Next week’s release of the film Hacksaw Ridge offers members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church an unprecedented witnessing opportunity, according to Pastor Justin Lawman, president of the North New South Wales (NNSW) Conference.
“I cannot remember a Hollywood movie where the main storyline is about a Seventh-day Adventist who is faithful and obedient,” Pastor Lawman said.
I cannot remember a Hollywood movie where the main storyline is about a Seventh-day Adventist who is faithful and obedient. This is an unparalleled opportunity that God can use and I believe God has orchestrated it all.
“This is an unparalleled opportunity that God can use and I believe God has orchestrated it all. I heard about Hacksaw Ridge when I went to the It Is Written Oceania partner weekend, where Gary Kent and John Bradshaw spoke about the powerful impact the movie had on them, so I thought we should do something about it. My love for evangelism means I get very excited by these chances where we can use God-given opportunities to direct people to the source of faith, and the reason for dependence and obedience.”
Pastor Lawman asked NNSW Conference project manager Nic Coutet to put together a team to develop a public and internal strategy to promote Adventism through Hacksaw Ridge—a strategy that would eventually land on the desk of the film’s director, Mel Gibson! Not long after this, Adventist Media CEO Kalvin Dever, Pastor Cristian Copaceanu, director of Personal Ministries for the Australian Union Conference (AUC), Pastor Lawman and Mr Coutet became the core project team.
Since then the team has completed a strategy that aims to influence people’s response to the movie, directing their attention to the faith of Desmond Doss. It features a website <faithofdoss.com> along with multiple media platforms. NNSW and Adventist Media have developed a marketing strategy to target people who have watched the movie, with consistent messaging directing them to the website where they will find more information about Doss’s faith and his beliefs.
Responsible for the “internal campaign”, Pastor Copaceanu said the film offers church members a rare opportunity to share their faith with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. “For the first time millions will be exposed to the quality and character of the Seventh-day Adventist faith—a faith not of the world but in it to its very miry depths,” he said.
“We have launched this internal campaign, ‘One more, Lord,’ in order to encourage and equip members to use the movie’s publicity as a sowing opportunity. There are various things people can do, from sharing information on their social media accounts to holding a Faith of Doss weekend at their local church.”
Mr Coutet is uncertain how the public will respond, however he plans to saturate every possible media platform, directing any interest from the movie back to the website. “It is likely that if many of our members like and share our website and social media posts that it will be the top ranking resource on the net,” he said. “Our public strategy is significantly focused on transitioning interests to be ‘engaged’ in a Bible study, live talks on Desmond’s faith and ultimately connecting people with us, you and me! A media campaign won’t do it alone; we’ve got to get out there and share the website.”
The project team is optimistic about how the Holy Spirit will work in the lives of people who have seen the film. “Ultimately we hope it will lead people to Jesus,” Pastor Copaceanu said.
Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of Doss, an Adventist man who served in World War II, the first conscientious objector in American history to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The army medic braved bullets, grenades and snipers while single-handedly evacuating the wounded from behind enemy lines.
* Hacksaw Ridge opens in cinemas in Australia on November 3. Adventist Record is not recommending people see the MA15+ rated movie but is informing Seventh-day Adventists of the current opportunity to witness.