An Indiana church is seeking to broaden the connection between teenagers and their faith with an innovative youth ministry program that just debuted its first full length feature film. On Sunday, Gaffer Media, the youth film production ministry of Common Ground Church in Decatur, Indiana, premiered its first movie, Two Steps From Hope, after 15 months in production.
“We didn’t do this to really create a film,” Gaffer Media founder and lead pastor Kevin Stirratt told Wane.com. “Our point was to help kids communicate their story in God through the arts.”
The result is Two Steps From Hope, the story of a teen girl trying to make sense of her faith as her family goes through tough times. As one of the actors in the film explained, the film depicts the struggle “between why bad things happen and why God lets them happen.”
Rather than create another “student film,” Gaffer Media is pioneering a new genre called “student-integrated films.” According the to the project’s IndieGoGo page, Two Steps From Hope is a “feature film written and produced by teens who want to impact the world for good.”
“There are a lot of great faith-based movies for kids and adults. But what about teens? Where are the stories that they can relate to,” the page reads. “At Gaffer Media, we’re a group of teens who have problems ourselves. But we’ve each found real, legitimate hope in Jesus Christ… Together, we can begin to inspire teens to connect with their Creator, and begin a new life with Him, filled with Hope!”
Stirratt created Gaffer Media with an intention to “transform the concept of what youth ministry is” by finding innovative ways to engage with teens and young adults.
“There is a frustration in the church world about the lack of depth and the apparent brick wall you keep running into trying to develop students who are passionately in love with God and who really believe that this is their church and they are central to it,” he said.
“We went back to the drawing board and said, the church is losing the youth, the schools are losing the youth. What’s going on,” he continued. “What we believe has happened is just a paradigm shift in the way that teens communicate. We decided we were going to shift from an entertainment-based youth ministry approach to a development youth ministry approach using the arts.”
Two Steps From Hope is the first film for the group and is showing throughout the week at the Regal Coldwater Crossing 14 in Fort Wayne. Stirratt hopes that this is the first of many projects for the ministry that plans to explore the arts beyond just film in an effort to “raise up a generation of leaders and communicators who come out of our programs, come out of church ready and participating in the sharing of the gospel using their language, their skills, their media, their arts.”
Watch the trailer for Two Steps From Hope below:
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