The Importance of Adding Drama to Your Worship Service

Featuring Terri Welch Posted on April 18, 2008

I was reading a book the other day that talked about how a lot of churches are still following a nineteenth century model. In the nineteenth century, people used to go hear speakers for entertainment, whether it was someone talking about his exploits in the Artic or a speech about the Fifteenth Dynasty in Ancient Egypt. That was what they did for fun, sit and listen to someone talk. And that was what church was like: sing a few songs, have some responsive readings, and sit and listen to a guy preach.

Sound familiar?
Yeah, not much has changed for a lot of churches. Here's the thing, though. We are much more of a visual age now than merely an auditory one. From TV to the Internet, to video screens in the mall and the grocery store, we are bombarded with visual messages. And that's because people remember a lot more of what they see AND hear, than what they merely hear. I've heard over twenty years' worth of weekly sermons, and I can only remember a handful of them. But I can remember a lot more of the drama sketches I've seen in church. (We call them "sketches" rather than "skits". "Skits" are funny little things during Talent Night at Youth Camp, like where your youth pastor tries to eat peanut butter out of his armpit or something. "Sketches" are short, realistic dramas.)
The ideal for the church in this age is to have a visual message that reinforces what your pastor has to say. It could be a sketch, a short video, or even props that the pastor uses during the sermon. Kerry Shook, of Fellowship of the Woodlands, is famous for having fabulous set decorations to reinforce his sermon series -- be it a pirate ship, or a roller coaster. You don't have to go that far, but even something like, for example, if your pastor is talking about the "I am the vine, you are the branches" passage of John, he could have a shrub onstage that he prunes during his talk. He could show branches he'd pruned a few days ago, and a week ago, to show the effect of not staying connected to one's life source.

To add a drama or a video and still end on time, you may have to take away one element of your service -- a song, the children's sermon, the "greet your neighbor" time, or just make sure your pastor tightens up the sermon from twenty minutes to fifteen. Most dramas should run three to four minutes. A video can be anywhere from one minute up to four or five.

This will require some planning. Many churches plan two or three weeks out, some more. If your church only plans one week ahead, it's going to be hard to for you to add dramas right away, as you will need rehearsal time, and people will need to memorize their lines. Finding a canned video on the selected topic will be easier.

We'll talk next about the essentials of a drama ministry.

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