Although it would be nice to have a theater degree and a group of 20 professional actors signed up for the drama at your church, it is not necessary. The foundation for a solid ministry is much more attainable. In fact, these eight building blocks lay the foundation for a great drama ministry and are probably well within your reach.
1. Start the idea.
A drama ministry begins with one person with a passion for the dramatic form and an idea of how it can fit into the worship service or the church's life. You don't have to be schooled in all the works of Shakespeare, know a lot about technical theatre, or have a 10-person acting troupe. One person with enthusiasm and a clear idea for the purpose of drama at your church is a fine beginning.
2. Seek approval.
Before you show up on a Sunday in a costume, you need the support of your pastor. It is crucial that he be the first person to get behind the idea not only because a sketch will support and illustrate his sermon, but because if the pastor sees drama as a benefit, the congregation will as well.
3. Know your congregation.
Be sensitive to your church family, who may not be used to seeing drama in church. Begin at their comfort level and go slowly. If your service uses hymns and organ preludes, don't jolt them with comedy; instead try a dramatlc Scripture reading. Expose the congregation to different styles gradually. You might also consider introducing drama in different settings- women's ministry, children's ministry, youth group or an evening one-act play.
4. Meet with the pastor and music or worship director.
If drama is requested weekly, meet with them weekly; if monthly, then meet with them once a month. In order to have a sketch ready for service, you will need to discuss the following things:
a) The title of the message
b) The key Scripture verses
c) The main points of the sermon or teaching
d) The questlons to be answered within the sermon
e) Any special music
With this information you can begin the process of finding a script that transitions from the music and illustrates the sermon.
5. Recruit, recruit, recruit
As soon as you do the first piece, people will approach you. They will reminisce about the play they did back in high school or mention how their friends always say they should be onstage. Be sure to get their phone numbers before you finish the conversation.
6. Train your actors
Offer acting classes to your new recruits. Check with a nearby college and see if a student would lead a beginners' series. Or call a local theater and ask if there is an actor who would give a master class. Use the exercises and articles on the Drama Ministry web site. You should also try and get your folks together at least once a month for some type of project - taking a class, reading a play together or just having fun!
7. Don't reinvent the wheel
Writing and rehearsing a sketch per week takes more than 20 hours. And that doesn't count meeting with the pastor or recruiting actors and maintaining the ministry. Don't put on extra pressure by trying to do everything yourself. Use the sketches from your Drama Ministry subscription service or from sketch books. Read plays. To teach acting classes, get some recommended books. Keep yourself connected to good resources and make sure you have prayer support.
8. Just do it!
The key to building a drama ministry is to begin. Start with a piece for a big event such as Easter or Christmas. Share your enthusiasm with your pastor and worship leader. Even though it seems like you need huge resources to start, if you do one sketch in one service this year, people will come and begin to build the ministry with you.