Storytelling Across the Generations
Max Elliot Anderson – who used Awana to help fortify his kids’ faith in Christ – hated to read as a child. Now he writes books that impact boys’ lives.

Max Elliot Anderson watched a lot of movies growing up. As founder of Gospel Films, Max’s dad, Ken, created and directed numerous Christian films. Max had a front-row seat learning how a movie is made from start to finish. He spent many hours at the studio near their house.

“We had all kinds of Christian leaders, pastors and missionaries coming through our house during my childhood,” Max said. “I Max Elliott Anderson and his wife, Claudia, used Awana to help raise their kids spirituallywas exposed to ministry at an early age.”

Ken helped his son get started in film and production work.

“It has been my privilege, over the past decades, to be involved in the production of television commercials, promotional and marketing video programs, Christian films and a host of other video projects,” Max explained. “I’ve always been fascinated with the power that audiovisual presentations have to instruct, motivate and influence the thinking of others.”

Max has traveled around the country and the globe telling stories through video but recognized that the most important story to share—the good news of Christ—started with his own kids at home.

Telling the next generation about Christ
Max and his wife, Claudia, are the parents of Jim, 31, and Sarah, 28. When their kids were young, the Andersons looked for something that could support what they were teaching at home.

“Our kids were involved in Awana at our church (First Evangelical Free Church in Rockford, Illinois),” Max said. “We went through the handbooks with them. Partnering with our church, Awana and a Christian school enhanced what my wife and I were talking about at home.

“We knew that if the next generation was going to have a chance, there needed to be Christian young people. God has no grandchildren. Each generation has to decide for Christ or not. We felt a responsibility to make sure our kids established a firm biblical foundation for their lives.”

Both of the Anderson children follow God as young adults and are active in their local church. Jim is a lawyer in Chicago and Sarah teaches second grade in Florida.

The ups and downs of a career in film
Max’s career in film and production has earned him numerous awards. He has produced, directed or shot thousands of TV commercials, including over 500 national spots for True Value Hardware Stores.

“One of my career highlights was the day I spent filming Ronald Reagan’s last visit to his boyhood home,” Max said. “All the big media crews were on the ground and in the air, but our crew was the only one who got to interview Reagan. I’ll never forget interacting with him one on one.”

But several years ago, his production company suffered the effects of the economic slowdown, and 9/11 brought business to a halt. But God had a new career path for Max – one he could never have predicted.

Writing a new chapter
Not only was Max’s dad a film producer, but he was also a prolific author. Max grew up hating to read and never read the children’s books his father Newspaper Caper is one of Max Elliott Anderson's first children's bookswrote.

So it came as a total surprise when Max sensed God leading him to a career as a children’s author.

“I was intimidated by the thought of getting into writing, but I knew I had to pay attention to God’s leading,” Max said. “I had written a screenplay over 25 years ago and never produced it. It was called The Scarecrow and was sitting in the bottom of my desk drawer. I sat down, knowing nothing about writing, and wrote my first book.”

After this, stories started coming to Max. He decided to write adventure books, primarily for boys ages 8 to 13 and more specifically for boys who hated to read.

“I wanted to write the kinds of books that I would have enjoyed as a child,” said Max, who also speaks about his adventure books at schools and has an author Web site. “The stories come to me fully formed, with main characters, setting and plot already in place. People closest to me call it divine. They might be right.”

‘I take no credit for this’
Max has written 35 books. Seven have been published so far. Each of his books has a strong moral principle or character issue woven throughout the story.

“I know my books are touching lives, and I receive a lot of feedback,” Max said. “Recently, a boy commented that reading my book was like being in a movie. God knew what He was doing when he used my film production career to prepare me for what I’m now doing.”

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