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The NarroWay Blog

Chapter 24: Edge of the Cliff


 edge cliff

It is a strange occurrence during the momentous occasions of life when crowds of people surround you, cheer you, love you. The noise diverts the fears. The gathering distracts from the repercussions of what just happened.

It was one thing to stand looking at this grand idea called the amphitheater, with everyone’s glorious anticipation of what it would be.
It was another when reality kicked in and we realized we were the ones who had to make it happen.

In the three months during which we were transitioning between our church positions and full-time NarroWay, we continued the necessary business processes needed to get NarroWay on her feet, as well as some of the clean up work.

Chapter Thirteen tells how devastated we were when Joe and Tessie were called to leave the church where we served together to come to Charlotte. Though God did a mighty work independently with them, their presence, success and reputation in the Charlotte area was a strategic factor in NarroWay’s successful start-up.

Tessie announced a meeting at Hickory Grove Baptist Church, where Dr. Joe Brown was pastor. She asked for anyone interested in helping with this new ministry to show up. The room was packed with potential cast members and helpers.

Tessie also purchased a $50 ad in the Charlotte Observer announcing auditions. Callers may have imagined a nice office with a hired receptionist. But calls went straight to Tessie’s kitchen phone and were recorded on her notepad.

We drove bent nails out of used lumber and hauled it from Kentucky. It seemed like a lot of lumber when we were pulling nails but it was only a drop in the bucket considering how much lumber we would need.

rb amphitheatre renThe lumber you see on stage in the lumber we hauled from Kentucky.

We had no office, just an over-crowded living room with unpacked boxes, a small home copier that my brother gave us, a pencil sharpener and a phone we purchased which had two lines.

I don’t know why we thought it important to have two lines! We only had one hand-set to answer it! We took turns, when it rang – which was seldom – or rare.

One day I answered a call asking about our rain policy. I pushed the hold button! “Birdie, what is our rain policy!!?”

How would I know?!!!

So, I say to the caller, “May I have your number and I’ll call you right back?”

Then I called another outdoor theater and asked: “What is your rain policy? ...And please speak slowly!”

And we had us a rain policy!!

All the while Tessie, Rebecca and I met with the property owners to share our vision and negotiate the terms of a lease. We held tight to Dr. Joe Brown’s coat-tail. They knew him!

tesse speaking
rebecca speaking
birdie speaking

You calculate risks, count costs, make plans; but there are some things you don’t know to anticipate.

Like, when I went to church and, for the first time in 16 years, I wasn’t leading the music and no one knew my name. What I did had become who I was. For months I felt like the bottom fell out from under me.

rebecca on cliffREBECCA –
Me ...I didn’t anticipate how the insecurity would affect me. I had taught many lessons on FAITH. Birdie and I had even done things that might have been considered genuine acts of faith. But, compared to this situation, I had never experienced “stepping out in faith.”

Previous challenges were like a gentle beach shower when compared to this cataclysmic flood in which we found ourselves.

It was like someone had set me atop a steep rocky cliff, tied my hands behind my back, blindfolded me and told me to find my way home.

If I were teaching a lesson on faith today, that’s what I would say real faith is. Those who have done it can testify, the edge of the cliff is no place for sissies.

We knew we had to successfully discern the voice of God and rightly follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. And we had to trust that others would hear and follow Him, too.

This may not sound very spiritual, but – IT WAS TERRIFYING!

Funny thing is, we were more afraid of FAILURE than we were of the work that was before us.

empty amphitheater

Fear of failure cripples most people.
We kept telling ourselves, “If God said it, then surely we can do it.” And the one thing we felt certain about was that God had said it.

Sometimes people tell us they would like to “do what we do” and they ask for advice. I just say, “Make CERTAIN you are ‘called’ to do it!”

When we were in an emotional, mental or physical free-fall, ...that calling is the net that always caught us.

Strange thing about being blind-folded, hands tied on the edge of the cliff – you are forced to be still and know He is God.


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Chapter 25: King's Arena
Chapter 23: And We Called It NarroWay Productions

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