Church Musicals Inc., in a movement towards improved Christian entertainment released its new project, The Gift, this June.
“It seems like the secular world often one-ups the Christian world in quality,” said the creator of Church Musicals Inc. Ed Kee.
"Obviously there's a lot of garbage out there, but when [those in the secular world] really do so something of substance they do it in such a significant way that even Christians sit up and take notice. It really should be the other way around. Christians should be leading the pack."
Kee, along with a loose conglomerate of artists, began Church Musicals Inc in May 2001 with the hope of raising the bar for musical productions in the Christian music and publishing industry. Their main vision – story driven musicals with Broadway level songs written for the church.
"My whole thrust was to complete a work that was highly entertaining but non-threatening to the non-believer, one that would convey a biblical truth that plants a seed and allows the church then to develop a relationship for the purpose of sharing the Gospel," Kee said.
According to Kee, churches often perceive music as the way to get people saved when in actuality, it should be used to draw people to a place to trust the church and receive the gospel.
"I think the music is more a means to the end," Kee said. "It's like a large funnel, and the music programs are the outer rim of the funnel to attract people. As we bring them down into the center, we get into one-on-one evangelism."
Christian Musicals’ first musical, "The Gift -- A Christmas Love Story," is based on O. Henry's short-story classic "The Gift of the Magi." The musical, set in the early 1900s, it's a story of sacrificial love at Christmastime, which can be used as a springboard to relate God's sacrificial love in sending His Son, Jesus.
"The story itself doesn't make that connection," Kee said. "The connection is made in one of two ways. I've provided a written parallel (or parable) between the story and the Gospel that they can print in the program ... or in about 90 seconds the pastor can wrap it up at the end of the production."
"We want people to try this," Kee said.
Along with Kee, Church Musicals employs Martha Bolton, John Cosper and Janet Preus. Bolton is an Emmy-nominated and Dove-nominated lyricist who has written comedy for Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Mark Lowry and others, and she currently writes The Cafeteria Lady column for Focus on the Family's Brio magazine for young girls.