Ministry through drama–anywhere, anytime, any age
by Candy Stennett, Captain –
Contrary to popular belief, a drama ministry can be one of the easiest ministries to implement in your corps, social service center, community center or evangelistic outreach. It can be inexpensive and not too labor intensive; it requires no special equipment or minimum size group; and it doesn’t require specially talented people. Many of us have heard that art imitates life—this is particularly true of drama. Acting is simply…re-enacting life. Take a small slice of an experience from your everyday life. Re-enact it. Congratulations! You have just performed a drama.
Start with a focus on what you have rather than what you don’t. Every brass band in The Salvation Army began with one person willing to learn to play one instrument. Every songster group started with one person who wanted to sing for the Lord. Every corps basketball team began with one person willing to recruit other people to shoot some hoops. One person interested in presenting Christian principles through the medium of drama can start a drama ministry.
I have traveled with three Christian repertoire theater companies. One of them had the philosophy that if someone was committed to Jesus and wished to participate in a drama ministry, that person could learn the mechanics of acting. I was skeptical, but I saw it work successfully. That theater company has been in existence for several decades and continues a worldwide ministry today.
Begin with the basics—one or two people willing to read Scripture with some dramatic flair. Another idea: Play a dramatized version of Scripture reading on a CD. Have your 1st – 3rd grade Sunday school class rehearse a mimed version of the story during class and perform it during the worship service that day.
One reason drama can be effective is because it is visual. You are inviting the audience to use their imaginations as they respond to it; they actually participate in the creative process.
When I was a teenager, a light bulb came on in my head during a week of ministry training. A workshop leader randomly handed a script to me and a guy he chose to play the role of Jesus. I was assigned the role of the adulterous woman about to be stoned to death (John 8:1-11). We took a few minutes to look over our lines. Without any rehearsals, we performed before everyone at the conference. I was so moved as I played that woman receiving forgiveness that tears welled up in my eyes and I experienced the depth of the meaning of that Scripture like never before. Even during our rehearsals my spiritual life was enhanced. Later in the week we presented that scene on the streets of a community a few miles away. God used the re-enactment of his Word along with a message to reach the hearts of people we had never met. The Holy Spirit took our simple act of willingness to be available to him and changed some of our lives as well as those who witnessed the drama and heard God’s Word preached on the streets. I had previously enjoyed performing in school plays and in television commercials, but I had never felt as fulfilled doing any of that as I was in using drama to share the truths of Scripture.
If you are the least bit interested, I encourage you to pick up a Bible, grab a couple of friends, and begin exploring the joy of making the Scripture come to life by using your creative time and energy to re-enact his Holy Word.