In a crowded dressing room during a 2009 dance competition in Lakeland, Florida, dance moms Dixie Fechtel and Annemarie McLean discussed why they poured so much of themselves – not to mention, their time, energy and money – into developing their daughters’ talents. Both moms quickly came to the same conclusion: it had to mean more than first-place trophies, dance titles and platinum ribbons which were soon to be lost, replaced or thrown.
Reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19-20 to “not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” the women agreed to plan a performing arts mission trip to help instill in their girls a vision to use their talents for eternal purposes and develop a heart for outreach.
Within a year of that conversation, a small pioneer team of eight, including Dixie, Annemarie and their daughters, took a performing arts mission trip to Honduras where they performed original dances and dramas to spread a message of God’s love and hope in grade schools, churches, local malls, and open air squares.
That first summer mission trip launched a small but mighty ministry, which would later be formed into 3D Missions. Since 2009, 3D Missions has taken well over 100 youth skilled in dance, drama and worship to four different nations, seen thousands of people impacted by live performances of Gospel-centered dance and drama, with hundreds making decisions for Christ including several on the various mission teams.
In the summer of 2015, a 30-person team, almost four times bigger than the pioneer team, traversed the island nation of the Dominican Republic with live performances in churches, orphanages, city squares and even a resort. The team’s performances reached thousands across the nation within the week, with one performance live-streamed internationally on television.
Looking ahead, 3D will continue to partner with international ministries and churches to envision youth and communicate the Gospel. Besides ties to the Dominican Republic, 3D is now developing relationships in Kenya and Cuba to pave the way for future teams.
“We encourage today’s youth to grow in excellence and pursue their God-given talents and callings,” says Annemarie McLean, founder and director of 3D Missions. “In the Age of the Selfie Generation, it’s actually a radical thought to believe Jesus when He said, ‘Whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it.’ We challenge our team members with this: for one week, live like it’s 100%, no excuses, not about you. And, we have the joy of watching these kids give their talents away to Jesus – with no thought for glory or fame, without the hope of ever being repaid – only to see them ‘find’ what they’re supposed to do and how they’re called to live.”
We believe that one of the most effective mediums to shape culture and impact souls is the performing arts. Each year, we’ve seen thousands of people touched by our performances, while our own team members’ lives are transformed in the process.
Looking forward, our vision seeks to expand and diversify our talent pipelines, as we raise up new performers and artists passionate about creating art with a redemptive message. It is our mission to not only change culture through the arts, but also to change the culture of the arts, as well. By envisioning future professional dancers, actors, choreographers, scriptwriters, directors, vocalists and musicians to create, direct and perform original stage works, we believe these new expressions of God-glorifying art will have a ripple effect across the nations.
“We are developing worldchangers for Christ –– envisioned for a life of outreach and excellence, and motivated by a love for God.”
– Annemarie McLean, founder and director
Core –– noun. Def. the central, innermost, or most essential part of anything.
As 3D sets out to communicate God’s redemption message for humanity through the performing arts, we want our core values to infuse everything we do. The following list of 8 power words help shape, define, and imprint our teams, our outreach and our ministry. We take these words seriously as we seek out new church partnerships and build our future teams.
Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Whether we’re peeling off dance tights in 98-degree weather in the Dominican Republic or giving our best performance to only 15 villagers at a Mexican church service (both real examples, BTW), JOY sets us apart. It silences complaining and reflects our hearts’ unwavering trust in the Lord through all of life’s circumstances.
Can talent and humility co-exist? YES! In Matthew 25, the Master gives his servants different measures of talents, each according to his ability. What mattered to the Master was what His servants did with the talent and ability they were given. What you don’t actually find in the parable is the servant who got five talents gloating over the servants who got three and one. And you don’t find those servants jealous of the one who got five. In a world where the talented, smart, rich, athletic and beautiful are often idolized, God is looking for hearts that are devoted to Him and bent on His glory, not their own. We believe your gifts are just that: given, not earned. When you “pay it forward,” the blessing is multiplied. And we find that humbling!
There’s no doubt: the highest forms of artistic expression should come from those who personally know the Ultimate Creative himself. As we spend time in God’s presence, He births God-songs, God-dances, and God-dramas that set people free and infuse God’s culture around the world. Joel 2:28 says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” At 3D Missions, we’ve seen our most powerful dramas come out of literal dreams dreamt by our team members. We’ve seen our most beautiful choreography come from seeking the face of God in quiet, and spontaneous melodies written and sung during team worship times on the field. As long as we’re called to outreach, we encourage expressions of Spirit-filled and biblically-grounded creativity on all levels!
Not gonna lie, keeping oneself pure in today’s polluting culture can seem like one Herculean task. Enter Holy Spirit! We are so grateful that as we submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are daily “putting to death” the desires of the flesh. We take it seriously when James says that keeping “oneself unstained from the world” is religion that is pure and undefiled before the Lord. As performing artists, we know there will always be a temptation to imitate ‘what’s hot’ in the world. So we place a high value on purity, not popularity. We pursue living out Jesus’ words in Matthew 5, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Not only do we want to see God, we want the world to see God in us –– both on stage and off.
Reasons for American short-term missionaries to grow discouraged are greater than ever. And while our circumstances differ from the Israelites, God’s word to Joshua rings true to us today: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9). As we trust God’s leading into the “lands” he calls us to “take,” we set our hearts to be courageous no matter the cost.
The human body is a beautiful example used by Apostle Paul to illustrate unity through diversity. “There are many members, but one body,” (I Corinthians 12:20). Each organ is important and when functioning properly as one, the human body can do some amazing things! In the same way, 3D Missions sends out teams, where everyone has a role to play, but not always the same role. It’s only when we are respecting the roles of our “body’s” different parts that we can function at our highest capacity.
Before sending out our teams, we regularly repeat the phrase, “For one week, it’s 100% 24/7 not about you.” In other words, ask yourself, “what does it look like to not think or worry about myself for one week?” Consider Jesus, “who being in the form of God…made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant “ (Philippians 2:5-7). He healed the sick when he must have been tired, embraced little children at the end of a long day and patiently discipled his rag-tag group of twelve. When we lay down our rights and wants, allowing the Holy Spirit to mold and adapt us in life’s changing and unpredictable circumstances, we break the bonds of pride and selfishness in our life and position ourselves to be effective ministers of the Gospel.
In Exodus 31, God called Bezalel to build the Tabernacle, filling him with “the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge and in all manner of workmanship” (31:2-3). In other words, God gave him the tools for excellence. At 3D Missions, we are looking for performing arts missionaries who are pursuing excellence as they develop and practice their craft. Since God emanates excellence in everything He does, we too are called to reflect His glory and excellence in all that we do –––when we do it with all our heart, strength and ability.
Annemarie holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and journalism from Oral Roberts University and completed an international journalism internship under Youth With a Mission. After graduating college, she was hired by Integrity Music where she worked as a publicist in the early 1990s. It was there she was mentored by some of the world’s leading worship leaders and learned hands-on how to conduct live international worship productions.
As Creative Director for 3D Missions, Annemarie oversees team development, drama storyboarding, casting and production. Annemarie also pens many of 3D’s original dramas, including “The Scroll, The Sword and Salvation,” a 30-minute allegorical dance-drama that has been performed in Spanish and English for thousands of people in audiences internationally.
A published songwriter with Integrity Music, Annemarie has also produced her own indie pop album as well as a children’s album of original Scripture Memory Songs. She currently resides in Clermont, Florida with her husband, Ben, and four daughters.
Combining a unique gift for visual creativity with a commitment to impeccable technique, Melissa continues to craft dances that have established her as one of the strongest choreographers on the competition circuit. Throughout her 30+ years in the industry, she has held numerous choreography awards, and her studio has won many National Overalls from several competitions including: Starpower, Nexstar, Showstoppers, Starquest, and NYCDA Alliance, to name a few.
As part of the 3D Missions creative team, Melissa helps prepare dancers to take their talents onto the stage of international evangelistic outreach. To date, she has sent almost 50 dancers onto the mission field since 2012. Besides creating powerful original choreography for 3D, Melissa believes that the dancers themselves are called to reflect God’s creative excellence and glory, employing their talents as artistic agents of joy, healing and deliverance to the nations.
Learn more about Melissa and her studio at www.shootingstarsdanceschool.com
Michaela graduated with degrees in Dance and Public Relations from the University of Alabama, where she served for two years as the campus-wide Bible study leader for Delight, a nationwide college ministry in the U.S.
Michaela encourages young women to develop healthy habits from the inside out while understanding the transformational significance of a purpose-driven life. She has a passion to empower young women to stand for their faith in a secular society and model lives that reflect the image of Christ.
Statement of Faith
The sole basis of our beliefs is the Bible, God’s infallible written Word, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe that it was uniquely, verbally and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit and that it was written without error (inerrant) in the original manuscripts. It is the supreme and final authority in all matters on which it speaks.
- There is one true God, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each of whom possesses equally all the attributes of Deity and the characteristics of personality.
- Jesus Christ is God, the living Word, who became flesh through His miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit and His virgin birth. Hence, He is perfect Deity and true humanity united in one person forever.
- He lived a sinless life and voluntarily atoned for the sins of men by dying on the cross as their substitute, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone.
- He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died.
- He ascended bodily into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own.
- Man was originally created in the image of God. He sinned by disobeying God; thus, he was alienated from his Creator. That historic fall brought all mankind under divine condemnation.
- Man’s nature is corrupted, and he is thus totally unable to please God. Every man is in need of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
- The salvation of man is wholly a work of God’s free grace and is not the work, in whole or in part, of human works or goodness or religious ceremony. God imputes His righteousness to those who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, and thereby justified them in His sight.
- It is the privilege of all who are born again of the Spirit to be assured of their salvation from the very moment in which they trust Christ as their Savior. This assurance is not based upon any kind of human merit, but is produced by the witness of the Holy Spirit, who confirms in the believer the testimony of God in His written word.
- The Holy Spirit has come into the world to reveal and glorify Christ and to apply the saving work of Christ to men. He convicts and draws sinners to Christ, imparts new life to them, continually indwells them from the moment of spiritual birth and seals them until the day of redemption. His fullness, power and control are appropriated in the believer’s life by faith.
- Every believer is called to live so in the power of the indwelling Spirit that he will not fulfill the lust of the flesh but will bear fruit to the glory of God.
- The Holy Spirit empowers believers to operate in the gifts of Holy Spirit, apportioning to each one individually as He wills. (I Cor. 12:11).
- Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, His Body, which is composed of all men, living and dead, who have been joined to Him through saving faith.
- God admonishes His people to assemble together regularly for worship, for participation in ordinances, for edification through the Scriptures and for mutual encouragement.
- At physical death the believer enters immediately into eternal, conscious fellowship with the Lord and awaits the resurrection of his body to everlasting glory and blessing.
- At physical death the unbeliever enters immediately into eternal, conscious separation from the Lord and awaits the resurrection of his body to everlasting judgment and condemnation.
- Jesus Christ will come again to the earth – personally, visibly and bodily – to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.
- The Lord Jesus Christ commanded all believers to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and to disciple men of every nation. The fulfillment of that Great Commission requires that all worldly and personal ambitions be subordinated to a total commitment to “Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.”
From jazz to tap and hip-hop to lyrical, we’ve performed it all on the mission field! 3D Missions trips showcase original choreography for various dance genres created specifically for our outreach audiences. While we encourage skilled dancers to apply for our teams, we also include “non-dancers” in a few numbers and teach them how to dance! Our skilled team members in dance and choreography allow us to offer dance education workshops to church worship teams in our host nations and to schools and youth groups.
Our creative team is committed to birthing stage works that weave God’s redemptive message into our storylines as we tackle social and spiritual issues that hold people back from finding freedom in Christ. In Joel 2:28, the Lord says He will pour out His “Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” Many of 3D Missions’ original dramas were once just a dream or a vision. Not kidding, they were literally dreamt! Like on a bed. Or God downloads a storyline while seeking Him in a quiet time. We adapt our dramas for unpredictable staging and pack up costumes and props in big bins and take them on the plane with us! We have seen thousands of people internationally impacted by the message of our dramas!
We make no bones about it: we believe mission trips are effective vehicles for our team members to grow in their love and devotion to Jesus Christ. We focus on such themes as the cost of discipleship, how to serve through performing, and why we develop excellence in our lives for the glory of God. As a team member, plan to be stretched and challenged as you answer Jesus’ call to become His disciple while you go into the world and make them.