One of the primary missions of For KING & COUNTRY's duo of brothers, Luke and Joel Smallbone, is to encourage women, instill confidence and remind them of their worth. They're so passionate about this mission, in fact, that they've created an entire campaign around it: The "Priceless" movement.
"Luke and I used to back up our older sister, CCM artist Rebecca St. James, at her shows - we'd back her up and also play our songs," Joel told The Gospel Herald in an exclusive interview when asked how the "Priceless" movement got started. "One day, my mother, Rebecca, Luke and myself had a conversation about sharing something from stage to the women that night. And so, in that moment, we took it upon ourselves to mention that we thought women were more than all the money in the world - that was the birth of the movement."
Fast forward several years later, and both Joel and Luke are married: "Luke and I feel we are the major beneficiaries with our families and our wives because we're in the thick of it, we're men in modern settings aiming to be honorable to and love our wives exclusively and passionately," Joel explained. "We kind of looked at each other and said, 'This message is very timely for us, and it's obviously resonating deeply with women."
Today, people are responding to the "Priceless" movement across the world, in fact, a staggering 300,000 "Priceless" necklaces - a simple chain with an Australian one-cent coin on it - have been sold in the United States alone: "It was kind of alarming and surprising to see just the incredible response to this message - it had almost eclipsed music," Joel said.
The brother's biblically-driven message of women's inherent worth and dignity is simple, yet counterproductive to the idea of masculinity promoted in today's culture.
"There's a monologue going on culturally where it feels like there are two things at play for each man, and that is the hunter and the protector," explained Joel. "The hunter sees a woman across the room and wants to pursue her. It's beautiful in the right context, it's the attraction, the physicality. There's also the protector, which is when your cross that line into a committed relationship, it's the man who sticks by a woman no matter what - it's the more honorable side of who a man is. But, today, it seems the focus has been on the hunter, the sexuality, the physicality, the adrenaline of trying to win a woman."
He added, "Oftentimes, we get into the context of marriage and a committed relationship, and it seems that we as modern men don't know what to do in that context anymore, because this idea of pursuit and winning and hunting has been so driven into us."
The "Priceless" movement continues to expand: For KING & COUNTRY not only turned it into a hit song titled "Matter," it also inspired a book and movie of the same name. The film, entitled "Priceless: She's Worth Fighting For", hits theaters this fall and is directed by brother Ben Smallbone and co-produced by Luke Smallbone, while Joel stars as the lead character.
"I hope men walk away with a deeper sense of a call to dignify the love of a woman, fighting for a woman while also protecting a woman and cherishing her and being committed to her and lifting her up," Joel said of the upcoming film. "On the other side of the aisle, ['Priceless'] really celebrates the impact a woman can have when she finds her self-worth not in her physicality or her identity towards any man, but her identity under God and who she is made to be. That woman is able to radically impact everyone around her including the man that she's connected."
"Priceless" also stars Bianca Santos ("The Duff"), Amber Midthunder ("Longmire"), Jim Parrack ("True Blood"), and David Koechner ("The Goldbergs"). For more information, please visit the film's website at www.PricelessTheMovie.com.