Rob Shallenberger: Welcome back, to all of our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners, wherever you’re at in the world today! This is going to be an extraordinary podcast. I can tell you that without even having jumped into it yet! We have someone who I just recently met on here and I’ll get into that in just a minute. But I really want to set the stage and preface this.  

 

Rob Shallenberger: I know there’s a lot of listeners throughout the world. We have CEOs, we have frontline employees, we have people that work out of their home – there’s a wide swath of people. And it’s been interesting over the last few decades in our culture, it’s almost been this move away from being able to have open conversations. What I mean by that is, there’s almost this worry that people get offended so easily in our culture that it seems like there’s a lot of things that we can’t talk about, that are off-limits for the fear of offending others. And that’s unfortunate because there’s so many conversations that we could be having with others if we were willing to have an open mind and an open dialogue and not worry about offense. One of those discussions is around God and Christ, and there’s so much to be had by discussions, whether a person believes in Him or not, or wherever they’re at in their beliefs, there’s so much to be had from an open discussion. I have on the podcast, today, someone who is literally influencing the world and I believe that what he’s doing is very much divinely guided. And so, I’m so grateful for Dallas Jenkins being on the podcast today.  

 

Rob Shallenberger: And just by a very brief way of introduction, I’m going to set the stage for this and then, Dallas, you can tell us a little bit more about you and your background. Dallas, along with his incredible team has put together a series called, ‘The Chosen’. The first season has eight episodes, and if I understand correctly, they’re trying to put together eight more in this series that really encompasses the Gospels in the Bible. And it was so moving and so touching as I finished the eighth episode, that I thought, “Man, I’ve got to do whatever I can to help spread this message.” This is a message of hope. It’s a beautiful message and probably one of the best portrayals of Christ that I’ve ever seen in a series, and I really do believe that this is divinely inspired.  

 

Rob Shallenberger: So, I would hope that, as listeners, we can all be open-minded. Give this podcast a chance, regardless of where you’re coming from. And watch this movie, The Chosen. Dallas is the Producer, the Director, and we’re going to get into how this all came about, what were his thoughts on this, where is it going. They just passed, I believe, 32 million views – if you haven’t heard of it, you will certainly in this podcast – but this is going to be something that continues to grow. So, with all that being said, Dallas, thanks for being on the podcast and tell us a little bit about you, if you don’t mind. 

 

Dallas Jenkins: Yeah, thanks for having me on! I appreciate that. I’ll start real quick, just with a clarifier about The Chosen and then I’ll work my way backwards. The Chosen is the first-ever multi-season show about the life of Christ. Season one was eight episodes, it’s out now. We intend to do about seven or eight seasons. There’s been movies and there’s been miniseries about the life of Christ, but there’s never actually been a multi-season show that you can binge-watch and follow from year to year and really dig deeper into the stories and into the people in the show. And so, right now, we are developing season two and are hoping to be shooting it sometime this year – but that all depends on the quarantine rules and all that. 

 

Dallas Jenkins: So, working backwards, I have been in the movie business for 20 years or so, maybe a little bit longer than that. And The Chosen, actually, was birthed out of my biggest career disappointment. I actually had a failure in my career a few years ago, and that ultimately led to The Chosen. But, for about 20 years, I’ve been making movies in Hollywood and in the Chicago area where I live now. That’s how I got to where I am today. 

 

Rob Shallenberger: So tell us about the birth of the idea of The Chosen. You just alluded to it, so expand on that. 

 

Dallas Jenkins: Well, in 2010, I moved from LA back to Chicago where I’d grown up. A huge church in the Chicago area wanted me to come on staff and to make movies and short films with them and through their structure. So, for about 10 years, I’d been in LA and I had been doing pretty well and was kind of growing in my reach and in my impact in the industry. I had directed a few movies that were doing well. When I went back to Chicago, one of the reasons was that I thought, you know, I love my faith, I love the church – the church of America, to use a very, very broad term – but oftentimes the relationship between Christians and Hollywood was very tenuous. And usually, if you heard of a relationship between a church and Hollywood, it was in the form of a boycott. But that’s been changing a lot. But there was always this kind of separation between people of faith and Hollywood. And I thought, well, the opportunity to do movies within the context of a church that had the means to do movies at a budget level that I thought was appropriate, was a really interesting opportunity.  

 

Dallas Jenkins: And so, very, very long story short, I did multiple short films and vignettes for my church’s Good Friday services and Christmas Eve services. One of the cool things about it was that, when I was in Hollywood, a lot of my projects had been done independently, meaning they were financed by my father and some investors that we had procured ourselves. But I hadn’t really made it in Hollywood. That was kind of my goal. I always wanted to make it, I wanted to be able to work with really prominent producers. My biggest goal in life was to win an Academy Award. That was something that I thought about all the time and every time I’d watch the Oscars, it was important to me to imagine myself in that environment in some way. But it wasn’t until I’d been working at this church for several years, that one of the short films that I did for our Christmas Eve service got in the hands of one of the biggest producers in Hollywood. This guy, by the name of Jason Blum, runs the Blumhouse Productions – and Blumhouse is known for some of the most successful horror films of the last 10 years; so, every monstrously successful horror film you can think of was probably done on a relatively low budget by Blumhouse, whether it’s a get-out or sinister, insidious paranormal activity, all these projects. And they were interested in faith-based movies, and they’d seen my short film and absolutely loved it. And so, they wanted to work with me and then they also got financing from WWE – the wrestling company. They have a film division and so, they’ve had some success.  

 

Dallas Jenkins: And so, a horror film company, a wrestling company, and a church in Elgin, Illinois, combined to develop this movie that I had been working on the script. And it was really exciting because this was what I had wanted for so many years. And I had this opportunity, they were putting up all the money so the church didn’t have to put up any money. My investors that I knew didn’t have to put up any money. Hollywood was putting up the money and they wanted me to be able to control the content, they were interested in the faith-based market. It was a film called, ‘The Resurrection of Gavin Stone’ and it was a movie that we were all excited about. We shot the movie, they tested it with the test audiences, and it scored higher than any movie they’d ever done. Like, they were really excited. They were planning on doing multiple movies with me over the next 10 years. So, I was a director with a very bright future and had essentially arrived with my dream scenario.  

 

Dallas Jenkins: And then, the movie was released in theaters in January of 2017 and it was a complete failure. Within a couple of hours, we could tell from the numbers that it was a bomb – it was lower than their lowest projections. And, in just a couple of hours, I went from a director with a bright future to a director with no future, and all those companies went back to what they knew best and didn’t really have an interest in keeping their toes in the faith-based waters. And so, I was really confused and my wife and I were home alone crying and, like I said, confused – just wondering what could have gone wrong and what did we miss, especially because it felt like God had been so present in this whole process. For whatever reason, we didn’t know at the time, but God really impressed two things powerfully on my wife’s heart. One was the story of The Feeding of the 5000 in the Gospels, where Jesus takes loaves and fish and multiplies them and feeds a whole group of people; and the other was the phrase, “I do impossible math.” 

 

Dallas Jenkins: I love that phrase, by the way! 

 

Dallas Jenkins: Yeah, it’s a great phrase, but we wanted to know what it meant. And we didn’t exactly know what it meant or what its relevance was but I just knew that that phrase was just really impressed on my wife’s heart from God. And we thought it meant that maybe these early numbers that seem so low would magically turn around, and that the box office would have this miraculous recovery and that He was kind of giving us an indication that this wasn’t over yet. And that didn’t happen. And then, when we read The Feeding of the 5000, we saw that he did, in fact, feed 5000 people with just five loaves and two fish, and multiplied them in a miraculous way. That seemed to be another confirmation that something big was going to happen. And when it didn’t, we were again, still confused, just wondering, what is God doing here?  

 

Dallas Jenkins: And one of the things we noticed when we were reading the story in the Gospels – even though we’ve heard it so many times – that we hadn’t noticed before was that, when it came time for Jesus to feed the crowd, He actually had the disciples do what they didn’t need Him for, which is He had them go find the food, He had them distribute it once He had multiplied it. So, He could have just magically allowed the food to just appear in everyone’s laps, but He still used the disciples and the people around Him. And so, we thought that was interesting, but we didn’t know what it meant. And then, the other thing that was really fascinating was that, when you think about that story, you realize that it was actually Jesus’s ‘fault’, for lack of a better term, that the people were as hungry as they were. He was, in fact, responsible for the need, for the miracle. He had been speaking for three days, the people were so tired that when the disciples told Jesus that they needed to go home to get food, Jesus said, “No, they’re so tired, they’ll faint along the way.” So He knew everything, He knew the problem. In fact, He was responsible for it.  

 

Dallas Jenkins: And so, we thought, “Okay, maybe that does mean that God is in this, in some way. This isn’t happening outside of His will. And so, we don’t know what it means, we don’t know what the future holds, but we’re open.” And that night, at four o’clock in the morning, I was sitting on my computer and I was doing what I’m guessing you’ve done and what a lot of your listeners do, which is, especially if you’re a leader or a visionary of some kind, is always do a post-mortem when something goes wrong. You analyze what went wrong, what you could have done differently, what others could have done differently. And so, I was putting together this 15-page memo, that was an analysis where I was at fault and where others were at fault and how we could have prevented this and how I might want to prevent it in the future. And a message popped up on my computer at four in the morning, from someone that I actually haven’t even met. It’s just a Facebook friend of mine who I barely know – we’ve talked maybe once a year.  

 

Dallas Jenkins: He didn’t say, “Hi”, I didn’t say, “Hello”. Didn’t say, “Heard about your movie.” He just said, “Remember, your job is not to feed the 5000. It’s only to provide the loaves and fish.” And, for a second there, I thought maybe my computer had been recording my wife’s conversation with me because I couldn’t figure out how he would know to say that. So I said, “What are you doing up at four in the morning?” And he said, “Well, I’m in Romania. I’m in a different timezone. I’m visiting my brother.” And I said, “Before I respond to you, may I ask what led you to tell me that? Why did you tell me this?” And he said, “Oh, that wasn’t me. God just wanted me to share that with you.” And that moment really changed my life. I felt, for more than any time in my entire life, that God was present, that he was in this and that he knew exactly what the circumstances were. But, more than that, the lesson itself changed my life. I’ve been someone who always feels a little bit responsible for the results of what I do. What I really realized in that moment was that, when it comes to projects like this, I can’t force the issue, I can’t be responsible for the results. All I can do is make sure that whatever fish and loaves that I do provide, that they’re as good and healthy as they can be. And the rest is not up to me. And the multiplication of that, whether it happens or not, is not up to me, as long as I am responsible for and paying attention to doing the best with what I’m given and what I have to offer. 

 

Dallas Jenkins: And so, that is why, when it came time to reevaluate what I was going to do next – and I was genuinely open to not making another movie if that’s what God wanted for me; I was okay with that – I poured myself into another short film for my Church’s Christmas Eve service about the Birth of Christ from the perspective of the shepherds. It was a 20-minute short film and while I was doing it, I thought, “Boy, there’s so much to explore here that hasn’t been explored! And that’s kind of thing you can do in a multi-season show, but you can’t do it in a movie and there’s never been a multi-season show done yet, so wouldn’t that be a great idea?” But I didn’t really have any designs on it. I was just doing this little thing for my church.  

 

Dallas Jenkins: And very long story short, that’s where The Chosen was birthed. That short film ended up going viral. It ended up being the catalyst for us to crowdfund Season One of The Chosen – we would show that short film on social media and let people know what we were thinking and see if they were interested in potentially investing. It was released all over the world, and we ended up shattering the all-time crowdfunding record, which had previously been held by projects that had big fan bases, and I had nothing. We were starting from scratch and we ended up raising over $10 million from over 19,000 people around the world, all based on the short film I did for my church’s Christmas Eve service on a farm in Illinois. When we broke the record, and when all that money came in, and we knew that we could shoot Season One, I remember my wife and I were staring at the numbers on the computer, and she started crying because she realized that God was pressing on her heart, again, that this is what he meant by ‘impossible math’. And that’s what we’ve seen at every step of the way with this project, from the beginning of what I’ve been telling you, to over the last two years, to the fact that even just recently, when we decided to make the show even more free and more easily accessible by people around the world, not charging them a dime to watch it, we ended up generating even more income. So, it all doesn’t make sense. It’s all impossible math, but that’s the very, very long answer to your short question about how this all came to be. 

 

Rob Shallenberger: Well, I love that, first of allAnd that’s why I love the term, ‘impossible math’, Dallas, because it’s taking what doesn’t make sense and it makes sense and it works. And thanks for sharing the whole background on this because to watch this expand to where it is now is just so amazing! And thanks for the clarification there on seasons versus episodes.  

 

Dallas Jenkins: Sure. 

 

Rob Shallenberger: Because now you’re in the process of crowdfunding and raising the money for Season Two. I believe you’re almost at the milestone, just about at the $5 million mark. Is that right? 

 

Dallas Jenkins: Yeah. Our seasons, even though they’re eight episodes total, in the first season, we split them up into two halves. So, we shot episodes one through four and released those early in 2019. And then we shot the next four episodes in the summer and then released them in the fall of 2019. So, pretty much, probably, by the end of the day you and I are recording this discussion, we will be funded for episodes one through four of season two. So, we’re currently looking for location, we’re working out what we can do in light of the quarantine. But that has come in from this Pay It Forward program. We didn’t even open up a crowdfund again yet. We probably are still going to do that – offer an investment opportunity to the crowd again – but this has all been income that’s been generated by people who watched the show and then, they get the opportunity, if they so choose, to pay it forward, and to allow other people to see it for free and for us to finance future episodes and seasons. And since COVID has come, which we thought would hurt us, has actually quadrupled and quintupled our efforts and our pace. So it’s, again, just been more and more impossible math. 

 

Rob Shallenberger: So, expand on the Pay It Forward that you’re talking about there, Dallas, because what’s happening right now is really touching and moving. I mean there’s this message that’s going around the world and it’s going at an exponentially faster pace. So, explain what that means because a lot of people who are listening – I hope everyone who’s listening to this podcast will go watch The Chosen – you can find it on VidAngel, you can get The Chosen app on your Android or your iPhone. And so, I know what you mean by Pay It Forward, but explain what you mean by that. 

 

Dallas Jenkins: Yeah. So, when you download the app, it’s free. You can go to the App Store, Google Play – wherever you get your phone apps – and some of you may be thinking, “I don’t want to watch a show on a phone.” Well, neither do I, but VidAngel, who was our distribution partner, literally created technology that allows you to connect this app on your phone to your streaming device. So, Roku, Apple TV, Firestick, Chromecast – you can be watching the show totally free and easy on your streaming device. And so, people say, “Well, if it’s free, how are you able to do more seasons?” And we came up with this idea of – the guys at VidAngel did – this idea of, when you’re watching it, first of all, it will tell you “This episode was paid forward for you by Dallas in Illinois, or John in Iowa” or whatever it is. You can have the opportunity, if you want to just send them an anonymous or otherwise, ‘thank you’ note. But, when you’re done, we say, “Look, if you want to keep this show going for future episodes and seasons, and if you want others to be able to watch the show free around the world, then you can pay it forward.” And there’s different levels offered and different perks that come with that. And then, there’s, of course, a lot of people who don’t pay it forward, who just like the show – some of them can’t afford to pay it forward or people in other countries – the app is literally in every country in the world and it’s being translated into dozens of languages as we speak. And that all is made possible because people are literally paying it forward and giving us the opportunity to do that. So, we don’t force anything. We don’t have a bunch of commercials. You’ve seen the show so you’ve seen that we don’t really pressure you much. It’s just a, “Listen if you liked this and you want to keep it going, here’s how we do that.” And, like I said, since we made the show free and since we made it as hassle-free as possible, there’s been an explosion in terms of paying it forward and people wanting to support the show. 

 

Rob Shallenberger: Yeah. And, you know, Dallas, I’ll tell you one of the things that I’ve just loved about this is, how real it makes the characters – and I say characters; these are real people – but how real Christ is, how real Peter is, Matthew and some of these other people, and how relatable. It suddenly makes what you read about in the Bible so relatable. In other words, these are people with their struggles. They’re not perfect – well, with the exception of Christ. You know, Peter had his struggles. And so did so many of the other people around Christ and who He surrounded Himself with, and how He served. I think it’s so touching to so many people. I’ve been so fascinated by this, hence why we’re doing this podcast. You know, I read through some of the comments from people who’ve watched the show and been a part of this and, across the board, the unanimous sentiment or feeling that you see is, this was life-changing. It’s so relatable people that this is why I think they’re so willing to pay it forward and move on this is because it touches people in a way that they haven’t experienced. And it is just a whole new way to look at it that really brings Christ to life, as a person who can reach out to The One – each one of us being The One, if you will. And so, I just think it’s so relatable that this is why people are drawn and want to pay it forward. 

 

Dallas Jenkins: Yeah, I think that you’re speaking to, if I was going to give a list of the top reasons that people have been so passionate about the show after they see it, that would certainly be in the top two, or three, which sounds simple, but for whatever reason hasn’t been, is the idea that these were real people, these were human beings. So often, when we see Jesus’ projects, we see these people portrayed as saints or as kind of presented formal figures. There’s not much emotional connection or engagement. That’s particularly true of the portrayals of Christ. You oftentimes feel an emotional disconnect. He doesn’t even strike you as someone that you would ever want to follow if He was around. He seems, actually, in a lot of Jesus projects, kind of boring. But, what we’ve been trying to do is humanize these people, including Jesus. Now, of course, the show still portrays the miracles and it portrays Jesus as this sinless Son of God and the Messiah and the Divine. That’s there, no matter what. But, we’re also showing him dressing a wound, we’re showing him making fire for his food, we’re showing him doing his bedtime prayers, we’re showing him laughing and telling jokes, we’re showing him hanging out with his friends, dancing at a wedding. And we do that, with all the people you see in this show, and you really do establish that these were real people living in real times and that these events actually happened. And that when you just read the little excerpts from the Gospels, which were not intended – the Gospels were not intended to be a TV show or to give the backstory on all these people; the Gospels were intended to be, essentially, Jesus’s Greatest Hits for the purpose of illustrating that He was the Messiah. And when you portray this in a show in a way that feels like other shows that you would normally binge-watch, we believe that if you can see Jesus through the eyes of those who actually met him, you can potentially be changed and impacted in the same way that they were. That’s what people are experiencing. They identify with Mary Magdalene. I identify with Simon Peter. And, therefore, I identify with the solution to their problems, or at least the rescue that Jesus provided. So, that has for sure, been a big factor. 

 

Rob Shallenberger: Well, it’s beautiful! I’m so behind this! And, you know, it’s been interesting, I’ve just been watching the track, I think you just passed 32 million views. Which is amazing to watch. And I love the vision. One of the things we talk about a lot at Becoming Your Best is the power of vision and a plan. Talk about your vision for this, because people can get behind this. This is a powerful vision.  

 

Dallas Jenkins: Yeah, I mean, we’ve got, on a surface level, on a strictly practical material level, we want to do eight seasons. We look at a show like Game of Thrones, which was eight seasons and it was viewed by over a billion people around the world, and the budget for those eight seasons was probably around a billion dollars. And, you know, we’re not going to need or spend that kind of money, but we do believe that the greatest story ever told deserves something like that. It deserves to be seen by a billion people around the world and it deserves the eight seasons. And so, we want to give enough time to these stories that they deserve. So, we want to devote, for example, season seven to the crucifixion and season eight to what happens after that, and not have to rush through these things like you oftentimes see.  

 

Dallas Jenkins: So we believe that we’re going to need to raise somewhere in the neighborhood – maybe a little bit more, but not too much – of $100 million for the eight seasons. And that may sound crazy but when $10 million came in just based on a short film on my friend’s farm in Illinois in just a few months, it no longer seems at all unrealistic or unlikely. And so, that’s what we’re trying to do. So that’s kind of on a practical, material level, but I think, on an impact level, we want this to continue and to grow and people are telling us every day, thousands of people all over the world, are saying this is changing their lives, they’ve never loved the Bible more or been more interested in the Bible than they have when they have been watching the show, they’ve never loved Jesus more than they have been, watching this show.  

 

Dallas Jenkins: And then, we’re hearing also from people who aren’t necessarily believers, or who maybe were on the fence or had a bad experience with church and have been kind of distant from God or from their church or from friends and family. We’ve been hearing from people who are saying, “I am more passionate now than ever. I feel like I’ve come back to God or I feel like I’m learning about Jesus in a way that I haven’t been because what I’ve heard in the past doesn’t match what I felt in my heart or what I read in Scripture. And this feels like the kind of Jesus that I would want to follow.” And so, there’s no reason why that can’t continue. 

 

Rob Shallenberger: You know, it’s interesting, Dallas – and I’ll share something very personal. I don’t typically get this personal on a podcast. Like I said, I think this podcast is a little bit different. I finished watching the last episode and I remember kneeling down and praying that night, and asking, “What can I do to move this message forward? What can I do to play a role?” And it was very clear: have Dallas on your podcast, at least as a starting point. There were a couple of other ideas, but this was one. That’s why we’re doing this podcast. So, I reached out, found your cell phone, and called you the next day. But I think this is a story that resonates with thousands of other people wanting to do the same thing. 

 

Dallas Jenkins: Yeah, it’s been really bizarre. I’ve met hundreds of our investors, some of whom have visited the set or I’ve talked to on the phone or whatever – and they say the same thing all the time. I mean, independent of each other, they say, “I don’t know what it was. I don’t normally do this. But I felt I had to get involved. I had to invest. I had to pay it forward. I had to do something. It was just so full in my heart that I had to do this.” That’s an indication that this project is way bigger than I am and in far better hands than mine. And so, for me, it’s been a bit of a fun ride myself, just to kind of see what God has been doing with it. 

 

Rob Shallenberger: I imagine! So, on that note, what I would love to hear now, on a slightly different topic is, you know, you’ve been through season one – which was just off the charts, obviously, from this conversation – you’re on the verge of starting season two. Up to this point, so throughout all the filming of season one, what were one or two of the biggest highlights from that whole experience of putting together season one and just the whole thing? 

 

Dallas Jenkins: Yeah, I would say probably the thing that stands out the most, we actually did a video on it – it’s on our YouTube channel. It’s called ‘The Miracle of the Miracle of the Fish’. The reason that this stands out is just because it encapsulates so much of what this project has been and what it’s about. We were scheduled to film the scene from the Gospels that’s in Episode Four in season one, which is when Jesus calls Simon Peter, after having him cast fish on the other side of the boat, and Simon has been fishing all night and hasn’t caught a single fish. And Jesus says, “Try again” and he catches hundreds of fish. And about four or five days before we were scheduled to shoot that scene, we didn’t have fish, we didn’t have a boat, and we didn’t have a lake – all things that are pretty important in a scene like that. Call me crazy, but it felt like we needed those elements. We just didn’t have them. All of our attempts to getting fish fell through, the lake was actually flooded at the time – meaning that the shoreline was underwater – and the boat was still being made. It had to be built in a very, very short amount of time. But because of what had happened with the show from the beginning, particularly with the impossible math of how the show even came to be, I really just wasn’t stressed out about it. I just thought, typically, whenever we have an idea for how something’s going to work, and then it doesn’t work, what ends up happening at the last minute is way better than what we would have done on our own.  

 

Dallas Jenkins: So, sure enough, that morning, the lake had gotten down to its perfect depth and the boat was being towed around the lake to get to us – paint still drying – and our special-effects guys, our visual-effects guys had said, “We’re going to create all these fish in post-production and we just ask that you put together a big green tarp with water balloons inside of it that can be pushed and pulled into this net and put into the boat and we’ll replace what we call the green burrito with fish.” Again, you can see the story on The Chosen YouTube page. But, even after we filmed it, the challenges that they faced in creating these brand new fish out of nothing, it was all, again, impossible math, it was all something from nothing, it was all an illustration of the feeding of the 5000 that we were just experiencing in real time. And it was all consistently testing me to make sure that I really was in that headspace of, ‘it’s not my job to feed to 5000. It’s only to provide the loaves and the fish that I’ve got and make sure that they’re as good and healthy as they can be.’ Now, of course, in this case, I didn’t even have any fish to provide, literally. But, when you watch the scene now, it’s one of the most famous scenes in the season and one of the most life-giving and inspiring scenes that people have seen. And I would challenge you, that if you saw it for the first time, without knowing the story, you would have no idea that those fish weren’t there when we were filming. 

 

Rob Shallenberger: Love it! Well, I can’t believe we’re already at 30 minutes. That’s amazing! So, before we wrap up, I’ll ask you two questions: number one, just to remind everyone where they can go to get the app and how they can watch The Chosen. But then, number two, any parting thoughts, comments that you’d like to make?  

 

Dallas Jenkins: The way to watch it, as I said, it’s totally free and it’s easy. Just download The Chosen wherever you get your phone apps. We’re easy to find. But what’s important to me for people to understand is that when they watch this show, it’s going to feel different. There’s a moment in Episode Seven when Simon Peter is frustrated that Jesus is calling Matthew, the tax collector, to be part of the group of disciples because tax collectors were hated at that time, and Simon surely didn’t want to be in the same team of Jesus followers with a tax collector. And he is complaining to Jesus, and Jesus just looks at him and says, “Get used to different!” And that’s a phrase that we’ve been living by with this whole project and I think that that’s what people have experienced when they’ve watched it. Is that it doesn’t feel like a typical Jesus show. But, at the same time, that shouldn’t scare you because it is made by someone as myself who loves the Bible, loves God’s word, loves Jesus, and people, when they watch it, they’re like, even the scenes and moments that aren’t from Scripture – which is a lot of them because we expand that a lot with the historical context, the cultural context, the artistic imagination, some of the backstories that we created that we believe are plausible, if not factual – and people might not be used to that but they all come away from it thinking, “Oh, my goodness, this feels like the most biblical project I’ve seen even though it’s not a verse-by-verse recreation. And I think that people will experience that if they’re willing to check it out. 

 

Rob Shallenberger: Well, I agree with you. And, from my own personal experience, I’ll just say I do believe there’s a higher power here that’s guiding this whole project that will have the ability to influence hundreds of thousands, millions, and even your vision of a billion people. And so, each one of us can do a part in this. Like you said, wherever a person who’s listening to this podcast is at, regardless of what your faith or your belief or wherever you are, give this a shot. I mean, number one, it’s been amazing what Dallas and his team have done in crowdfunding and raising the money to do this, and the reach that it’s experiencing, and the exponential growth. But, number two is, like what you said, Dallas, it’s the feeling that you get when you watch it. It’s the desire to want to be a better person. It’s the desire to be a better parent, a better leader or coworker to simply want to be a better person. It’s why so many people resonate with it. So, there’s some deep feelings and emotions that go with it. I love the ability to connect with the characters, like we mentioned earlier, and that’s as a result of you not making it just superficial and quick through. You’ve really purposely done that.  

 

Rob Shallenberger: So, we appreciate what you’ve done, Dallas! On behalf of everybody listening to this, thank you for producing and directing this show. I hope that all of our listeners will go out and get the app, The Chosen. Or just go search for the show and you’ll be able to find it and watch it. Get through all eight episodes in season one. They are life-changing, I’ll call on that. I’ve experienced it. And then, do your part. If you’re in a financial position where you can contribute for season two, great! Paying it forward so that others can access and watch it. We’re all a part of this. So, Dallas, any parting thoughts before we wrap up? 

 

Dallas Jenkins: No, I’m good. You’ve covered it all. So, I appreciate the chance to connect with you and, to you who are listening, I appreciate it! Thank you so much! 

 

Rob Shallenberger: Yeah, awesome! And, as you know, as all of our Becoming Your Best listeners, one of the phrases we use a lot is that one person can make a difference. And this is certainly one of those cases where, yes, you and every one of us can make a difference and pay it forward. So, we appreciate you, we thank you. We hope this has been beneficial. Let’s go out there and make a difference. So, we hope you have a great day and a fabulous week!