Alex Kendrick on Courageous Legacy, Fatherhood, and Faith (Part 2)

John FarrellBy John Farrell13 Minutes

John Farrell: What are some of your favorite stories of impact that you’ve heard from audiences or individuals who’ve seen the original movie, Courageous? What’s been their advice or reaction as you set out on this new adventure?

Alex Kendrick: When I think about the impact of Courageous and I look back at some of our favorite stories – when I say this, this is no exaggeration – we’ve got thousands of responses to the film over the years, and we’re very grateful.

Some of the ones that stick out to me are I went to Ecuador because the head of the police division of the government [invited me]. Ecuador does it a little bit differently. They have 40 million people in Ecuador and the police branch is like a branch of the military. In America, we have local sheriff’s departments and police departments, but in Ecuador, it’s a branch of the government. So, your local police force is considered a small part of a larger governmental branch.

The head of the police in Ecuador said, “I want to show Courageous to all of my officers all over the country.” So, I flew down there and met with them, and he had already shown it to one city. They had 1,500 officers from that city meet in this arena, dressed up in their uniforms with their wives standing beside them wanting to take the resolution like we do in the movie. I stood on a stage and would say it in English, and it would be translated, then they would repeat it out loud. They all took the resolution and then their wives put a medal around their neck to commemorate that day. I just stood on the stage and wept. I was like, “Lord, I never imagined this type of impact and that we’d be impacting countries with the message of these films.” That was one.

Another one is we had over a thousand officers in Panama get together and watch it on a massive screen in an arena. They also took the resolution. In America, we had numerous churches hold resolution ceremonies where the men of the church go forward and stand there and take the resolution and recommit to their marriages and their role as fathers and to the Lord.

When you hear things like that, it just makes your heart swell. Not out of pride, but out of gratefulness that the Lord has given you a small part of a movement. Those kind of testimonies just blew us away. They’re just amazing.

I’m prayerful and hopeful that when this version comes out, it will remind men to keep their commitments, keep their vows to the Lord, keep their promises to their spouse and their children, and keep making the priority in their life the priorities that God gives you and not what the world gives you. We need steadfast, strong men, and fathers and husbands in this world, like people that are seeking the Lord. So, I’m hoping that this movie reminds them and inspires them to do that.

Courageous Fatherhood

JF: What would you say is the most important message of fatherhood in the movie Courageous?

Alex: A father literally means source, provider, teacher, or chief. That’s literally the meaning of the word father. So, we are to be the leaders of our homes, first and foremost, to lead our children and our spouses to know and love the Lord.

Ultimately, God is our Father to who we’re responsible and who we have to answer to. Scripture says all of us will stand before the Lord one day and give an account for our lives. So, men are to be the leaders and providers, protectors of their homes, to love their spouses, to love their children. And, of course, no one does that perfectly, but we can purpose in our hearts to do it and to ask the Lord to help us and to look to Him as the ultimate example of that. So, while scripture does say, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” all of us have failed in some way, but it doesn’t mean stop trying. It doesn’t mean stop depending on the Lord. It doesn’t mean to stop seeking Him and asking Him for grace and strength and help. If we fall, get right back up, take responsibility for it, and keep going.

If anybody watches Courageous and gets that out of this movie, that there is a God that loves us and we’re accountable to, and that we can reflect Him in how we live honorably to lead our families and our children; if anybody’s inspired to do that at a deeper level, that would be success for us.

JF: What does the word courageous mean to you personally?

Alex: Well, courageous means it’s not going to be easy. You’re going have to determine in your heart to do things that maybe you don’t initially want to do, or that are hard to do, or at least very challenging to do, but if you know it’s the right thing to do and you’re determined to do it anyway, that’s what I would call courage.

When we think of courage for a military or some sort of hero that rises above the odds or above the opposition to do something that’s right and good, we would say, “Oh, that was courageous.” Well, that’s what fathers are meant to do. We have so many different obstacles in this world, even our culture, that point to pride and selfishness and anti-God views. We are to lead our families courageously in spite of all that to say, “Lord, I need you. Lord, help me to rise above my own fears, my own doubts, anything that’s in opposition to what He would have me to do as a husband and father and help me lead my family well to provide and to protect them.” That’s going to take a certain amount of courage if you want to do right.

Raising Children Courageously

JF: What is the most challenging part of raising children in a God-honoring way?

Alex: I tell my kids all the time, “I have no desire to be a legalistic father.” I don’t want to say, “These are my rules. Obey them because I’m your dad.” I want to love them strongly and to lead them strongly, but where they always know it’s done out of love. It’s not that just because I’m the father and I’m in charge. I want them to know that there will be standards and rules I set for my family. I do so with a purpose in mind and with a desire to honor the Lord. And that we’re going to protect our home from wrongful worldviews.

I guard my family from terrible entertainment. I talk about how entertainment is kind of like cotton candy. You can have a small amount and it’s fine, but if you start eating it every day and overdosing on it, it’s going to damage your body. We don’t need that kind of sugar in our system, but in small amounts it’s fine.

I tell my family, “Let’s be very wise with our entertainment where we’re not going to watch things that pollute our minds. So, we want to be very careful, and we want to make sure that the dose that we’re using is not too much.”

It’s kind of like when you eat a meal. You’ve got to have your vegetables, fruits, and protein, and not just the desserts. Entertainment is like a dessert, it’s like cotton candy. So small amounts at appropriate times, but make sure that you’re walking with the Lord and you’re spending time with Him. For my kids who are in school, make sure you’re growing academically in knowledge and wisdom. Make sure you’re growing relationally, not just with your siblings, but also with others.

There’s that healthy balance. Just like you would have with a meal, you want that healthy balance in life.

JF: What can we teach and instill in young men now that will help set them up to be great fathers in the future?

Alex: When we originally did Courageous, we had that in mind. We wanted to help young men view fatherhood and their role as husbands the way God wants them to. We incorporate some biblical principles in the movie, but also we came up with resources if they want to go deeper. So, we wrote a book called Resolution for Men, and it ended up being a New York Times Best Seller and it’s still out there.

Basically, we walk through – no matter what your history is or your father’s history – if you had a dad that wasn’t a good dad, how can you break that chain of behavior and start right now where you are no matter the age of your kids with being the type of dad that God calls you to be? In Resolution for Men, we walk through the biblical mandates that the Lord gives us, the biblical principles you can apply to your life, and a wider understanding of that role. So, we wrote the book, Resolution for Men, and of course, a little bit of that is in the movie Courageous itself.

Then we have a curriculum called “Honor Begins at Home.” That Courageous curriculum is a Bible study that churches and men’s groups can go through as well. We did that only because we were thinking if a man walks out of the theatre and says, “That was a lot to process. I don’t know if I remember everything or is there a way I could just sit down and study it without having to rewatch the movie 10 times?” That’s when we put together the book, Resolution for Men, and the curriculum. So, hopefully those will still be used as encouragement for years to come.

For more information, check out