Katherine Warnock, head of original content for the award-winning, multi-episode webisode drama The Chosen talks to Stephanie Pena about walking with God in obedience and experiencing his transformational power
Words: Stephanie Pena
When did you first encounter Jesus?
I was raised as a cultural Catholic, but it wasn’t until I was 20 that I surrendered my life to Jesus. A friend of mine invited me to her church where people were dancing, speaking in funny languages and generally being very demonstrative in worship.
I kept looking around wondering: “What is going on!?” I know now it was the Holy Spirit. From that moment on I kept going back. I knew this was what I’d been waiting for my entire life; something to truly live for.
How did your trust in the Lord transform you?
When I was a high school teacher, a job I thought I would do for the rest of my life, I had a profound encounter with the Lord; he completely changed me from the inside out. I remember I got up off the floor weeping and was left with a burning feeling that: “I have got to go to the nations.” I had no idea what that meant. I found out about a mission school in Mozambique so I decided to go and live in Africa and be a missionary.
This is where I ended up meeting my husband. We came to London and I started a course at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) teaching women how to hear the Lord’s voice; really learning to move with the Holy Spirit.
God made it very clear that he wanted me to go work in Hollywood
How did your obedience to follow Jesus bring you to work on The Chosen?
God made it very clear that he wanted me to go work in Hollywood. I knew nothing about Hollywood. I began a very long 15-year-journey of obeying his voice, letting him do profound character development, allowing him to take me to the tops of mountains in beautiful ways and to the pits of some really horrific seasons.
I look back now and see he was getting me ready. That journey of listening to his voice, obeying and surrendering led me to a number of things, including becoming the head of faith and family content at MGM which, in time, led me to working with The Chosen.
God makes the impossible possible – can you tell us how this message is personal to The Chosen?
At the lowest point of Dallas’ (The Chosen’s director) professional life someone reached out to him, who knew nothing about his turmoil and told him: “God wants you to know that it’s not your job to feed the 5,000, it’s just your job to bring your loaves and fish.” It is a message I have lived off for years. The Chosen operates fully by what we each are able to bring and then together God uses us and falls his supernatural upon it, like he did in the feeding of the 5,000.
How did God move in the process of producing ‘Unfiltered: Gen Z reacts to The Chosen’?
Derral Eves, co-founder of The Chosen, decided he wanted to get a whole bunch of Generation Z together to binge watch the show as a way of reaching out. It was a social experiment. From a casting pool of thousands, I hand selected nine young adults in an unconventional way—by using discernment, and leaning into the Holy Spirit.
It was the most divine cast put together. It was a collaboration of listening to God’s voice, trusting what he put in individuals while giving them a space to have authentic conversations and relationships sfor the documentary to come together.
In Season 3 of The Chosen, Simon and Eden are journeying through something heartbreaking. Are you able to tell us more?
It’s a huge story line, it’s heartbreaking and it leaves a number of people questioning: What do you do when you are violently angry with God? When you have your hope deferred, what do you do with that? Is God big enough to take that? How does Jesus react when we are processing through pain? Does God meet us in that place? It is a huge part of Season 3.
What would you say is the overarching message in Season 3?
This season speaks to those who are weary and heavy laden. It’s about God wanting to encounter us, wanting to exchange our heavy burdens for his ease and his peace and lightness. I think, given our current world circumstances, it is most needed.
Was there a moment in your life when you needed a miracle from God?
I often step back and go “Wow! God you have brought your transformative power in my life, time and time again and I am only able to sit here because you have done that.” My husband and I went through seven excruciating years of infertility; we now have three beautiful children.
I have walked through severe eating disorders. After years of crying out, one day God brought healing. God spoke to me and said: “Today is the day of your freedom.” I was a leader at HTB at that time but dealing with this difficulty in secret. I don’t think we as leaders talk about struggles enough. I make it a point to talk about mine. I’m not perfect; I am human.
The Chosen operates fully by what we each are able to bring
Which biblical character has inspired you in your walk of faith?
Mary has shown me you can lay down your life and through unwavering obedience and conviction change the world – but not without suffering. I remember walking to the stations of the cross in Israel after I had just had twins. I went to where Mary hugs Jesus for the very last time and wept. As a mother it was a powerful reminder of what this woman gave, watched and endured because she so believed in God.
Which Gospel story speaks to you, for the personal season you’re in?
I am in a season of having a clear revelation of the reality of the multiplication of the talents. If you just say yes to God and lean into what you can do and trust him to put his supernatural upon it, he will multiply your talents.
I don’t know how I have learned the vast majority of my job. God has just kept adding to what I need to do and I have just chosen to be faithful by his grace, by his mercy. I am living reality, that if we, as the body of Christ, just understood how serious he was about the multiplication of talents, we would be unstoppable.
As we approach the New Year, could you lead us in a prayer?
I just want to bless those reading in the name of Jesus. I bless them to know his mercy and his presence. To know his unwavering steadfastness in getting through any trials, or up any mountain:
We worship you Jesus for your faithfulness and we ask that your faithfulness will be made manifest in our lives. Would you teach us how to love you more, how to serve you more? Teach us, Lord, how to abide with you more. You and you alone are what we need. Jesus may we never forget that you are the answer to every problem this world faces. Would you teach us how to bring our loaves and our fish so that the world would truly know your grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The Chosen is a drama based on the life of Jesus as witnessed by those who knew him. Season 3 will be available via The Chosen App in December: thechosen.tv/app or search ‘The Chosen’ in your app store.