Faith at Work
It is no secret that theater invites a vast range of ideologies and opinions. People of opposite worldviews may have to act as love interests on stage, or fake a parent-child relationship. For this reason, some Christians would shy away from an environment like theater. However, one Birmingham local stumbled upon it and encountered a world of opportunities. Mike Stephens did not intend to enter the mission field, but after he joined local theater to pursue a talent and experience he loved, he found himself in his own niche of mission work. He has one universal motto to anyone, anywhere, any time: love.
Directors choose actors based on talent, not worldview. Stephens has encountered a broad range of people who are both inquisitive and hostile to his faith. Yet he meets every person with the same message of unfailing, unconditional love. Stephens admits that some conversations have been difficult and challenging; still, each is an opportunity to allow his unchanging, mantra to shine through.
One of Stephens favorite roles has been Mr. Banks in Red Mountain Theatre Company’s (RMTC) production of Mary Poppins. He will also perform as Joseph Pulitzer in RMTC’s production of Disney’s Newsies July 7-30 at the Dorothy Jemison Day Theater.
When he’s not rehearsing or performing, Stephens provides business and leadership advice to corporations. He and his wife have two children, Mia and Ryan. Mike, his wife, and his daughter have all participated in local theater. They eagerly anticipate Ryan’s talents to come out as he grows older.
Most actors debut on stage as adolescents but Stephens’ start came late at age 29. He says this delayed entrance allowed him to stumble upon his unique perspective of the field. He views his roles, rehearsals, and performances as opportunities to expand his circle of influence. When Stephens entered local theater, he knew he had a talent. By his first debut on stage, his talent became a gift. This accidental ministry, this evangelical niche, this small world of opportunities has made him a light. Before he judges or questions those around him, he pursues the greatest commandment to love. To purchase tickets to Newsies, visit www.redmoutaintheatre.org or call 205-324-2424.
- Abby Holcombe