You could call Seventh-day Adventist DeVon Franklin — a successful Hollywood filmmaker, bestselling author, and occasional guest preacher at the Mt. Rubidoux Seventh-day Adventist Church in Riverside, Calif. — a colporteur, and you wouldn’t be far off the mark. But instead of knocking on one door at a time, Franklin “visits” literally millions of homes at once.
Perhaps a “media colporteur” would be a better description. Franklin, who hasn’t yet hit 40, is embarking on one of his biggest faith-based media roles, participating in a weekly “Faithful Friday” segment on the hyper-popular “Dr. Oz” syndicated television program, which airs in 99-percent of U.S. television markets.
Franklin said the opportunity for the series of appearances came after he witnessed to Dr. Mehmet Oz, the show’s host, about the need for a weekly Sabbath day — on national television.
"He’s somebody who works 24/7. He said it really stuck with him about taking a day of rest."
“Dr. Oz was very convicted by it,” Franklin said in a telephone interview. “He’s somebody who works 24/7. He said it really stuck with him about taking a day of rest. So he started over the holidays, reading, edifying himself. He said he got so much from it, he wanted to do more programming and see what would happen in February.”
In a statement, Dr. Mehmet Oz, the cardiothoracic surgeon in New York who began the daily television program eight years ago, complemented Franklin’s insights.
“In Faithful Fridays, we’ll explore the important role that faith and spirituality can play in our overall well-being,” Dr. Oz said. “DeVon frequently joins us for popular and informative looks at spiritual and personal development. I’m thrilled he’ll help us.”
On each Friday of the month, Franklin will join other spiritual influencers in discussing key topics, the show’s producers announced. Segments include the “Blessed 30 Challenge: 30 Days of Healthy, Blessed Living” with Franklin and a panel of new Pastors including Hillsong's Carl Lentz; “Miraculous Medical Recoveries Only God Can Explain”; Kathie Lee Gifford on “How Her Faith Helped Her Handle The Grief of Losing Her Husband”; and “How to Tap Into Your Faith To Get The Relationship, Career and Life You Have Always Wanted,” again featuring Franklin.
That last segment, Franklin said, will be “something very spectacular … I’ve never seen a daytime talk show make this kind of embrace.”
Franklin said his lifelong Seventh-day Adventist faith is an integral part of his messaging. He turned to the faith during a troubled youth; his younger brother, Pastor David B. Franklin, leads Miracle City Church in Baltimore, Maryland, and has co-hosted "Let's Pray" on the Hope Channel.
“The Seventh-day Adventist church is part of who I am, it comes through in what I do, and I’m grateful for the opportunity the media has provided to get out the message of how the life of Christ can affect your life in a positive way,” Franklin said.
He added that being a “media colporteur,” bringing the message into people’s homes via television and motion pictures, reflects his years of interest in the field.
“That’s the power of media,” he explained. “That’s one of the reasons why, from a very young age, I wanted to be in media. [Some people] may never get to church, but they may see a film, see a TV show or hear a radio program.”
About the only subject where this Adventist film producer was less-than-forthcoming concerned the upcoming Academy Awards, known as the Oscars, where “Hacksaw Ridge,” the 2016 motion picture telling the life story of Desmond T. Doss, Sr., has been nominated in six categories, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Did industry veteran Franklin, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which sponsors the awards, have any predictions about the Adventist-themed movie?
“You never know how these things go,” he replied. “I’m grateful to be a member of the Academy so I will be voting. It’s now a race and there’s a lot of opportunity.”