Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why's a Church Doing a Broadway Show?

This past week was a whirlwind of activity. I was involved with a musical program called "Broadway Bound" at the Richland Hills Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas. We had stage and set building, technical rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and music rehearsals almost every night. I'm happy to say that our hard work paid off, because we were blessed with a full house both nights of the performance. A special thanks to each of you who came.

At first glance you might wonder, What's a church doing presenting a Broadway show? And, frankly, that would be a fair question.

Perhaps you remember in the movie Sister Act that the Mother Superior was incensed by the choir singing popular rock'n'roll songs and "turning the church into a glitzy night club act or theater show." Sister Mary Clarence (Whoopi Goldberg) responded, "But that's just the point: people like going to night clubs and theater shows, because they're fun, but they don't like going to church because it's a drag. We just want to get some people in the seats; then we can tell them about God." Mother Superior didn't "get it" at that stage, just as many people today don't "get it," and I can really understand why.

Through the years I have worked and sung with a great outreaching choir. Our philosophy was to "go out into the highways and byways and bring them in" (Matthew 22:9), rather than waiting for them to come to us at the church building (which they rarely do). So we sang for local fairs and festivals, at patriotic celebrations, at Christmas programs, in parks and malls and corporate events--anywhere we thought there would be lots of people. And we made friends by presenting upbeat, excellent, clean family entertainment. We had fun, and they had fun.

Then we would invite them to a program we were doing at our church building, and because they already knew us, they would come. When they came to the church, they met even more Christians who knew how to have fun without all the "night club" trappings. And over time many of them came back to special programs and worship assemblies and began to follow God. It worked!

"Broadway Bound" was a great family show where church folks could bring their friends and neighbors just for fun. We featured musical drama vignettes from such marvelous Broadway shows as "South Pacific," "The Sound of Music," "Phantom of the Opera," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat," and "Jesus Christ, Superstar." The show was free--we just invited them to bring a can of food or make a small donation to help the homeless. In all they brought 866 items of food and $457!

Bottom line: they had a wonderful time, met some nice Christian people, became more comfortable with the church building, and went home with smiles on their faces. Some will come back for the next show. Some will come back for worship. Hopefully some will come back and become followers of God. And that, my friend, is what it was all about.

So what do you think? Should the church be doing a Broadway show? I'll let you decide.




1 comment:

Louise said...

As many of theatre lovers I LOVE the musical South Pacific ...It is my favourite ever...I've seen it in New York and next week I’m going to visit my sister and I just got some pretty good tickets via:
So I'll be analyzing as well as enjoying the show.