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    Jesus in a New Light

    The Salvation Army plays key role in The Chosen, a record-breaking series about the life of Christ. April 29, 2022 by Warren L. Maye
    Filed Under:
    Faith & Friends

    Today, The Chosen is a global phenomenon that has been watched more than 150 million times and translated into 52 languages. Not only is it the first-ever multi-season show about the life of Jesus as told through the eyes of those who met Him but The Chosen is the highest crowdfunded project of all time. In 2017, more than 19,000 people helped raise $10 million to launch Season 1.

    It is available online, on apps and is completely free. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now. Funding is underway for Season 3.

    “This Is It!”

    “We couldn’t do it without The Salvation Army,” says Derral Eves, the executive producer of The Chosen, which is being produced on a Salvation Army campground.

    “The Salvation Army is allowing us to lease land in Texas to build a soundstage studio,” he states. “This is where we are filming Season 3. When we had no place to turn, God led us to The Salvation Army’s Hoblitzelle Camp and Conference Centre.”

    In 2020, a production team searched for suitable locations to film The Chosen in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. During a visit to the camp, creator Dallas Jenkins stopped Casey Bilbrey, director of operations for Camp Hoblitzelle, as they were driving and said, “This is it!” Dallas was excited about the site because the camp landscape and facilities were perfect for their needs.

    Makers of The Chosen, which will be a seven-season show, signed a five-yearlease for 364 hectares (900 acres) of Salvation Army campground to use for its production, which is currently developing its third season, says Derral.

    Multinational, Multi-EthnicOutreach

    The Chosen reaches across religious boundaries to give viewers from all walks of life a non-denominational, non-Hollywood and an ethnically authentic portrayal of the life of Jesus Christ and the people who encountered Him.

    “I think that the biggest thing is ‘the why’—we want to ultimately reach a billion people through this series,” says Derral. “I think everybody is impressed with the success of the show, but the key is we have passionate people who are trying to help gather people to find the authentic Jesus.

    “So, when I say we’re trying to get to a billion people, I mean it. It’s our purpose, our call, to contribute to the cause to assist Jesus with His work and really gather people so that they can know and find Him authentically and start on their transformation journey to be redeemed.”

    Derral, who has helped 24 You-Tube channels go from zero to more than a million subscribers and has generated 54 billion views on You-Tube with these various projects, says the key to his success in marketing in general and in promoting The Chosen in particular is to take the show to where the people are, rather than wait for them to find iton their own.

    Sharing a Relevant Message

    “I believe people need the powerful message of Jesus—the stories He taught—as much now as they did in the first century because the times haven’t changed much. There still is bigotry, racism, hatred, wars and contention,” says Derral.“

    So, our ‘why’ is really important to us. It is the drive to stay authentic, to push further, and give it long nights and early mornings because the content can connect with people, we see transformation in it, and we just want to have it at a higher scale.”

    Facts About The Chosen

    • First-ever worldwide launch of a streaming TV series via its own app

    • Downloaded and streaming in 142 countries

    • Being translated into 52 languages

    Warren L. Maye is the editor-in-chief of The Salvation Army’s SACONNECTS magazine and director of publications for the U.S.A. Eastern Territory.

    Reprinted from SACONNECTS, The Salvation Army U.S.A. Eastern Territory.

    Photo: Courtesy of The Chosen

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