Drama Ministry

Making The Point The Point

We've all had the experience of walking down to the basement only to forget what we were looking for. Or perhaps getting to a store and forgetting what we were supposed to buy. In either case, we pretty much circle aimlessly until we can get back to our purpose.

The same thing happens when a drama team gets into a performance routine. When you started out, it was probably clear how the group contributes to the mission of the church and how each script fits into the day's theme. You have to have those things settled before you can really start. But as you get more comfortable with the job, it's easy to trade in that clarity for efficiency. You're good at getting dramas ready, but you might not remember why.

Now some of you are thinking, "So what?" Will it really hurt anything if the actors can't recite the church's mission statement or the theme of the entire worship service? Can't they just do good drama and have fun?

The answer is yes and no. Yes, they can perform pretty good drama without truly understanding the big picture. But over the long haul, the quality of their contribution to the church will suffer if they're just reading good lines and getting a laugh or two. You don't want them operating in isolation from the rest of the church and pursuing a separate agenda.

So what can you do to remedy the situation? Here are some tips for keeping your drama ministry focus on track.

  1. Invite the pastor to chat with the group. Whether you have an ongoing team, or a thrown-together group, they need to hear how the pastor feels about drama. Ask him to explain the church's strategy for reaching their community and how drama fits in with that plan. If he's comfortable, include him in some acting skills exercises so the group gets to see him in their arena.
  2. Bring some of the church's brochures or membership materials to your meeting and talk through them. See if the group has a feel for why the church is doing drama in the first place. Encourage them to join not just the drama ministry, but the church mission as a whole.
  3. Dissect the current script in rehearsal. Don't just perform it unquestioningly. Discuss the overall theme of the sketch, and ask the actors how it overlaps with their own experiences. You'll find that as their understanding of the script progresses, their line delivery will improve. Feel free to stop a script at any point and ask, "Now why does the character say that?"
  4. Edit your script. We can't speak for other publishers, but we give you permission to make changes and delete lines. We know you're the best judge of what will communicate to your congregation. So if you feel like a line is not contributing to the main point, take it out.
  5. Show the team the entire order of service. Assuming there are some connections to the sermon and the music, point them out. Help the team feel the participation in the entire day's theme, not just their script.
  6. Talk about motives. Obviously you'd like to have everyone performing for God's glory and the church's mission. But the truth is, we all have some mixed motives about our desire to be noticed and approved. That's part of why we get nervous beforehand. That's part of why we hope someone will say something complimentary afterward. Don't hide from that. Acknowledge it, and give people permission to admit it. You'll find it can bring a deepened sense of unity when motives are openly discussed.

Posted in: Acting, Performing

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