Sherwood Baptist Church has announced the future of the Kendrick Brother's production company and Sherwood Pictures via a press release issued Tuesday afternoon:
Ten years ago, a dream to make movies that would impact the culture was birthed at Sherwood Baptist Church. While it seemed odd at the time, it was a desire to see the church positively impact the culture through film. The dream became reality, and Sherwood Pictures was birthed in 2003.
The Sherwood Pictures leadership team consists of four men: Michael Catt, Senior Pastor of Sherwood; Jim McBride, Executive Pastor of the church; and pastoral staff members Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick. Michael Catt said, "Our pattern has been to pray first and find out where God is leading in filmmaking. It is in a prayer environment that we have determined and defined every aspect of this process, from script writing to casting and editing. Our plans have been intentional and purposeful."
To date, Sherwood Pictures has produced four films: Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous. They have been some of the most successful faith-based movies in history. In a partnership with Sony Pictures and Provident Films, the films have been distributed globally and are available in multiple languages. The two most recent, Fireproof and Courageous, opened in the top five in U.S. theaters. The unique partnership of a church-based film company with major studios like Provident Films and Sony Pictures will continue to impact millions around the world. Sherwood Pictures has used entertainment to change lives. Every week they receive emails and letters from people who have been impacted by the films.
Sherwood Pictures pioneered a unique model, even for Christian filmmakers. The four movies, shot and produced in Albany, have been seen by millions worldwide. The mostly volunteer cast and crew have been one of the great story lines of Sherwood Pictures. Jim McBride said, "Our people have gone the second mile and beyond with these movies. There is no way we could have done this without hundreds of volunteers who did everything from acting, to bringing food and babysitting. They have been tireless workers because they believed in the vision."
"Sherwood Pictures is not the story of individuals, but of a church body operating in unity. It's the story of what can happen when people believe God for impossible things," noted Michael Catt. "None of this would have been possible without the prayers and tireless efforts of our church family and believers around this nation. I'm personally grateful for the hundreds of pastors and lay leaders who have believed in us, prayed for us, and supported us on multiple levels. This has been a grassroots effort within our church and in the greater family of faith. "
The Sherwood Pictures leadership team has been meeting off and on for over a year regarding the future of its ministry. The Kendrick brothers have announced that they will be expanding their movie making endeavors beyond Sherwood Pictures. They will be releasing more information on the Kendrick Brothers Productions website, KendrickBrothers.com, which is independent of Sherwood Pictures.
The Kendrick's said, "God has been clearly speaking to us through His Word, in prayer, and through the counsel of our pastor and other godly men. This decision has come out of a faith-step of obedience to God's leading. We dearly love Michael, Jim, and our church family, and we are not leaving Sherwood. They have believed in us and sacrificially supported us every step of the way. We see the wisdom of the Lord's timing in all of this."
Michael Catt added, "Jim and I are blessed to call Alex and Stephen our friends and co-laborers for the gospel. They will continue to live in Albany and be an active part of the ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church. We love these guys and are grateful to God for sending them to our staff over a decade ago. No matter what lies ahead, this has been an incredible ride for all of us. Our prayers are with them as they pursue future endeavors."
The Sherwood Pictures team wishes to express heartfelt gratitude for the countless thousands who have worked, prayed, served, promoted, and supported this ministry. Churches and Para-Church ministries around the world have helped this ministry have a global impact. Jim McBride and Michael Catt noted, "We also wish to thank our great friends at Sony and Provident who have, in many ways, become like family. They believed in us, worked with us, counseled us, and walked with us along every step of the journey."
The church will continue to operate Sherwood Pictures, as the four previous movies continue to be distributed in markets around the world. This is just one of the ways Sherwood will continue to reach the world from Albany, Georgia.
This reach includes an ever-expanding vision for the ministries of Sherwood Baptist Church. Two years ago, Michael Catt and Jim McBride began meeting with Sherwood's Vision Planning Team about what God wanted to do in this decade. Michael noted, "As we approach our 60th anniversary as a church, we wanted to see what the next step would be in local, regional, national, and global ministry. In 2012 we rolled out a multi-million dollar project, Meet the Need, which impacts the main campus of the church as well as her ministries globally. New facilities are already under construction on the main campus, and the church has expanded support for church planters in key cities across the United States in partnership with the North American Mission Board. We have a strategic partnership with the International Mission Board to reach unreached, unengaged people groups globally."
Locally, the church is also investing in upgrading Sherwood Christian Academy and developing ministries through a 60,000 square foot former Coke Bottling Plant that was given to the church a few years ago. At that facility, they provide ministries for the hurting and homeless in the area.
As Pastor Catt said, "Our church mission is to reach the next generation and to impact this world for Christ. This is a multi-faceted ministry. Movies are just one aspect of that vision. It would not be fair to this church family or to our vision to say movies are all we do or all we are about. That would limit the scope of what this church family is committed to. We continue to look for multiple ways to think outside the box, dream big dreams, and make a difference."
Sherwood is committed to reaching the world from Albany, Georgia, and the members have historically maintained a "whatever it takes" attitude. Details about "Vision 2020: Meet the Need" can be found at MeetTheNeed.SherwoodBaptist.net.