After the phenomenal success of The Love Dare (nearly 6 million in sales), Stephen and Alex Kendrick have released two new books which will strengthen parents in bonding with their children and challenge marriage partners to unconditional love.
As Pastors, Stephen and Alex have gained national attention as filmmakers of movies such as Courageous and Fireproof which have each netted 33 – 35 million at the box office. Their timely messages of dedication to parenting and marriage reached deep into the hearts of many Americans as did the follow-up books designed to reinforce their message, The Resolution for Men and The Love Dare.
A Devotional Guide for Couples
The Love Dare Day by Day capitalizes on The Love Dare’s 40-day challenge by expanding and deepening it into 365 readings on aspects of genuine love and 52 weekly dares to help readers to better live out their love in marriage. These Biblically based dares challenge marriage partners to unconditional love and require only two minutes daily.
Alex Kendrick calls it, “A learning experience of yourself and your marriage—some of it encouraging, some convicting, that enables you to see where you are with your marriage and with God.” According to Stephen Kendrick, “We can deal with our own selfishness and learn the single most important lesson in life—to love. When we learn to love our spouse unconditionally, it’s wonderful, it’s difficult, and it’s life-changing.”
The Love Dare Day by Day is for one or both spouses. In the movie Fireproof, Caleb, a firefighter whose marriage is in flames, takes the 40-day love dare to unconditionally love his estranged wife, resulting in a rekindling of their relationship. During the pre-screenings of Fireproof, movie audiences demanded access to the 40-day love dare. The Kendrick brothers responded by co-authoring The Love Dare which stayed on the New York Times Best-seller list for 131 weeks.
The weekly dares range from “Asking your spouse if you can begin praying together to commit your concerns, disagreements and needs before the Lord to “Making a list of positive attributes about your spouse and thanking them for having it.” The book also includes a link to a free new online marriage evaluation resource. A “wedding edition” has also been released for the newly married.
Extending the Love Dare to Parenting
What the world needs today are strong marriages and bonding between parents and their children. The Love Dare for Parents challenges one or both parents to understand, practice and communicate Christ-like love to their children to win the heart of their child. It is designed so moms and dads (even those struggling to balance the demands of work and family) can more fully enjoy and delight in their children and positively shape their lives.
This book is helpful and encouraging to parents whether you’re a new parent winning the heart of your young child or an older parent hoping to win a heart back. It unpacks the message of Deuteronomy 6-8 and instructs parents how to unconditionally love their son or daughter, win their ear, and help them develop a river of influence (God honoring influences) to guide them towards wisdom. It also encourages parents to help their child marry a Godly spouse and offers strategic prayers to speak over your child. Although parents can’t control their children’s hearts, God can.
Each day brings a promising key verse from Scripture, a biblical principle about love that applies to parenting, and a specific challenge to the parent on the child’s behalf. With 6,575 days spanning the birth of a child up to age 18, The Love Dare for Parents helps parents to seize the moment. An access to a free online parenting evaluation is also provided.
It all Started at Home
The Kendrick brothers were raised in a strong, Christian home by their parents, Larry and Rhonwyn Kendrick. Larry was the chain breaker in their family. He broke away from the example of his alcoholic and dysfunctional father by surrendering his life to Christ and dedicating his family to the Lord.
His rewards for walking in a different direction, his Christ-honoring marriage to his wife, and his parenting skills are all evident today as he sees the fruit in his life and his three sons. Stephens remembers, “He prayed for us, blessed us, read all the James Dobson books, and always made sure he had our hearts.”
The Kendrick brothers believe their parents have influenced them the most. Alex claims, “The movie Courageous was in many ways a love letter to their father, a man whose consistency and courage we’ve admired from early on.” Their father’s battle with Multiple Sclerosis motivated them to believe God for the impossible. And his consistency as a loving father figure enabled them to view God in the same light.
Stephen sees his mom as the prayer warrior who has undergirded their efforts both early on as well as today. She has a servant’s heart and daily prays for God to bless them, use them, and protect them. Stephen admits, “My mom put the fear of God in us and never let us get away with anything!” He also revealed, “We saw hypocrisy in the church, but we saw authentic Christianity lived out at home.”
Secure in their parent’s love and well-grounded in faith, Stephen and Alex gave their hearts to Jesus at the early age of six. Shannon, the oldest brother surrendered his heart at age 18. What they saw firsthand at home and learned from the Bible is what these brothers would inevitably communicate to the world.
About Brotherly Love
Stephen admits the three Kendrick brothers had their fair share of sibling rivalry. When Alex saw the example of two brothers who worked together in sports, he commented, “It ought to be that way for us.” Stephen remembers the day he visited Alex in college and ate a meal with his friends. After Stephen belittled his older brother for a laugh in front of his peers, Alex gave him a much needed rebuke.
“I know the same things about you, but I don’t share them with other people,” Alex said. “We need to work together and help each other rather than running each other down.” That was a breakthrough day when the Kendrick brothers, who are best friends now, made the decision to work as a team. In the following years, they began partnering in making videos, working together in churches, and praying for one another. What a difference that has made in their lives and their influence to the world.
Alex and Stephen recently formed their own tax-exempt corporation called Kendrick Brothers Productions. Their goal is to communicate God’s truth and love to the nations and to mentor the next generation of filmmakers. Their oldest brother Shannon left his 20 year career in technology with IBM to join his brothers in kingdom work. Alex and Stephen continue their work on the staff of Sherwood Baptist Church.
A Childhood Dream
Wild America’s three founders, Marty, Marshall, and Mark Stouffer, began their movie-making career in their own backyard. It took courage for them to splice their escapades together and show their makeshift home movies to their friends. Their childhood hobby evolved into a successful career.
For Alex and Stephen, it all also started as a hobby and with a love for making home movies. After watching G-rated movies by Disney and pictures by Billy Graham’s World Wide Pictures, Alex felt, “Surely we can do this one day.” At age nine, Alex asked for a projector for Christmas. After converting their garage into a movie theater and using a sheet as a screen, Alex charged a quarter for neighborhood friends to watch their creations.
In high school their childhood passion became more advanced as they produced shorts and commercials to sell imaginary products. This set the vision for what was to come. They both eventually ended up as media ministers on the staff of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia.
When Alex asked Michael Catt, the pastor of Sherwood, about the possibility of producing a Christian film for the community, he had his doubts at first. But when he heard the passion and vision for the story of Fly Wheel, he became a believer in the idea.
Success – One Step at a Time
The movie Fly Wheel was produced for $20,000 and was shown locally in the Albany theaters. After being picked up by Blockbuster and Walmart, Fly Wheel has sold over 700,000 copies. After witnessing their success in delivering a Christian message that impacted lives, Pastor Michael Catt asked them, “Got anymore ideas?” Of course, the ideas kept coming.
Next up, the brothers capitalize on our nation’s love for sports and football and delivered a message through Facing the Giants about overcoming the obstacles of fear and failure through faith in God. Produced for $100,000, this film sold over 2.3 million in DVD sales in 57 countries.
Burdened for the state of marriages in our country, the Kendrick brothers prayerfully wrote and produced Fireproof to revive marriages. After netting over $33 million in gross sales on the big screen, the message from this movie and the success of The Love Dare has transformed countless marriages on 75 countries.
More recently, the Kendrick brothers wrote and produced Courageous to wake fathers up to the crucial role they play in their families’ lives. This movie grossed over $35 million and its subsequent book, A Resolution for Men continues to change lives.
Sonoma Christian Home Editor at Large, Ginny Dent Brant, recently spoke with Stephen Kendrick about his roots, his advice to couples and parents, and the direction of their new ministry.
SCH – What advice can you give parents today who are dealing with sibling rivalry?
Stephen Kendrick – Parents should be praying for God to give their children a love for each other. They must also model and teach verses about loving each other such as Philippians 2:3 (esteeming others above self), and Ephesians 4:32 (showing kindness and forgiveness). We’ve taught our kids that you can be best friends, but it is that heart change that comes through salvation that enables us to get along so well.
SCH – As a child counselor, may I add to that, parents must not create an atmosphere of competition between their children, but foster an appreciation that God has uniquely gifted each of them for His purpose.
SCH – What advice can you give parents who are raising children in this toxic culture?
Stephen Kendrick – Every generation sees the evilness of the next generation. Parents must realize that God has allowed them and their children to be alive in this moment for such a time as this. Societies are generally moving towards the left and increasing immorality.
It is always the call of the church to be an instrument of revival. Even the Apostle Paul was called to be a bright light to the ungodly people in Corinth. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 24:19, “Do not fret yourselves because of evil doers.” We must remember even with all that is happening around us, the gospel is just as powerful as it has ever been.
Parents must walk in greater prayer and wisdom and be more intentional in their parenting during this tsunami of immorality. Their goal is to be salt and light and raise their children to do the same.
SCH – What is your definition of the type of unconditional love we should have for our spouses?
Stephen Kendrick – Unconditional love is based on agape love as described in the scriptures. Although most people don’t understand the DNA of agape love, it is unselfish, unstoppable, and unconditional. Romans 5 clearly shows us that God’s love is not based on our worthiness. It is based on His choice and His attribute of love.
In the same way, I should not be loving my spouse based on her attitudes, appearance or worthiness, but based on my commitment to her. When we walk with God daily, His Spirit gives us this type of love for our spouse. As men we are commanded to love our wives as Christ loved the church. Men should pray, “Father love my wife through me with Your love.” We can’t do that without abiding in him Him–the Vine.
SCH – Explain your definition of marriage as a covenant as opposed to the world’s definition of marriage as a contract?
Stephen Kendrick – God calls marriage a covenant, yet in our culture it is treated more like a contract. A contract is a written agreement based upon distrust. It is for your benefit, it limits liability, and it can be broken upon mutual consent. A covenant is the strongest commitment between two parties known to exist. It is a verbal agreement based on total trust. A marriage is a verbal covenant before God which is never to be broken. God never breaks his covenants. We must remember our marriage on earth exists to reflect the covenant relationship between Christ and His bride, the church.
SCH – And I believe as Christians our marriage is our greatest witness to the world.
Stephen Kendrick – Yes, a godly marriage is definitely a very powerful witness to the lost. When people come into your home, sit and eat at your table, and watch the honorable love and respect between you and your spouse, it makes them desire to know and experience the source behind that love.
SCH – With most moms and dads now working outside the home, how can parents make sure they pass on their core values to their children?
Stephen Kendrick – Parents must first walk with God and model what the Bible teaches. Secondly, we must teach our children our Biblical values daily as we rise up and live throughout the day. The best way to do this is to have fun and interactive family devotions daily. It’s important to develop in children an appetite for the Word of God. If time is a problem, cut back on TV viewing.
SCH – What are your future plans as you continue to influence our culture in Biblical ways?
Stephen Kendrick – We want to go wherever God leads and continue to make movies with follow-up curriculums to allow people to go deeper in their faith. We spend much time in prayer because each movie takes 3 to 4 years to produce. So each project must be more than a good idea. It must be a God idea. We also want to mentor other filmmakers and help them to walk in wisdom and the fear of the Lord.
One of our greatest responsibilities is to disciple our own children, and we will continue to invest in Christian families by helping them to disciple their kids. Our goal is not to make money or be famous, but to redeem the time we have and impact the nations for Christ.
For more information about the Kendrick Brother’s new ministry please visit Kendrickbrothers.com
Photos Courtesy of Stephen Kendrick.
Did this article speak to you? For more great interviews by SCH Editor at Large Ginny Dent Brant don’t miss –