(Nashville, TN) – According to the book The Unchurched Next Door, over 82% of non-church goers would attend if asked by a friend yet only 2% of church attendees actually invite friends to church. After learning of this dichotomy, professional dramatist Chuck Neighbors decided to tackle the subject head-on through the medium he knows best – drama. But rather than his usual one-man shows, Neighbors wrote a script with video in mind and produced the new “There Goes Bob” video series. The response has been immediate.
“We have had churches tell us they use the video beyond even their services,” says Neighbors. “One church emailed the video to their entire congregation to encourage them to ask friends and neighbors to Sunday services. We’ve been really astonished at the incredible response.”
“Chuck captured our imagination with his true-to-life vignettes about ‘Bob’ and his neighbor,” says Pastor Jon Karn, Light on the Corner church in Montrose, California. “I pastor a congregation of ‘Bobs.’ I can’t help but think that the on-going saga of ‘Bob’ and his neighbor just may help liberate our congregation from the notion that church is for us, not them. I am praying that the evolving story of ‘There Goes Bob’ will help our flock to see their neighbors as people who are eager to come to church, if only someone would ask them.”
Though Neighbors still prefers the live drama setting, he also recognizes the immediacy and convenience that a video series can bring. “The language of our culture is entertainment and the combination of drama and media is an excellent way to speak that language,” he says.
Master’s Image Productions, under the direction of Neighbors, has grown from its first one-man drama, an adaptation of the best-selling book In His Steps, to national prominence as a leader in church drama ministry over the past 25 years. Master’s Image has performed and taught at conferences, conventions, retreats, colleges, churches, and organizations including the U.S. Military, Focus on the Family, Moody Radio, National Creative Arts Festival, among many others. The company’s productions are designed for worship services, dinner theaters and special events. In addition to touring productions, the ministry offers training and consulting for church drama ministries, published scripts, and guest services such as directing and play writing.
Though Master’s Image operates as a non-profit themselves, Neighbors has partnered with World Vision for nearly a decade, sponsoring over 4,000 children and becoming the relief organization’s number one producing drama artist. Neighbors is set to travel to Uganda in January with World Vision, marking his third trip to Africa and fifth trip overseas with World Vision.
Neighbors is currently touring in a new one-man show based on the parables entitled “Not the Way I Heard It.” The 50-minute presentation is a modern-day retelling of five biblical parables. “Jesus was the master storyteller,” says Neighbors. “I wanted to keep the integrity of the original parable intact, yet bring new insights and perspectives for today’s audiences. It has been exciting to see people rediscovering these stories through this drama.”
For the holiday season, Neighbors will again be performing one of Master’s Image’s most popular shows, “Merry Christmas Mr. Jones.” All of Neighbors’ dramas are original works, and have spawned several books over the years including his “how-to guide” for drama ministry, Drama Now. Neighbors recently contributed to the Lillenas Publishing project, Real Time, a collection of original short scripts on topics such as hope, adoption, freedom from abuse, God’s answers, abandonment, divorce, and depression.
2009 marks the 25th anniversary of Master’s Image Productions, and to celebrate the occasion, Neighbors is offering a free performance of his newest production, “Not The Way I Heard It.” Churches can simply log into the company’s website at MastersImage.com to vie for the free offer. On January 4th, 2010 one church will be chosen at random to receive the special performance.
To view the “There Goes Bob” videos, visit www.MastersImage.com