Over the past 20 years, Brock Gill has astounded audiences around the world with his edgy, daring, unique performances as one of this generation’s leading illusionists.
From a prime spot on Winter Jam–one of the world’s largest touring stages—to appearances on such high-profile platforms as America’s Got Talent, Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends show, the GMA Dove Awards, outreaches led by Franklin Graham and Luis Palau, and the three-hour Discovery Channel special, The Miracles of Jesus, which took him to Malta and Israel as the lead investigator of Christ’s signs and wonders, Gill has entertained the masses while sharing his passion for the gospel.
It’s been a wild ride so far, but while Gill is fulfilled by the past two decades, he’s not by any means satisfied.
“I think that it’s easy to get comfortable in life, and you can get in a rut quickly,” Gill says. “I don’t ever want to be in a rut. I’m a risk taker; I’m an adventurist. I love adventure and I love new territory and pioneering new things that have never been done before.”
This fall, he brings that pioneering spirit as the main speaker, sharing the message of salvation–as well as some mind-blowing illusions–to the first-annual Big Church Night Out Tour, an experience designed to be like a big arena church service and also featuring Newsboys, Sidewalk Prophets and more of Christian music’s top artists.
He’s also heading into new territory with the release of his first book, Feed the Dog–a devotional that reflects Gill’s strong desire to build disciples of Jesus Christ.
“A man had two dogs; the one he fed grew the biggest,” Gill says. “We have the spirit and the flesh. The one we feed is going to win, so we need to starve the flesh and feed the spirit.”
Releasing in LifeWay stores Oct. 2, Feed the Dog includes a devotional, leader’s guide and video series (complete with illusions) to take readers through seven disciplines to feed the spirit: prayer, scripture reading, fasting, solitude, worship, ministry and community.
“These disciplines have become so important to me on a personal level,” Gill said. “I realized that these are basic things that a lot of people in our culture are missing out on. I wrote it for students, but it’s really for everybody. I knew I had to get this message out there.”
Getting the message of Jesus out has been the goal from day one.
“Since I started doing this at age 22, the vision was to share the gospel in a way that would be new and fresh,” he said. “It’s always been about making the gospel known and making it clear.”
After being wowed in college by an illusionist, Gill wanted to evoke that awe in others. Over the years, his self-taught pastime of performing illusions evolved into an exciting, interactive stage show.
“The energy of the live show is electric,” Gill said. “I can see it on their faces when their eyes light up, when they experience that moment of mystery, when their mind is kind of blown. I just love that. I get chills as I watch them react.”
From grand illusions meant for arena-sized audiences like his Water Coffin escape to sleight-of-hand tricks–like pulling cards out of thin air, sleeveless–shooting arrows from the audience onto the stage to find a selected card, riding a motorcycle blindfolded, pouring endless amounts of water from jars, and transporting objects from his hands to the hands of unwitting participants from the audience — all serve as the backdrop for sharing the gospel and giving people a chance to respond.
Constant evolution and customization has been the hallmark of a Brock Gill show.
“One week I’m at a chapel service at a college, the next I’m in Haiti, and the next week I’m on tour with the Newsboys,” he said. “Every time you see my show, wherever I am, something about it is going to be unique, because we’re tailor making the material. The show is special every single time, which is one reason I never get tired of performing it.”
Gill also has tailor made his performances for a social media audience by sharing weekly illusions and devotional moments with online audiences–another new opportunity, he says, to share his methods and his message with people who’d otherwise never encounter them.
“People watch the videos and then share them with their friends, and so a lot of people who have never been to church–or would never go to church–get to see these videos,” he said. “It’s created conversations between believers and their non-believing friends about spiritual topics.”
Gill has watched as God has gradually given him a global platform, taking him and his wife, Auny, to places like Egypt, Greece, Australia, Honduras and the Dominican Republic, among others. With his nonprofit organization, Caliber Outreach, Gill has performed for Muslim refugees as well as for prisoners and the impoverished in Nicaragua.
Fresh in his mind was a recent trip to a Nicaraguan prison, which had a large number of convicted murderers. It was a dark place, he said–both spiritually and literally–as his skeptical, stone-faced audience sat silently, arms crossed. Gill scrambled to set up his show quickly.
“After one trick, immediately the atmosphere changed,” he said. “They were smiling and laughing–maybe for the first time in years. These were people at the bottom of their lives in the worst conditions possible, and the place was roaring with laughter.”
That laughter, he said, turned to tears as Gill shared a message of hope, forgiveness and grace.
“I saw these big, grown men start to cry, and they wanted to follow Jesus,” he said.
All of the successful milestones of his career pale in comparison to these kinds of eternity-shaking moments–moments he’s driven to experience over and over again.
“Nothing excites me more than seeing people come to Christ,” he said. “I love being able to tell people about Jesus this way, and I just can’t wait to see what He’s going to do next.”