By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
UNITED KINGDOM (ANS – May 9, 2017) — In August of 2008 we, at the ASSIST News Service, ran an article about one very unusual life entitled Taking Boston Beans to Blighty. The story chronicled the life of a church planting Pastor in the U. S., David Sullivan, to become a church planting Pastor in the U. K., along with “tent making” work in the media.
It is now nine years later with so many ground-breaking events that it’s taken a whole book to document what has often been called “a life of many lives.” As the book was being re-edited over the course of the past three years, five entire chapters needed to be added due to projects and events spanning the entire globe that happened during that time.
Called Progress of a Modern Pilgrim: My Life as an Ambassador of Faith and Film, the covers events from humanitarian work and visits to North Korea, a summer with the Yanonami Indians (called “the world’s most primitive” at the time) – the summer that man first walked on the moon to walking in The Killing Fields in Cambodia to work on major films and TV productions.
David explains that, like the Corrie ten Boom analogy that she often used when she traveled the world, “my life seems like a meaningless collection of disconnected threads.” Yet, as Corrie would hasten to add, “I see the underside but The Father sees the picture above.” (Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. She was imprisoned for her actions. Her most famous book, The Hiding Place, is an autobiography that recounts the story of her family’s efforts, as well as her time spent in a concentration camp.)
The life of the transplanted church planter began with growing up in the home of Christian parents who helped to lead the youth to the Lord at the young age of six. Youth work in his teens then led to Pastoring with work in both journalism and independent radio production for extra needed income. At one point Hollywood seemed to lead one way and the ministry, another. It was not until more recently that God combined them both. Something that David could never have imagined.
For over twenty years David has produced, at first, productions for Christian TV, most often taking the form of interviews with some of the leading names in Christianity – “Brother Andrew” (“God’s Smuggler), “Brother Yun” (“The Heavenly Man”), NY Times best-selling author Joyce Meyer, to evangelist Dr. Luis Palau, Dr. David Yonggi Cho to “Machine Gun Preacher” Sam Childers and “Faith Like Potatoes” Angus Buchan.
When the American-born minister finally realized that “the field is the world” he began to produce TV programmes for mainstream TV. Using the same format but with a leading Christian businessperson one week and a leading inspirational one the next he has produced soft evangelism for the general market. With a series on business, one on the relatives of celebrities, one on literature and a few others Sullivan has been able to network with some of the world’s well know leaders in the areas of business, fashion, media, TV and film, music and literature. A number of them ask to continue the relationship and keep in contacting, sometimes meeting regularly for coffee and chats!
As a boy and in his summer school breaks the young entrepreneur used to take lemons and make lemonade, selling it for charity. In the same way the past couple of years have seen, like other charities, a downturn in income for the ministry, Harvest Fields Commissioning International, that David helps to lead. Remembering that over the years the producer helped out, in a pinch, with appearing as a background artist on various productions – Kavanagh QC with John Thaw to name one of the most well-known ones, David re-enrolled on the books of a few agencies.
He began receiving calls to be in major productions for TV and film and adverts. From Jason Bourne 5 to Paddington 2 to appearing as a Beefeater on E! The Royals to appearing in a Lloyd’s bank TV advert – doors have opened – even appearing as a semi-regular on the popular BBC medical series Holby City!
“One thing about the “glamor” of filming is that most of it is MORE boring than watching paint dry! It takes time to set up cameras and lighting and reposition actors. That means that we “extras” spend a great deal of time chatting. I use that time to shift the conversation to spiritual things and Jesus!” David shares.
In his book, the new author writes about a Jewish film produced by a well known actress. Almost 100% of the people on set were Jewish. David took the connections (a favorite word of his for linking in with people to share their, in Britain, hidden spiritual thoughts and beliefs) and showed how Jesus fulfilled the law and prophecies of The Old Testament. Doing research online is what prepares him for those Divine connections. He believes that Jesus ALWAYS connected personally before He connected spiritually. People NEED to know that you are interested in THEM and their lives and not just anther scalp for the belt!
David recounts the fact that even with so many chapters of amazing stories from his life from an attempted kidnapping to befriending the Pastor of the world’s largest church, “dozens of chapters have been left out – maybe for another book or for inclusion in the Bible teaching books yet to come.”
David concludes with appreciation and gratitude that “so many of the gracious men and women that I have interviewed and, in some cases, become good friends, have agreed to write endorsements about this book. I am totally overwhelmed that one of my best ministry friends, the man who succeeded Dr. David Yonggi Cho (formerly known as Paul Yungi Cho), as Senior Pastor of the world’s largest church, Dr. Young Hoon Lee, has written a wonderful foreword to the book. I am totally bowled over and in awe at God’s graciousness.”
More information can be found at www.principles.tv – the ministry’s website. The book Progress of a Modern Pilgrim, is available in the U.K. at the publisher Malcolm Down Publisher’s website and on amazon U. K. in the U. K. and will be available via Anchor / Doubleday in the U. S. shortly after the June 1st U. K. release date.
To watch an excerpt of an interview with David Sullivan on the “Principles of Leadership,” please go to: http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=DZK7YWNX
Photo captions: 1) Cover of his new book. 2) With some of the 25,000 children a day that his organization helps to feed in North Korea. 3) David Sullivan with Senator and world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao. 4) Praying for Dr. David Yonggi Cho. 5) David with Brother Yun, known as “The Heavenly Man.” 6) Filming at Auschwitz in Poland. 7) Dan Wooding appearing on BBC TV many years ago.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Besides running the ASSIST News Service, Dan has written some 45 books and hosts a weekly radio show and two TV programs in Southern California.
** You may republish this and any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please also tell your friends that they can also receive a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to our ANS website and signing up there.