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Area churches band together to raise funds for film project

This Thursday, a challenge was issued to Detroit Lakes-area pastors at the regular meeting of the Detroit Lakes Ministerial Association.

The challenge is this: Each pastor has been charged with going to their respective congregations to raise a collective total of $38,000 by April 30.

That $38,000 would, in turn, be sent to Campus Crusade for Christ, to sponsor a new language translation of the film titled, simply, “Jesus.”

Specifically, it would be used to translate the film into the Ga’anda language, spoken by approximately 43,000 people in Nigeria.

The challenge was issued by Barry Schoder, a member of the Christian Fellowship Church in Detroit Lakes, who made a presentation about the film to members of the Ministerial Association Thursday morning.

Schoder said that since the “Jesus” film was first produced, in English, back in 1979, it has become “the most translated, most viewed, most widely distributed film in history.”

It’s been shown in over 200 countries, and translated into more than 1,100 different languages and dialects around the world.

“It is impacting individual lives at a rate of 3.8 million per year — that’s one person every eight seconds!” Schoder noted.

The film basically brings the Book of Luke to life on screen, from the birth of Jesus Christ through his resurrection, with very little left out.

“The script is verbatim, from the Book of Luke, New Standard Version,” he said. “It’s strictly out of the Bible.”

It is because there are few cinematic liberties taken with the original text that it has received such broad-based, ecumenical support, Schoder added.

During his presentation, Schoder also showed a six-minute video that illustrated the impact this film has had on people around the world who had previously never been exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The emotional reaction of those watching the 2½-hour film could not be denied, as they wailed, moaned, cried out and hid their eyes at various points during the dramatic story.

Schoder noted that the reaction of those shown in the video might seem a little extreme, but that’s only because people in this part of the world “are so gospel saturated, we take it for granted.”

For someone who has never heard the story before, the impact can be quite dramatic, he added.

“One reason why the film is so effective is that 60 percent of the world’s population is illiterate,” Schoder continued. “This film makes an impact where literature (i.e., the written Biblical text) might not.”

In addition, hearing the story told in their native tongue also has a significant impact, Schoder added.

At the end of his presentation, Schoder issued the challenge to raise the $38,000 by Palm Sunday — but several of the ministers present noted that this was simply too soon, as many of them had already set their sermons for Palm Sunday and Easter, and would prefer to be given more lead time to prepare.

One of the possibilities discussed was the idea of hosting a public screening of the actual film, where donations toward the translation project could be accepted.

For more information about the “Jesus” film and its history, please visit

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454