Sony Pictures’ highly anticipated Easter season release (4/16/14) of the movie Heaven Is for Real affords churches a unique opportunity for outreach. This site is dedicated to providing information and resources that can encourage God’s people to pursue making disciples through this extraordinary avenue coming this spring.
Be sure to visit this site again throughout the seasons of the movie’s release (leading up to, during spring, and during the summer months with DVD release). More resources and information, including personal and group studies, will be added.
National church leader Dr. Jo Anne Lyon (General Superintendent, The Wesleyan Church) is excited at the prospect: “The Easter season heightens interest in life after death in most people’s minds. This movie is a God-given opportunity to share a glimpse into the mysteries of God and eternity with others. It will definitely lead to conversations that will further open doors to share faith.”
Similarly, Jim Dunn, director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship, The Wesleyan Church, anticipates this chance for outreach from a very personal perspective: “I haven’t had a vision that I know of, but I’ve seen Jesus through the eyes and smile of my bride the first Sunday of November 2013 as she took her last earthly breaths. The fact that heaven is for real is what keeps me and our children going through this season of life. I’m praying this movie will draw many into the saving and gracious kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
The Grace Behind the Story
The Heaven Is for Real movie is based on the compelling events described in the popular book by the same title. Both book and movie recount the moving story of Crossroads Wesleyan Church pastor Todd Burpo (Imperial, Nebraska), his family, and the 2003 near-death experience of his three-year-old son Colton. Pastor Burpo relates how in the months following Colton’s emergency surgery, the little boy began to remarkably describe events and people that should be impossible for him to have seen or met.
The faithful and authentic account of the Burpo family, their church, and their community unfolds not only a testimony to the hope of Jesus Christ’s heaven, but also to the good news of his hope here and now. It’s the age-old story of how people whose trust is in God experience their greatest suffering being transformed by God into blessing and glory.
The Burpos’ story is not about a special revelation, nor is it a God-inspired description of heaven’s geography or demographics. Rather, it is one more testimony to God’s plan throughout human history: It’s the story of God revealing glory’s reality in terms that even a little child can understand. As the spirit of Colton’s vision affirms, it is a God-given glimpse into the hope of heaven that awaits all who have his same childlike faith in Christ Jesus. But it also glimpses a foretaste of that hope as it is lived out in love by the body of Christ in its community.