There are not many quality films that portray the honor, impact, and sacrifice of Christian missionaries, but there are a few.
Missionaries have the power to evoke the deepest parts of our imagination and give Christians an example of extreme sacrifice, as portrayed by the disciples and the first century church. Their actions inspire us to be better Christians and their sacrifices can remind us of the true meaning of Christian living. Christians often refer to missionaries as the “tip of the spear,” because they are often the first to go into hostile lands to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ.
However, there are not many Hollywood movies that give adequate tribute to them. Modern blockbusters often make heroes out of sports stars, actors, and glorify those who spend most of their lives glorifying themselves.
If you are looking for an adventurous movie that you and your family can watch together that will influence the way that you pray and motivate your Christian life, then perhaps this list of films can help. They are not all traditional missionary movies, but all focus on missions to hard-to-reach areas.
#1 THE JESUS REVOLUTION
This brand new movie about 1960s hippies finding Jesus is currently in theaters and is smashing records! Jesus Revolution is powerful for me, because it follows young Greg Laurie, Lonnie Frisbee, and Chuck Smith, as they turn California upside down through the Jesus movement during the late 1960s. Pastor Chuck Smith’s teachings streamed across my radio every night as a young boy, shortly after giving my life to Christ.
It is not mentioned in the movie, but this movement led to the largest single delivery of Bibles in China in June 1981, as depicted in the book PROJECT PEARL.
#2 END OF THE SPEAR
End of the Spear is a 2005 film, based on the true story of five American missionaries who travel deep into the tropical rainforest of Eastern Ecuador to evangelize an unreached people group known as the Waodani tribe.
The story unfolds as the five missionaries are slaughtered by the Waodani tribe, but it doesn’t end there. Years after the slaughter, a son of one of the martyred missionaries returns to spend time with the tribe. What happens next is a powerful display of the love of Christ.
#3 THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE
This movie is a true classic and is the first Christian movie I ever watched. The film details the mission of David Wilkerson, who was called to share the love of Christ with some of the most violent street gang members in New York City. The movie shows the turbulent life-threatening events that evolved as a result.
#4 BADGE OF FAITH
Back to Jerusalem Board member and director Donald Leow has put out some amazing films, but few better than Badge of Faith – the award winning true story of police officer Bryan Lawrence, who ends up paralyzed after an encounter with fugitives. The doctors say he will never walk again, but God has a different plan. The movie focuses on the power of forgiveness and the hope found in the love of Christ.
If you like this movie, Donald Leow has directed several other movies that can be found online, including Touched by Grace, Once Upon a Time in Mongolia, and For the Glory.
There is simply no other movie that will capture the pain and anguish of early missionaries to Asia like this movie. This is not a feel-good, happy, popcorn-eating Christian movie, but instead a powerful, raw, very real look at human fragility preaching Christ in foreign lands.
Warning. This movie is graphic and may not be appropriate for children.
#6 MAMA HEIDI
This docu-film follows the amazing life of Heidi Baker and her mission work in Africa. We have had the privilege to work together with Heidi and witness first-hand many of the things that she has experienced as a missionary in Africa. Truly inspirational.
#7 THE HIDING PLACE
Fewer people have impacted the world for Christ in the way that Corrie Ten Boom did, but long before she became an evangelist preaching in more than 60 countries around the world, her and her family risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis during WWII.
This Golden Globe nominated film tells the story of Corrie’s family as they opened up their home to hide Jews during the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands in 1940. When Corrie’s family is discovered by the Nazis to be helping Jews, they are sent to a concentration camp where they will most certainly die. This is not a story that you and your family will soon forget.
#8 THE MOST RELUCTANT CONVERT
Is there any greater Christian author than C.S. Lewis? That is a rhetorical question in my house.
This unique movie about the life of C.S. Lewis breaks so many rules and is truly an enchanting linguistic dance, as an older Lewis looks back on his life and tells the impossible tale of how he went from an entrenched atheist to the most renowned Christian writer in the last 100 years.
#9 THE CHOSEN
Ok, ok, this is admittedly a series, which is like a movie that goes on for hours and hours. I was reluctantly convinced by one of my best friends to watch this series and I am now in love with it. Truly a Christian treasure in the cinematography world.
Does the series have a lot of controversy? Sure, but perhaps a little debate is naturally good for the soul and healthy for our theology.
#10 CHASING REVIVAL
I know… I am cheating here. This is not a movie, but is the only series available that takes Christians on a road trip around the world following the history of revival.
Join us, as we follow the disciples in the book of Acts and continue on in the first and second-century churches to discover how the Gospel made it from Jerusalem to you and I today.