Audiences may remember actor Kirk Cameron as teenager Mike Seaver in the TV series “Growing Pains” in the late 1980s.
But now, more than two decades later, he has a new role to play.
On Sunday, Cameron will talk about ways to heal troubled marriages at the 1,400-seat Trinity Assembly of God church in Lanham.
It’s his next stop on the “Love Worth Fighting For” tour, which refers to a song from the 2008 Christian movie “Fireproof,” in which he starred as a firefighter in a marriage headed for divorce.
With him on guitar will be songwriter Warren Barfield, who wrote the theme song for “Fireproof,” “Love is Not a Fight.” The song’s lyrics gave rise to the name of the tour.
The movie, made by Sherwood Studios, a moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., grossed $33.5 million, according to Variety.
The film is about a firefighter in Albany, Ga., who is not getting along with his wife and wants a divorce. Concerned, the man’s father dares his son to spend 40 days trying to restore his marriage according to Christian teachings.
“The problem was not his wife,” Cameron says. “It’s his own pride and ego getting in the way of him being able to love his wife.”
“It struck such a chord,” Cameron continues. “People would say that they felt like they were watching their own lives on the big screen. It gave them hope.”
In 2009, Michael Williams of Knoxville, Tenn., who heads a nonprofit ministry called Feed Your Faith, organized the first “Love Worth Fighting For” event headlined by Cameron.
The event sold out months ahead of time and Williams says he decided to organize more.
“There were so many people who attended,” he says. “I saw a need for this event.”
So he decided to “go out of his comfort zone” and organize more, growing from visits to 11 cities in 2010, to 36 in 2011 and 42 this year, all with Cameron.
“We tried to move it into a live, interactive experience,” Cameron says, mentioning that it is a chance for a couple to get away for about 3˝ hours and focus on their relationship.
During the event a mix of movie, music, humor and prayer Cameron shows scenes from “Fireproof,” while referring to his own marriage of 21 years to Chelsea Noble, who played Mike Seaver’s girlfriend, Kate MacDonald, on “Growing Pains.”
“The biggest struggle in my marriage is me,” says Cameron, a father of six, who says he sometimes tends to be selfish.
“I’m a work in progress,” he says.
But there also is a lot of laughing and humor, especially coming from Barfield, who is “very funny” and also sings about a dozen other songs, Cameron says.
“The event is funny, very touching, and it’s a chance to help other families and hear God’s word,” Cameron says.
For a higher ticket price, visitors can meet with Cameron for a 45-minute question-and-answer session before the event, with reservations required in advance.
“Fireproof” DVDs will be available for sale, as well as “The Love Dare” book, based on the film, and CDs by Barfield.
Cameron says the “Love Worth Fighting For” tour has visited about 50 cities in the past three years, and he expects he will continue with the tour in 2013.
The Rev. Tino Cione, pastor at Trinity Assembly of God, says he’s happy to host the event based on “Fireproof,” which he says offered a positive alternative to the destructive messages in the culture.
“Churches need help to help couples,” Cione says. “There are not a lot of resources that bring help.”
“This brings attention to what real-life people are dealing with,” says Cione, who says he and other pastors have used the lessons from the movie to try to help church members heal their relationships.
“I’ve used the movie with some couples, providing them some skills to use in their marriage,” Cione says.
He says that even if someone is not a member of a Christian church, the movie offers important lessons about the value of communication in relationships.
People may know what they want to express, but they sometimes have trouble getting it across, he says.
“You have to fight for your relationships, you have to work at it,” Cione says.