A few days ago I ran across some pictures from our trip to Israel a couple of years ago, and suddenly I got something that I have been missing. Something about Ragtown. I think it just might change everything.
I don’t know what percentage of people who come to Ragtown go back to their churches and try to get others to come experience it for themselves, but I know it is a big number. Our “word of mouth” advertising is amazing, but in this busy, busy world we live in, it is hard to get people to realize what they’re missing and make time to come. We have some wonderfully faithful people in churches from Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and all over Texas…even as far away as Dallas, Austin, and beyond who gather folks and trek to Post, Texas two or three times a year.
Why would they do that?
When we were in the planning stages of Ragtown Gospel Theater, we could imagine all kinds of possibilities. It would be this beautiful place of spiritual respite and renewal. People would come from all over to be not just entertained, but encouraged, reassured, and inspired to live in the confident faith of one who knows the Lord can be trusted to keep His Word. The music and the plays would minister to people who were hurting and sorely in need of a couple of hours of sanctuary in a place where everything is okay. And Ragtown Gospel Theater is exactly that, and more. If you’ve been here, you know that.
But as I said, there is something about the equation I’ve missed until now, and if we can get pastors and church leaders to see it too, a whole lot more people are going to start making the trip. And it will not only fulfill our vision for Ragtown, it will change the heart of churches who send groups our way.
Here’s the thing I got when I was looking at those pictures of Israel. I could go on for hours about the experience of being there. It was everything I had hoped it would be, and so much more that I never expected. That will be with me forever…but that’s not all. The other part was the people we got to share that experience with, and the bonds that formed between us. We brought that home with us too. Most of those people were our Ragtown family, so we were already close, but the connections that were formed on that trip deepened our relationships, and we brought that shared experience back with us to the work we do here together.
Now there’s nothing that compares to a trip to Israel, but the connections that occur when groups travel to Ragtown and experience this place together will absolutely strengthen a church. Thirty or forty people from a church body experiencing the fellowship of traveling together and being collectively moved by the beauty of the Gospel discovered in every Ragtown production will bridge all age and social divides. People will return home with new relationships which will spawn a much deeper sense of community within their church.
A pastor who has become a dear friend of mine told me this years ago. He has personally brought groups to almost every one of our productions. I wish I had realized its importance then. He very purposefully plans his church trips to Ragtown to help establish and strengthen relationships among his particularly diverse church family. His groups always react the way everyone does to our concerts and plays…and because the Ragtown productions are always going to be thought-provoking, the three-hour trips home on their church bus are typically lively discussions about what they saw. This pastor and others confirm that Ragtown Gospel Theater is a unique fellowship opportunity that will strengthen the heart of a church.
For our part, we are committed to continue to depend on the Lord to make the Ragtown experience extraordinary, and solidly grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is always faithful…
He gave His Word