Alum Jack Buckley Inspired by Work on Set of The Chosen


Lily Arkens, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

“Sometimes its easy to look at Jonathan and just see Jesus, so seeing him as another human who has struggles was a humbling reminder,” said Jack Buckley, a 2015 NDA grad, who works as a chemical engineer in Texas, but also volunteered on the set of The Chosen

Buckley grew up in Allouez and attended St. Matt’s for middle school. At NDA, he played football for four years and ran track for three. 

“I did not do a whole lot of club activities, but I did venture into IB classes and got college credit for them. I can’t recommend getting college credit in high school strongly enough,” shared the chemical engineer. 

After high school, he attended Iowa State University studying mechanical engineering and graduated in 2020 after five years, four of them at Iowa State and one-year doing engineering internships. 

The company he interned with offered him a full-time position a few hours away from Houston. 

“Since I was young I always wanted to move elsewhere,” he shared. Texas was on the top of his list so he knew it was a “no-brainer.”

Buckley was supposed to move in the summer of 2020 and start working, but the plan got derailed due to COVID. He stayed in Green Bay for an extra six months working at Ace Hardware just to pass the time. 

“That whole experience was incredibly humbling for me and had me searching for the meaning of life, which ultimately led me to commit my life to Jesus as his disciple. Before this time I was my own king with no care in the world,” said Buckley. 

Despite growing up around church and “God talk” he spent his whole life not fully understanding the point until he realized the love of Jesus He freely offers others.

When he moved to Texas, he didn’t know anyone but he soon enough met new friends at church. 

“One of these new friends specifically helped show me further who God and the Gospel were which was extremely impactful. Fast forward 2-½ years and that friend is now my father-in-law, and I’m happily married to an amazing woman who also has taught me so much about who God is,” shared the chemical engineer. 

Buckley’s wife has a large family that lives right by them, and he could not be happier in Texas, even with the miserably hot summers.

His wife knew someone that was working on the set of The Chosen, and she ended up receiving a mass invite asking for volunteers for the Feeding 5,000 episode. 

“When she asked if I wanted to go, I couldn’t say no so I took a few vacation days. Filming took place south of Dallas so we weren’t that far away,” he said. 

When helping on the set, he had to understand where to stand and where to move, how to listen and follow instructions, what was important in a specific moment and be calm when things seem stressful.

Buckley and his wife were there for two days and got to help out on both days. 

“It was June, no clouds or wind, and 100+ degrees, and our job was to bring water and Gatorade to all the volunteer extras in the field in front of Jesus. Due to filming, they couldn’t let people get up, so we went to them,” said Buckley.

He also guarantees us that the scenes we see are not full of CGI people in the fields. 

“There were literally 5,000+ people there,” he said. 

When they got there, he didn’t really think they’d be on the set. He thought they would be helping elsewhere, so when they got on the set “it was amazing.”

“I interacted with many of the disciples and even had a full conversation with Austin Reed Alleman (the Nathaniel actor). Seeing how scenes were filmed was very cool, especially with camera placement and angles,” he shared. 

The most humbling experience for Buckley was towards the end of the day when the sun was setting with not much time left. They were trying to film Jesus teaching the parable of the sower and seeds. 

“There were just a few lines but Jonathan Roumie (Jesus) couldn’t get them out. He kept losing his place and needing to start over all while they were losing daylight for the scene. All eyes were on him, and he was clearly frustrated, and at one point Dallas Jenkins (director) pulled him aside and gave him the ‘you got this’ pep talk,” he added. “Johnathan finally got everything out, and it was a big sigh of relief.”

When Buckley and his wife watched the episode, they kept pausing each scene and pointed out where they were standing off-screen.

“Also, having our names in the credits was pretty cool too. But, at the end of the day the episode wasn’t about me. It was about Jesus rescuing His people,” he said. 

Buckley can’t recommend enough to watch the show, even if you don’t believe in Jesus.

“They do an amazing job of making the Gospel come to life (with some added content to make the show flow) and it paints an even deeper picture of who Jesus was and the love He gave to His broken world,” said Buckley.