Last week I sent this note to several of my friends asking for help, especially members of our fellowship, the International churches of Christ. In the note I explain in detail what we’re hoping to accomplish with the “Upside Down 2016” musical.
Now, I’m sharing that same letter with you and asking for your help. Next month we are going to attempt to turn the world upside down; with an event that is unlike anything we’ve ever done in our fellowship.
Here’s the note that I first sent out last week:
Greetings dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
My partner Sherwin Mackintosh, and I, want to share a few things about the “Upside Down” production and ask for your help. I’ve written in more detail below, but if you’d like to just read the bullet point highlights:
1). LIVE STREAM viewing of the Friday night, July 8th show is now available! https://www.upsidedowntheatre.com/live We’re now asking for help to make this a global event for the Lord’s cause and have made it possible for anyone with internet access to join us for a live broadcast from St. Louis!
2). All of our cast and crew, including Sherwin and I, are doing the St. Louis shows of “Upside Down 2016” on a volunteer basis.
3). No conference money is being given to the production of our show. Three generous donors and ticket sales are making it possible to stage “Upside Down 2016”.
4). We really need your help telling friends and family around the world that they can watch “Upside Down 2016” via LIVE STREAM. We believe this is an incredible opportunity to inspire people around the world with the story of how the church spread the gospel 2000 years ago. We’re asking you to please announce this event around the world.
All the money that we’ve been able to raise, in its entirety, is going to stage the show in St. Louis. Cast, crew, and producers, including Sherwin and me, are all volunteering our own time and effort to make “Upside Down 2016” something that will benefit churches and inspire men and women around the world to remember the Lord.
Any money raised via tickets or via donations is being used to cover expenses to make that possible.
Most of the money we’ve received comes from 3 generous donors along with ticket sales for the shows in St. Louis, and merchandise offered on our website. No REACH conference money has been given or promised to us at all. With all of the ticket sales and the three major donors, we are just able to produce the show in St. Louis.
The Portland church has been generous in their support by allowing me the time to create this show; as has been the North River church with Sherwin’s time. The North River church also made a monetary donation to help get us started. At this moment it is still not clear if we have quite enough money to break even, but we are trying to split the difference between being financially responsible and walking by faith.
We created a 501c3 so that our donor’s, who also serve as the board of directors for the Upside Down Ministry, were able to contribute tax deductible money. From the outset this has been produced by cast, crew and producers as a labor of love.
Jeff Mannel, director of the REACH conference in St. Louis, has been very supportive from the start. He invited us to bring our show to St. Louis. The fact that REACH is renting the entire conference center that also houses the theatre made it possible to run the show there. We quickly sold out all five shows. We have now opened our Wednesday night final rehearsal, which is a full blown show, as a preview to a lucky few who will be in St. Louis early. Even that show is nearly half way sold out already. Remaining tickets available at upsidedowntheatre.com
Given the high demand… and less show seats than half the expected REACH attendance… we wanted to come up with a way that all of the attendees at REACH could share the “Upside Down” experience at the same time, next July.
But then we thought, why not make it possible for anyone in the world to see the bible come to life?
So now you can get a LIVE STREAM BROADCAST of our Friday night, July 8th, live show! https://www.upsidedowntheatre.com/live
The LIVE STREAM BROADCAST will be available to groups at the same price as individuals and can be watched on any medium that has internet access; from hand held mobile devices to large theater screens. Our hope is that individuals, families and groups around the world can feel a part of our event and share it with family, friends and neighbors. Even those attending the REACH conference, who miss the chance to buy tickets for the Ferrara Theatre, will be able to gather in groups and view the LIVE STREAM during the conference.
Here’s where we ask for your help:
With the LIVE STREAM comes an opportunity to share our show virtually anywhere in the world. Please support us with announcements to your churches; ask your leaders to promote the show, share it on Facebook and other social media outlets that you use; invite people into your home to watch the show and use it to talk about the bible and the Lord and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Again, the same charge of $19.95 will apply whether there are 5, 50, or 500 gathered to watch. All that’s necessary is an internet connection.
This version of the show is fresh and new. While it bears resemblance to the earlier shows we’ve done, this version of “Upside Down” is different. Please don’t think that you’ve already seen it. Those who were moved by the 1987 version, or our 1994 remake, are going to be pleased and blown away with this show.
And viewers who are introduced for the first time to our “Upside Down” view of the book of Acts are going to be impressed and inspired. A preview recording of songs from the new show will soon be available. Rest assured you’ll hear many of your old favorites, but new songs and new variations of the old ones are going to inspire you.
We are going to stagger the available viewing times around the world as do other live broadcasts on TV and the internet; but I’m hoping people everywhere will take advantage of the chance to share with each other, at the same time, from country to country and from neighbor to neighbor this unique experience of reliving the lives of the men and women who turned the world upside down because they remembered the Lord.
Let’s share this with as many as possible, as something that will help people everywhere to visually experience a taste of how God through Jesus Christ offers the world peace, salvation, faith, hope and love.
Thanks for your years of love and support. Remember the Lord. Turn the world upside down, and as Jude said, keep yourselves in the love of God as we wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ who leads us to eternal life.
Steve Johnson, Portland, Oregon, June 1, 2016
So that was sent out to leaders of our fellowship last week, and now I wanted to share it with anyone and everyone that I can.
When have we ever had the technology, or … used the available technology… to provide all of our members of our fellowship around the world the opportunity to share an experience like this? To be able at the same moment all around the globe take part in an event that you will be happy and proud to use as a way to introduce your friends and neighbors to what you believe and why you believe it?
Please don’t miss this opportunity to ‘make a big deal’ out of this; to hosts parties and be a part of a one time, one of a kind, total world wide group effort to turn the world upside down.
Here is a sample of the kind of invitation that I’m hoping will be shared in every nation where internet access is available: invites for show
You are invited:
To share in an event that might possibly change your life. Please join me for a viewing of “Upside Down”, the musical seen all over the world, broadcast LIVE from it’s off off Broadway run at the Ferrara Theatre in St. Louis.
Time: July 8th, 2016 at 8pm central time, USA (staggered for other time zones around the world.)
Alternate: If you can’t join me, but would like to have the chance to view the show, you can see it on any of your personal devices as long as you have internet access. To get your virtual ticket go to: https://www.upsidedowntheatre.com/live
Please don’t miss this opportunity to do something that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. And quite possibly you’ll share this with someone, who because of your faith, will be able to join in the campaign to turn the world upside down for Christ. Because of you, they will be able forever to remember the Lord.