Gunning For God
By Carl Kozlowski
It’s a blazingly hot and humid day in the rural small town of Albany, Ga., in June 2010, and Ken Bevel is having a very hard day. He’s been carjacked repeatedly, each time jumping onto the driver’s side door of his truck and hanging on for dear life as the thief attempts to shake him by weaving against traffic at high speed. This time, the truck is about to smash into a tree, throwing Bevel to the ground and forcing him to roll uncontrollably through the brush.
That’s not the only high adventure Bevel was experiencing that weekend. In playing a new sheriff in town named Nathan Hayes in the movie Courageous, he also experienced two high-speed, high-jumping foot chases and a rip-roaring gunfight with two drug-dealing gangbangers in the course of a three-day set visit. While that might be normal for most actors in a film about cops, what makes Bevel’s story unusual is that he is actually a full-time minister at the Sherwood Baptist mega-church in Albany, and Courageous is more of a ministry than a movie to him and the team of pastors at the helm of it. Courageous is cleaning up at the nation’s box offices, debuting in fourth place last week.
“It’s incredible to see people in the theater clapping and crying, saying that this movie really challenged them to take it to another level and to bring their families better for the Lord,” Bevel says.