These are just some of the questions asked by those people who had the courage to approach our table at the Ministry Fair. More often than not people just shy away because they think there is no place for them in this ministry. Well, let me be the morning sun that sheds light upon this subject.
First, let’s start with what Christian drama is. Then we’ll look at what it’s all about. Drama actually started in Greece. The literal translation of ‘drama’ is “to do” or “to see.” Greek drama was used mainly for devotion to one of the Greek gods, Dionysus, (the god of wine/grapes and fertility). It was later in the tenth century that Christians began to re-use drama as a way to spread the Gospel and promote good behavior. Moving forward, it was the Renaissance era that produced the cart wagon plays, where actors would be placed upon a moving stage (almost like a parade). Each pageant cart presented a different scene of the cycle, and the wagons followed each other, repeating their scenes at successive stations. Carts were often very elaborate, equipped with a changing room, a stage proper, and even a balcony. Stage machinery and sound effects became integral parts of the drama. So what did they perform? Mostly plays about the story of Christ. These were called “Passion” plays. They denoted the final 36 hours of the life of Christ. Surprise – Christian drama was formed!
In essence, Christian drama is theatre, definitely not a sermon. But, much like a sermon, in every drama there is a message. It is just a different way of presenting that message to the congregation. Christian drama incorporates human emotions, causing identification between the audience and the production. This allows them not only to hear the Word, but to visualize and associate with the feelings of each character in the performance.
Dramatic writing is not new. It dates back to the beginning of time. Why, the greatest dramatic writer is the Lord! Take a look at the dramatics in the Bible. Consider the burning bush, the opening of the Red Sea, the pharaohs and the plagues, the Holy Spirit as a flame, and the crucifixion of Jesus. How much more dramatic can you get? And since God is the author, well, what more can I say!
The Grace and Peace Drama Ministry is a group of unpaid, yet highly committed and dedicated actors, singers, musicians, sound and lighting technicians, makeup artists, costume designers, stage crew, production and administrative staff with one purpose and goal in mind, to use their talents to perform Biblical drama and musicals, to glorify God and to present the Gospel to people of all ages and denominations.
We are the seed sowers. Others will come behind us to water and harvest. It is not our job to reap. Just as in the parable, not all the seed will fall on receptive ground. But that’s okay – our job is simply to spread it. Remember, drama is a collaborative art. All the elements of visualization, sound, acting and staging must be present to create the unity, that bond between the production and the audience.
Will you help? We are in need of personnel to fill the voids and help expand this ministry. Is anyone interested in wardrobe? We are looking for several seamstresses to help design, assemble and repair costumes. How about set design – carpenters, artists, painters? We are also looking for stagehands to help with the set up and breakdown of scenery, in addition to behind the scenes work during the production. Oh, and actors are always welcome! If you have an interest in any of these areas, call the church office and tell them you are interested in the Drama Ministry and which area. The current cast and crew of the Drama Ministry would like to thank you for your support and remind you that your talents are anointed tools. Please use them to support end-time evangelism.
-Gerry Donlon, Ministry Leadership Team
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