Garner father, son take ‘Courageous’ roles
    August 31 2011 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

    When Rusty Martin Jr. was born, his parents, Rusty Sr. and Kim, were awestruck by the miracle God had given them.

    Since doctors had told them having a child was unlikely they said they have treasured their son during his 16 years on earth.

    “We’ve just been very blessed to raise him,” Rusty Sr. said.

    Junior’s big screen debut comes Sept. 30 when “Courageous,” the latest offering from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., opens in 900 theaters across America.

    The film highlights the importance of fathers, and shows how five different men, four of whom work together on the police force, struggle to become better fathers.

    Junior plays Dylan Mitchell, the son of Adam Mitchell, played by Alex Kendrick, who also helped write the script. The role was a stretch for Junior, who calls his father his best friend.

    Contributed photo

    Once Adam Mitchell, right, played by Alex Kendrick, begins to step up in his role as a father, he begins running with his son Dylan Mitchell, left, played by Garner resident Rusty Martin Jr.

    Rusty Sr. also has a part in the film. He plays a businessman who challenges one of the characters with a moral dilemma.

    The Martins are members of Turner Memorial Baptist Church in Garner. The screenings of the film across the state have raised interest in the father and son.

    The family was in Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 26 for the red-carpet premiere.

    Junior is a sophomore at Wake Christian Academy, and his father owns a precious metals business. Kim is a hearing instruments specialist. The parents have flexible work schedules to coordinate with Rusty Jr.’s filming schedule. Rusty Sr. said he generally only takes roles filmed in the area or short-term gigs so he can be home with his family. Rusty Jr. is thankful to have Christian parents who have helped his faith. While Rusty Jr. is taking all honors classes, he said his favorites tend to be science and history. In the midst of juggling a budding acting career, Rusty Jr. tries to stay active in his church’s youth group. “I call acting a passion,” Rusty Jr. said.

    He’s not sure about college yet but is considering the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He’s waiting to see what God’s will is for his life.

    Getting started

    When Rusty Jr. was in third grade, no one had tried out for the main role for the school play, so he auditioned.

    That was just the beginning. It wasn’t long before he’d found a talent agency and was filming his first commercial.

    One of the activities he likes is Boy Scouts. He is working his way toward Eagle Scout.

    “I’ve been working at it for such a long time now,” he said.   He was 14 when he was cast in “Courageous.”

    While Rusty Sr. followed his son into acting, he was the first one cast in “Courageous.” They sent audition tapes in and also auditioned via the Internet.

    Of the films in which they’ve been involved, “Courageous” was the most family friendly. They would routinely work for a week or two and give breaks for actors and crew to have time for family.

    Both actors said they want people to be changed by “Courageous.”

    While Rusty Jr. said his relationship was “rock solid” with his dad before the movie, he said the film’s subject challenged him to be a better son. Rusty Sr. echoed the sentiment about being a better father.

    Rusty Sr. indicated his family life was not the happiest. He said he was fortunate that when he was in his 30s he met some men who modeled manhood and displayed what a godly home should look like.

    He married Kim when he was 33. When Rusty Jr. was born, “I determined he was going to be a priority.”

    While the family has seen several screenings of the movie, in the next few weeks they’ll be seeing it again with family and churches.

    Contributed photo

    One of the activities Rusty Martin Sr. and his son Rusty Jr. like to do together is go to the shooting range. The two will be on screen in “Courageous,” a film by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., which opens Sept. 30.

    “I get emotional every time I see it,” Rusty Sr. said. “It just really tugs at the heart. It makes you want to stand tall and makes you want to do better as a father.”

    Father and son would love to work together again, and Rusty Sr. said he would love to play father-son on screen.

    In the meantime, Rusty Sr. might be seen in a new production called “Snitched,” developed by Cross Shadow Productions.

    See It was filmed in Apex. Father and son also recently worked on Destiny Road, a film for Brazil but filmed in North Carolina.


    As the film nears its debut, more people are contacting the Martins about speaking at their church or appearing at the movie theater to answer questions.

    Both Rusty Jr. and Sr. said this picture has raised the bar for Christian films.

    “This is a film that Christians can be proud of,” Rusty Sr. said. “A guy who goes to see it on Friday night, on Sunday afternoon he can grab his neighbor and take that guy to the theater and be proud of this product.”

    Some churches are buying tickets for members and for guests to go the opening weekend. Some have private screenings scheduled opening weekend.

    Kim handles the Garner area, and she said there has been a positive response to ticket sales.

    She mentioned one church bought more than 100 tickets for first responders. At the movie the church will invite them to its services that following Sunday to meet a couple of local actors from the film.

    “Courageous” opens in theaters Sept. 30.

    Ways churches can help

    Seeing “Courageous” is just the beginning of how churches can use the movie as a ministry tool. Churches can buy tickets for opening weekend ( and can find resources at another website,

    The following are ways churches can support and use the movie for ministry:

    Buy all the tickets for a showing. Churches can rent out a theater so their congregation can see the movie together.

    Towns where “Courageous” is not playing can also get in the action and bring the movie in by pledging to purchase 1,000 tickets. (For more information go to and click “Take Action.”)

    Have church at the movies. Instead of a traditional Sunday morning service, churches can call their theater to set up a morning showing and provide childcare back at the church nursery for families who attend.

    Give tickets to chaplains, law enforcement officers and first responders.

    Invite unchurched friends, coworkers or family to see the movie.

    Put up posters and flyers to promote the movie on church campuses or in the community.

    Embed the movie trailer on church websites. (To find the trailer, go to the movie’s website and click on “Click Here to Watch the Trailer.” Then copy the code beneath the video.)

    Plan a sermon or series on fatherhood either leading to or following the movie’s release.

    Use “Courageous” material to start a men’s ministry or to study in an existing one. (Resources, including small group guides, can be found at

    Reaching out to men with an event like a breakfast or special service honoring fathers.  

    • The Resolution for Men by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick, with Randy Alcorn
    • The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer, with Alex and Stephen Kendrick
    • Courageous Living - Dare to Take a Stand by Michael Catt
    • Rite of Passage - A Father’s Blessing by Jim McBride
    • Courageous - The Novel by Randy Alcorn
    • Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood by Dennis Rainey
    Other resources

    DaySpring has produced greeting cards as well as a framed print of “The Resolution” that is available. Check for priced materials relating to the movie.

    Other family-friendly sites
    • Focus on the Family –
    • All Pro Dad –
      • Tony Dungy, former Indianapolis Colt head coach, has created a website promoting how to be an All Pro Dad.
      • Lauren Dungy has a similar site to her husband’s promoting motherhood.

    Men at the Cross conference
    Date: Nov. 5; Time: 8 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
    Location: First Baptist Church, Shallotte
    Speakers include Joe White, Rick Rigsby, Ted Cunningham, and Joe Brown.

    There is also a track for teen guys ages 13-18. White and Adam Donyes will lead the teens. The featured artist is Christopher Julian. Other conferences are in development for Raleigh and Winston-Salem.  

    Iron Sharpens Iron
    Date/location: Nov. 5 at The Park Church in Charlotte

    Four resource CDs are available featuring interviews and message clips from national leaders. Each CD has seven tracks and each track is five to eight minutes long. Visit for more information.

    Greensboro church ‘Fireproof’

    Southside Baptist Church in Greensboro formed an action squad when “Fireproof” came to theaters. In place of their regular Sunday evening service on opening weekend of “Fireproof,” the church bought all the seats at their local theater.

    Members were encouraged to buy tickets not only for themselves, but also for unchurched friends, with whom they could then enjoy dinner and discussion after the movie.

    In the following weeks, Pastor Patrick Fuller preached a sermon series on marriage, and Sunday school classes focused on “Fireproof” were offered.

    Three years later, 75 new families that were part of that outreach are members of the church. The church held a special “Courageous” Father’s Day service in June in an effort to purchase tickets opening weekend (Sept. 30-Oct. 2).

    Triangle initiative

    An Action Squad coordinated by a Triangle radio station is recruiting people to buy tickets for first responders and their spouses.

    The same squad helped 500 first responders see “Fireproof,” another film from Sherwood, when it debuted.
    8/31/2011 9:07:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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