The verse that stuck out to me this week was Isaiah 54:2-5:
Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; Lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband – The Lord Almighty is his name – The holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.
“Enlarge the place of your tent”
It’s amazing and exciting what God is doing around the country and in Canada. CYT is now in 24 Cities, and 53 Areas.
“Stretch your tent curtains wide”
Let’s all be willing to open our doors to every kid, every family, every opportunity that the Lord brings our way. Opportunities include: CYT@school, Alumni Summer Shows, CYT@Church, drama competitions (Atlanta at Disney World) year around Improv programs, Senior Follies, intern programs, HYPE, Tour groups, and Actor’s Unlimited.
“Do not hold back; lengthen your cords”
Let’s go out with boldness and with confidence. The world wants what we have to offer. We are giving children and families a product that is not being taught in many schools or churches. We can meet that void. But remember that we are tethered together with a cord. It’s our mission statement, it’s our purpose, it’s what CYT is all about. We are ALL about building character in kids – the production is always secondary.
“Strengthen your stakes”
That’s what we do here at CYT Affiliate Services. We want to give you the resources that will help you fulfill our mission. We want you to be with the kids and the families and not be bogged down in paper work. Affiliate Services wants to provide training videos, curriculum, demonstrations and a place for sharing of ideas and resources. We want you to know that that your CYT stakes are deep with history. Deep with a love for children. Deep with a love for the performing arts and deep with a love for our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what makes CYT different.
The other way that we will strengthen out stakes is by helping each other. By sharing resources. Writing new shows, sharing new class ideas and curriculum, sharing contacts and vendors, fundraising ideas and meeting together like this at least once a year to reaffirm our mission. This will help us drive our stakes deep and weather the storms.
“For you will spread out to the right and to the left”
Our newest affiliates include CYT San Antonio, Texas and CYT West Palm Beach, Florida. We get 3 new requests to start a CYT on a weekly basis.
“Your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities”
We are now international – with our first program in Canada. God is moving in the hearts of people around the world. There is interest in Japan, South Korea, South Africa, United Kingdom and Australia. Desolate cities include Los Angeles and New York City.
“Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated”
Children’s theater is sometimes looked down upon from the general public. Sometimes we camouflaged our name by using the acronym, CYT instead of Christian Youth Theater. You can read the CYT Blog to see some of the recognition that CYT has had this year from around the country.
“You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood”
There have been many times that I’ve wanted to crawl out of a showcase or a show and not be seen by anyone because I was so embarrassed by the production. The acting and singing was so bad and the dancing was lame and the sets and costumes were so church basement. Hopefully those memories will be forgotten. I’m sure many of us have asked ourselves what am I doing? This youth theater thing is too hard, too tiring, too much drama with the parents and teachers and kids.
“For your Maker is your husband – The Lord Almighty is his name – The Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth”
Let’s all remember who our mate is during this adventure. It’s the Lord God Almighty. The Holy One of Israel. He is my salvation. He is the God of the Universe. He is certainly bigger than any of my problems or needs.
Contributed by Paul Russell
Originally shared at the 2011 CYT EXPO Opening Night