Find 5 compassion themes in the faith-based film “The Open Door”
These days you may have a little more time to watch Amazon Prime or are looking for an indoor activity the entire family can enjoy. If so, consider adding the faith-based film, "The Open Door" to your watchlist. It received the Dove seal of approval as a family-friendly film.
Some of the compassion themes resonated with us and what we do at Buckner International on behalf of vulnerable populations:
Special needs children
Children in the foster care system or waiting to be adopted have experienced the trauma of being removed from a biological parent. Some of these children may also have therapeutic needs, also known as special needs, ranging from physical, emotional, developmental and sensory needs. With strides in research, more access to therapies and a better understanding of issues facing children these days, our world still has a long way to go in supporting children with therapeutic needs. “The Open Door” features Sam, who is autistic. Sam is gifted in some unique ways, and this story shows his journey through adversity to educating a church on how to best serve individuals with special needs.
At the beginning of the movie, Sam’s mom leaves an abusive marriage. We don’t know all the details, except she had the courage to change the trajectory of her life and the lives of her two dependent children. Parenting a special needs child alone can be a challenge, but the film shows how his mother found joy in Sam and saw him as an individual to help him grow and thrive. We see similar stories of single parents rising above adversity to pursue higher education and a better life for their children with our Buckner Family Pathways program.
Sam must go live with his sister, Madison, early in the movie. Neither are prepared for that life change, but they adapt and end up finding much joy in their new normal. Sam is an adult when he lives with his adult sister, but she is still the primary care provider for her brother. Sometimes people caring for a child who is a blood relative do not know they may qualify for state services and funding in kinship care situations.
Compassion services for vulnerable populations
Many churches offer compassion ministries to help serve vulnerable people around the world. However, there can be opportunities at home where churches can do more for existing or prospective members who may sometimes feel isolated or overlooked. When Sam was visiting a new church with his sister, loud noises during the service, such as music, triggered his senses, causing him to feel overwhelmed. People familiar with autism or special needs would have understood his reaction to the noises, but sadly, not all people understand why or how loud noises can affect children with special needs. In the film, the congregation members initially didn’t know how to feel or react to Sam’s behavior, but this is where opportunities for education begin. By the end of the film, the church extended compassion for Sam’s special needs and wrapped around him so he felt welcome and included.
Sam’s love for shoes couldn’t be a better fit, pun intended, with Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®. Since 1999, we’ve collaborated with different churches, radio stations and groups of all sizes and types to organize shoe drives for vulnerable children around the world. Sam’s knowledge of shoes is impressive, and in “The Open Door,” he finds passion in collecting shoes for those in need. Not only is Sam right about shoes being a critical need for children, especially in impoverished areas, but organizing a shoe drive or even volunteering at our Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid in Dallas to sort shoes and help pack them for distribution is something all people of all ages and backgrounds can do together.
Enjoy an uplifting faith-based film about special needs
This film has many other great themes that would make for a good Bible study group or family discussion. We hope it shines a light on how precious special needs children are and that those who provide kinship care are truly a blessing. We also love the promotion of giving shoes to those who may not have access to a new pair of shoes. Watch this film and get involved to make a difference. Also encourage your church to consider offering special needs services to families in your community.