Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's a Go!

I got a piece of good news the other day that I've been sitting on...trying to adjust myself to the idea that it's true...

There really is going to be a Kenosha chapter of our Christian children's theater group!!!!

Thank you so much to those who have joined me in praying about this!!!

I am so excited about the ministry potential for this organization in the Kenosha area.

Let me back up nearly four years and tell you what I thought about this group when we first started getting involved. First of all, there's a real cost in money and time which caused me to closely scrutinize the organization and our reasons for having kids in it. At first I questioned how this group could be a ministry. Sure, they prayed before auditions, rehearsals, shows and all. They stressed a positive, encouraging atmosphere. But was it helping my own kids grow in their faith? I wasn't sure. In fact, some of the kids weren't believers--and it showed--and some of the "Christian" kids weren't much better. There was no evangelistic message being presented; the shows were all secular. How was this a ministry?

My kids loved it, though, and I felt a peace and a confirmation from the Lord that it was something we should go ahead with. And the longer we've been involved, the more grateful for this group I have become, and the more I do consider it a ministry!

On a big picture level, I have come to appreciate that offering family-friendly, professional-quality theater productions to a community is no small thing! Just being able to offer a wholesome alternative to "going to the movies" is a valuable service.

Zooming in a little, I appreciate more and more (especially now that I have three teenagers) how wonderful it is to have a place for my kids to hang out with their friends, while they work on something constructive, under the supervision of godly adults. So much better than just hanging out at a mall or at a friend's house--or worse.

Also, what they do in theater is not all fun and games; it is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. Physically, they come home exhausted, just as they would from a sports practice, if they've had a lot of dancing that day. Mentally, they have dances, lyrics and blocking to learn and concentrate on, and sometimes lines as well. And emotionally--well, I've already described the hopes and disappointments that nearly every audition weekend brings, and you learn how happy you can be for someone else even if you personally were disappointed! All these challenges point them to God, the source of strength when their own fails.

Which lead to a most personal way that this group has been a ministry to our family, and that is the way it has helped shape our children's characters. They have experienced consequences (that have taught them more than anything their parents could have engineered) when they made poor choices or were lacking in diligence, and they have reaped rewards for right choices. In this group, they are continually reminded not to perform for their own glory, but for God's, and it is amazing how they do begin to get this. In theater, you have to forget yourself to do well--just as in the Christian life, we have to die to self and live for God--and I believe that this lesson will stay with them into adulthood, along with the lessons in diligence, responsibility, courage...patience...submission...and more.

In this group there is also a nice positive peer pressure, such as you might get in a Christian school. For homeschoolers and publicly-schooled kids, this group can be the place where Christian kids stay grounded in their faith on a peer level. It certainly served that function for us before we moved, and our kids were really adrift without it this past summer. The directors and teachers are all Christians as well, and often they and some of the older students become role models as they not only "talk the talk" but "walk the walk," even when it's not a Bible study or youth group moment. For example, how does a director handle a rehearsal when kids aren't listening, aren't getting the dance, and time is short?

Not always perfectly, of course, and I don't want to give an impression that is too rosy! But overall, my kids have learned so much from the training and example of these Christian adults and older students. The non-Christian kids take it all in too, and who knows how God might choose to water those seeds?

And that leads me to a new prayer request. Will you pray with me for God to send Christian theater directors and teachers, vocal directors and choreographers? Having Christian leaders for this group is so vital, but they have to have the needed skills and that's not always an easy combination to find. Also, pray for founding Christian families, especially with teenagers who can help set a tone and lay a foundation that will stand, even when more non-Christian and nominally Christian families become involved. Please pray that MY kids can help do that and will want to be that. (I paint them with quite a positive brush here, but they are just as ornery as any other kids--and I have no great confidence that they will be sterling examples.)

Thanks for your prayers--and rejoice with us!!!


Melinda said...

YAY!!! I remember praying about this when you first wrote about it. I am so excited for you! I am sur eit will be a blessing and a joy to everyone involved.

Amy said...

Woo Hoo! How absolutely wonderful! Enjoy!


Donna Boucher said...

I am rejoicing with you Jeanne!!!

Wonderful news!!!

jenny said...

Jeanne...I would be so interested in this. I'm certainly not a highly talented person in these arenas...but any skills I do have, I'd be glad to share. I would love for my kids to have these same opportunities.

I'd love to sit down with you sometime in the New Year and get caught up in your lives...we think of you often.