By Carl Stagner
His home church is Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, but he’s not on staff. He loves to creatively share the gospel with others, but he’s not a pastor. Larry Holycross is just one man, doing the work God has called him to do. Using his spiritual gift of creative communication and the arts, as well as his gift of teaching, Larry reminds every person-in-the-pew that God’s kingdom advances through the whole body of Christ, not just the pastor.
In 1997, God first revealed his plan for Larry to master the art of biblical storytelling. The product of God’s handiwork ultimately became Disciple Drama, a one-man traveling ministry that presents biblical stories from the perspective of a Bible character. “Growing up I had no interest in theater,” Larry explains. “My [technical] knowledge is still very skimpy. But, I knew when God called me to present the character of the Apostle Peter. For quite a while, my only presentation was this great complex man of Scripture. Then, as opportunities became available, requests came to present other characters. With that challenge, came growth.”
When Larry takes on the character of Peter—or another biblical character—the gospel message takes on new life and meaning beyond the pages of text. Traditionally communicated by reading from the Bible and expounding on it via preaching, Larry’s biblical storytelling helps reach those who learn better by nontraditional methods. “People have told me they better understand the story this way,” Larry explains. “They see it come alive before their eyes. I am not sure what people expect, but once they begin to hear and see the story from another perspective, new thoughts open to them. This spiritual growth helps them be more effective in their daily walk with Christ. I’m sure that telling it in first-person has a lot to do with the new ways in looking at Scripture and what it may teach.”
Larry credits his Sunday school class at Church at the Crossing for continuing to refine his understanding of his calling and the Christian walk. While Larry’s journey with the Lord began well before he became a part of the influential Church of God congregation, he’s thankful for the depth of truth offered by his Sunday school teacher, John Zerkle. In fact, such truth has been directly helpful in the development of his recent drama presentations. “With my spiritual growth comes new perspectives, new ways to describe a thought, and different ways of approaching God’s Word to get the point across. Continuous growth is key in the Christian walk. Though I may be a layman, I still have a great responsibility to keep the Word fresh, up-to-date, and relevant, without changing the meaning.”
Spiritual gifts, described especially prominently in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4, are given to each Christian by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the body of Christ. Many a pastor prays diligently for more of his or her flock to start using those gifts. Larry Holycross has fully embraced his. “I am not a deep theological guy, but I do know God has put a seed in each of us for a specific ministry. We must be fertile ground to grow that seed. I fought, or maybe intensely questioned, God about his call on my life. I thought he had confused me with someone else. I certainly was not the one he wanted for this kind of ministry! But, once I surrendered to what he wanted for me, I am humbled to be a part of kingdom-building in this manner. Examine your spiritual gifts, pray about his plan for your life, and go in faith knowing that he will keep you.”
Learn more about Disciple Drama at https://www.facebook.com/DiscipleDramaMinistry/ or e-mail Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch at a sample video of his ministry at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYRYjfcRbe8.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org. Were you blessed by reading this story? Support the ongoing work of Church of God Ministries with your gift to the World Ministry Fund at www.jesusisthesubject.org/world-ministry-fund/.