As told by Michael Catt, senior Pastor of Sherwood
I met Alex Kendrick while preaching at a youth camp one summer and was impressed with his videos and media talents. When the time came for us to fill the Media Minister position on staff, I contacted Alex. Though Alex was using his gifts and talents in ministry, he was not the director of media for his church. I saw a diamond in the rough. Alex came on board in 1999, and we called his brother Stephen in 2001.
God had been preparing these two from childhood to make movies. As kids they lived next door to a man who was interested in technical gadgets. He bought stop-and-go animation cameras, and Alex and Stephen used his equipment to make short videos. For years the boys put together homemade “chase ‘em down and beat ‘em up” movies. Later they produced commercials, movie trailers and even school projects.
All along, their parents supported them through prayer and by modeling authentic Christianity. As a result, Alex has long had a deep desire to make Christian films.
The Kendrick brothers are an asset to our staff. They have a great respect for pastoral authority and are very teachable. They have put aside egos and brotherly competition to produce movies that have made a mark on our church, on the culture and around the world. Through His sovereignty, God even placed their families in the same neighborhood in Albany. This has allowed Alex and Stephen to work on story ideas or write scripts more easily.
After reading an article from George Barna listing the top cultural influences, we learned that church was sliding down the scale while movies, media and music were becoming the predominant means of influence. Since the church was listed behind sports, education and movies we concluded we could either complain about this or address it. This mindset has been the key initiative behind the development of the Sports Park, Sherwood Christian Academy and Sherwood Pictures.
In 2001 we went to Orlando, Florida, for staff retreat and took a day off to hang out at Disney World. We took a behind the scenes tour and learned about their “imagineers.” As we walked around the park observing the attention to detail everywhere, we were challenged with this thought: If a secular company can be this committed to excellence, why can’t the church of Jesus Christ?
While in Orlando, I talked with Alex about where he wanted to be in five to ten years. He said, “I want to make movies, but no church is going to let me stay on staff and do that.” I replied, “Why not? Bring me a script and a budget, and let’s see if God is in it.” That conversation was the genesis of Sherwood Pictures. Our goal from day one has been to make family-friendly movies that build on the Judeo Christian ethic and communicate the gospel without compromise. We want to make movies you could take your girlfriend or your grandmother to without embarrassment.
For more information on Sherwood and Sherwood Pictures, you can read Prepare for Rain by Michael Catt. Available here.