Updated: Mar 30
The film Jesus Revolution is blowing away Hollywood predictions and moving audiences to tears. Only expected to make an estimated $6M, the film brought in more than $15M...during opening weekend alone has doubled that since, has become the number one highest grossing post-pandemic Lionsgate film and is still climbing. In the film, Kelsey Grammer (Executive producer of Frasier, Girlfriends) portrays the role based on real life pastor "Chuck Smith". Grammer says "What Chuck did went back to one of the basic precepts of Christianity, which is inclusion."
Lionsgate biopic movie Jesus Revolution by the Erwin brothers shares what happened in the 1960s when a pastor of a small apparently conservative church was faced with the decision whether or not to embrace people who did not look, sound or according to the film at times even smell like his traditional congregants: hippies. When faced with the choice to reach out in love or stand in judgment, he chose love and the results were astounding. A movement of young people, love, and faith exploded, they became called “The Jesus People”. Unbeknownst to most of those involved, they were being chronicled by an African-American journalist in their midst, Josiah who went on to tell their story in Time magazine of all places. It turns out the story was one of a movement that grew from the size of a mustard seed to one with mountain-sized results.
Knowing that the box office expectation shattering film depicts real-life events of a small unlikely alliance that birthed a huge high impact revolution totally based on nothing but faith yields a true story that only compounds what the notion of people trusting faith and love to do the impossible can do. Set in a time when the United States was deeply divided, when many people were searching for lasting truth and peace in mysticism, substance abuse, in several things that the Bible speaks against and where many conservative evangelicals felt that they were not only living with tremendous uncertainty but whom also felt that they under attack it is amazing and more importantly inspiring to see that choosing faith, love, compassion and inclusion grew into a movement that spawned over 1,000 churches, converted countless people to the love of Jesus and supported the birth of contemporary gospel that encourages so many today.
When Ebony Magazine asked Devon Franklin "When folks watch this film and leave the theater with a bevy of emotions, what do you hope they take away?"
He said "That love is the answer. Acceptance, creating community and family through embracing and not shunning others is key. I want people to walk out of the theater, hugging whomever they came with and saying, "You know what, I'm going to make a commitment to be more loving." So often the portrayal of what it means to be Christian gets filtered through a political lens. It's not a political statement; it's an emotional one. I think sometimes the church gets away from that as well. At the end of the day, what is the greatest commandment? Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. That's it. I think this movie sums it up perfectly."
USA Today says that in the faith-based film, Kelsey Grammer portrays real-life pastor Chuck Smith, who with the help of street preacher Lonnie Frisbee (Jonathan Roumie) reignited his struggling church by inviting young hippies and rock music into the fold. Grammer, who is now 68 years old also told the outlet that he remembers the "Jesus Movement" and of he said "They were energized and optimistic, and I thought that was a great thing to see,".
Tips / Thought-starters
Tips & lessons to be learned from his story for current and rising Faith, Media & Culture Leaderz
Trust: Decide what ultimate good you truly believe in and trust it. The movie's results and the actual story within the film both show what is possible when the choice is made to trust, to create, and to share with others based on that trust.
Back to Basics: Always make sure that you haven't abandoned the basics or as sports enthusiasts would say - the fundamentals. For the movie and for the story itself getting
Key Questions/Next Steps
Reference: Ask - what should be the basics that you never neglect for your latest project? For faith-based projects definitely pray about it. Are there industry experts, industry resources experts or even perhaps legends that have shared things to always do or never do or check of focus on? If you're not sure then think of someone you admire in your field and check for interviews or social posts where they have given advice. Also check for books or articles about a project like yours that share proven steps and processes.
Be Strong: When looking at making a move that you believe brings the highest good to this world in line with your faith it can be to easy to question, doubt, and second guess - don't. Remember the essence of faith and that it involves the unseen. Think of a huge blessing and remember that it can happen again...and again. Then go forward in the strength of believing what is possible.
Be Courageous: It can be too easy to think of how you could fail or that the mountain seems too big or that the giants, the loud negative forces have all the resources...don't trust in that especially for your faith-based projects, when it is a faith based project you already have the greatest resource - go in it!
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