To us, a theater is born
Michael and Vikki Myers were professional actors in the Chicago theater community, but had never heard of theater being done in a church. Having been new to going to church themselves at the time, this wasn't surprising. But the concept of drama in a church also seemed new to the church, too. So new, they had no idea where to find scripts. So, pulling on his background in improvisational theater, Mike wrote some beats for him and Vikki -- an improvisational jazz singer -- to play off of. In less than 5 minutes they were done, and a new era of their lives began.
Soon after, some acting-bugged high schoolers at the church asked if Mike and Vikki would help them start a drama team. They agreed with one caveat: that the drama ministry be about teaching Scripture and its principles through theater, not just performing. The church's board agreed and helped underwrite the high school ministry.
Mike began cranking out short scenes, writing full-length plays, and directing numerous church productions, as well as touring with his professional improv acting company.
The original high schoolers graduated. The ministry waned. The passion remained. What to do?
In a Sunday School class one morning, the instructor took the assembly on an exercise about using your passions to impact the kingdom of God. Mike's bell rung, and Vikki ran with it.
During this time, Elk Grove developed a relationship with Bellevue Baptist Church on Chicago's southside. Twice a year they would visit the other's church and share a service of worship.
Somewhere along the line, Vikki got an idea to sing with the Bellevue musicians rather than present to them. Sheepishly, she asked Bellevue's pianist, Garlan Garner, if he would mind...playing some music with...did he know such and such song... and could they...maybe...make music together?
Mike took on a part-time job at church, coordinating production and planning Services of Worship. Vikki began leading songs. In a transitional period between musical worship presentations...changing from choirs to smaller ensembles...Mike suggested Vikki get together with two of her singing friends to form a worship team for Sundays. They liked it so much, they formalized the relationship beyond Sunday mornings at Elk Grove, expanding to acting and singing regularly as Chos3n (that's Chosen 3, and the spelling is another story.) That's happened as often as possible as motherhood and job transfers have moved the original threesome around the country. In which case, we have a cadre of third harmonizers who join with Vikki and Garlan to create a unique musical sound, and occasionally a bilingual witness. But in any language, harmonies can be enhanced by a band of brothers.
Almost 20 years later, that seemingly disconnected series of requests led to touring performances; writing, producing and publishing a series of original songs, associations with new friends, reconnections with older ones, and evidence that some of the music, theater and teaching has encouraged some people to make decisions to follow Jesus Christ...because they understand Him better.
Through it all, we have endeavored to remain faithful to our original purpose: to educate and let the Scriptures be our writing, performing and living guide. We have not been misled. When all is written and all is said: "The best script is Scripture."