On the stage and behind the scenes

The NarroWay Blog

Chapter 23: And We Called It NarroWay Productions


directors martin clarkBIRDIE –
It was a long trip from Charlotte back to Kentucky that Memorial Day in 1996. For ten years we had called our youth team at the church “CrossRoads,” but now it was us.

Behind us was security, success, friends, comfort, a paycheck!

In front of us was ... well, FAITH.

June through August we did every bit of research we could (without internet), as we continued a full schedule of church work. My most vivid memory is visiting one of the most successful outdoor dramas to meet with the manager. We told her what we were thinking about doing. She said: “If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t. It’s just been too hard!”
I stood there listening to her and the thought went through my mind: “Nah, not us. We know what we’re doing. We got this thang!!”

People, do you have any idea how many times God has rubbed my face in that thought?


When I saw their parking lot filled with tour buses, I remember thinking, “All we have to do is get those buses here and our bills are paid! We got this thang!!”
I wasn’t considering how much money they had spent and how blasted long and hard they had had to work to get those buses!

We know now!!!

The more we researched, the harder it looked. The harder it looked, the scared-er we got.

In late July we made a trip to the Olympics with Rebecca’s parents! For the first time ever it was close to home – Atlanta, Georgia! We had no idea that massive Olympic sound was coming through the very speakers that would soon hang in the amphitheater!

What do you think they would have said if we had pointed to those huge EAW 850 speakers and subs and said, “Those belong to us!”

But they did belong to us. God was putting the puzzle together, but he never let us see the picture on the box.

atlanta olympics
atlanta olympics

We lived within walking distance of the church. We started getting up before daybreak and going into the sanctuary of our church to pray. In the darkness, as we knelt at the altar, the sun would break through the stained glass windows.

“GOD!" Listen. Listen. Listen. "We are thrilled, but more so afraid! If you are calling us to do this, you must call a people with us, to help us. We cannot do this alone!”

Don’t ever doubt it. If God is speaking to you, and it takes more than you, then he is talking to others, too. But he doesn’t tell you their names.

And he won’t tell you where to find them. You just be faithful to Him. And hope they are faithful too.

We didn’t really make a decision to accept the calling. We didn’t think we had a choice.

Sort of like when your mom says, “Come here!” You don’t ponder and wonder, “Do I do it? Or do I don’t?” Naaah, you don’t have to think about it. You’ve been TOLD, not ASKED.

August came and we took our annual trip to the beach with parents and some of our very best friends.

When we left the beach we went home by way of Charlotte and said: “We want to show you something.” We took them to see the dream, our future, a promise-coming-true.

That’s when we told them we were leaving.

We looked all around the amphitheater and made a video.

When we were preparing to go, Rebecca’s daddy – who was as dear as a daddy could be to me – put his strong arm around me and, with a twinkle in his eye, said: “Wouldn’t you like to take a shot at it.”
“Yes sir, I would.”
“I’d love for you to.”

I don’t remember the exact date we submitted our resignation. I think it was the end of August or early September.

We told them what God had called us to do.

The church was without a pastor. We were all the staff they had. So they asked if we would consider staying on through Christmas.
We agreed to work at the amphitheater Monday – Friday and have all meetings and rehearsals at the church on Saturday – Sunday. It was a twelve-hour round-trip drive. But we did it!

That year we blew it out of the water with combined choirs for a grand finale’ show called: "One Amazing Night."

one amazing night cast

Then we said good-bye.

hugging friends
kids write notes
parting gifts
crying at party

Many of those wonderful church members traveled all the way to Charlotte with us. They toted our furniture, and clothes, our stuffed rabbits and our basset hound from a three-story house to a two-bedroom tri-plex.
Then they prayed with us in the amphitheater.
And they worked.
Then they went home ... without us.

fbc crew at amphitheatre
people walking in arenaThe sun rays captured in this photo bring to mind a verse from Hebrews: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us...."

And for those of you who think we accidentally left out the part about securing a lease and signing a contract on the amphitheater ... We didn’t.
We left everything with nothing.
No contract. No guarantees - just the faith to believe that God had said, “Go!”

On the day before my birthday, September 17, 1996, the State of South Carolina incorporated a new company.

And we called it: NarroWay Productions.

letter of incorporation
fbc worship at arena
birdie opening card
bassett hound
opening giftsAfter 10 years in Pikeville, the church sent us off with a wonderful going away party.
poster from youthA poster from the youth, using titles from every original show they performed.
news clipping

More photos from "One Amazing Night"

kids on stage
four ladies
two men
kids performing
lighting tech
teen girls
two ladies
directors on set
teen girls
three guys
two boys

The year before our final Christmas in Pikeville, we built a huge living Christmas tree in the city park. Below are some photos from that!

pikeville city park
frames for trees
tree framework
people working
stacking frames
decorating tree
covering frame
frame for living tree
ladies working
hanging lights
man with saw
ladies working on tree
star on tree
outdoor carpet
tree frame back
working on gazebo
top of tree
living tree in snow
tree frame
teen guys
banners on tree
snow on gazebo
living Christmas tree

Comments 1

Guest - Amy on Thursday, 15 September 2016 13:57


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Chapter 24: Edge of the Cliff
Chapter 22: That Day

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