Puppet praise: FBC shares Christ with puppets
Published 4:00 am Friday, August 21, 2015
The First Baptist Puppets Praising Jesus Ministry has been more than successful in its efforts to spread the word of God and the love of Jesus.
The ministry mainly performs at community events, highlighting TroyFest, Christmas Programs and Children’s Church. The organization will also perform at Relay For Life and other community outreach programs.
Mike O’Hara, Troy Police Officer and puppet master, said he has spent 25 years with the puppet ministry as director and has seen everything short of a miracle when ministering to audiences on mission trips.
“The target audience is usually the younger aged children, but we have noticed that we are even able to reach adults also through the puppet skits and songs that we do just because of the way it’s presented,” O’Hara said. “You take a simple parody of a song and you might hear the tune of ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ but it’s really saying ‘sweet home up in heaven.’ … It’s not just a children’s ministry even thought that is our target audience. Adults also get the same amount of attention with the messages.”
O’Hara said the members of the ministry seek to spread the word of God through their talents. Participating, he said, is really about the joy each member receives when he or she sees someone receive the Holy Spirit.
“We do this ministry because it’s a talent given to us by God, and we enjoy doing this and sharing about God’s love this way,” O’Hara said. “When we are allowed to see the fruits of our labors come to fruition like that, that just makes it that much more heartwarming, fulfilling … People are hearing the word of God. That is what we are supposed to do.”
Volunteers with the ministry try to make the general public understand that you don’t have to travel to a foreign country to share the word of God with someone who has never heard it before.
“There are some kids that have never heard the name of Jesus,” O’Hara said. “Believe it or not. I’m not talking about going to another to another country. We went to Helena, Ga., for our mission trip this year. We put on a kids’ vacation Bible school type camp for three days. We had a total of eight or nine children there over the three days that third day that night we had a family night that culminated all the events.
“A grandfather came up to me and said they really enjoyed it. He just came up to me and was saying job well done that he had really enjoyed the presentation of the gospel, and then he stopped. For about a minute he had to regain composure. He told me his granddaughter had never been exposed to the gospel of Christ. That was the first time she had heard about Jesus and what it is like to accept him in your heart and live with him in his life.”
O’Hara said nine times out of 10 when the ministry goes on a mission trip, members experience the same sort of scenarios after a performance.
“We always seem to have some type of humbling experience,” O’Hara said. “Two years ago we went to Helena, Ga., and we performed at a little church called the Foothills Church. It was in a small mobile home park and the church was a small building probably about the size of the squad room here at the police department. We got there late because we had gotten lost, they had started their church service and we performed for them. There were maybe 15 to 20 people at the most. They took up their offering that day, and the pastor was a recovering cocaine addict. They gave us their offering to use for our ministry. It was $55. That was all that they had. When he gave me the money out of the little wicker basket they used, he said ‘No, wait, wait here’s some more,’ because $5 had fallen back into the basket. We’re coming from a church with a strong budget, and $55 was all they had come in that service. That was humbling.”
O’Hara said that while the ministry is full of members, volunteers are always welcome.
“This ministry is open to kids of all age,” O’Hara said. “You have to be in sixth grade at least because your arm muscles have to be developed, but it goes all the way up to adults. We encourage everyone to come in and participate. You can be 80 if you want to be involved. We have a place for you. There is always something to do in there … If some wants to participate, you don’t have to be member of our church to be a member of the ministry team.”
O’Hara said the group meets every Sunday afternoon for about an hour and a half starting at 3 p.m. in the Family Life Center at First Baptist Church on College Street.
Those interested in joining the puppet ministry or learning more about the ministry are encouraged to contact O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Anybody that is interested in serving the Lord, there is a place for you,” O’Hara said. “If you come out and you don’t like it, that’s fine. Just come out and see. Besides puppetry we do mimes, interpretive dances to song and we also do skits. You actually come out on stage and act out the skits. If you have any of those talents, please come out and see us. You can put them to use at the ministry.”