said.
“Everybody is seeing this movie in a different way, but it's hitting them very deeply,” the “War Room” creator explained. “If you were to tell me your own story about your own dad, there's a tender place there, whether of a woundedness or of how much you loved him.”
On Sept. 24, the Kendrick brothers will also release “Courageous Legacy,” a remastered re-release of the film that has been impacting fathers and families around the world since its initial release 10 years ago. “Courageous” earned more than $35 million at box offices worldwide.
Kendrick told CP the remastered version of the box office hit will focus on the topic of fatherhood and discipleship. The filmmaker said that through both “Show Me The Father” and “Courageous Legacy,” he hopes viewers will be encouraged to share the Gospel with the next generation.
“What I've seen consistently is, if a child is growing up in a fatherless home when they give their life to Christ, God kicks in, and He'll start sending other people in their lives to fill in the gap. He'll start loving on them. He'll start disciplining them when they get out of line. He is the perfect Father. He knows exactly how to get involved and intervene in our lives.”
The impact of “Courageous,” Kendrick posited, prompted the brothers to launch the Fatherhood CoMission. The organization seeks to champion fatherhood by “offering compelling evidence of God’s design for dads as noble difference makers in their families and the world.”
With an international impact, the Fatherhood CoMission serves others by providing resources, events and a relationship-building platform for other fathering organizations.
The Church and Christian ministries, Kendrick said, should reflect James 1:27, which encourages Christians “to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.”
“A child should be able to walk into the doors of the church and look around and see a lot of spiritual fathers; men that will mentor, teach, train, invite them into their homes, love on them and model loving fatherhood in their lives. God will then step in and start working on their hearts in the process.”