The use of drama in the church is not a new phenomenon. In recent years churches have jumped on the bandwagon to include Christian drama skits in their weekly services. If used correctly a drama ministry can have a profound impact on the lives of the viewers in much the same ways as the music ministry. Here are seven considerations to ensure your drama team has reached true ministry status.
Get the support of the pastoral team. Without the support from the pastoral staff the drama ministry will never be taken seriously. If you are the director, hold regular conversations with the pastor or worship leader to discuss the role the drama ministry plays in the church. Get creative and look for ways integrate the team in other ways-to promote events, participation in celebrations, to enhance other ministries in the church. Endorsements from the leadership always helps to raise the profile of the drama ministry.
Hold auditions. Some churches are afraid of auditions. They fear that feelings will be hurt and egos damaged. It’s really in how they are communicated and conducted. Not everyone should be a singer, a teacher or a ministry organizer and auditions are a means to determine if a person should be an actor. If a person doesn’t have the acting skills but is eager to learn, have them participate in workshops to develop their skills before they are cast in a sketch. If they develop their skills then they will become a vital member of the team. If they just don’t have the skills and eventually discover they don’t have the passion either, then you helped them come to that realization without damaging their self-esteem.
Establish commitments. Anyone who participates in the drama ministry should do so from a heart of passion. Commitment flows naturally from passion. Don’t hesitate to ask for a commitment from your team members. If they are passionate, they will step up the expectations you have set. If they don’t step up they should find a different place to serve.
Set the tone from the very beginning. Nobody takes the music ministry lightly or considers the teaching ministry as an add-on. The drama ministry should be viewed the same way. God gives gifts in various capacities. To some He gives the ability to express emotions and struggle through the dramatic arts. That thought alone should elevate the art form to a serious level. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun or use comedy in your sketches. It just means that the drama team sees their role in the church as a serious contributor to communicating true human conflict.
Hold regular workshops to improve skills. With any skill or art form, participants should adopt a continuous learning mindset. Scour the bookstores or online resources for good books and exercises to stretch and expand your actors’ capabilities. Look in your community for resources you can tap to help with regular instruction and support such as the theater departments at local high schools and colleges. The more time you invest in training your team the greater impact you will have on your viewers.
Select good scripts. Years ago you would be hard pressed to find good scripts to use in your church service. With the rise in drama ministries around the world, there are far more scripts to choose from. Don’t settle for a script simply because it covers the subject you are looking for. Make sure the script gives the actors believable dialog and conflict in which to portray genuine situations.
Rehearse to achieve excellence. This goes without saying but bears mentioning. Good drama requires a lot of rehearsing. The goal is to portray a scene with as much realism as possible. You don’t want the actors to appear to be acting. You can’t achieve that with just a hint of rehearsal time. Practice, practice and practice some more. Provide feedback during the process and focus on details such as movement, voice inflection, eye contact and body language.
Elevate your drama ministry to a higher level by following these guidelines. You’ll witness your team grow in the process as they impact hundreds of lives.