The Church Basement Roadshow

The Church Basement Roadshow

What in the World Are We Doing?

(See right sidebar for info and tour dates)Three forty-year-old guys in an RV all summer, pretending to be revival preachers from a century ago. Sounds unlikely? Well, it is. And just about every night, sometime during the show, I have an out-of-body experience in which I float above my body, look back at myself, and think, “What in the world are we doing?!?”


About ten years ago, when the group of us who would become known as Emergent Village originally got together, we made some commitments to each other. One of those commitments was that we’d do as much together as we could. In the intervening years, we’ve written books together, planned conferences together, and vacationed together.So it was no mere coincidence when Mark Scandrette, Doug Pagitt, and I wrote books for the same publisher — Jossey-Bass — within a year of one another. Then we (plus our wives, our editor, our agent, and the marketing people from J-B) ended up in San Francisco to talk about the marketing plans for our books last June and, as you might guess, began thinking about how we might join forces. Over 300,000 books are published in English every year, so, needless to say, it’s no mean feat to get one’s book to rise above the crowd. However, we had a friend with an RV he was willing to loan us, so we proposed that the three of us might barnstorm the country with our message and our books.Some Christian celebrities pack arenas and auditoriums, but we’re more like the two-bit revivalists of yore, thus the “Church Basement Roadshow” was born, and from there it grew. Another friend of ours designed a logo that made looked pretty old-timey, and we were off and running. Each of us is a former youth pastor, so we’re well-versed in goofiness. We started with an idea, we developed alteregos, then we had a script, and we even wrote a song.But, honestly, the point is deadly serious. We think that the church — even Christianity — needs an overhaul. Although we begin and end the show as 1908 revivalists, the bulk of the 90 minute show is our three monologues in which we each deliver a message about which we are passionate. In a nutshell, Doug says that each of us is just as responsible for the faith we proclaim as any theologian or saint who has gone before us, I confess to be enamored of the idea of Christianity at the expense of Jesus, and Mark calls us to love others regardless of the pay-off.And so we’ve begun. We’ve visited 6 of the 32 churches we’re playing, and logged 1,500 of the 10,000+ miles of our journey. We’ve run out of fuel, broken guitar strings, argued with and forgiven one another, and generally had a great time.So far the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. We hope that you’ll check back here often as we report from the road and write about the changing face of Christianity across America.Cuz we’re in this together.Keep Rollin!

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posted June 20, 2008 at 8:54 am

So…where are the women in your traveling show?

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posted June 21, 2008 at 12:41 am

I’m excited to see you guys Sunday night.

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Leslie Kimble

posted June 22, 2008 at 12:30 pm

I just finished reading “The New Christians” and my husband is wanting to start “A Christianity Worth Believing.” I don’t even know how many times I thought as I read your book, Tony, “How did this guy get in my head and write what I’ve been thinking!!??” But I can only say, I am so excited to join the Roadshow as you pass through Indy. You have given me a glimmer of hope in this bleak tunnel of “the way we’ve always done church”…the conversation continues…

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