Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ways to Present the Gospel in Drama Ministry

The goal of Drama Ministry is to effectively present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a creative and innovative way. This can take on many different forms. The first form I would like to discuss is that of the "Sit-Com Sketch."

In this genre, a short play is constructed and conveys a scene with a scriptural theme or lesson. Fictitious characters are created and acted out in the scene and illustrate the moral or scriptural principle. The comedy of the scene should originate with the character's personality, inability to grasp the point, physical humor. Sometimes the comedy is the result of parody or cultural references, puns, and jokes. The key in all of this is that the comedy is the result of the situational circumstances of the characters and their surroundings. The comedy should never come from the moral or scriptural message to be conveyed. This being said, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or anything relating to Jesus such as the his earthly life and ministry are never to be the source of comedy.
These Sit-Com sketches should be anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes in length and contain a distinct beginning, middle, and end. Many would argue that sketch comedy does not need to have a final resolution and should leave the audience thinking. While I agree that Christian Drama should be thought provoking, I do not feel that lacking a strong conclusion is the most effective way to accomplish this goal. What should compel the audience, is the power of the message. The idea behind using the Sit-Com Sketch is to be able to see, in living color, how people respond to a living God and his word.

Another effective way to present the Gospel in Drama Ministry is to let the Bible itself be the source material for the sketch. This is more than simply telling a Bible story. When presenting Biblical material, the goal is to make the Bible come to life for the audience so that they can see for themselves what it must have been like. This does not mean that all Biblical presentations should be serious in genre. There is much room for comedy in Biblical presentations. In general, there are three min ways to present Biblical material in Drama Ministry. The first is "Dramatic Bible Presentation." In this genre, a bible story is selected and played out in a serious, non-comedic way. The idea is to present the story as it might have really happened. Writing these types of sketches are relatively not difficult. One must familiarize one's self with the story and write lines that seem to flow conversationally with the story. Sometimes scripture itself can even become lines in the sketch. The outline of the sketch already exists and all that is needed at this point is a little meat on the skeleton and some color for the story.

The second form of Biblical presentation is called "Biblical Parody." This does not mean that the biblical account in question is to be made fun of, but that the story is to be told through a comedic lens. The Bible is full of funny stories and funny people. As we read the scriptures we can see just how funny it can get. With a little imagination, classic Bible stories can be told in a way that will leave your audience rolling on the floor with laughter. Remember as I stated earlier, Jesus is never to be the source of comedy. This must be a foundational principle in all Drama Ministry. If God's Holiness and our reverence to Him is not upheld as a standard, the Drama Ministry will be no different than the many television shows and stand-up comedians who make fun of God and make light of His holiness. The purpose of Drama Ministry is to, above all else, bring glory to our Father in Heaven. Characters from the Old Testament are great sources of comedy for Biblical Parody. This portion of the Bible allows us to see how real people responded to a real God and what happened as a result of their faithfulness or disobedience. New Testament characters are also subject to this sort of comedic representation as long as it is not reflecting the attitudes of Jesus. For example, a sketch on Paul preaching on Mars Hill might be a good subject for Biblical Parody. The focus might be on how the people there serve other gods and even have one engraved to the "Unknown god." The conversation between Paul and these people could result in some very funny material. On the other hand, A sketch on the stoning of Stephen might not be a good choice for Biblical parody. Even Saul's conversion experience might be an effective comedic story as long as the comedy comes from Saul. It might even be effective to have the lines of Jesus come directly from the Bible.

The last type of Biblical presentation is called "Biblical Fiction." In this genre, a Biblical story is selected but the focus of the sketch is not on the classic characters. For instance, a sketch about the animals on the Ark would be included in this genre. Another example might be a sketch on the soldiers from the Philistines side as they watch David and Goliath face off, or the Romans who guard Jesus' tomb. The idea behind this genre is to give the audience a different perspective on a well known story. Sometimes we as Christians can become so accustomed to a particular story, that we become numb to its powerful message. The thing to remember in this type of sketch is to keep to the source material as much as possible.

These are the three basic ways in which Drama Teams go about presenting Bible stories. The job of Drama Ministries is to present the Truth of God's word in a way that will not only entertain audiences, but also deliver the life changing message that will stick with them.

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