Racial Tensions Tackled in Woodlawn –Opening October 16

Opening October 16

Thu October 15, 2015 · Comments


I recently previewed “Woodlawn” with the producer-director, Jon Erwin, in our JESUS Film® studio. This movie gripped me for several reasons. First, it is a great sports movie. Jon got his start at age 16 as a cameraman for ESPN, and it shows in the way he handles the football scenes in this multi-layered story that includes the rivalry of two Birmingham high schools during an era that pitted two future Bear-Bryant-coached All-Americans against one another. Here is where you can find a local showing and more details about the movie.

This movie contains two significant themes that have everything to do with the gospel changing lives. The first, probably most relevant to recent events, is about an episode of racial reconciliation in the South in the 1970s—and the role of the gospel in bringing it about. In a recent post, I wrote about how this storyline is one that also changed my life forever as a high school student in 1969 outside of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The second significant story line in “Woodlawn” is its depiction of the Jesus Movement. The chaplain who brought revival from Explo ’72 to Birmingham—who also happens to be Jon Erwin’s father—was aflame with the same fire that seized my life in 1970. This is the same movement that I participated in while planting a church in Boston. It was a genuine movement of God, brought about by His spirit stirring the hearts of young people to know and follow Him.

May God use this film to ignite another Jesus Movement among young Americans of every race. Your support for “Woodlawn” can help make this happen. Go, and take your friends!

Erick Schenkel brings a range of experience to his role as Executive Director of Jesus Film Project®. Erick led a church-planting team that established a church and an elementary school in Massachusetts, USA, right after his graduation from Harvard College. While leading this church, Erick earned two masters degrees and a PhD from Harvard in the Study of Religion. During this time, he and his wife, Elizabeth, developed a desire to work in the Middle East.

Erick moved to Central Asia and was director of the non-profit organization, Partnership in Academics and Development, from 1999 until 2012, working in the fields of education and economic development. During that time, the Schenkels also worked alongside Jesus Film® teams in Central Asia. Erick took the lead in starting a Bible school and served as director of a movement of nationally-led churches. Erick then served for five years as Strategy Director for North Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia for Campus Crusade for Christ. Erick became the third Executive Director of Jesus Film Project in March 2012, succeeding Jim Green and founder Paul Eshleman.

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