History of the JESUS Film Project

To make its vision a reality, the film project needed a strong and capable leader. Dr. Bright asked Paul Eshleman, who had been involved with the film from the start, to head The JESUS Film Project. Thus, this worldwide evangelistic film ministry was born.

Eshleman faithfully steered the Project for more than 26 years before stepping aside as its President on September 8, 2004 to assume the larger role of Vice President of Coverage for the entire world of Campus Crusade for Christ International. His long-time associate, Jim Green, assumed the new leadership of The JESUS Film Project as Executive Director Emeritus to bring it to new and exciting heights of ministry globally. Mr. Green has been a very respected world leader in Campus Crusade for over 40 years and has vast influence to grow The JESUS Film Project in the years ahead. In May 2012, Mr. Green passed on the leadership of The JESUS Film Project to Erick Schenkel but continued working with the JESUS Film and Visual Story Network to engage everyone with Jesus through film. Mr. Schenkel had a varied history of Christian service including church planting, starting a Bible school, and directing a movement of nationally led churches. In June 2018, Mr. Schenkel stepped down for health-related issues and passed on leadership to Josh Newell who had served with the ministry for 20 years. Mr. Newell continues to lead the ministry in developing new media and strategies to share the story of Jesus around the globe.


History and Milestones of The JESUS Film Project, Canada:

  • In 1980, the JESUS film made its screen debut in theatres across Canada.
  • The Canadian ministry of The JESUS Film Project was established in 1991 with the initiation of four new language versions.
  • In 1992, the JESUS Video Strategy was launched across Canada. In all, 34,261 trained volunteers visited 1.3 million homes, distributing more than 342,000 videos.
  • By 1996, we had helped distribute JESUS by film or video in almost every country of the world.
  • In early 2004, The JESUS Film Project, Canada recorded its 200th language translation (Pwo Karen in Thailand).
  • As of April 1, 2010, The JESUS Film Project, Canada has completed an amazing 236 language translations.
  • Of all the languages produced by The JESUS Film Project worldwide, approximately 14% are produced by our Canadian ministry.