Garth Peterson was one of my students in Bible School. Now he has launched a multimedia live stage production that combines acting, video, and stage effects to communicate the Gospel. His goal is to reach a sight and sound generation in a relevant way with an unchanging message.
Questions for Garth Peterson:
Tell us about your theater production based on the “Parable of the Sower” told by Jesus in three of the four Gospels.
What does it mean to reach a changing world with an unchanging message?
About Four the Production:
Four is a multimedia live stage performance that combines acting, video, and stage effects to produce a sight and sound experience like no other. Four is more than a performance, it is an experience that leads to an encounter!
Four communicates through drama performance the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a relevant, unique, and engaging way. Being relevant in our methods but unchanging in the message of the Bible.
Book: The War Within
Listen to The Evangelism Podcast with Evangelism Coach Daniel King.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Garth Peterson was one of my students in Bible school. Now he’s launched a multimedia live stage production that combines acting video and stage effects to communicate the gospel. His goal is to reach a sight and sound generation in a relevant way with an on changing message.
Evangelism Podcast Host (00:21):
Jesus said, go into all the world and preach the gospel. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. Welcome to the evangelism podcast with Dr. Daniel King, where Daniel interviews, full-time evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and normal everyday Christians to discover how they share their faith, their powerful testimonies and amazing stories that will inspire you to reach people with the good news. And now here’s your host, missionary and evangelist Daniel King. Welcome to the evangelism podcast.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:59):
I’m Daniel King and I am excited about telling people about Jesus today. I have a special guest with me, Garth Peterson. He’s been a friend for a long time. I think we originally met in the evangelism class. I was teaching at victory college and you were one of the students and you have a great heart for evangelism, Garth. Thank you for being with me today. Absolutely.
Garth Peterson (01:24):
Thank you for inviting me. It’s a privilege.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:26):
So what are some of the things that you have done in the area of evangelism? You were agnostic and then you came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. How did that happen in your life?
Garth Peterson (01:42):
I grew up in California and my parents were divorced when we were, when I was five. And so my mom, she kind of has a Buddhist philosophy, religion type thing going on, but we really didn’t have anything. We didn’t believe in anything. You know, Christmas was about Santa’s Easter was about Easter bunny. I didn’t even know till way later in life that that had anything to do with Jesus. And so I just grew up really believing in nothing. You know, I had friends that were Catholic because I hung around with highly Hispanic group of people in California. And but I didn’t really believe. I mean, I knew there was something else, but I had no idea. And when I was 22 years old, my dad had remarried and his wife came and visited us and she shared the gospel with me for the first time in my life and told me about Jesus dying on the cross and being raised from the dead.
Garth Peterson (02:25):
And it, if I would say this prayer, I wouldn’t go to hell, I’d go to heaven. And I remember thinking, what if she’s right? What if that’s real? You know, I had seen little glimpses of things on TV and you know, I’d had a police officer witness to me once. And so I said, what am I got to lose? And I must we’ll cover that base. And I prayed with her and she gave me my first Bible. And I’m so thankful for her doing that. She planted a seed in me, but, and I believe the information in my head somewhat, you know, but it didn’t bring any change to my life. And so life went back to his usual and I was into a lot of bad stuff, dealing drugs and doing drugs. And, and after a few years of my wife and I split and then having some terrible times we got back together, decided to get out of California.
Garth Peterson (03:10):
So we moved here and my dad and the lady that witnessed to me lived here in Oklahoma. And so for we moved here and tried to start a new life and I tried to clean up and be free from drugs and all those things and be a good dad and my kids, which I hadn’t been in the past. And we started going to church and three years we went to church and I bought another Bible and started reading it and got baptized. All those things. You know, it was a country church in a little town. And in 2001, my wife’s friend invited her to an event and it was a heaven’s gate and hell’s flames. And what I didn’t know is that she went to that event and that night she gave her life to Jesus. Well, she had been going to church too, but she’d just been going because I was basically making her go, you know, she was cause I was her husband.
Garth Peterson (03:55):
She was just doing what I did, but that changed her life. And she brought me the next night and the next night I was there I gave my life to Jesus and it radically transformed me. You know, there’s a scripture that got inside of me in Matthew seven, where Jesus said, all these people will come to me and say, Lord Lord. And he’ll say, I never knew you. And that night I had this revelation that I knew about Jesus in my head, but I had never surrendered to him in my heart. And the man that spoke that night at the end of the performance, you know, said, you know, you’ve got to give everything to God. He gave every Jesus, gave everything for you at the cross. And when you come to the cross, you’ve got to give everything to him. You can’t just know about him, you’ve got to know him.
Garth Peterson (04:37):
And in that moment I realized, I just didn’t really know God. I just knew about him. And that night changed my life forever. When that happened, everything in my life changed. I went back to church the next week and I thought, what in the world are we doing here? We come here two times a week and sit in this room and sing songs and listen to preaching. But we’re not doing anything to affect all the people out there. And they’re heading towards hell, just like I was. And they have no desire to come in here. Just like I didn’t. So how do we reach them? And that’s how it began. And which I was considered radical. I mean, I felt so out of place, Daniel, it was like I just couldn’t understand people if we really loved people, like we said, we did, and we really love Jesus.
Garth Peterson (05:24):
Why wouldn’t we do what he said? I mean, we can’t save people. We can at least tell them. And that’s when my journey began. And it was like almost immediate. I mean, after that day, w when, when my heart changed, my life completely changed as high notes, real cause nothing in this world can do that to somebody. And I just began to see the value of people and that were eternal and that we have in eternity that will spend forever. And and, and it’s grown from that time on, you know, I know some people received Jesus and get real excited and run for him. And, and I, I, I did, but I was, it just kinda grew. It never stopped, you know, and I’m thankful for that. And so through that, God has led us from step to step, to step in different areas, you know, and just trying to do what we knew to do to reach people. Yeah. Wow.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (06:13):
That’s tremendous. I think it’s really interesting that, that you got saved at a production of hell’s gate or heaven’s gates, hell’s flames, a live production that graphically presents the choice between heaven and hell, what will happen in eternity. And it’s interesting that you, you got saved that because then I think people often, they want to do ministry in the same type of arena that they got saved. And like people who got saved at a crusade, they often like to go do and preach crusades. Cause that’s how they got saved. Or if someone got saved, because someone knocked on their door and talked to them, then, then that’s what they do. And, and so you took that experience in, and you put together a live theatrical stage production called for, can you tell me what the name for means and what that production was all about? Sure.
Garth Peterson (07:09):
Before I do that though, I’ll just let you know, I had no intention of starting any productions doing any multimedia stuff that is, I’ve never been a movie production stage, any of those things. I mean, I’ve done music in the past, but that was so foreign to me. And I had just because I got saved through a production, I never had the vision to use a production to save others. I just had the, the, the vision to reach people with the gospel. However, that was, and actually the, the vision of that came is a, you know, a few years after I had given my life to Jesus and opportunity came for a youth pastor position. And I, I took it and this little Methodist church, and when I was writing messages or trying to write messages this download, I had, it was originally called the last day or a last day.
Garth Peterson (07:56):
It was just like, I was trying to write messages. And all of a sudden I just wrote this thing that was like seven, eight pages long. And I thought this isn’t a message. You know, what the heck do I do with this thing? And so I tried to turn it into a message and I think I’d probably attempted that a few times with the youth, but it just sat and it didn’t really go anywhere. And then in 2008, I was going to one day a week on Mondays or two days a week, Mondays and Tuesdays to victory Bible college. And this man named Tom Newman came in and spoke at our chapel and he spoke about his salvation, how he came to Christ and about how God had put this thing in his heart from this book, he had read gates of splendor and how he had had that in his heart for years, and then shared it one day at a meeting and a guy named Mr.
Garth Peterson (08:46):
Green heard the vision. And they came together and it produced a movie called the end of the spear. And then he said, these words, he said you can’t trick your heart. You must be a determiner of your heart. He said for you know, problems for 23, you know, for whatever has your heart basically has your life from, you know, guard your heart above all else for out of it comes to issues of life. And then he said this, he said, if God puts something in your heart, it won’t leave you, it will remain. And that means you’re supposed to do something with it in a moment. He said that it was like, boom. And I thought, man, that thing I wrote all that time back because that’s supposed to be a movie or what’s that supposed to be. And that’s how it came. And after I went to that chapel, I went back home and I went looking for it. Cause I had no idea what I had done with it. And I found it and I pick it back up and I started writing it and that turned into four. So the basis of four is four is the parable of the sower brought into modern day times. The story is about five teenagers. Four of whom are the foregrounds, you know, the, the hard ground.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (09:50):
Yeah. It’s the, the parable that Jesus told the parable of the sower about the four different grounds. Correct.
Garth Peterson (09:56):
And so each of these four young people are those four grounds and the fifth one is a witness. And so and her name’s Casey. And so she witnesses she knows they all go to school together. They all live in the same town and sheet note. They all know each other. And so you should get to see their lives in the earth, but then once they step into eternity through an accident, they all die. At the same time they stand before God, she witnesses them standing before God. And what each one of those hearts or grounds looks like as they stand before God. And, and one of them is a, is kind of like I was done, believe anything, thinks God’s, whatever. It’s just a bunch of, you know, nothing. The second one goes to church, but gets persecuted and falls away, you know?
Garth Peterson (10:39):
And the third one is the pastor’s daughter. Who’s the thorny ground who, who acts like she loves Jesus in front of everybody, but really loves the world. And the fifth one is the good ground. And so you get to see what that looks like eternally. And the, the production is a big production. It’s about an hour, hour, 15 minutes long. And it made a great impact everywhere we went, you know, not only for those to coming to Christ, but but for believers because it gave them that view of man one day, I’m going to stand before God, you know,
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (11:08):
You took this production to different churches here in rural Oklahoma, just going anywhere that would have you on it’s a lot of work putting on a production. What are some of the testimonies that came out of that? Did some people get saved? Yeah. Well,
Garth Peterson (11:24):
The thing of it was we didn’t, you know, everything was a learning experience. So the first ones I did or the first ones we did we gave an invitation, but we didn’t like call people forward and we didn’t count numbers or any of that. So I had no idea on the first three performances, how many people gave their lives to Jesus. But we did 11 performances, 12 performances, total 11 plus the first one we did was like our icebreaker just to be able to do it. And there were 120 that we had actually confirmed people that were salvations. Now, there were more than that, but we don’t, you know, I can’t say that because of the only ones I know about, but the thing that, what it was is it, four is a really, you know, everything we do with the gospel is a seed.
Garth Peterson (12:06):
And we really believe in the power of that seed, just like the power of the, you know, the, the parable of the message of the soul or the parable of the sower. You know, Jesus says that’s basically the most powerful parable he tells. He says, if you don’t understand this parable, how will you understand any of the parables? So the gospel is that seed that we plant. And so we don’t get to choose how that produces, you know, that’s, that’s due to the that’s because of the soil of the person’s heart and also the power of God in that message. But we would hear testimonies afterwards, you know, people that went to, came to church and said, you know, I went to that performance and is that real? Are we really going to stand before God like that? And I would hear about other people leading them to Jesus and about how their life changed.
Garth Peterson (12:48):
The last performance we did, there was a girl there and she didn’t come forward, but she was in the youth group. And I guess later on, she came and talked to the pastor and the pastor said that thing radically changed her life. She’s not even the same person anymore. So, you know, we have those confirmed numbers, which is kind of strange that it’s 120, you know, when he, when he kind of mirrored that to acts, you know, there’s 120 in that upper room, but that was the, that was the end result of actual numbers that we, that we recorded. Yeah. You
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (13:17):
Mentioned Tom Newman many years ago, he had toymakers dream, which was a theatrical production that he took all over the United States and around the world. That was a, a great depiction of the gospel in a visual form. And Tom Newman. He always talks about the importance of reaching a sight and sound generation. This generation spends so much time on their phone. So much time watching television. So much communication comes through the videos that they watch on Netflix and on Disney plus, and the church. Sometimes it’s still stuck with just someone standing in a pulpit in preaching. And in order to reach a sight and sound generation, we need more than just words that worked great back in the 18 hundreds. But I think we need to tell stories, communicate stories through film and your theatrical production did such a good job of that, of communicating the gospel in a visual way. And so I think it’s just tremendous. I think more people need to think about doing this kind of thing of, of reaching people through arts, through theater, through telling stories, stories are such an important way of communicating the gospel. Jesus was always telling stories. I think we should tell more stories. I agree.
Garth Peterson (14:49):
And you know, I didn’t know Tom Newman did that toymakers dream or any of that stuff. When I heard him speak, I mean, he may have mentioned it that day when we heard him in chapel, but I didn’t know that till after the fact. And then I went back and looked at that, you know, after we started everything and how he used like music that was culturally relevant. Cause see, that’s the thing about the church. We’re not always culturally irrelevant and you know, we need to change our methods without changing the method. And it’s funny, you should say that about seeing and hearing and believing because that’s the name of our production. Our ministry is see, hear and believe productions. And we got that from Jesus when he said, you know what, their eyes that they would see, what areas that they would hear and what their hearts said would turn and be healed.
Garth Peterson (15:26):
Well, they would believe, and he’s quoting from Isaiah. Right. And that’s actually tied to the parable of the sower. So yeah, Tom’s he was he was innovator in all of that. You know, when I heard that he was using like, when they first started toy makers dream, which was just a little street play and they used pink Floyd and they used all these rock music that the church was probably gasping at, you know, but that was reaching the people that it that the church wasn’t reaching, you know, and it’s like the church that we go to to reach people that no one’s reaching, you got to do things that no one’s doing. And so, yeah, Daniel you’re right on with that. I totally 100% agree with that, that we live in a sight and sound generation more than now, than any day in the history of our world. And we need to use what we have to be a bridge to bring the gospel to people because the gospel is the power of God into salvation. So, you know, the boring thing though about that is not changing the message as we do it, you know, being truthful and be doing it with the right with the right motive, with the right why behind our, what it should be love and everything that we do. Yeah.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (16:30):
I want to congratulate you because you have a brand new book that is hot off the press. And I remember about a year ago, you and I were talking, you shared that you wanted to write a book and you’re asking me some questions about how to do it and how to do the cover and stuff. And, and so I was able to coach you a little bit through that process, but the, the book is just beautiful. You’ve got a beautiful cover. It’s called the war within. Tell me a little bit about this book and, and what people can learn from it.
Garth Peterson (17:01):
Yeah. The book is actually the greatest where we face is not one without, from the outside of us as a believer. It’s the one from the inside of us. We have outside influence, but it’s our inside response and choice to the things that take place that determine the course of our life. And it goes back to what what Mr. Newman said in, in that, that meeting, which is a core scripture for me, Proverbs 4 23, you know, out of, out of your heart, comes your life, you know, guard your heart above all else for your, it determines the course of your life as a new living translation of that verse. And that’s really what the book is about. Whatever has your heart has your life. You know, our war that we go through as a believer is in our mind, but what affects our heart is determines how we live.
Garth Peterson (17:41):
You know, it’s not just what we think, which are what we think is important, because what we think does determine what we do, but it’s really what has our heart has our life. And a lot of this book came out from the production, you know I had I started to ride in inner gain. It started as a message and for preaching somewhere and it just kind of blew up. And I immediately knew that I was supposed to write this book and I thought, God, I’m, I’m not an author. I was terrible. I flunked English in school. I mean, we we’d write a book. I don’t know what, you know, how am I supposed to do this? I have no
Garth Peterson (18:10):
Clue, but I had no clue how to do that, the production or the filming or the stage stuff. And so you know, God gives you a grace to do what he’s called you to do because there’s people on the other side of that. And so the premise is really that, and it really says it here in a subtitle, you know, the battle is fought in the mine, but the war is won or lost in the heart. So that’s the premise of the book. And it’s just to help people help believers, you know, gain victory in our lives as are walking through things. You know, when we went through the production of four, I mean, it was it was a battle. It was it was very difficult and it was, but it was a very good growing time for, for me and for the people that were in it.
Garth Peterson (18:51):
I mean, the kids, we had all teenage staff actors, you know, so you can imagine a group of teenagers trying to keep them together, trying to keep a schedule and train them how to act. And, and they were, they were so anointed. I’m so grateful for God sending those them into our lives, you know, and the people that worked with us at the time who helped train them, it was just the whole thing was a God thing. But it was, it was it was a battle, you know, and anytime you’re going into that place where the enemy has a has a hold in people’s lives and you’re bringing them out of the kingdom of darkness and helping them to come into the kingdom of light, you know, you’re facing opposition. So, but the, but the battle we’re facing is really not against Satan himself.
Garth Peterson (19:37):
You know, people are always saying, oh, the devils done got me. The devil did this to me, you know, and I would hear that all the time. And I think, well, for one, the devil’s just one dude. He’s not like, God, he’s not [inaudible]. He can only be in one place at one time, he has no power or authority over any believer because he’s already been defeated through what Jesus did through his death and resurrection. So we’re living in victory and we’re actually coming from a place of victory. We’re not trying to gain it. We already have it. And so that’s the other premise of the book that we’re coming from victory. And so we need to, we need to know that as we’re walking into those situations, you know, against the forces of darkness, that, you know, our authority, who we are, identity is a core part of the book too, and what we have and what we can do to accomplish the goal and mission that God has for our lives.
Garth Peterson (20:23):
The one that Jesus died for us to, to accomplish here in this world. And it’s I hope it inspires people and I hope it, it also leads people to salvation, you know, like Daniel, anything we do, if just one person, you know, if this book took a year and a half to write, and it was just a big growing experience as well. And I’m so thankful for your help, you’re such a help to me and a inspiration to me, you know, I’ve read several your books probably eight of them. And every one of them has inspired me, you know, and also use those as a blueprint. When I was writing my books, I’ve seen how, how it was laid out or how I could do this or that, you know, so I’m very grateful. But if this book, if it, you know, a year and a half, but if, if one person, I mean, one soul comes into the kingdom as a result of that too. It’s, it’s, it’s worth it, make it, how can you put a value on, on a soul you can, and I’m like, you don’t want to see millions. And I want to see all 8 billion souls in the world come to Jesus and God does too that’s as well. But, you know, we get to do our part, you know, we, we do what we can and he does what we can’t. And so so that hopefully that’s descriptive enough on the premise of the book and that it, it touches
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (21:33):
Well, I love your passion for souls. You have a true evangelistic heart. Even now your, your eyes are tearing up a little bit, just thinking about all the lost souls. Let’s finish with a word of prayer for people in our city and our state or country to be saved. Would you lead us in prayer? Absolutely.
Garth Peterson (21:54):
Father. We just come in the power of agreement in the name of Jesus. And we release faith today, father, for the people in this world, every person that you place such incredible value upon that you came to earth. And did you gave your life on a cross and was raised from the dead father. We pray right now that people would hear that message. We pray for opportunity to be bridges to people in this world, the people around us, not only in this city, but in our country and in the nations of the world. We thank you that there’s nothing impossible with you that is according to our faith. And so Daniel and I, and those that are listening today, we released faith today for the salvation of every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of this earth, that they would come to know you, to know your love and to know your life living on the inside of them. We pray against those strongholds and principalities and that, that deadly religion that would try to hold people in captivity. And we release faith today for the power of Jesus and the lives of those people, especially those right now that are listening to this podcast. We thank you for what you have done and for what you will do and what you’re going to do. And Jesus, we know you’re coming back soon. And so we’re grateful and we pray this in your name. Jesus. Amen.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (22:59):
Amen. Well, thank you Garth, for being on the evangelism podcast. It’s great to have you here. Absolutely. Thank you, Daniel. I appreciate it. Thanks for listening to the evangelism podcast today. I want to ask you to partner with me to help lead people to Jesus. For as little as a dollar a month, you can be responsible for helping us lead at least one person to Jesus every single month. Over our 20 years of ministry, we’ve found that it costs an average of about $1 for every person that we’re able to reach. And so if you could just go to king ministries.com and partner with us for at least $1, just $1 partner with us to help us lead to Jesus. Imagine for a dollar you can be responsible for starting a party in heaven every single month. And would you do me a favor go to apple iTunes and leave this podcast a review. Your positive review will help other people who are excited about evangelism to find this show. Thanks so much. And God bless you
Evangelism Podcast Host (24:11):
For more information about how to share your faith or to financially support our worldwide evangelistic outreaches. Visit king ministries.com. Again, that’s king ministries.com.