HOLLYWOOD, Calif. When the movie "Courageous: Honor Begins at Home" comes to theaters on Sept. 30, executive producer Michael Catt of Sherwood Pictures hopes ordinary men will fully understand how they can impact their homes, churches and communities.
The story unfolds as law enforcement officers stand up to crime in their neighborhood but, at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them feels prepared to tackle: fatherhood. They discover that their standard for parenthood misses the mark as their children drift further from them.
When tragedy hits home, the men struggle through their fears, searching for a way to "serve and protect" those dearest to them, and the man most hit by the crisis leads them to take a powerful challenge.
"In the movie, you see men in various stages of their lives, some feeling like failures, some uncertain, one working at being accountableand they're learning that it's not good enough to be good enough," the director said. "They've got to be godly."
Catt said he laments the desperate times facing Americadisastrous weather conditions, the breakdowns in family, church and government, terrorist threats and the debt crisisbut said that man's desperation can turn his heart around.
"Quite honestly, I don't think the average person will ever have courage until he or she is desperate, until faced with a crisis; and then, ordinary people do extraordinary things," he said.
"Most of us, to be honest, are just average people, but crisis and tragedy make us desperate for God, and then God empowers us to be courageous."
While the showing of the filmmarketed by Provident Filmsmay be classified as an event, Catt has a vision for the film far beyond the big screen.
The vision stems from the success of two previous Sherwood Pictures independent movie hits "Facing the Giants" and "Fireproof." After the movie "Fireproof," couples left the theater asking, "What are we supposed to do now?" Catt said.
"With 'Courageous,' men will say, 'I need to be a better dad. How do I do that?'"
To meet movie fans' anticipated questions, the producers of "Courageous" designed an array of resources.
"We turned down dozens and dozens of products and asked, 'What adds value to the ministry? What helps minister to people?'" Catt said.
As a result, the film's screenplay writers, Stephen and Alex Kendrick, wrote "The Resolution for Men" based on the basic challenge in the film. Priscilla Shirer wrote the companion book for women, "The Resolution for Women," while Jim McBride, Sherwood's executive pastor, wrote "Rite of Passage: A Father's Blessing" to "help children grow up and become godly young men and women," Catt said.
Catt, senior pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., took the theme broader with "Courageous Living," explaining how to live courageously in various instances of life. He and Stephen Kendrick wrote the Courageous Living curriculafour-week and eight-week sessionsthat incorporates movie clips, useful for small groups, couples and neighborhood outreaches. Randy Alcorn wrote a novelization of the Kendricks' screenplay titled "Courageous: Honor Begins at Home."
For more information about "Courageous" and the various supportive resources, visit www.courageousresources.com.
About Sherwood Pictures
"Courageous" is the fourth faith-based movie produced by Sherwood Baptist Church through its outreach, Sherwood Pictures Ministry.
The Albany, Ga. church, which now has more than 3,000 members, produced "Flywheel" (2003), "Facing the Giants" (2006), and "Fireproof" (2008). "Fireproof" raked in $33.5 million at the box office, ranking number 122 among 2008 films. In the Christian category, it was number five.
Sherwood raises no money from the pulpit for film-making; funding is separate from church giving and tithes. The success of previous films has garnered a one million dollar budget for production. Hundreds of church volunteers joined a few professional crew and actors in making "Courageous."
The church made the film in only 35 days with upgraded production, including multiple cameras and numerous film sites.
Senior Pastor Michael Catt says after a film comes out, theaters take their half of incoming funds, marketing expenses are paid, the studio gets its share and other costs are covered, and then the filmmakers get their share. With "Fireproof," Sherwood paid off existing debt on its facilities and accelerated build-out on an 82-acre sports park. Current funds go into ministry, missions, and the church's Generations campaign, which reaches out to young families and helps redirect people on destructive paths.