Hacksaw Ridge has received an impressive six Academy Award nominations* but, more importantly, it is leading people to Jesus.
The film, which tells the story of Seventh-day Adventist conscientious objector Desmond Doss, has presented a unique opportunity for church members to share their faith. To maximise this opportunity, the North New South Wales Conference, Australian Union Conference and Adventist Media worked together to create a multi-media campaign centred on the website faithofdoss.com.
Launched in November 2016, the campaign runs for another few weeks but it has already achieved some exciting results, including:
- More than 50,000 Hero of Hacksaw Ridge books distributed through local churches in Australia;
- 2500-plus book requests via the faithofdoss.com website;
- 60,000 Bible study letterbox cards distributed by church members;
- 232 people enrolled for Bible studies through Adventist Media’s Discovery Centre;
- 500 requests for the Miracle on Hacksaw Ridge DVD offer promoted through the It Is Written TV program.
Churches across the South Pacific have also used the movie’s publicity as an opportunity to run Doss-inspired programs. Gateway East church (Victoria), for example, ran a Hacksaw Ridge Sabbath program that attracted 12 newcomers and several former attendees. [pullquote]
“Friendships were made and they were all invited to a faith-based camp,” said North NSW Conference project manager Nic Coutet. “Six of them attended camp and were blessed. One of the people who attended has never looked back and since then has brought 15 people to Gateway East church! The others are still attending church.”
According to Mr Coutet, the work has only just begun in reaching out to all the contacts made so far.
“How do we transition these precious souls from interested to engaged? There’s no simple way to do this; it simply requires time—my time and your time to revisit them and start building friendships. Ask for feedback and invite them to explore Desmond’s journey of faith through the Faith of Doss Bible study guides.”
The team at Adventist Media’s Discovery Centre is responding to the Bible study requests. Centre director, Pastor Wayne Boehm, said the studies have been downloaded more than 250 times from the Adventist Record website alone.
“We are getting prayer requests from people who are doing the Bible studies and we are also receiving interest from Adventist churches overseas,” Pastor Boehm said. “The UK Bible School have requested the studies and Armenia want to translate them and use them as part of their campaign. While this initiative was developed in Australia it’s having a global impact as Hacksaw Ridge is about to be launched in Europe. So the story hasn’t finished yet.”
Mr Coutet, on behalf of the Faith of Doss project team, expressed his thanks for the enthusiasm and faithfulness of church members in using this opportunity to reach their communities.“This has truly been an inspiring collaborative effort between churches and church organisations across the Division,” he said.
* The winners of the 2017 Academy Awards will be announced on February 26. Hacksaw Ridge is nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.