BROWNSBURG, Ind.—Students and adults from Bethesda Baptist Church in Brownsburg, Ind., braved the December cold to distribute a DVD to 6,000 households in the Indianapolis suburb. Bryan Waggoner, associate pastor of Bethesda Baptist, says the focus of the project was evangelism. “Teams of junior high and high school students canvassed the city, knocking on doors and offering a gift from our church. Each bag had a DVD and a gospel tract.”
The Board was produced last summer by members of the church, culminating two and half years of preparation. When it was finished, the church hosted a November premiere at Pavilion Cinemas in Brownsburg, an event attended by more than 900 people and covered by several news organizations.
The project was made possible through the generous loan of professional video equipment at no cost to the church, other than the cost of shipping it from California. The donated equipment was arranged by Tim Boling, a church member who is the head engineer for a group of TV stations in the Indianapolis area.
The Brownsburg church is blessed with members who volunteered their professional skills in television and film, audio, lighting, and construction. Gary Varvel, also a member of Bethesda Baptist and editorial cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star, wrote the script. His son Brett, a graduate of the Telecommunications Department at Ball State University, directed the movie.
After school ended last spring, volunteers constructed the boardroom set in the Bethesda Christian High School gym. The 32-minute film was shot during June 2008 and edited that summer.
The Board explores the conflicts in a person’s soul, as represented by a board of directors. As the film begins, the board members (Mind, Emotion, Will, Memory, Conscience, and Heart) transact routine business until someone asks a difficult question with eternal consequences, revealing the board’s hypocritical foundation. The film is intended as a fantasy, one that reveals the reality of how God speaks to each person’s soul.
Those who worked on the project were interested in high production standards. “We’re trying to get rid of the cheese,” Bryan Waggoner says. “If you are going to get the gospel out, it has to be done in a quality way.”
The Hollywood film industry has recently become interested in independent film productions—a new and vast wasteland—but few observers expected to see Baptist churches among those producing independent films. Then a Baptist church in Albany, Ga., released Flywheel (2003), Facing the Giants (2006), and Fireproof (2008). “That was kind of an inspiration for us, when we saw what they were doing,” Bryan says.
“We’re looking for other ways to connect with churches who are interested in using this DVD to reach out to their communities,” Bryan says. The DVD is for sale on the church website for $5 plus shipping.