NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–It’s not every day that a teenager dresses up in tights and a cape — but when it comes to sharing the salvation message with boys and girls, Tim Harms and Cory Gearrin said they will do just about anything.
Harms and Gearrin will star together as the junior high and senior high versions of Super Dude, a teenage superhero who promotes Cooperative Program missions. “Super Dude and the CP Squad” will be taped before a live studio audience on Aug. 20 in Nashville, Tenn.
The film will be distributed through Southern Baptist churches and individuals who are using the Super Dude missions training materials.
The show features Harms as the junior high Super Dude, while Gearrin portrays Super Dude as a senior high student.
For Harms, 13, the opportunity to play Super Dude is more than just wearing a cape.
“I am doing Super Dude because I want to use my talents and abilities to glorify God,” he said. “It’s been difficult at times because I’ve never done a children’s play before. It’s been fun, but it’s also been hard.”
One thing that Harms has been keeping in check is his ego.
“You don’t want something like this to go to your head,” Harms said. “Sometimes that can be hard. Being the lead character means having the responsibility to stay focused. I’ve got to be willing to step up to the plate and be a leader.”
Harms, a member of The People’s Church, also known as First Baptist Church, Franklin, Tenn., is a member of the Nashville Boys Choir and is president of his school’s Beta Club. He is also helping to start a First Priority campus Christian group at his school.
Harms is no stranger to the impact of CP Missions. His oldest sister, Melissa, a student at Mississippi College, just returned from a summer mission trip with the International Mission Board to Italy. Another sister, Erica, served on an Acteens mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
Harms said he looks forward to the evangelistic opportunities he believes will come through the Super Dude video.
“I would really be excited to actually be able to lead a little kid to Christ,” he said. “That would be awesome.”
Gearrin, who has played the part of Super Dude for the past two years, agreed.
“We’ve all made some sacrifices to be a part of this project,” Gearrin said. “And I think the sacrifices are worth it if just one kid comes to know Christ.”
The 15-year-old high school baseball player and golfer said he has loved playing the part of Super Dude.
“This has been incredible,” he said. “It’s amazing to see how many people have been touched or encouraged by this play. And it’s fun, too. You get to travel and meet all these big-time preachers you see on television, like Dr. [Richard] Land.”
Gearrin made his first official appearance as Super Dude at the 2000 Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Fla. During this year’s SBC annual meeting in New Orleans, he met boys and girls and handed out Frisbees at the Cooperative Program booth inside the Louisiana Superdome.
“I thought that was pretty cool, being in the Superdome,” Gearrin said. “I like acting and I like kids, so this has just been fun, especially seeing the smiles on their faces when I go up and talk to them.”
For Gearrin, playing the part of Super Dude has been a spiritual help. “The point of the play is that we can do all things through Christ,” he said. “I feel like my relationship with Christ has improved over the past few years. My spiritual walk is definitely stronger.”
“It has to be if you wear that costume in front of thousands of people you don’t even know,” he added with a smile.
Aaron Shepherd portrays the evil Doctor Dudley, Super Dude’s arch nemesis. For Shepherd, the Super Dude project introduced him to the world of CP Missions.
“To be honest, I had never heard of CP Missions until I started working on the Super Dude project,” the 15-year-old said. “And it’s so amazing to know that we’re supporting so many different missionaries. This play is a chance to tell everybody what CP Missions is all about.”
In spite of the spiritual missions theme, Shepherd said he loves his role as the evil Doctor Dudley.
“My character is awesome,” Shepherd said. “He’s this guy who is basically on the verge of insanity. It’s pretty cool.”
Shepherd has spent hours working on developing an accent and facial features for the evil villain. “We really are putting some time into preparing for the video shoot,” he said.
Ultimately, Shepherd said he believes that the comedy of Super Dude will make a difference.
“Kids are going to see this and they are going to learn about missions,” he said. “That’s what makes this worth all the work.”
Also starring in the video are Richard Sparkman as Andy the Faithful Sidekick; Josh Tinius as Fred the Angel; Ashley Mason as Katie; Alex Parman as Tater; Caley Cheney as Lola Lulu; Chris Rosenhauer as the mayor; Jenna Wetherholt as Senator Beauvoir; Ryan McGary as the announcer; Bryan Robison as the little boy; and Hannah Roberts as the little girl.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: DEFENDER OF THE FAITH and THE CP SQUAD.