Nicky Gumbel Praises Oscar-Winning Evangelist

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Nicky Gumbel Praises Oscar-Winning Evangelist

By Movieguide® Contributor

At this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX, AND THE HORSE took home the Oscar for Best Animated Short. 

The movie is based on a 2019 novel of the same name by Charlie Mackesy, who also co-directed and co-wrote the short. 

In addition to his work as a writer and artist, Mackesy is known throughout the UK as a popular evangelist. He was once an atheist, but found God while working as an artist. 

“Jesus quietly introduced me to a journey into finding people really beautiful, which is how my art really began,” he explained. “Because I felt inside me he was going, ‘Look. How beautiful is that guy sitting on that bench?’ And I would have never noticed him before.”

Now, he shares his faith with nonbelievers in talks around the UK. 

“Charlie appeals to people outside of the church because he’s not what they expect,” author, Alpha founder and evangelist Nicky Gumbel shared. Gumbel previously pastored Holy Trinity Brompton, one of the most influential Anglican congregation in the world.

“You know, when you have the sort of picture of ‘the evangelist,’ you don’t picture Charlie Mackesy, and I think that’s what’s so wonderful about him,” he said.

Gumbel continued, “I think he’s the finest evangelist in the U.K. at the moment. People outside the church, I would rather take them to hear Charlie than anybody else in the U.K.”

Movieguide® previously reported on Mackesy’s spiritual journey:

THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX, AND THE HORSE creator and writer Charles Mackesy, who took an unorthodox route to his faith, is now a popular evangelist in the U.K. 

Mackesy had been an atheist through his early adult life until unexpected encounters brought him to faith. Mackesy tells stories about these encounters in a sincere and authentic way, which draws unbelievers in. 

One of Mackesy’s stories comes from the first time he heard a gospel song: at a music festival, inside a portable toilet so filthy it was overflowing. 

“In the loo. Bawling. Atheist, atheist, bawling. I don’t really know what happened to me, but as I was feeling it, my left foot slipped. And I went up to here in…” he lets the audience fill in the picture. 

Despite the unfortunate misstep, this experience led Mackesy to see the soul behind gospel music. 

“There’s a spirit behind this that is incredible,” he said, “it’s so full of life. Look at it. Look at these people. Look at what they believe, look at what it does to them.”  

While Mackesy has been a Christian for decades now, he still remembers how he viewed Christianity as an atheist. When asked, Mackesy explained that he saw Christians as “someone who pretends to be good and judges people. And believes in an invisible friend that they’ve created.”  

Mackesy now works to break down this stereotype through his frankness when he speaks. 

In talking about the disciples, Mackesy explains, “I realized that they were naughty people, unreligious people, people who didn’t really have religious etiquette, and probably wouldn’t be that welcome in the church.” 

A good reminder that our Sunday’s best and manners aren’t what make us Christians, it is our faith in Jesus that does. 

Mackesy doesn’t only share outlandish stories, his stories about quiet moments are just as powerful. 

“There was one day when I was on my bike crossing a bridge in London, and it lasted about 11 seconds, but it was this kind of [makes a sound effect] ‘You’re known, you’re loved, this is, God exists and He loves you, He knows you, you’re fully known, you’re fully known, you’re fully known.” 

Mackesy often expresses these profound experiences through his art. 

One piece, the angel, “represents the voice of God saying, ‘I’m with you. I love you. We’ll go there together. I’ll help you with this. You’re not alone.’” 

Mackesy created another piece, Prodigal Daughter, to share God with a friend who was struggling with bipolar disorder.  

“I was just trying to show her through imagery where, you know, to be held is something she always wanted. So I said, ‘This is what God is like.’” 

Mackesy found worldwide success in 2019 through his story The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse which was turned into a short animated film this year and has been nominated for an Oscar. 

He has also hinted at a possible sequel to his beloved story. 

Mackesy’s stories have proven to be an influence across the world and it is clear that wherever he goes from here he will continue to draw people toward the truth of the Gospel 

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