Taking the Drama out of Drama or How to start your own Drama Group
It's always been my belief that God talks to us in many ways. One of my mantras I use in my Christian life is "Does God Have A Sense of Humor?" The answer is, "Of course he does—just look in the mirror!"
People hear God's word in different ways. I've watched many church services in my day and see people leave with that oh-so-common "Deer in the Headlights" look. It's sad. God's word is for all, not the few.
My belief is simple: Take God's word and add some humor. You will be amazed at what happens.
The following are some really simple ideas that can and will make people want to be in it.
1. Recruitment. Yeah, I know. "Go ye into all the world." No, what you need to do is go where the people are. One of my favorite parables is the Parable of the Talents. Now, they talk of gold, but I'm talking about personal talent. Everyone has something they are good at. I am good at singing and writing. I don't bury my talents; I use them. Now, using that premise, you need to identify a core group. You need to get them on board. Once that's done, you have got the ball rolling.
2. Backing. One thing I've learned, sometimes the hard way, is that if the pastor isn't on board, it probably isn't going to get any traction. You have two ways to approach this. First is the DIRECT way, which is just going to the pastor and giving him your idea. The second is to have a few adults go and talk to the pastor. Either way is good so long as it's not confrontational.
3. Commitment. This may be the hardest. I remember when I started going to youth choir. My mom said, "If you're going to do this, then you're going to early service!" To me, that was a no-brainer, but I understood what she was saying. If you commit, you commit totally. You can't sing a song halfway, nor can you write a skit and not finish it. Get involved. A drama group is the best way to get people together. I did one of my skits at a school using the teachers. Some of them questioned why I wanted them. My answer was simple: It was because I knew they could do it and the people would enjoy it. And, even better, the kids would see a different side of them.
4. Finding Material. A Drama group doesn't have to be dramatic. It's been my experience that most churches want an active youth ministry. Now, some churches want a "be seen but not heard" type. What they need is a "seen and heard" youth ministry. It has been my experience that when the youth get directly involved in the church service, things happen. I have seen congregations that were as flat as a pancake come to life and get a new spark. Material for drama is out there, but you have to go looking.
5. Doing it. Simple is good. What I mean by that is that you don't need sets and a stage and props and all the things that a professional company would have. What you need are basics. Work with what you have. Second, memorizing is nice, but it's the material not the memorization that's important. Reader's theater, aka having a stand and reading the script, is fine. It isn't "shoddy." I promise you this. People will remember the material and NOT how it was delivered.
6. Involvement. Yes, I see this as a great youth thing, but I also see it as a great cross over. Get as many people involved as you can. Now, I'm not saying everyone should be an actor, but I promise you, there is more to this than meets the eye.
If I can make one thing crystal clear here, it's that you need to be visible and vibrant. A drama ministry, be it actors, or puppets, or even a clown ministry, has to be visible. Use the drama ministry as a fund raiser for your mission trip or other worthy cause. Have a potluck dinner and a show.
If you are interested in starting a drama group, I have over 200 skits that have been done in over 3 continents. They are Christian slice-of-life and carry the message that everyone can understand. I am more than willing to offer my services to help you start, but, you have to want to do this and keep it alive. One and done just doesn't cut it. This is a continual work in progress.