Whether Brock Gill is escaping from a water coffin, doing a blind motorcycle ride or simply using his quick-wit and improvisational skills, the message remains the same.
“I use illusions, escapes and stunts to draw large crowds,” he explained. “When we get people’s attention, we spread the gospel. Primarily, I’m using creative ways to get the message out. I’m a creative evangelist.”
Gill grew up in Texas and graduated from East Texas Baptist University in 1999 with a religion degree. His desire to pursue a vocational career was based on a calling from God.
“I started doing illusions when I was 22 years old, just fiddling around with it, and I felt God calling me to do it,” he said. “I quit my job and started doing the show.”
Despite successfully navigating stunts, he is no stranger to tough times.
In the summer of 1999, he and his wife, Andrea, hit rock-bottom when their trailer containing $20,000 worth of sound, lighting and illusion equipment was stolen. The only thing they had left was to rely on was their faith.
“I had been married for about three months and graduated college only three months earlier, when I came home to find that my trailer had been stolen,” he explained. “That was everything that we had — brand-new career, brand-new life, brand-new everything. I lost all the equipment to do this ministry. It took me by surprise and was devastating.”
At the time, the hardships seemed like they never would end.
“We had a lot of things go wrong,” he continued. “A week after our trailer was stolen, our house was broken into. A week later, I was pick-pocketed. A couple of weeks later, our new house was flooded. Several other things happened, and something major was going on just week after week.”
Then, just when things were starting to roll again, a new truck he was traveling in caught fire in the middle of the night. “This time, we didn’t lose everything again. We still had some stuff, but it was still devastating. It was a slap in the face again.”
A month later, his rental truck was vandalized, and he lost another $4,000 worth of equipment.
Looking back, he believes God was faithful by providing and answering each prayer — despite the trials.
“I just had to pray that God would get us through those hard times,” he said. “We had no other choice. My wife and I just started praying specifically for God to meet each specific need. I wanted to keep the ministry going, and we felt that’s what God wanted us to do. We had a difficult time there for about 18 months. Lots of stuff going on, but God met every bit of our needs. When we lost something, He built it back up, even better than it was before.”
About the same time, word of Gill’s illusions and crusades was beginning to spread and he began receiving invitations to perform across the country.
“I didn’t have a business card or anythingï¿½ people just heard about my show and wanted me to perform in their area,” he said.
Years later, this ministry has reached across the United States and into Mexico and Australia. With a passion to creatively communicate the gospel, Gill keeps a busy schedule — booking more than 200 events each year, including city-wide outreaches and crusades.
Gill presents several illusion shows, depending on the size of the event. For city-wide outreaches, he performs large-scale illusions at a neutral location. “I do things like making a girl disappear, making it snow and stuff like you’ve probably seen on television but geared to us a little more with our personality,” he said.
Another large-scale event is called The Freedom Experience. It’s a two- or three-night crusade, involving Gill’s illusions, stunts on BMX bikes and skateboards, and Christian rock bands. For smaller audiences, he performs the Lost Luggage Show, where he gathers items from the audience to create a show.
In 2005, Gill took a short break from performing and filmed a documentary project called “The Miracles of Jesus,” produced by British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and Discovery Channel.
As the lead investigator for this assignment, Gill traveled to Israel and Malta and was given the opportunity to objectively investigate the miracles from the New Testament. The three-hour documentary used interviews with scholars and dramatizations of Bible stories to investigate seven miracles, including the multiplication of bread and fish, the conversion of water into wine, the raising of the dead and walking on water.
With this unique ministry, Gill has seen thousands of lives changed for Christ. His shows not only draw crowds; sometimes they draw unusual crowds. At one of his shows, a group of witches attended — and three got saved!
When Gill isn’t on the road, he and his wife attend The People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee.
On August 21, Gill released a new DVD, “Standing Room Only: A Behind the Scenes Documentary.” This documentary follows the daily struggles it takes to put on a three day long live show of death-defying escapes, illusions, BMX stunt teams, pro-skaters, freestyle motocross, live concerts and the presentation of the gospel.
From set up, to the stage, to behind the scenes, “Standing Room Only” contains the rare fusion of illusions and action sports with appearances by some of the world’s best athletes. Appearing are the BMX stunt team, Chaos on Wheels, and one of the nation’s top freestyle skateboarders, Tim Byrne, as well as motocross stunt experts, Team Faith, which features one of the nation’s top riders, Kevin Johnson. The DVD also boasts the music of pop/hip hop Group 1 Crew (Fervent Records) and pop/punk/rock group Eleventyseven (Flicker/Song BMG).
“The impact of Freedom Experience far surpasses what I ever imagined,” Gill said. “It’s amazing to see what started as a crazy idea, come to fruition and succeed at this level. Lives are being changed by the thousands every year, and that just fuels my motivation and passion to keep growing as an illusionist and to keep building this outreach event.”
For more information about Brock Gill, please visit www.brockgill.com.
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