Following God’s Script for Their Lives
Steve and Jenny McCullough are faithfully serving God as missionary filmmakers, a calling that Awana helped prepare them to pursue.
Serving as missionary filmmakers with Biblical Ministries Worldwide, Steve and Jenny McCullough are passionate about using visual media to advance the gospel. But to understand how God has written the screenplay of their lives, let’s start with scene one: Jenny’s story.
The blessing of a solid faith foundation at home and through Awana
Growing up in Riverside, California, Jenny was raised by committed Christian parents. Her family regularly attended church, and Jenny participated in Awana from preschool (Cubbies) through high school. Jenny trusted Christ for salvation at a young age and took her first mission trip in fifth grade.
While in middle school, Jenny played traveling softball. She enjoyed playing, but the five-nights-a-week commitment interfered with Awana.
“I remember writing a letter to my coach and telling him I had to quit softball because it conflicted with Awana,” Jenny recalled. “I knew my choices were to keep playing at the competitive level or stay committed to Awana. I felt so strongly about Awana, so I decided to quit softball.”
By her senior year of high school, Jenny knew full-time ministry would be her chosen career path. In 1999 she earned her Citation Award, the highest achievement in Awana.
“Memorizing Scripture has laid a huge foundation for my life,” Jenny said. “I was a part of national Bible Quizzing for three years in high school. It was really influential in shaping my life. It’s given me a stronghold in what I believe and why.”
After graduation, Jenny attended a Bible institute to pursue ministry as a Bible translator in a remote jungle. But she soon discovered that God had gifted her in another area.
"When I came home from a year of training," Jenny explained, "I helped run a five-day Bible camp at our church, and we put together a video about the camp week. This sparked an interest in filmmaking. I decided to pursue a degree in film and video.”
You might be able to guess what happened at college, but that comes in scene three.
Scene two: Steve’s story
The discovery of gifts and a lifelong calling
Steve also grew up with a strong Christian foundation. His family lived in rural Alabama and was actively involved in church.
“I trusted Christ for salvation at the age of 12,” Steve said. “I was exposed to the things of God at a young age. I attended Awana for a few years, too.”
The teenage years proved spiritually challenging at times, but God began to work in Steve’s life in college, redirecting him to new adventures.
“In 2000, I sat staring at a list of college majors thinking that not one looked interesting,” Steve recalled. “I finally decided on cinema and video production because it offered the most opportunities for creativity. I knew I wanted something creative, and the choice seemed random at the time, but God was directing me.”
Choosing this major is somewhat ironic. Steve grew up with no TV or any kind of media in his home.
“I developed a good imagination and creativity in the absence of other entertainment,” Steve said.
Two years into his major, Steve was certain that “God had led me to my niche.” He was also certain about a certain girl he met in class.
Scene three: Jenny and Steve’s story
A commitment to ministry—and each other
“In the midst of my sophomore year, Jenny and I became close friends,” Steve explained. “We developed a deep attachment as we worked on assignments together.”
By senior year, they were engaged and then married after graduation.
“After we were married, we worked together in the wedding and corporate video industry for three years and also ministered at Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church in Riverside, California,” Steve said.
Steve and Jenny taught junior-high students in Cornerstone's Awana Trek program.
“We started to see ministry as our passion and developed a heart for full-time ministry,” Jenny said. “Steve joined the church staff, became the Awana commander (overseeing the church's whole Awana program) and expanded Awana to include Cubbies, Sparks and T&T. I saw him grow as an administrator and a shepherd. Awana helped prepare him for our current ministry position.”
Scene four: The McCullough family
Serving God and sharing His love around the world
“We loved ministry, and we loved video production. So we began to pursue the idea of serving full time in a missions context using video,” Steve said. God ultimately led the couple to Biblical Ministries Worldwide (BMW), a mission board based in Georgia. In July 2007, Steve and Jenny were commissioned as missionaries and relocated to Georgia in June of 2009.
“BMW works in over 30 fields around the world, and I currently serve as head of the BMW Video Department,” Steve says. “We assist missionaries by producing training videos, documentaries, promotionals and video gospel tracts. We also provide tools for local churches to use to advance the gospel and missions.”
Steve and Jenny also hope to advance the gospel to the next generation. They have two children, 1-year-old Isaiah and a newborn, Keith.
“Over the course of my life, God has gently directed me to full-time service for Him,” Steve concluded. “My chief desire is to use the skills God has given me to share Him with the world.”
Just as Joseph of the Old Testament demonstrated an enduring faith, the deepest desire of these modern-day Josephs is to walk faithfully with God and serve Him.
“I see now that God has gifted us to do His work together as mission filmmakers,” Jenny said. “I can't wait to watch the Lord work in and through us as we follow His call.”
You can view some of the McCulloughs' films at their ministry's Web site.