'Reacher' Star Reveals His Idea for 'Pulpit' to Reach an Audience Who Won't Be Found in Church


Lately, believers in the entertainment business have tackled an age-old challenge by flipping the script: If unbelievers won’t go to church, they reasoned, why can’t the church can come to unbelievers?

Actor Alan Ritchson, an entertainment industry veteran currently starring in the Amazon series “Reacher,” thinks it can, and said he believes faith-based films are proving to be a great avenue for sharing the gospel.

“People are hearing the name of Christ in movie theaters,” he said in March, “There’s a movement afoot.

“And if that’s where the pulpit is for people who wouldn’t normally set foot in a church, then that’s still a great way to have that conversation.”

Ritchson made the comments in a recorded call over Zoom during which people involved with the Kingdom Story Company talked about and prayed for the recent Christian movie “Jesus Revolution.”

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During the conversation, the producers of that successful film discussed their new project, “Ordinary Angels,” which stars Ritchson and Hilary Swank. The film is due out Oct. 13.

“Ordinary Angels” tells the true story of a young widowed father with two daughters struggling to deal with the recent death of his wife and his younger girl’s need for a liver transplant.

Ritchson said he enjoyed playing a completely different kind of character in the new film.

“A lot of people know me as Reacher on Amazon, which is a very lethal character,” he said. “And to be able to utilize my talents for something that is a lot more wholesome like this is wonderful. It’s a gift.”

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One particularly uplifting aspect of “Ordinary Angels” is when hundreds of members of the community come together to help the young family meet a seemingly impossible challenge. Ritchson said that aspect resonated with him.

“When we … rally around a united cause, for the benefit of somebody else, [it’s a reminder] how powerful we are,” he said.  “I love that. I mean, we need that, and I want to be a part of stories like that.” 

He also said he was drawn to the script because it portrays imperfect people who have doubts and questions about their faith.

“For whatever reason, I think we continue to buy into the idea, the notion, that God chooses heroes to do His work,” Ritchson said. “And it’s just never been the case. It’s the broken and the dysfunctional that God proves His power and strength through.

“And this a story of that, too. It’s important that we remember that those who, maybe struggle to follow the rules, who don’t look like the perfect Christians, who are the broken, are the people that God has a funny way of expressing Himself through. And that story is very much told in ‘Ordinary Angels.’”

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Thematically … there’s something that happens when you watch this movie. There’s a groundswell of emotion that — I think it’s divine. It taps into that divine root that resonates with everybody who lays eyes on this, no matter where they are in their journey. There’s something transcendent about the way … they rally around a common cause. The power that we have together, to lift somebody up — there’s just something beautiful about that, and it’s impossible to ignore.”

“I’ve seen the film,” he said. “I don’t know how you leave the theater and you don’t feel inspired to find a way to create that in your own pocket of the world, your universe.”

“And I hope that there’s a butterfly effect, … of communal positivity after this.”

Ritchson said the success of Christian films like “Jesus Revolution” has not gone unnoticed in Hollywood.

“After ‘Jesus Revolution’ came out, I got a call from one of the biggest studios in town, asking me to help them spearhead, as a performer, a new, faith-based arm that they want to create, that they want to put a ton of resources in, to find these stories, to develop these things,” he said.

“So it matters that these films get support. Other people in town watch this, and a groundswell kind of takes place in Hollywood that changes things in a real, meaningful way.” 

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Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.
Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.