Joel Courtney’s Step of Faith in Jesus Revolution
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Joel Courtney’s Journey of Faith in Jesus Revolution

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Jesus Revolution Greg Laurie

Have you ever wondered what it takes to step into the shoes of a real-life character? Joel Courtney, known for his role as a young Greg Laurie in the movie Jesus Revolution, shares his extraordinary experience. In this captivating film, based on Pastor Greg Laurie’s life, we are taken back to the 1970s, where Greg lived in a trailer park with his alcoholic mother.

A Chance Encounter with Stardom

Joel’s acting career began unexpectedly when he visited his brother, Caleb, in Los Angeles at the age of 14. Caleb’s acting coach encouraged Joel to audition for Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Super 8 feature film. To his amazement, Joel landed a starring role, launching his journey in the world of acting.

Preparing to Embody Greg Laurie

Portraying a real-life character was a new challenge for Joel. He felt incredibly fortunate to have Greg’s guidance and generosity throughout the process. Greg was present on set most days, providing invaluable insights that helped Joel delve deeper into his role.

“I got to talk to him before filming started, and we were on the phone for almost two hours,” Joel recalls. “He answered all my questions and shared stories from his past and about his relationships. He basically gave me unlimited access to him, where I could reach out whenever I needed guidance or simply wanted to chat. I took him up on that offer, for sure.”

Initially, there was pressure to ensure that Greg’s story was portrayed accurately. However, Joel’s nerves dissipated as he discovered Greg’s down-to-earth nature and genuine support. “He was so cool, relaxed, encouraging, and positive about everything. He’s such a nice guy,” Joel reflects.

A Leap of Faith: Leaving the Christian Community for Hollywood

Raised as a Christian in northern Idaho, Joel had to navigate his Christian faith independently when he entered the world of Hollywood. Having grown up in a tight-knit Christian community, stepping outside this familiar bubble was a significant transition. However, Joel found solace in his unwavering faith in Jesus.

“When I started working at 14, I realized I had left the safety of my home and the Christian community I was so familiar with,” Joel shares. “Jesus has been my rock through the ups and downs of Hollywood, whether I faced challenging times professionally or enjoyed success. Jesus revolutionized my life through His love. That’s what connected me with Greg so quickly—our mutual love for Jesus.”

Finding Strength in a Secular Industry

One might assume that being a Christian in a secular industry like Hollywood would be exceptionally challenging. However, Joel discovered a tight-knit community of fellow Christians who support one another. Together, they pray and navigate the difficulties that come with the industry, regardless of their faith.

Unveiling the Realities: Not Sugar-Coating Christian Stories

Unlike some Christian movies, Jesus Revolution fearlessly embraces the realities of the 1970s. The film fearlessly portrays the era’s drug use and promiscuity, presenting a more powerful impact when we witness Greg’s life transform after his baptism.

“I believe Christian movies sometimes miss the mark by shying away from acknowledging the darkness that exists in the world and in our lives,” Joel asserts. “Your problems don’t magically disappear when you become a Christian.”

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Joel learned from Greg that even after becoming a Christian, Greg continued associating with friends who still engaged in drug use. Greg initially believed he could maintain his old lifestyle while being a Christian. However, conviction struck during a party, leading Greg to realize that he needed to change his ways.

While Jesus Revolution addresses the subject of drug use, it strikes a delicate balance, portraying the darkness without unnecessary vulgarity.

“One of my favorite aspects of this film is that it showcases both darkness and an abundance of light,” Joel affirms.

A Divine Delay: Unforeseen Blessings

Although the movie’s two-year delay was disheartening, it turned out to be a part of God’s perfect plan. It allowed Kelsey Grammer to join the cast as Chuck Smith, the American pastor who warmly embraced hippie street preacher Lonnie Frisbee and his followers into his Calvary Chapel, despite objections from his congregation. Additionally, Jonathan Roumie from The Chosen was able to take on the role of Lonnie.

As we eagerly await the release of Jesus Revolution, let us pray for a new revival to come in God’s perfect timing!

To discover more about the Jesus Movement and how it transformed the church, click here. God has a remarkable way of transforming and using unlikely individuals for His divine purpose. Just like the people of the 1960s and 1970s who defied societal norms, God yearns to demonstrate His power, might, and mercy through those we least expect.

Let’s be open to His revolutionary work in our lives!

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