Wayne McCullough’s life changed in less than five minutes.
A few years ago, McCullough’s sister-in-law invited him to hear a woman speak about being lured to Mexico and captured in the sex trafficking world.
(LEFT: Inspired wealth manager, Wayne McCullough, helped raise funding for ‘The Heart of a Man,’ a film addressing sexual exploitation. Courtesy photo)
He was struck by the topic but admitted interest eventually waned.
Then, his sister-in-law, who was interning for pureHOPE, a faith-based foundation that deals with sexual exploitations, sent him a video. Just shy of five minutes, it challenged everything McCullough knew about human trafficking, pornography, and his faith.
The film began with a story about a beautiful apple tree that was poisoned and how people continued to eat from it despite the fruit becoming bitter.
The story was used to show that the root of sexual exploitation is demand.
“I just watched something that may have changed the direction of my life,” McCullough remembers thinking after watching the clip. “There was this realization to me that this is happening everywhere. It is right here in our own back yard – right here in Dallas.”
McCullough, a Park Cities resident who is the president and managing partner of Benchmark Private Wealth Management, said he grew up in the church but had a skewed view of grace and really only understood fire and brimstone. For most of his life, he considered himself a “Christian with quote marks around it.”
That all changed when he embarked on a journey to turn the documentary into a full-length film. It began with nine simple words he left on the voicemail of pureHOPE founder Noel Bouché: “You don’t know me, but we need to meet.”
“He called with such boldness and such willingness to help, and I was like, I need to know more,” Bouché said.
From their first meeting at a Starbucks on Knox Street to meeting with Tony Anderson, the director of the documentary, and two filmmakers who’d traveled the world kicking down doors of brothels to expose sex trafficking, the film The Heart of a Man was made.
“Wayne basically organized a whirlwind road show getting us into people’s offices and the Dallas Country Club to raise capital for the project,” Bouché said. “It was the Park Cities that really catalyzed this film.”
McCullough’s wife, Lissie, also worked on the film as an executive producer.
The Heart of a Man interweaves a cinematic retelling of the parable of the prodigal son juxtaposed with interviews of real people struggling with sexual distractions and the shame that follows.
“Getting at the issue of shame that so many of us deal with, that was really the pivot that was made with the film,” Bouché said. “The film connects how all this stuff comes together and how men need to be healed and need the freedom that only a liberated relationship with God can bring.”
That message challenged McCullough to change the way he viewed God, he said. “What if your brokenness is a bridge to God and not a barrier?”