A perfect father
A new documentary by the Kendrick brothers, Show Me the Father, tells how the presence or lack of a father points us to God the Father
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“Has your father let you down? Has your stepfather let you down?”
Show Me the Father, a documentary in theaters, wants viewers to know they have a heavenly Father who will never let them down. This is the first documentary by the Kendrick brothers, creators of faith-based films like Fireproof and Courageous, and it might be their strongest film yet.
The film highlights the importance of fathers by telling the stories of several men whose father figures impacted them for good and evil.
Sherman Smith played eight seasons in the NFL before starting a coaching career, and his father encouraged him to work hard and to set high goals. Through the witness of NFL teammates, Smith began to understand God was a Father who wanted him to think beyond earthly accomplishments. As a coach who has worked with football players at every level, he tries to pass on these fundamental truths—especially to players who don’t have fathers of their own.
The film also tells the story of Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family. He grew up with an alcoholic father and abusive stepfather, and these experiences haunted him for years. In high school, Daly’s football coach became a father figure to him and changed the trajectory of his life. Daly came to know Christ through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and started a long journey of healing. He now sees God as a good Father he can depend on.
The Kendrick brothers also share the story of their own father and how his courage in physical and familial hardships shaped their lives. Stephen Kendrick tells how his faithful love encouraged him to pursue adoption.
Throughout all these stories, Pastor Tony Evans provides theological commentary. The focus usually stays on the gospel, but occasionally the film conflates God’s divine promise to send Jesus with tips for good parenting. The documentary also might have been stronger if the Kendrick brothers focused on just one of the three stories or broadened their interviews to include more perspectives on the importance of fathers. For example, we don’t really hear about the legacy a father can leave on a woman’s life.
In spite of these quibbles, the film is one families can enjoy together, and it’s likely to provoke good theological discussion. While the filmmakers’ fictional films could at times lack subtlety, Show Me the Father’s documentary format effectively allows its subjects to tell their personal experiences of how God healed and restored them.
But the best part of this film is its unapologetic focus on Jesus. This focus is necessary because the Bible teaches that apart from Jesus, you can’t see the Father.
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