Heaven is for Real

By Kerry Kind

The movie brings questions about life and death and heaven to the fore in a powerful and mysterious way.

The movie Heaven is for Real is based on the compelling events described in the best-selling book by Wesleyan pastor Todd Burpo from Imperial, Nebraska. His young son, Colton, had a near death experience and then, over the course of many months, began to matter-of-factly mention his memories of a visit to heaven. The innocent four-year-old's recollections were all the more astounding because he had gained knowledge of things and people that he could not have known by any other means.

Randall Wallace wrote a true-to-life screenplay and directed the movie. He is a first-rate filmmaker with screen-writing and directing credits in such movies as Braveheart, Pearl Harbor, Secretariat, and The Man in the Iron Mask. Wallace is a man of faith, a seminary graduate. He was delighted to have an opportunity where he could use his craft to share what he calls a “transcendent story about ultimate questions” with the world.

Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in California, stated, “Heaven is for Real is extremely well done. The casting was superb. Greg Kinnear even walks like Todd Burpo. Colton is profoundly portrayed, as are Sonja and Cassie. I believe the story will affirm the faith of believers and nudge open-minded skeptics towards truth. This film is fabulous and definitely worth seeing!”

Sony Pictures’ April 16, 2014 release of the movie affords Wesleyan churches a special opportunity for outreach. The local Wesleyan Church is presented very well. More importantly, the movie brings questions about life and death and heaven to the fore in a powerful and mysterious way that encourages respectful seeking.

Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church, affirms, “This movie is a God-given opportunity . . . It will definitely lead to conversations that will further open doors to share faith.”

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Local churches can access a wealth of free ministry resources related to the movie at The Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division is dedicated to providing churches with information, resources, and ministry ideas that can be used to pursue making disciples through this unique avenue. In partnership with Wesleyan Publishing House, excellent free tools have been provided such as a Q&A that biblically and relevantly engages skepticism, ministry outreach ideas, movie follow-up discussion questions, topical studies from the Scriptures, and sermon-note ideas. Contact This could well be a God-given spark to kindle discussion in our communities about Jesus Christ and the hope of heaven!

Spark a God-given discussion in your community.