The atmosphere was charged as staff and friends gathered in the hall and found their seats. They were about to watch not just any musical, but one about the gospel. And it wasn’t just any musical about the gospel, it was one produced by GoodSeed.
“I had no idea how it would be like before the performance,” quipped one staff member. “We knew the project had been going on for years, but we just didn’t know how it would turn out.”
Almost 12 years ago, John Cross met music director James Janzen at a performance of Handel’s Messiah. The two men struck up a conversation about Handel’s goal of telling the gospel through music. Depending on whether you ask James or John, both men credit the other for coming up with the idea of creating a modern musical presentation of the gospel story, using the creation-to-the-cross approach of GoodSeed’s resources.
The question was: where to get the right music? After initial attempts at curating public domain songs, it became obvious that original songs were needed. Enter Steve Walter and soon after, Allan Ellingsgaard. Both men began work on writing songs, using the architecture of The Lamb and What are Christmas and Easter All About? as the basis for the musical.
Part of the team’s research revealed that many churches around the world used music and drama to present the good news. There are many people who did not enjoy reading or weren’t willing to watch a DVD but who did enjoy music. There have been many musicals and dramas published for this purpose, but often the gospel presentation was unclear or too brief. Our music team set out to balance clarity in expressing the gospel message with keeping the story and music engaging over a 90-minute period.
After four years of on-and-off work on the project, the team was finally ready. Recruiting a group of staff and friends to form a small choir, we recently presented the musical at our annual staff Bible camp. The response was overwhelmingly positive! The music team was greatly encouraged.
We thank the Lord for all the progress that we’ve made. Our next step is to get several churches to test the musical and provide feedback. Then we will polish the music, script and all the other elements of the package before officially releasing it.
If your church would like to help us test the musical by putting on a performance, please send us an email.
There will also be derivative tools from this musical: a CD of the songs as well as an audio drama CD. We already have in mind people in our lives to whom we can say, “You know, Bill, I know you said you don’t read much but I know you appreciate music. Here’s an audio drama CD with great music on it. As you enjoy the music, you’ll also be getting a good understanding of what the Bible is all about. Can I give this to you as a gift?”
Pray with us as we strive to complete the project. And, just for you, here’s a video clip from the musical performance at our staff camp. The performers are reading their scripts but you’ll still get a good sense of what the musical is like. We hope it’ll encourage your heart and give you an idea of where we are headed with this project.