My Faith Votes recently sat down with Stephen Kendrick to discuss his new movie, “Show Me the Father,” released to theaters on September 10.
Stephen is a film writer, actor, producer, author and former senior associate pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. With his brothers Alex and Shannon, Stephen runs a faith-based production company, aptly titled Kendrick Brothers Productions. They have produced eight films, including “Facing the Giants,” “Courageous,” and their most recent, “Show Me the Father.”
This conversation has been edited for clarity and length. You can watch the full conversation at My Faith Votes here.
You’ve released some great movies throughout your career. What can people get excited about for your most recent project?
What’s exciting is that we’re releasing our first documentary. We’ve never done that before. It’s called “Show Me the Father,” and it’s an emotional roller coaster that takes the viewer through some of the best stories of fatherhood we’ve ever heard. We heard from NFL players. We featured adoption stories. Even Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family, shines some light on his incredible fatherhood story. The film has twists and turns, and it’s very cinematic.
Ultimately, our goal is to help people improve their fatherhood stories. Everybody has a fatherhood story, too — not just men. But if you ask people about their fatherhood stories, a lot of people get choked up. Either they loved their father deeply and were very close to him or they were abandoned, hurt, abused or just emotionally disconnected from him. So, in the midst of all that, we wanted to point to the perfect fatherhood of God.
We’re very excited about the responses we’ve been getting, too. Everybody has had a unique take-away from the film. For some, it’s a healing experience. For others, it just inspires them to connect with their families more.
You talk about two different perspectives there: the healthy relationship with a father and the broken one. What is the most common reason you’ve found for so many people having a broken relationship with their fathers?
Well, the importance of receiving a loving blessing from a father is indescribable. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he hears, “You are my beloved son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Before Jesus had even begun healing anybody — before he had disciples or walked on water — God communicated His love, His identity, and His adoration for His son.
The sad reality is that a large percentage of people have never heard any kind of loving blessing from their father.
Nowadays, a lot of people think a father figure isn’t necessary for a family. What is it about fatherly blessings that is so important?
Jewish communities learn God blesses all of creation at the very beginning of time. Before Adam and Eve even existed, God called creation to be fruitful, and he blessed it. God blessed Abraham and Isaac too. Isaac was supposed to bless his son Esau, but his brother Jacob stole the blessing. That’s how desirable blessings were in the Old Testament.
Fast forward to the New Testament, you see that when we give our lives to Jesus, God becomes our adopted father, and with this comes His blessings. Scripture tells us God will bless us with every spiritual blessing through Christ. He tells us, “You are my child. I delight in you. I love you. I want the best for you.” In the same way, an earthly father should bless his children and affirm their identity.
This generation is longing for identity. Everywhere you look, people are having sexual identity issues, gender identity issues and spiritual identity issues. Dads are supposed to help affirm and clarify the identities of their children. When you remove the father from the picture, you create a crisis.
In America, 24 million children are growing up without the voice of a father present. So if you want to understand the importance of a fatherly blessing, look at the statistics. Children with absent fathers are much more likely to be imprisoned, use drugs, become a victim of human trafficking, experience teen pregnancy and drop out of school. In the Old Testament, God repeatedly speaks about the importance of taking care of the fatherless.
So, in making this movie, we want to bring attention to the crisis happening in the home. Even in the political realm, you’ll hear people on both sides saying that fatherlessness is an issue. Fatherhood is so important, and we have to make laws and support movements that strengthen families and strengthen fatherhood.
My Faith Votes is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square. Learn more at MyFaithVotes.org.