Guy's Crisis of Faith

Bruce Von Stiers

Church People is a comedy film about a youth pastor for a mega church. Somehow he has lost his way and needs to get back to the basics of his Christian faith.

The film opens as young people are starting to go into a building. Inside you see tables lined up with merchandise; books, CD's, videos, posters and t-shirts. All promoting the youth pastor and his message. Then there is the opening to the pastor's program for the evening. And the pastor with his opening remarks. Somewhat like a late night TV talk show host.

Thor Ramsey plays the youth pastor, Guy Sides. Thor has been in several short films, along with numerous standup comedy specials. He also a screenwriter and shares writer and producer credit for Church People.

After the program, Guy's talks with Jonathan, who says, “If they cry, they buy.” Jonathan comes off as kind of a manager/ agent for Guy. Jonathan is played by Donald Faison, who I really loved in Scrubs. Some of the other shows he's been in are Ray Donovan and Emergence.

Guy travels all around the country, delivering the same message. From Dallas to Kansas City to New York and beyond, he's got the Christian youth message spiel locked down. But an incident with a beach ball on stage turns into something with a lot more philosophical and spiritual angst.

A meeting with the pastor of the church, Skip Finney, does little to alleviate Guy's problem. Skip is played by Michael Monks, who has been seen in films such as Loners and Dr. Sleep. Guy tells Pastor Skip that all he really wants to do is to get back to the gospel. In other words, get back to basics and eliminate the showmanship.

Other actors in the film include Stephen Baldwin as Chad and Joey Fatone as Tino. Stephen, well, he's a Baldwin brother. He's been in numerous films and television shows dating back to the mid 1980's. From first being noticed in the boy band NSYNC, Joey has around fifty acting credits to his name.

Guy learns that Skip's daughter is back from a missionary trip and a broken relationship. Guy might want to possibly want to check out the daughter but Skip has his sights on Tino as his daughter's new beloved.

Guy turns down being part of a gimmick relating to Good Friday. But before that, he has an encounter with Skip's daughter Carla. Erin Cahill plays Carla. If you're a fan of Hallmark Mysteries you will have seen Erin in the recent Murder 101 episode, Killing Time. Erin has also starred in several Hallmark romance films and a bunch of television shows and feature films.

A good part of the rest of the film deals with Guy and Carla trying to get Skip to change his mind about the Good Friday gimmick. Then there are several wrinkles that wind their way through the story. Wrinkles such as a daughter that Guy never knew shows up. Andriana Manfredi plays Gretchen, Guy's daughter.

Then there are cameos from people such as Chynna Phillips and another Baldwin brother, William Baldwin. They play the parents of Blaise, the youth group member that Pastor Skip talks into being part of the Good Friday Service gimmick. Blaise is played by Clancy McCartney.

Other people who have cameos include Tessie Santiago, Isabella Hoffmann and Brandy Futch.

Bob Saenz and Wes Halula share writing credits for Church People, along with Thor Ramsey. Both Bob and Wes have minor roles in the film. Between the two of them, they have a lot of film credits. Christopher Shawn Shaw was the director for the film. Besides directing, Christopher has produced several short films and is one of the people responsible for Something Smells Funny, a comedy cooking show currently streaming on Tubi. He also acts and has a walk on part in this film.

The acting in the film is well done. There are no over the top characterizations and the actors mesh well with each other. In addition to the good acting, there is some pretty decent music for the soundtrack. Hollyn, a season 12 American Idol contestant, has a couple of songs in the film. Dave Lubben records his own music and produces for such people as Toby Mac. Dave wrote and performed several songs for the film. And Joey Fantone sang the Lubben penned song, Perfect Love, for the ending credits.

Normally I wouldn't reveal a plot element like the Good Friday Service gimmick. But the gimmick plays to the heart of the film. And the gimmick is actually revealed in the trailer for the film. The gimmick is a crucifixion. An actual, real life crucifixion. When everyone else turns him down, Pastor Skip turns to Blaise, who will now be the one crucified during the service.

Church People is primarily a comedy. There are a lot of funny parts, and some are downright silly. But there are some very serious moments as well. The last portion of the film, while not overly somber, has some dramatic, heartstring pulling moments.

Church People has several plot elements that could be taken from real life. What would someone do if they discovered their faith message had strayed too far from the Gospel? How could they redeem themselves and get back to the basics of faith? Do megachurches really need to have gimmicks to attract new church members and bring them to God? And church politics. One specific plot element deals with church politics. I have firsthand knowledge of how horrible church politics can be.

For all of its comedic and silly moments, Church People does deliver a strong message at the end.

Church People is set to have its DVD and digital release on September 3rd . It will be released to streaming services at a later date.

To find out more about Church People, visit

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© 2021 Bruce E Von Stiers