Kirksville churches witness through drama
KIRKSVILLE – The reality of eternity is just the blink of an eye away. But for 1,500 people in northern Missouri, the reality of heaven and hell were right in front of their eyes.
Three Kirksville churches—First Baptist, Rehoboth Baptist and Fellowship Baptist—teamed up with First Baptist, Macon, and four other local churches recently to host “Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames,” a traveling drama presentation that uses local congregations as cast members portraying the reality of an eternity with, and separated from, Jesus.
“It was a powerful tool,” Marty Joplin, pastor of First Baptist Church, said. “We had a total of 109 decisions and 64 first-time professions of faith.”
“Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames” is a drama produced by Reality Outreach Ministries based in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The team will pull into a church Friday afternoon with the set and the church will help build it. On Saturday, parts are cast among the congregation, and Sunday night the production “goes live.”
The drama begins with Jesus, showing his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven. It runs through 10 vignettes telling the modern-day story of people as they step into eternity. One shows an elderly woman joyously greet-ing her Savior. Another shows a young boy following his father’s example and rejecting all things religious.
“Everyone identified with at least one of the stories,” Joplin said. “It’s a powerful, powerful tool.”
“It’s not necessarily a tool for teaching theology,” Joplin said. “It’s a tool for telling the Gospel, and it does that very well. It’s a very direct, to-the-point Gospel presentation. From beginning to end, I absolutely recommend it.”
After the show, the “cast” debriefed and the decision cards were sent out to the local churches best located to minister to those who made a decision.
“There was a great sense of harmony,” Joplin said. “This is the way things ought to be between churches.”