Filmmaker Alex Kendrick: God Spoke to Me So Clearly
By Movieguide® Staff
Christian directors Alex and Stephen Kendrick are famous for their popular movies that uphold biblical values and family-friendly content.
However, Alex revealed that the path to success in the industry as a Christian was not easy and required surrendering himself and his movies to God.
“God said something to me. It’s like He spoke to me so clearly I heard Him word for word and he said ‘Alex would you rather have an easier road with less fruit or a harder road with more fruit?’ I was so stunned that I turned to my wife and I said ‘God just asked me a question,'” Kendrick said in an I Am Second interview. “She said ‘what did you say?’ and I said ‘well I don’t know, I didn’t answer.'”
Kendrick would answer God’s call, but that meant trusting fully in God’s plan. For Kendrick, God’s plan for his life was apparent from a young age.
“As a boy, for years we did not have a television. Our parents were pretty conservative, loved the Lord, and wanted to, rightly, protect us,” Kendrick recalled. “We were able to see on occasion a movie, a family-friendly movie at the theater and I remember being so enamored with these huge stories on screen. Like the RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and the STAR WARS movies. And sometime around the age of 9 or 10, I remember thinking I must do this.”
Kendrick added: “That was my wake-up call. That God could say ‘Alex, I can use your desire to do this for my purposes and do more with it than you ever thought possible if you trust me with it.”
Kendrick’s journey into the entertainment industry began with prayer.
“I prayed about it and God gave me this idea for a plot called FLYWHEEL,” Kendrick explained. “FLYWHEEL was about a used car salesman who would live one way in front of his family and church friends, and of course, another way behind the scenes. And men began responding to the story of FLYWHEEL saying, ‘That’s me on the screen, that is me.'”
Kendrick continued: “Then before we knew a Blockbuster Video had picked it up and put it in their stores nationwide.”
Kendrick wanted to build off his first movie’s success with FACING THE GIANTS. The 2006 football movie about facing your fears is considered Kendrick’s first blockbuster hit. However, Kendrick revealed that faith played a significant role in his success once again.
“I had no clue what was coming. We felt a very strong sense that God was saying deal with faith. Everybody has a giant fear, sense of failure, struggling with inferiority or some ball and chain in their own life,” Kendrick said. “We asked the question, ‘Is God only worthy of being worshiped when He’s good to you or is He worthy of being worshiped because He’s God?”
Kendrick continued: “[So] I’m excited about this message and then we go knock on several doors of distributors hoping that somebody will pick it up and release it theatrically. No one was interested. I was frustrated… God said to me, ‘Alex, you made a movie that says that God is worth worshiping and serving whether you win or whether you lose. Will you do that with this film?’ So we surrendered it to God.”
As Kendrick and his team continued to pray for the future of their story, God provided.
“Soon after that, a music company calls us that we had asked permission to use a song in the film and they say to us ‘Not only can you use this song, but our parent company is interested in releasing your movie… Sony,'” Kendrick remembered. “That’s the one door we had not knocked on. God opened the door we could not have opened. FACING THE GIANTS was released in several hundred movie theaters in the fall of 2006 and it did better than any of us expected.”
However, even with two successful movies under Kendrick’s belt, things grew more complicated.
“As more theaters jumped on board, more ministries caught hold of what these movies could do for people. For some reason, the path got harder for us,” Kendrick said. “My time with my wife and my children began to lessen and lessen and that began to pull on my own identity. Who am I? What am I supposed to be doing here?”
Kendrick said that his next project involved the importance of a marriage grounded in Christ. But as Alex Kendrick and his brother Stephen Kendrick were ready to publish a book about marriage, he noticed his shortcomings in his relationship with his wife.
“As we continued praying, God impressed on us too to make a film about a marriage totally surrendered to him…
“Before it comes out, issues in my own marriage started to bubble up to the surface… I was thinking what is going on here? I’m writing a book and making a movie about how to have a godly marriage, and my own marriage is being stretched and pulled more than it ever had. So we agreed to go to counseling.”
Kendrick added: “God stripped me down to the core and reminded me just because I know some truth here, doesn’t mean that I’ve got it all figured out in my own heart. I needed Him as much as anybody. I had to cling to His grace and His truth as much as I ever had.”
Since then, Alex, alongside his brother Stephen, created several faith-filled movies for the big screen. Most notably, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and OVERCOMER, which have all been honored at Movieguide®’s annual Awards Gala.