Why do we put in hours and hours of work, just to present a drama? Why have we come to see drama ministry as a vital part of our church, and why should you consider making it part of yours?

The first reason is summed up in Matthew 13:34 – “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.” Jesus often taught through stories, because He knew people relate to story. We would never presume to say that drama could replace preaching – direct, specific teaching will always be necessary, because drama that tries to take on that role falls flat. Instead, drama serves as a translator. It shows ways the pastor’s words, which often get left at church, might fit into life outside of church.

For instance, our pastor recently preached a sermon about building bridges in relationships. We led into the sermon with a drama where a man who hadn’t spoken to his brother in months was trying to gather the courage to call him. He finally made the call, and after a rocky start to the conversation, they managed to connect with each other. The following week, we had three separate people tell us they had called family members they’d been out of touch with, and there may well have been more who didn’t bother to tell us. That is why we make the effort to do drama – it touches people’s hearts.

The reasons are slightly different for performing larger productions outside of worship services. We still do it because it touches hearts, but rather than illuminating part of a sermon, we have the opportunity to present a fuller picture through drama alone. After a recent play about marriage relationships, several people told me they felt a renewed commitment to their spouses, and I know of one couple who began marriage counseling as a result of the play. We don’t typically perform drama as evangelism, but we have seen dozens of people profess faith in Christ during the years we performed an Easter Passion play.

And that’s another reason for doing longer, outside-of-worship-service productions. People who have a prejudice against church services may be willing to come to a play, particularly if you work at developing a reputation for quality drama that has relevance. Your attitude should not be to trick them through the doors so you can preach at them. Instead, touch their hearts with a message that shows you understand. If they’re hungry, they’ll come back for preaching.

The other reason for drama ministry is summed up in Acts of Faith’s other key verse, 1 Peter 4:10 – “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” I don’t believe God ever wastes a gift. If He’s given you a talent, He wants you to use it to further the Kingdom. Acting may not seem like a way of administering God’s grace until you’ve seen it in action. One of my all-time favorite comments after a production was this, from a woman in our congregation – “I never pictured Jesus laughing with His friends that way. I feel like I can love Him better now.” To have made that light come on for her was administering God’s grace.

We also administer God’s grace to each other on the team. Anyone who’s been in a play knows how close you become with cast members over the course of a production as you spend time together and learn to trust each other on the stage. Now imagine that when one production’s over, you start another one. And imagine that instead of working on simple entertainment, you’ve been rehearsing and learning God’s Truth together. Our drama ministry team has become family to each other. I’ve seen a level of love and trust develop among our members that I’ve never experienced elsewhere, and we’ve truly been able to minister to each other as we also minister together.