One fateful night in Roanoke, Va., Officer Bryan Lawrence was kicked in the face and beaten during an arrest, leaving him paralyzed. It wasn’t his injury though, but his response to it, that still inspires people several years later. In 2014, the Christian movie “Badge of Faith” told his story, and now that film is streaming on PureFlix.com for even more families to enjoy.
“Badge of Faith” brought together an entire community, eager to tell the miraculous story of Bryan’s unwavering faith. The executive producer of the film, Steve Woolwine, was also a childhood friend of Bryan’s:
We grew up together in the same neighborhood… I remember getting a phone call from my parents when Bryan was beaten and paralyzed, just the shock of it, somebody I knew that closely having such a horrific event in their life.
My parents told me at one point that someone from Hollywood had approached him to do a movie or story, and Bryan said no, he didn’t believe it would glorify God...
Years later, I’m having conversations with Donald and it just came to me, I think I’m supposed to introduce Bryan and Donald [Leow, the director]. So Bryan goes, “Steve, let me pray about it.”
Weeks later, Bryan and his wife Brenda agreed to tell their story, and some time later StoneTable Films found themselves in Bryan’s hometown of Roanoke, Virginia ready to film. Steve recalls, “It was almost like coming home.”
Leow says he wanted to do a true story, and in this film, “Almost everything is true.” Although some names were changed, most of the characters and the majority of the scenes were taken directly from Bryan’s life.
“Badge of Faith” gives us glimpses into Bryan’s life and reputation before the accident and its aftermath, but what audiences will remember is his cheerful demeanor, “Stick To It” attitude, and faith. Comedic moments and heartwarming characters are expertly woven in throughout the movie, something Leow told Pure Flix Insider was intentional, saying, “The writer, Rick [Garside] and I didn’t want to make a film that was ‘90 minutes in hospital.’”
Lawrence told Pure Flix Insider, “What I liked about the movie is first that God was glorified.”
The community involvement in the film is palpable, executive producer Woolwine remembers, “The city of Roanoke just fell out helping us put this together. They just looked at us and said, ‘What do you need?’” Most of the film’s extras were from Roanoke, and Bryan, his wife, and their son and daughter-in-law all make cameos in the ending scene.
Andy Lauer, who plays Bryan in the film, told Pure Flix Insider, “It confounds me how people search high and low for these scripts and come up with green men coming from outer space when there’s so much material right here on earth. There’s so many great stories, and faith films usually tend to find those.”
When asked what audiences should take away from “Badge of Faith,” Steve said:
You hear it all the time, but through God all things are possible. And Bryan is a representative of pure faith, because he has lived his life that way. His life is a shining example of what God can do.
I don’t want audiences to think just because we are Christians God is going to heal everything, God doesn’t guarantee that, but He did guarantee He would help us through it. What I really like about this story is not the healing of Bryan, but more his attitude toward what happened to him.
And as for Lawrence himself? He recently retired from pastoral work at a church in Roanoke, having served in ministry in the years following his accident. While he still faces challenges, his posture of faith and perseverance remain. He says he wants audiences to know,
...that God answers prayer and we need to lean on Him. Everything they said I would never be able to do, God made those things happen. I think that’s exactly what I would want people to take away from the film.
Sarah Hartland knew she wanted to be a writer from the time she wrote her first short story in the fourth grade. By the time she was in high school, she had written two novellas and countless short stories. It was her love of storytelling that led her into marketing and media.
Sarah freelanced throughout her time at Colorado Christian University, where she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. At CCU, Sarah competed in speech and debate across the country, securing multiple awards and a national debate championship. She co-lead CCU's first-ever broadcast media program, CCU.TV, and served as the program's Student Producer during her senior year.
When she's not writing blog posts or editing a video, Sarah loves to swing dance, ski, travel, or visit her seven younger siblings in Montana.