How humility birthed The Chosen
Today’s Nashville Faith & Film Breakfast Club, hosted at The Factory in Franklin, TN, invited Christian Worldview Film Festival attendees to join in. The Breakfast Club featured Dallas Jenkins, Director of The Chosen, a new TV show based on the life of Christ. Attendees were blessed to be the first to view Episode One of The Chosen at the event.
Jenkins, who directed his first film at the age of 25, shared his testimony of how God brought him through his biggest career disappointment to now filming and screening the first episode of The Chosen before fellow Christian filmmakers three years later.
The Resurrection of Gavin Stone was supposed to be his first big theatrical success and advance his film career with big Hollywood producers.
“Finally had gotten the opportunity and some of the biggest producers in Hollywood were wanting to dip their toe into the faith-based waters, and they wanted to work with me,” Jenkins recalled. “Not only that, they loved the movie so much and it tested so high (higher than any of the movies the company had ever done), everyone was so optimistic that we were already developing films for the next 10-15 years.”
“My future was set as a Director. I had multiple opportunities and multiple companies wanting to work with me, and in two hours I went from a director with a bright future to a director with no future.”
On Friday, when the numbers started to come in, it was a disaster. When the box office success of the film never materialized, his career went down with it — or so he thought at the time.
“So I was sitting there with my wife wondering, what happened, what went wrong? Everything up to that point seemed God-led, seemed so obvious, now it was all seeming to come apart.”
Then the Lord pressed His message into Jenkins and his wife’s hearts ‘extraordinarily and very clearly’ through a fresh look at Matthew 15, the miracle of Jesus feeding the masses from just two loaves and five fish. Something stood out from that story that hadn’t before. Jesus knew this was going to happen. He had them do the things He didn’t need them for. He asked them to go retrieve the food. He could have made food appear. But He had them do the work anyway. He had the disciples play a part in this miracle.
Then Amanda, his wife, said, “He does impossible math.” Her thinking was that the numbers would improve, but they didn’t.
At 3 AM, when Jenkins was going through all the things he felt went wrong, out of the blue, a friend messaged him: “Remember, your job is not to feed the 5,000, your job is only to provide the loaves and fish.”
He was stunned that God had prompted this friend to send him this message right as he and his wife were gleaning truth from this exact passage in scripture.
“That moment changed my life. I knew that no matter what was happening that day, that God was there, God was in it.”
A few days later, he did a Facebook post where he poured out his heart about this personal disappointment and the place God had brought him to — a place of complete humility and total surrender to His will, His way.
Here’s just a glimpse from that Facebook Post:
“So what do you do when something you pour yourself into just doesn’t land?…Amanda and I did something to sustain us through this time, we pursued God and sought to hear what we could from Him. He made it 100% clear to us, and through others that God led to share something with me, that I’m only to bring my 5 loaves and 2 fishes, the rest is up to Him….”
So later, when Jenkins sought to turn a short film he did for his church called The Shepherd into a tv series about the life of Christ, and VidAngel wanted to use crowdfunding to fund it, God’s impossible math He showed Amanda from Matthew 15 showed up — this time, just in time, just what they needed to shoot the first episode, and almost down to the exact dollar. The Chosen is the biggest crowd-funded film series ever done.
A year before he started shooting, “God crashed into me and intruded into my home joy, a joy I hadn’t experienced before. To now a different kind of joy,” Jenkins related. “I would be just as happy and just as joyous to share with you that I have been doing video work or teaching or volunteering on sets or working at local fast food restaurant to provide for my family.”
Expressing his new place of contentment and humility with where God has placed him, “God has refused to allow me to have any more than I need that day. I hope I never get more manna than I need for that day.”
Judging from the quality, interest, and beauty of episode one, God is using this humble servant, Dallas Jenkins, to do mighty works for His kingdom — and something tells me it won’t stop at episode four.
Written by Terri Hall