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for King and Country Debut Family Film

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The latest Smallbone movie, “Unsung Hero,” has been years in the making. From success to failure and God giving them more than they could have ever dreamed, the movie highlights the importance of family, and the power of God’s love to help his children overcome anything.

Joel explains, “We’ve been working on a film for three years built around our parent’s origin story of moving countries and all the tragedies and triumphs they faced along the way. It’s the beginning of our sister Rebecca’s foray into music.” Luke says that for the last decade while touring with their band, for KING & COUNTRY he and Luke shared their family’s journey. “We’ve had a lot of people come up to us and say, ‘you should write a book about your story’ and we thought let’s make a movie instead.”

Releasing on April 26th which also happens to be their parents 49th wedding anniversary, the movie begins with their father David, a successful music promoter and booker. He started his own company booking Christian artists like Carmen, his brother’s Christian band called Family, Keith Green, Leon Patillow, Phil Keaggy, Andrae Crouch, Stryper, Whiteheart, Petra, Bryan Duncan, and many more. His businesses were successful but they required long hours and Helen found herself raising their growing family pretty much on her own. The tension grew between her and David as they both experienced complete exhaustion.

In 1988, David booked Amy Grant and her band to come to Australia but the economy hit a recession and things didn’t turn out the way he planned. Helen explains, “In preparing for a tour David would project concert attendance numbers to previous concerts but due to unforeseen circumstances the Australian audience did not show support as they had in the past. Attendance came in 40 percent lower. This meant a devastating loss of about $250,000.” During this time, baby #7 was on the way. David tried to make things better for them in Australia but the doors kept shutting. David flew to Nashville and got interviewed with David Meece, with who he worked in the past. Meece hired him as an associate manager. On August 24, 1991, they flew to America with only two suitcases for each of them.

When they came to Nashville they had no car, no furniture, and no house. Helen shares, “To survive the coming weeks and months, David and I treated our circumstances with gratitude and as though everything was normal. We all began praying together each day for God to provide and leaning on our trust in Him that He would come through.”

Everyone in the family chipped in to help pay bills and put food on the table. Rebecca, was only 14 when she started babysitting and cleaning. The eldest son, Daniel, was mowing and raking lawns as well as he was working in flea markets at 12 years old. When the kids brought home the money, they all put it on the kitchen table. Those hard times taught the kids how it felt to be doing something important and purposeful and also taught the family to navigate their challenges together.


Helen’s dad noticed how beautiful Rebecca’s voice was and she had a passion to sing for the Lord. When he marketed her music to Eddie DeGarmo at Forefront Records, they signed Rebecca when she was 16 years old. They wanted to give her some anonymity and protection since she was a young female performer. So, she went by a different last name. Instead of Rebecca Smallbone, her stage name was Rebecca St. James. They chose the last name, James, in honor of her grandfather who had passed away. When Rebecca started touring, they all went on the road with her and Helen homeschooled all the kids. The children took on roles as part of the crew. The entire Smallbone family became involved in touring, set up, tear down, lighting, camera work, fog machines, sound, selling merchandise, etc.

Joel really wanted to start a singing career and wanted to be a solo act. While he had a good voice his father knew that something was missing. Luke was that something. He had an amazing voice and the two of them together have become for King & Country.

Today, all of the Smallbone children are grown and are following God’s call upon their lives. In appreciation for their mothers' love and sacrifice, Joel and Luke also wrote a song dedicated to Helen called “Unsung Hero” which inspired the movie.  

Discover more about for King and Country and how you can watch their film, "Unsung Hero," at their website:




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About The Author

Angell Vasko

Angell Vasko joined CBN in 1999. Acting as Floor Producer and Guest Coordinating Producer for The 700 Club, Angell briefs the cohosts before the live show and acts as a liaison between the control room and show talent during the broadcast.