Last night, I saw somebody reacting in our practices that convicted me. Today, I want to take a step back from the cast and focus on this individual. This person is not a cast or crew member, but he is the primary reason we are able to perform this production. With his passion for souls and outreach, he has led POA for nearly 40 years. It is that passion that urged our church back into Easter performances and the birth of Above All. Our subject today is Pastor Anthony Mangun.
The Passion of a Pastor
As mentioned already, Pastor's passion for souls and outreach helped birth Above All out of the ashes of Messiah. He and the Above All team of Johnathan Dean, Pam Nolde, Sister Mickey Mangun and Keith Skluzacek wanted something that would grip the hearts of attendees and lead them to the altar rather than the exits at the end. Pastor urged the Above All team to do everything in their power and then seek God for how to accomplish this goal. If you've ever been to a performance of Above All, you've seen that the results meet Pastor's passion.
Each service (as he likes to call our performances), the altar fills up with people in need of healing, deliverance, salvation and more. The cast, crew and prayer teams linger in those altars even after 2+ hours of performing and more than an hour of preparation before hand. We do this because we love God and reaching for people. We also do it because that is the heartbeat of our Pastor, and his heartbeat has become our heartbeat.
Another reason I wanted to mention Pastor is because he has been faithful to come and visit us during practices. Every chance he gets he has stopped by in individual scene run practices. However, where his commitment to this production really shines through is during FDR week. Every FDR, Pastor has been there. We can hear him cheering us on from the audience, telling us how good we are doing and how much he feels our passion and sacrifice for God. He brings an encouragement that is unmatched.
This past Wednesday, Pastor preached in the GA Mangun Center while we practiced. As soon as the service in the GA was over, Pastor came right to us in the Main Sanctuary. He wants to be there right with us. To support us as much as possible. When he isn't able to be there, he is praying for us. It's a beautiful strange turnabout from the norm. Often times, it is the church that holds a pastor up in encouragement and prayer. During this season, though, Pastor is holding us up in encouragement and prayer.
Prayerful and Faithful
You can sometimes catch a glimpse of him from the stage, overcome with emotion and an uplifted hand. When we pass by during the Triumphal Entry, Pastor is reaching out to grab our hands. This is not just because he gets into the scenes (he does), but his hand is one of encouragement. I saw him reach out to bless as many of us as possible as we ran through the sanctuary in the Garden Scene. He isn't just trying to pat us on the back or give us a high five. He is blessing us with the laying on of hands as much as he can.
He will be there at all of the performances, giving the altar call when the production wraps up. This is an important moment because it is when God changes lives for eternity. However, to me at least, having him there in our practices is just as important if not more so. It shows his level of commitment to those God has charged him with leading. Moreover, it shows his commitment to this production that he would be at every major practice to encourage and observe. He wants us to succeed and he isn't going to leave us on our own to flounder and flail. He is a faithful, devoted and caring Pastor. So much more could be said. I leave it up to any of the cast who read this to comment their own thoughts in the comments below. Beyond that, I want to say thank you to Pastor for believing in us all and for allowing us to put on this production . Thank you for letting us portray Christ's last days. Thank you for teaching us to love God and to love souls.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.