For those who love a good Sherwood Pictures film, your wait is almost over. The creators of the inspiring films Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof, the 2008 movie which defied box office numbers and inspired a slew of married couples to take their own “love dare,” are at it again. On Friday, September 30th, Sherwood releases their fourth film, Courageous.
For God and by God is the M.O. for Sherwood Pictures and par usual, the ministry saturates their movies from beginning to end in prayer. They expect a move of the Holy Spirit, and the touching of many lives. Being a fan of the movie on Facebook, I was able to vicariously witness the calls for prayer throughout the filming.
There is no mincing of words when it comes to this scripture-based film that highlights the duty, importance and privilege of fatherhood. And who better to be characters who walk a call of duty everyday than those who are called to serve and protect — police officers. The film centers on four police officers who give their best to the job everyday, but fall short of passion and purpose when it comes to their God-ordained duty of being head of their own families.
Among the actors in the film’s cast is one half of the Kendrick brother directing and writing team, Alex Kendrick, Fireproof alum Ken Bevel, and stage actor Robert Amaya. Amaya plays one of the fathers in Courageous. His character, Javier Martinez, struck a chord with him because it reminded him of his own father. He says ” When I got a chance to read the life of this character it reminded me so much of my own dad. See, my dad is also an immigrant and he had to struggle so hard to maintain a job and still be able to provide for his family and still be a dad, and a great one at that.”
The actor, who is also a worship leader with his wife, at his own church in Coral Gables, Florida, is a new father as well. He expresses his gratefulness for being able to step into his father’s shoes for his role, saying,”He really set that example for me and he gave me something to model after.”
Unfortunately, Amaya understands that even though he was raised in a Godly home, many children are not. He particularly sees the need for Courageous in the Latino community. Citing statistics from the World Health Organization and the United Nations, Amaya talks about the violence that is so widespread in Central and South America as well as Mexico. What really disturbs him? Those perpetrating the crimes and violence are primarily people who have been raised on the streets without a father. Amaya declares, “When the Latino man realizes desperately that if things are going to change in the Latin American culture, and if things are going to change in our society, we need to look into this position of fatherhood.”
Although Courageous is a call to fatherhood, Amaya assures that there are plenty of strong wives in this film as well. Of course, the Bible teaches us that the head needs to be in order so that the whole body is strong and able to function correctly. That’s the example Jesus gave to the church and that’s how it should be at home as well.
Amaya recalls when his father was a pastor for some years during his teens. “I really got to see how difficult it was to balance ministry and still be a dad…but I never saw him put his family in second place. I think he always considered his family his first ministry. It’s a good example for me to always remember that family does come first—they are the first ministry.”
Sure Hollywood will draw parallels between the success of Fireproof and Courageous; however, because Sherwood Pictures comes out of its ministry, Sherwood Baptist Church, they are sure to look at the success of Courageous from a different perspective. Looking through the eyes of Christ, the spiritual expectations far outweigh any monetary gain bar none. Nevertheless, since the film is by God and for God’s glory, He does big things with humble and prayerful beginnings.
Click here to see a video for the making of Courageous.