Pastor Shares Gospel with THE CHOSEN Actors: ‘God at Work’

Photo from Yoshi Barrigas’ Instagram

Pastor Shares Gospel with THE CHOSEN Actors: ‘God at Work’

By Movieguide® Staff

Greg Van Court, a pastor at a reformed Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, shared the gospel with actors from THE CHOSEN after God put them in his path. 

“It was definitely God at work, providentially bringing me into that situation,” he told Movieguide®. 

Van Court described how he happened to sit next to a man who also lived in Austin while at a music concert in Arkansas in 2021. After exchanging numbers, the two agreed to meet for coffee. 

“I found out — once we got back to Austin and connected — he told me that he was an actor, and he played one of the disciples on this show called THE CHOSEN,” Van Court explained. The actor was Yoshi Barrigas who plays Phillip. “I had never watched the show. I’d heard a little bit about it, but I’ve never seen it.” 

“I said, how, you know, coincidental that you play a disciple of Jesus. I am a disciple of Jesus,” he said of their conversation. 

Van Court admitted he was a “little bit leery” of watching THE CHOSEN because many Christian movies are cheesy. But he tried it out. 

“I did go, and I watched it, and I was very impressed. It was the artistry, the acting, the writing — very smart. I enjoyed it,” he said. 

“What we take into ourselves really becomes a part of us,” he added. While society — and particularly America — gravitates toward sex and violence, “shows like THE CHOSEN are just a wonderful way to get the family together in front of something good, wholesome and engaging,” he explained.

Van Court and Barrigas began talking about his character. 

“He played the apostle Philip, and as he received the script for Season 3, he was confused about what was going on with his character. [He] began running some things by me, and I had some insights for him, just knowing scripture,” Van Court said.

The two continued working together, and Barrigas “felt so helped by that, that he grabbed some of his co-workers — other actors on the show — and actually brought them down to Austin.”

Van Court had dinner with Barrigas, Austin Reed Alleman, who plays Nathanael, George Xanthis, who plays John, and Giavani Cairo, who plays Thaddeus. 

“It was just fascinating to me,” Van Court told Movieguide®. “You know, the Christian worldview, which was once so ubiquitous, it seems to be vanishing from a lot of our country and our culture. And these guys, they’re not believers. They weren’t raised in Christian homes, and they have very little understanding or exposure to the gospel. And so in all of our conversations, I was able to…really go to the heart of what the gospel really is.”

Van Court called it a “super exciting” opportunity to share the gospel with these actors who don’t really understand the Bible even though they are playing biblical characters. 

“The guy who plays Nathaniel — Austin — had heard Jonathan Roumie practicing some lines, and one of them was talking about unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it cannot bear fruit. And he said, he’s just been puzzling over that and what does that mean and wanted to know, and so I was able to really explain what that parable means and get to the heart of the gospel,” Van Court shared. 

While culture is increasingly distancing itself from a Christian worldview, Van Court believes that makes it “easier” to share the gospel. 

“I would tell other believers out there don’t assume that the person next to you knows what the gospel is and even knows about the death and resurrection of Jesus,” he said of sharing the gospel. “Some very basic things are just not known anymore.”

“I’m constantly surprised even when I was talking to some of the actors on THE CHOSEN. They didn’t know where the story was going,” Van Court revealed. “And when I began to, you know, talk to them about their characters and how they’re going to scatter and abandon…Jesus in his darkest day — they didn’t understand that there was going to be a betrayal and a crucifixion — one of them said…this show is going to get pretty dark.”

Van Court encourages other believers to willingly share basic facts about the gospel, Jesus’ virgin birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and coming return. 

“I have found people more open to discussing those kinds of things, rather than being turned off. They’re genuinely interested,” he said.

Van Court met Barrigas at a music festival, and he believes that God will purposely bring people into believers’ lives to help lead them to Christ. 

“In my situation with meeting Yoshi, it was just at a music concert, and so if I really love music, if there’s some interest that you have, whether it be art and going to a museum, I think that there’s always so many opportunities to talk to people and just take time to get to know them and love them, and it’s easy to go from there to talking about Jesus,” he concluded.

Check out the rest of Movieguide®’s interview with Pastor Van Court here:

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