Millionaire And Former Rockette Join To Talk About Success
One hundred people from New York's corporate and creative sectors piled into the New York Film Academy and sat in directors' chairs. They weren't there to direct a film or produce a movie, but to find out about the story of their lives.
New York City is a mecca for the arts, boasting Broadway and more than 600 art galleries. Priority Associates, Campus Crusade for Christ's ministry to young business professionals, wants to pull in those people.
Dawn Hynes, a volunteer with Priority Associates, developed 3-D Tuesdays to attract and engage non-Christian seekers. Each month they concentrate on 3 (hence 3-D) aspects of an issue: the personal, professional and spiritual. They look at the issue, such as success, through 3 lenses: the media, a musical illustration, and a testimony from a notable speaker.
In January 2003, they brought in a millionaire who had reached the peak of "success" at the Pierre Cardin clothing company when he was 32.
"If I could give all of you one thing instantly," Nick DeMarco said at the first 3-D Tuesday, "I'd make you all millionaires so you could see how empty it is."
He talked about how, in the prime of his "success," his marriage failed. Later, he met Jesus.
Prior to his talk, leaders in Priority Associates showed a collage of clips from 5 movies, including Dead Man Walking and Wall Street.
"This illustrates the felt need we're trying to get the audience to relate to," says Dawn. "This prepares their hearts."
Renee Perry, a former Rockette at Radio City Music Hall, has closed each meeting by singing a song she wrote for each one. She has moved away from New York, but flies back for the event.
"We only want high-level speakers and entertainers," says Dawn, "because they have such a credible platform."
Barbara Augustin, a 24-year-old account executive for the Bear Stearns financial company, had visited a meeting of Priority Associates before and participated in a Bible study.
After the first event, Barbara went up to Renee to tell her what a good job she did.
"Barbara," Renee asked, "are you a Christian?"
Though Barbara attended a Bible study every Wednesday and church on Sundays, nobody had ever asked her that.
"I love Priority Associates," she answered, "but I'm just not a Christian."
"Honey, what are you waiting for?" Renee pulled her aside and explained what Barbara had just heard at the end of the night -- that by accepting Christ, we receive eternal life.
"But you won't be entitled to that unless you ask Jesus to be your Savior," Renee said. Barbara sat down and prayed.
"Right then and there I was saved," she says.
"Her whole outlook on life has changed," explains Dawn. "Barbara's been following Jesus for 8 months now. She has joy that can't be contained. She bubbles over with it. Every time I see her, she's talking about the Lord."
"The approach of Priority Associates showing Christ to others is remarkable," says Barbara, "in that they're not pushy or showy."
Perhaps that's why Brendan, a non-Christian student at the film academy who was assigned to run the audio and visuals for a 3-D Tuesday evening, returned to the next event, inviting 3 nonbelieving friends along.
3-D Tuesdays taps into people's creative sides, moving them to another dimension -- an eternal one.
"There's a fraction we hear back from instantly," explains Dawn. "The others? Who knows what process God is working in their lives -- we just know that He is."