‘Fight Church’ Documentary: Beating The Gospel Into Our Neighbors... Through MMA Fighting? (VIDEO)
By - Crossmap On June 20, 2012
The world for a Christian is a constant battle. We fight against the pressures of secularism and compromising the Word of God and we even fight against ourselves in the battle of flesh and spirit. Sometimes, we may even fight our unbelieving friends... and some people do it literally.
Academy Award Winning directors, Daniel Junge and Bryan Storkel are stepping into the lives of some rather unconditional methods of sharing the Gospel at a local church. The filmmakers are in the process of documenting pastor and fighter, Paul Burress, as he mixes Biblical teaching and mixed-martial arts.
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The film, 'Fight Church,' follows several pastors in Rochester, New York. Members of the church join in rough fighting as a method of restoring their relationship with God and sharing the Word with others.
"The hope is that through the fight, I can create a relationship with the person I'm fighting and extend Christ to Him," a young man, featured in the film, says.
One may wonder--how is this effective? Was not Jesus non-violent? Is a sport so violent acceptable to be teaching as a means of coming closer to God? Apparently, the pastors of this Christians church believe that it is.
"While Jesus no doubt overcame the world, he never fought by physical means and even spoke out against violence saying. To many fighters, however, the physical contact is sport, and simply an exercise medium used that can be utilized for evangelism," The Christian Post reported.
"At the end of the day its about reaching people with the Gospel regardless of your battle and regardless of what you do to introduce them into a relationship with Jesus Christ," one trainer/ church member said in a the film's trailer.
"People may say mixed-martial arts is wrong and Jesus told everyone to turn the other cheek and things like that..." another church member stated in the film's trailer.
"And I would be really quick to say 'this probably isn't the church for you,'" he continued.
Many can agree that the basic message of Christianity is love. We should love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. Whether or not mixed-martial arts is commendable as a form of recreation, perhaps to get to know someone and then deliver the Gospel, is one thing, but to use the fight as a way to get through to someone is entirely different. This method may lack a sense of morality.
Co-director, Storkel, responded to some questions by The Huffinton Post regarding his take on the 'fight church.' Here is some of what he said.
After meeting Paul [Burress] and spending time with him, I realized that he really was sincere in his faith. He loves God and he loves people. I'm still not sure what I personally believe about the moral aspects of it all. Honestly, I'm not really sure if God has a stance on organized fighting. I think He has bigger/more important things to deal with. It may not even be a moral issue. That's what I like about the topic though...as I spend more time with the subjects, I'm sure I'll learn more and probably develop a stronger personal stance.
The production of the film was on halt because of financial issues. The filmmakers began a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds.
"We are a little wary of getting distributors or studios involved at this stage," Storkel said to the Huffington Post. "We want to make sure we maintain creative control on our project and we don't want to give it away to a studio that wants to tell us how to edit the film because they invested in it."
However, the Kickstarter campaign, which ended on June 5, was successful. The filmmakers raised over 30,000 and are planning to release the film in 2013.
Check out the 'Fight Church' trailer below--does mixed-martial arts have a place in sharing the Gospel?