Less than a week ago, the call came from Lovell-Fairchild Communications in Dallas. Michael W. Smith was coming to Houston on January 17, the first stop in a promotional tour for his new movie, The Second Chance, opening in theatres on February 17. Could Doug Stringer and Somebody Cares help set up a private pastors reception and a public pre-view with Smith and his co-star, Jeff Obafemi Carr?
It happened that the local DayStar television station had just asked Doug to host Houston Celebration that day and asked him to select his own guest, so he immediately booked Smith, Carr, and the movie’s director Steve Taylor.
The movie’s publicists had been contacting local mega-churches about hosting the evening event, but nothing was working for that date. Doug contacted Pastor Dusty Kemp at New Life Church, a multi-ethnic church that is very active in reaching out to the community. New Life was a key partner of Somebody Cares during hurricane relief efforts last year.
“When Doug called and asked if we could help with something for Michael W. Smith,” Dusty Kemp says, “I said yes immediately without even knowing what was involved. The reason I said yes is because I’ve watched Michael for the past 20 years and followed his ministry, and all these years he has stood firm and not sold out.”
The storyline of the movie involves a large suburban church and its sister church located in the inner city. With that in mind, the publicists requested a co-host from an inner city church. Doug asked Bishop Roy L. Kossie, who has pastored the Latter Day Deliverance Church in Houston’s “bloody Fifth Ward” for 50 years. Bishop Kossie agreed, and Doug used the opportunity to honor a man who has lived the message of the movie for half a century, intentionally choosing to minister in what used to be the only theater where African-Americans could watch movies. His dream was to someday see the body of Christ worshipping the Lord together, crossing racial and denominational lines.
“When I started the church,” Bishop Kossie said, “we were located between two ‘honky tonks,’ as we called them back then. The bars are gone now but the church is still alive! As co-hosts Stringer, Kemp, and Kossie facilitated the evening—which included a time of worship led by Smith—each got the opportunity to share their hearts through a Q&A type format with clips from the movie interspersed throughout.
“I’ve always wanted to act and to make a movie,” Smith said. “But I only wanted to make a movie if it was redemptive. “What I like about this movie is that no matter who has previewed it has come away wanting to change. I came away feeling like I don’t do enough. I need to do more.”
Quoting his spiritual father, the late Ed Cole, Doug said, “Love is giving to others at the expense of self.” Each of the men agreed we need to take risks as we get out of our comfort zones and advance the Kingdom of God by building genuine relationship with our brothers and sisters of all ethnicities and denominations. “If there was ever a time to come together and walk together regardless of color, it’s now,” said Smith. “It’s time to put down the bullhorn and start living the life. We should be so full of God that we walk into a room and people come into conviction. I want to walk with such power that my shadow falls on people and they’re saved.”
“The heart and soul of any community is the church,” Doug said. “When the heart is sick, the whole community is sick. We’re in a battle for the very moral soul of our nation and for a generation. You cannot change the soul of a person, a family, a community or a nation if the heart is sick.”
For more information, visit the movie’s website at www.secondchancethemovie.com.
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