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Ken Anderson (December 23, 1917 – March 12, 2006) was a Christian filmmaker who established Gospel Films. He had over two hundred films to his credit as director, writer, producer.

Contents

Early life

Anderson was born in Rembrandt, Iowa, not far from his parent’s farm in Albert City. He was raised by his father and grandmother. He attended Wheaton College for one year, then Trinity Evangelical Free Church School in Chicago, Illinois where he met Doris Jones from Nebraska. They were married November 16, 1938. Licensed by the Evangelical Free Church, Ken first pastored a church in Isle, Minnesota and then in Newman Grove, Nebraska.

Youth For Christ

Ken became involved in the newly-formed ministry, Youth For Christ and served as its first full-time magazine editor. Through Youth For Christ, he met Bob Pierce, who invited Ken to travel to China in 1948. As Youth For Christ missionaries they preached to young people in more than a dozen cities. A short documentary film was produced on the trip which later became the book, This Way to the Harvest. Shortly upon return Pierce founded the World Vision Ministry and Anderson became connected to the fledgling Baptista Films organization where he wrote and then directed his first film drama.

A Film Ministry of His Own

In 1949, Ken’s YFC friends encouraged him to establish a Christian film ministry, so he and Doris moved to Muskegon, Michigan, where Gospel Films was launched. Anderson, then an editor for Youth For Christ magazine decided to form a small studio in a former dancehall that was purchased then moved onto some donated land to become the first home for Gospel Films. That company grew into the world's largest distributor for Christian films.

Anderson continued to produce at least one film per year through 1960 including his first independent overseas production in Singapore titled Something to Die For, the result of Anderson and his wife’s enduring vision for missions.

Then with a desire to produce films for use beyond North America, Anderson left Gospel Films and moved his family to Warsaw, Indiana in 1961 and established Ken Anderson Films.

Productions included original dramas for many foreign countries. As a pioneer in Christian films Ken may be best remembered for Pilgrim's Progress produced in 1977. Featured in the story is Liam Neeson in his first screen role, as Evangelist. Over fourteen-hundred copies went out as 16-millimeter film prints and now thousands of videos and disks continue to be produced as Pilgrim's Progress is made available in many languages for ongoing ministry around the world.

Other well-known Ken Anderson Films include Fanny Crosby, The Gospel According to Most People featuring George Jay Wienbarg in his first film role, In His Steps and Love Note featuring Craig Bierko in his first film role.

Ken helped many people enter the Christian film field. He established International Films in the mid-60's to promote international productions. Many years later, that ministry moved to California. InterComm (which stands for International Communications) was established in 1991 to continue the international vision of Ken Anderson Films. Today InterComm produces additional language versions of many of the Ken Anderson Films international productions.[1]

Other World Missions

Ken flew around the world dozens of times. In 1975, he was invited by Dr. John Haggai to teach audiovisual evangelism and journalism to international Christian leaders at the Haggai training centers in Singapore, Maui, and Bogotá, Colombia. InterComm continues to work with these men and women to assist their evangelism goals in their home countries.

Ken Anderson’s writing career spanned seven decades in which hundreds of magazine articles, short stories and seventy-seven books were published. He may be best remembered for his work, Where to Find it in the Bible published in 1996 by Thomas Nelson. Over four million copies are in print and it remains a busy seller on the Nelson backlist.

Anderson died on Sunday, March 12, 2006. He was 88. Surviving are seven children: Mrs. Naoma Clark, Waldport, Oregon; Mrs. Margaret Mauzy, Lane and wife Jill, and Ken Jr. and wife Beth, all of Warsaw; Donn and wife Diane, of Dallas, Oregon; Max and wife Claudia of Rockford, IL; and Melody Anderson, San Diego, California; along with thirteen grandchildren; and eleven great-grandchildren.

References

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