Several years ago, I met fellow writer Dena Dyer (www.denadyer.com) at a speakers’ conference and liked her immediately. In addition to being a speaker, author, wife, and mom, Dena also performs several shows a week with a professional music theater company in Texas. These shows have been wildly successful, even thought they include a hymn and message of faith. I wanted to know more...
LeAnne: Tell me about these shows.
Dena: We are employed by a 375-seat professional music theater company named Rockbox in beautiful Fredericksburg, Texas. We do a 2 hour, family-friendly music variety show 4 times every weekend for locals, groups, and tourists. (Fredericksburg has about 1.2 million tourists a year.) The music changes week to week but we perform oldies, country, rock n' roll from the "golden age" of that genre, comedy, and gospel/patriotic numbers. It's a great mix...and it's always G-rated!
We do "Amazing Grace" at every performance, along with an original song that thanks our country's veterans and servicemen. The Rockbox staff-- from the administration down to the concession stand workers--are all committed Christians and see the theater as a marketplace ministry opportunity.
LM: How does the audience react when you perform “Amazing Grace”?
DD: At times, we've had people who were offended by our rendition of it and our confession from the stage (during the song) that our faith in Jesus gives us eternal life. But more often, we've had people thank us because we take a stand and confess Him before men.
LM: Have other Christians criticized you for performing what could be called secular music?
DD: Yes, at times (though rarely, thankfully!) we've had Christians who don't "get" what we do. And we just thank them for their opinion and move on--because it's God who has called us, and we have to answer to Him. We try not to take it personally, though it's hard. Not everyone is going to understand our calling, and that's okay. But you know, if we did a two-hour gospel show, it wouldn't be a marketplace ministry. We are able to speak the name of Jesus to so many people who might never, ever step inside a church. It's amazing!
LM: In addition to your singing and acting abilities, you're also a writer. Tell me about your books.
DD: I was inspired to write Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms after searching for a devotional for young moms and not finding what I was looking for: one that was funny, inspirational and didn't talk down to me. The forty-five meditations in Grace offer true-life situations, humor and a practical life principle, and they each close with "Notes from the Coach"--scripture that ties it all together.
The Groovy Chicks' Road Trip to Peace and The Groovy Chicks' Road Trip to Love are both compilation books I put together with a friend. We like to compare them to "Chicken Soup meets Laugh-In"--but with a Christian twist. Some of the pieces are hilarious and some are moving, but all point to the true path to peace and love--Jesus Christ.
LM: Is there anything you'd like to add?
DD: God is so good to call me into something I enjoy so much. It's a privilege and joy to share His grace and peace with others through writing, singing, speaking and teaching. Thanks for letting me share a little bit of my story with your readers. I hope it encourages them.
Coming soon: a sculptor, a photographer, a composer, an arts enthusiast, and more.