Tag Archives: Soul Surfer

Youth Ministry Goes To The Movies

STORY 27 from 30 Years, 30 Stories in YLO100

061115_ylo100_30stories_blogsEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories  from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO. 

We have worked on over forty movies over the past thirty years, starting with ECHOES – a film that we produced, directed, and distributed in 1985. One that has reached as many teenagers as any faith-based film was Soul Surfer – The Bethany Hamilton Story. Rick Bundschuh, longtime Team interlínc Member, told interlinc’s Allen Weed, “There’s a 13-year-old surfer girl in our church who got her arm bit off by a shark. I believe that the Lord is going to do some amazing things through her life.” Allen totally missed how important what Rick was saying would be.

Several months later, Allen was eating lunch at Puckett’s Grocery — the local hamburger joint — and noticed on the television on top of the soft drink machine that the young teenager Rick mentioned was making a guest appearance on the Oprah show!

She was amazing as she shared her remarkable confidence in the Lord about the events surrounding the shark attack, how she had been dealing with it, and how she viewed her future. She quoted Jeremiah 29:11 as her rock-solid stance.

Allen immediately called Rick and asked him to get interlínc connected with Bethany’s family. From that association, The Heart of a Soul Surfer documentary was shot and sent out to all YLO members. Interlínc then worked with her family and her manager producer to coordinate the youth ministry outreach for the Soul Surfer theatrical release.

Soul Surfer Movie Guide
Soul Surfer Movie Guide

When most youth leaders think of interlínc, they rightfully think of music. We are, after all, heavily involved in the Christian music world, and most of our resources are created to use music as a hook to teach biblical truth. While teenagers are exposed to more music than any other media, we know that movies are very important and have a huge impact.

Your students are into movies—big time. Most of our young friends watch several movies a week. They watch them alone and with friends, on their phones, computers, televisions, and local theater screens. They quote lines and sing songs from favorite films, and adopt the fashions they see in the movies they like. Yep, movies are big time important to teenagers.

That means that YOU want to be able to take advantage of films that will help you reach young people for Jesus Christ, and help them to grow in their relationship with Him!

When we find movies that you would find useful, we create resources that help you use those films in your ministry to students. We review scripts and view screeners to find movies that can help you use the movie experience to impart Biblical truth to your students.

Some of the movies we've created youth ministry resources for
Some of the movies we have created youth ministry resources for

We have developed youth ministry resources for large blockbuster movies (like The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and The Passion of The Christ), medium sized movies (such as Soul Surfer, and Disney’s A Christmas Carol) and smaller movies (like Alone Yet Not Alone and The Identical).

Movies can have a big impact on students. We want to help you to use that potential for Christ!

My Wish with Bethany Hamilton

UPDATE: Apparently ESPN removed the video from YouTube. Click this link to view the video on ESPN’s website.

The My Wish series on ESPN this week has highlighted athletes granting the wishes of kids with life-threatening illnesses. 8-year-old Kendall Curnuck’s wish was to meet and surf with Bethany Hamilton. Watch this video (and have some tissue handy) to see what happens when the two meet.

Soul Surfer releases on DVD August 2. You can pre-order it from us here (and you can even get it free when you join YLO).

A Youth Leader reviews Soul Surfer

Todd Pearage is a good friend of interlinc and one of our Write Group members (the awesome team of youth leaders who write the Bible studies for our YLO and MVL Resource Books). He also contributes to the blog over at The Source for Youth Ministry. Todd took a group of his students to see Soul Surfer this weekend, and he wrote his thoughts down for their blog. Check out what he wrote about the movie:

Yeah the movie was great, but what really resonated with me was how my students responded to the film. There were a few laughs and of course they all jumped at the shark attack scene, but there’s something else, something very unexpected…tears. Bethany’s story is so powerful; from dealing with difficulties and overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles to gaining perspective and showing compassion to others in the midst of suffering. As we walked out of the theater I was quick to ask them what they thought. Overwhelmingly … they loved it!! It’s been a few days now since we watched the movie and we are still talking about it … and my gut tells me we will talk about this one for a long time to come.

I can’t make you go and make you take your group, but I will say this…I’m going back this weekend and I’m taking some more students.

Click here to read all of Todd’s thoughts on the thesource4ym.com blog

Editor’s Note: If you’re planning to see Soul Surfer this weekend, you can now download the PDF version of our Youthworker Guide … it’s instant gratification! Click here to get your copy.

Praying for a Soul Surfer

Around the interlinc office, it seems like we haven’t had a single conversation over the last 8 weeks that hasn’t come back to the “Soul Surfer” movie coming out today. We’ve been talking (and emailing and mailing and tweeting … ) about it a lot over the last few months.

We’ve mailed thousands of “Soul Surfer Youthworker Guides” to youth leaders, and you’ve downloaded hundreds more. We’ve talked to so many of you and hopefully have communicated to you our excitement about the potential impact of this movie. In the 15 years that I’ve been in and around interlinc, I’ve never been so convinced of the ministry potential of a movie as I am about “Soul Surfer.”

What a ride!
We’ve been fortunate enough to watch Bethany’s journey over the last 8 years. Even as the national news was picking up the story of her survival of the shark attach 8 years ago, our friend and interlinc Write Group member Rick Bundschuh was asking us to pray for Bethany and her family as he ministered to them in the days after the attack.

We were as amazed as everyone else to see Bethany conquer what should have been a career-ending injury and not only get back up on a board, but begin to surf again at a world class level.

We watched as Bethany discovered that through tragedy, she had been given an amazing platform to share God’s love and work in her life with others. It was a lot for a young teenager to handle, but she did it humility and grace.

We’ve prayed with the Hamiltons over the last 5 years as the possibility of seeing Bethany’s story as a major motion picture seemed an on-again off-again project. And when we finally started to see bits and pieces of the movie in progress, we realized the potential outreach of the movie. This was going to be the real deal … not a shoestring budget “maybe we’ll get picked up for distribution” film, but a true Hollywood movie.

There’s more to be done …
In a conversation yesterday with Scott Osterbind at the interlinc office, I was reminded that I needed to be doing more than just telling you about the movie and Bethany’s story.

I needed to ask you to join us in praying for Bethany.

At 21, Bethany has lived through more than most of us will ever experience. She’s an amazing young woman who isn’t shy about sharing her faith. Over the last few weeks, she’s been in a whirlwind of cameras, microphones, reporters, fans and celebrities. Having a movie made about your life is something most of us joke about, but will never have happen. Not so for Bethany. It seems like I haven’t turned on a TV show or read a news site without seeing Bethany or the actors and actresses from “Soul Surfer” (often with Bethany) promoting the movie. I know she’s been having a blast, and I’m so excited for her … if anyone deserves for great things to happen, it’s Bethany Hamilton.

As Bethany navigates the press and Hollywood; and as thousands of people who had barely heard of her will be introduced to her story through “Soul Surfer,” please join me in praying for her to stand strong in her faith and who God has called her to be.

Pray, too, for Bethany’s family as they ride along on this amazing journey with her.

And pray for the friends and spiritual mentors around Bethany as they offer spiritual support, encouragement and admonishment (when needed).

Thanks for joining me in praying for Bethany. And enjoy the movie!