MAHOMET — Stephen Clarkson had no idea what his wife, Kathy, got him into when she agreed he would play a lead role in Mahomet Christian Church's first-ever dinner theater performance earlier this month.
"I said, 'OK, but I'm going to tell you something. I've never done anything like this before in my life, so you've got a lot of work on your hands."
Pastor David Johnson got the idea to make a fun Valentine's weekend for his congregation with the comedic play "God's Favorite."
"It's a comedy, but it's based on the story of Job," said Dave Sproul, who played Morris the butler. "Job went through a lot of trials and tribulations, and in the end, he stays true to God. I think that's probably the important message that God's always faithful even through trials and tribulations."
Sproul joked that he and the majority of the cast were "roped into it," having never done anything like this before.
For Kathryn Barnhill, who played Sarah Benjamin, the gig was something to cross off her bucket list.
"I made a list of a bunch of things I want to do based off a book that's called '101 Things to do Before You're Old and Boring,'" she said. "I didn't like their list so I made my own and being in a play is one of those."
Stepping out of her comfort zone hasn't been the easiest to do, but Barnhill hopes the experience will allow her to be "brave enough to try something again," she said, laughing.
Joyce Roberts, who played Rose Benjamin, is no stranger to the spotlight as she's on the church's worship team, but as for her first full-blown play?
"This is my first," she said.
Her favorite part all comes down to the camaraderie of the eight-member cast.
"Peripherally, we know each other, but it's a whole lot different when you have to work as a team and that's been a lot of fun," she said.
Mike Cox, who played Joseph Benjamin, previously acted in high school, but was timid to commit to a lead role, telling co-directors Sandy Beherns and Dixie Schoonover, "I can't remember my kids' names. How am I going to remember lines?"
But he wouldn't trade the opportunity for the world."Bringing that message ... just being a part of it ..." Cox said. "We're just a blend of a wonderful group of characters and then there's the play — it just carries over."For Wilma Dyson, who played Mady the maid, the message was her biggest takeaway.
"(It) makes us remember that God's in control and takes care of everything," she said. "This is just a good way of putting it across; it's funny, it's fun, it's relatable because everybody has tragedy in their life."
Two hundred audience members couldn't agree more with their roars of laughter.
"That just ignites the cast when everybody's laughing," co-director Sandy Beherns said. "It gets them fired up."
It's too early to tell if a play is in the works for next year, but Beherns is beyond grateful to have the opportunity to provide ministry to the audience.
"When you can bring everyone together, you are the hands and feet of Jesus," Beherns said, "and that's what we're called to do."