Jake McEntire was a movie-minded student at Dallas Baptist University in 2004 when he felt God leading him to write a film script. Thanks to prodding from a few friends — and lots of prayer — McEntire finally did so.
McEntire’s 14-year-old screenplay becomes reality Feb. 22 when “Run the Race” is released in theaters. Former NFL and college football player Tim Tebow and his brother Robby served as executive producers, while Chris Dowling (Where Hope Grows) directed it. The WTA Group, a company that helped make “I Can Only Imagine,” also was involved.
The faith-based story follows the lives of two teenage brothers who are chasing their high school athletic dreams after the death of their mother and abandonment by their father. When yet another tragedy strikes, the boys must rely on one another and decide if the Christian faith they were taught as children — the faith of their mother — is real.
“This is a story that God put on my heart,” McEntire told Baptist Press. “I want people who watch the film just to run after God and run after Jesus a little bit more than they did the day before.”
The film was endorsed by J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Gary Cook, chancellor of Dallas Baptist University; and Jimmy Draper, former president of LifeWay Christian Resources. LifeWay will release curriculum based on the film.
Trey Brunson, a friend of McEntire’s, is an executive producer, too. The two met during a spiritual formations class at Dallas Baptist. Brunson said McEntire discussed the story — a lot — while in school.
“After a few years of him telling me the story over and over and over again, I finally said, ‘Jake, I don’t want to hear this story again. If you don’t write it down, no one will ever see this movie. I believe in you. I believe that people will see this movie.’ And so he started writing,” Brunson said.
Still, it took more than a decade to get it made into a movie. McEntire and Brunson spent their time collecting endorsements for the screenplay.
The turning point, though, came when the Tebows read the script and got involved. Brunson knew them from his days at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., where his father, Mac Brunson, was pastor. Trey Brunson was on staff at the church and had frequent interactions with Robby during Fellowship of Christian Athlete meetings. He showed Robby a concept trailer.
“I immediately started to fall in love with the story,” Robby Tebow told BP. “And a couple months later we met in Los Angeles and read the script and it was one of the few times in my life where immediately, I just fell in love and felt called. It impacted my heart in a way where I just felt God calling me to be a part of this and to help tell the story.”
The fictional story isn’t based on the lives of the Tebows. Nevertheless, Tim and Robby felt a connection to the brother-centric story.
“There were a lot of things about it that resonated,” Robby Tebow said.
“Whether your brother agrees with you or not, they have your back. You can be in a foxhole or you can be in a corner, and you know that person is going to come out fighting with you. There’s a large aspect of this movie that definitely related there.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press, Michael Foust