by Michael Edgar Myers
Founding Artistic Director
This is one of my promised “Giving Tuesday” updates, but it’s not a financial update. It’s more about the joys we’ve received because of the intangible ways people have given to Kingdom Impact Theater Ministries in recent months.
Example: Our just completed cabaret variety show, “A Christmas Evening with Kingdom Impact Theater: LIVE!”
As performers, we’re not often sure what to expect from an audience. Or IF there will be an audience. Vikki and I have both been on stages where the cast outnumbered people in the seats.
That was not the case with the cabaret. In fact, we had a full house at Faith Community Church.
A full live audience gives to the performance through laughter, unexpected utterances, or spur-of-the-moment sing-alongs. Such responses affirm that we are connecting, keeping us motivated and focused, especially if there is a missed line or technical problem.
As writer and director of many of our scenes, not only is such audible response uplifting, so is silence. The silence of active listening -- in a dramatic scene; or to an unexpected one-liner in a serio-comic scene, such as those uttered by our characters Dr. Etta M. Ology, Christianese speech patholo-jest, and Roscoe P. Love, Marriage Esq. Such silence indicates reflection and desire to engage which the concept behind our developing #SafeFaithConversation workshops.
(A cabaret #SafeFaithConversation example is a post-show chat Vikki had. A long-time friend of hers told how she resonated with a short story Vikki performed called, “My Messiah, Too.” It’s the tale of a Jewish woman who spent her life resisting Christ, sometimes arguing about Him with her Gentile boyfriend, only to eventually become a Messianic Christ-follower. “I’m Jewish,” said the now revealed Messianic audience member.)
Paul’s second letter to church in Corinth includes guidelines for financial donations. While “The LORD loves a cheerful giver” does refer to tithes and offerings to a church or ministry, Paul emphasizing that such donations are a matter of the heart more than the amount.
The volunteer crews for the two cabarets we debuted this year embody the heart of non-monetary giving. We are thankful beyond words for their donations of time and time and talents as well as treasure.
I’m among those people who finds it difficult asking people to help. My reticence isn’t about pride, as if (cue Carly Simon) “nobody does it better” than I. I’m simply uncomfortable misusing people’s time. As in, not feeling organized sufficiently to pass on how-to details to others. A perfectionist thang, I’ve been told…to get rid of.
With each show, evaluations from our Ministry Accountability Team, ensemble colleagues, even audience feedback, I’m given more guidance on boundaries, delegating, and other sorts of producer organizational tasks with which producers struggle. But my greatest joy comes from how individuals we may sheepishly ask not only accept the task, but dive in with passion and ideas unimagined. Indeed, many volunteer without asking because they’ve resonated with something they’ve seen us do.
Our cabaret Event Planning Team consisted of six women who are friends from Village Point Church in Elk Grove Village.
The women crossed county lines to travel to Carol Stream to decorate the Faith Community Church lobby and conference room into a festive Christmas atmosphere. After the show, they stayed to clean the performance space so the room could be used for classes the next morning.
Most importantly, our volunteers spent weeks coordinating with representatives and staff from the host church to make certain our performance and production needs didn’t conflict with the church’s guidelines or overwork volunteers.
The scenarios above illustrate the kind of spiritual gift giving that transcends individual churches or denominations. The audience included viewers from six churches other than the host. Both our team and the host’s volunteers served tasks that, in many professional circles, are monitored by a union’s policies.
These illustrations of Entertaining and Empowering are among the lessons and benefits of the Adopt-a-Church Initiative, one of two new goals for which we seek funding in the coming year. Future variety show cabaret programs are an element of that Initiative. “An Evening with Kingdom Impact Theater: LIVE!” is our gift to a church’s outreach program.
Not only do we offer a performance program to Educate Christ-follower and Christ-curious audiences about the daily influence of the Gospel, we share our producing expertise to Equip the host church better plan and market its own outreaches (including weekly worship and study) while expanding staff, minimizing costs, and maximizing exposure in the community.
Free community exposure comes in many forms: radio and podcast interviews, placing posters in local businesses or franchises friendly to non-profits, or offering complimentary tickets to staffs of nearby churches.
From our founding, our dream as touring theater missionaries has been to proclaim the Gospel, cover production expenses, justly compensate ensemble and guest performers without placing a financial burden to a local church. The majority of the 50 sites we've presented are small and mid-sized churches.
READ MORE: "We Have a Dream" -- The Kingdom Impact Theater Ministries vision.
Here is how you may help us fulfill that dream:
We are seeking 24 donors each month to commit to giving a minimum donation of $24. We call it our “$24 for ’24 Campaign.” I’m asking you to be among the 24 new givers by December 31, 2023.
Our next cabaret is scheduled in March 2024. However, in January and February we are scheduling of live shows and workshops to promote #SafeFaithConversations regarding Christianity and African-American history.
Whether the cabaret or the history shows our 2024 vision is missional. We pray for financial partners who share these goals:
Please visit tinyurl.com/KITdonations to set up your monthly gift, or to choose your one-time or periodic support offering.
Regardless of your choice today, know that I’m grateful for the time you’ve given to support Kingdom Impact Theater Ministries, even by being part of this mailing. Next time, I’ll tell you how our current partners are helping support our college video intern…in Kenya.
By Michael Edgar Myers
A colleague of ours with Artists in Christian Testimony Intl is a music ministry educator in Ukraine. As the Russian attacks were imminent, our colleague sent a post to A.C.T. Intl artists in 47 countries encouraging us to begin infusing oft-sung Ukrainian songs of worship in our local congregational assemblies. Three of the selections are original compositions by musical worship leaders in Ukraine, perhaps not known Stateside. YouTube links and link to the full story can be provided.
The KIT 'n' Kaboodle Blog
The essays here are culled from our travels, conversations, worship experiences and discoveries.
Many are reprints from our newsletter, The KIT 'n' Kaboodle, or Facebook notes over time.
They're written by our ensemble, Garlan Garner, Michael Edgar Myers or Vikki J. Myers -- solo, or collectively.