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Roanoke youth group sees lives changed after taking ‘Stephen’ drama on the roadcomment (0)

March 8, 2007

By Jeremy Dale Henderson

Brad Treadwell first met "Stephen" nearly 10 years ago.

On a trip to Birmingham, Treadwell and his youth group at Trinity Baptist Church, Roanoke, saw a performance of "Stephen," a play produced by All Things to All People, the drama team of the Christian camp ministry Student Life.

It made an impact.

"I thought it was one of the most incredible things I’d ever seen," Treadwell said.

So incredible that four years ago when the Randolph Baptist Association church’s youth group was looking for a production to jump-start its own drama team, there was for Treadwell — then out of high school but still active in the youth group — only one obvious choice: his old friend "Stephen."

Just as incredible, however, was the likelihood that the group could pull it off.

Though granted license to perform "Stephen" free of charge, Treadwell, who spearheaded the effort, said that the odds were stacked against the group. The drama required16 players at minimum, and Trinity Baptist’s drama team had 13 on a good day.

After working on "Stephen" for four months, the play was, for a variety of reasons, shelved for a year and half. But in 2005, it was taken down and dusted off, and July 16, 2006, "Stephen" debuted to rave reviews at Trinity.

For Treadwell, the process has been a labor of love.

"I’ll be honest with you, it was very trying on my spirit," he said of the obstacles and delays in production. "But God can do absolutely incredible things with a willing spirit."

"They did an awesome job," said Pastor Richard Richie. "We packed the house a couple of nights, and word started getting around the community about how powerful it was."

Though only two performances were scheduled there, "Stephen" was making a difference for those lucky enough to see it, he said. There was a decision time at the end of each performance, and several people either accepted the Lord or rededicated their lives.

After the "fantastic response," Treadwell said the team was left wondering if after all its hard work it should continue performing the drama.

After praying for guidance, the answer was yes and "Stephen" hit the road.

There was another local performance Oct. 22, 2006, at Big Springs Baptist Church, Roanoke, in Randolph Association, and a cancelled performance in Ohatchee was made up for by a Feb. 17 presentation at First Church of the Nazarene in Brewton.

"To me, what makes [‘Stephen’] such a powerful presentation is not necessarily the message, though it is a powerful message, but the willingness of everyone who has stuck with it," said Blake Treadwell, Brad’s younger brother. Brad, Blake and their younger brother Ben all attend Auburn University; all three star in "Stephen."

"So many times, we’ve had someone ready to just give up because of one reason or another yet they come back," Blake Treadwell said.

"Stephen" is a futuristic parable loosely based on the martyrdom of the disciple of the same name.

"One person who takes a stand in faith can change the course of history," Brad Treadwell said. "What [‘Stephen’] left me with was the realization that there have been people in history that are willing to give their life in support of the faith — what am I willing to give up?"

The performance in Brewton was scheduled to be the drama’s last. Trinity’s drama team is prayerfully considering whether to continue the production.

"We’re waiting on God for conviction on what to do," Brad Treadwell said.

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