Theatre Professor has a Missions Mindset

New professor Stacey Stratton believes God brought her to Cedarville

by Lauren McGuire

During Stacey Stratton’s audition for graduate school, the professor who hired her asked if she would ever teach. She said no.

Now she’s Cedarville’s newest theatre professor.

Stratton graduated from Murray State University with a degree in speech communication and theatre and intended to become an actress.

As a graduate student, she worked as an assistant for the same professor who interviewed her.

Apparently he still believed in her teaching ability, having her teach in the speech and theatre departments.

“He kinda threw me in feet first,” Stratton said. “I look back on that and I think it was really a God thing, because I don’t know that I would’ve considered that avenue as openly as I did if I hadn’t had that experience.”

After completing graduate school, Stratton married and had kids.

She decided that pursuing a part-time position teaching would be the best option for her family so she could be available for them.

However, she said that she met some opposition, not necessarily to herself, but to the idea of integrity in art.  God started pushing her to look for a position teaching at a Christian liberal arts college.

She started looking for a job when her son was a senior, and found an opening for a theatre professor on Cedarville’s website.

“Cedarville is different in the sense that I don’t feel like I’m having to fight against administration to do things that are God glorifying or even to fight against students who might do things for different reasons or for political statements,” Stratton said.

When she applied, the interview process went quickly, and the position lined up with the things that God had been laying on her heart for many years.

At Cedarville, Stratton said she can devote time to equipping students to be artists who know what they believe and why they believe it and who don’t compromise their beliefs.

She said she wants her students to learn how to speak about God in their work.

“To be able to use the arts as a voice for God, I think right now, is the most beautiful thing about theater,” Stratton said.

Though Stratton is a professor, not a missionary, she said she and her family see their new home and life in Cedarville as a mission field.

“When our kids were little,” Stratton said, “we tried to incorporate in our vacations something missional. That kind of planted the seed for missions in all of our hearts.”

Her son, Landon, said missions is his passion. This was stirred by the steps his parents took in his life when he was younger.

One year, they decided to substitute Christmas presents with yearly missions trips.

The first trip was to a children’s home in Anchorage, Florida, followed by others to Boston, Toronto and Jamaica.

This mission-focused attitude spreads into Stratton’s everyday life as a professor.

She now teaches theater, acting and voice for the performer. Stratton is also directing the winter theater production that will open on campus in late January.

“I haven’t been [at Cedarville] very long, but God is constantly putting people just reaching out at just the right time,” Stratton said. “In very real ways, He is confirming where we need to be and this is the mission we need to be on right now.”

She said she loves teaching because of the opportunity to see her students grow during the semester.

She has fallen in love with the students and the opportunity to make a difference, especially  in Cedarville.

“I don’t know where it will lead, but I’m excited to see Him work,” Stratton said.

Lauren McGuire is a junior Professional Writing and Information Design major and a writer for Cedars. She loves birthday cake ice cream, watching “The Office” and late-night runs.

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