As major league baseball begins in the United States this week, a new faith-based movie centered around the sport is set to open in theaters on April 19.
The movie, called Home Run, is about a fictional all-star player named Corey Brand with some serious issues off the field. After being charged with driving while intoxicated and suspended by his big league team, he returns to the small town where he grew up.
There he is required to coach the local youth baseball team and enter a recovery program. The only one in town is called Celebrate Recovery, a program based on the twelve steps issued by Alcoholics Anonymous.
The movie is fictional, but the Celebrate Recovery movement which is featured in Home Run is a genuine program founded by California's Saddleback Church.
The church is headed by well-known pastor and author Rick Warren, sometimes referred to as "America's Pastor".
Celebrate Recovery began in 1991 when Saddleback staff member John Baker wrote Warren a detailed memo explaining his vision for the ministry. Baker himself had struggled with alcoholism.
However, he had not been able to share openly about his Christian faith in the secular recovery meetings he attended. Baker also felt uncomfortable talking about his alcohol addiction in his men's Bible study.
Celebrate Recovery started with 45 people who attended the first meeting at Saddleback Church. There are now thousands of groups spread around the world.
While alcoholism is the struggle which Celebrate Recovery is shown dealing with in Home Run, the program helps people with a wide variety of life issues. It provides a forum for individuals to share their hurts with others in similar circumstances.
Exective Producer Carol Mathews told the Christian Post when filming was completed in late 2011,"I wanted to address chemical addiction in particular. Alcoholism is unfortunately relatable."
"There's a huge population that abuses alcohol. It's not alcohol that's evil. When anything--food, alchohol, gambling, etc.--replaces God in our life and the peace and self control he gives us, then it becomes a problem", she said.
Corey Brand's character is based on thousands of true stories of people who have come through Celebrate Recovery.
It portrays his realization of his need for freedom and his subsequent transformation.
The movie won an award last summer for Best Feature Film and Best Inspirational Film at the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando, Florida.
Home Run is being marketed and distributed by Samuel Goldwyn films and Provident Films.
They have previ0usly partnered to distribute other faith-based movies, including Fireproof and Facing the Giants.