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Content about Drama in public worship

September 1, 2009

This versatile drama presentation, based on the Heidelberg Catechism’s first question and answer, can be included in a worship service in a variety of settings and stages. The reading can be adapted to include five to twenty or more student readers. For Part 3, you’ll need three different colors of T-shirts for three small groups of two to three students—each of the small groups puts on a matching color T-shirt to identify them as a group. (Inexpensive colored T-shirts are available at most large craft stores.)

March 1, 2009

Declaring what we believe in the words of a creed is an important part of many worship services. It helps us express our theology and ties us to believers around the world and across the ages. When we recite something often enough, though, the words simply roll off our tongues and we don’t think about what we’re saying.

December 1, 2008

Easter Sunday is usually the day churches are as full as they ever get. So it’s a great opportunity to express the good news of Christ’s resurrection in a powerful way. This dramatic Easter presentation has a strong scriptural foundation and it engages worshipers in a creative, participatory manner. You can and should adapt it to suit your sanctuary and congregation, using, for example, more or fewer volunteers or different symbols. We’ve used this format both as a sunrise/Sonrise service and at the regular worship hour.

September 1, 2008

Last December, our worship committee was looking for an idea for our annual candlelight service. For our Advent worship we had used the series “The Places of Christmas” (RW 77), which traced the places along God’s story of redemption. To build on this theme, our worship team came up with “People and Places of the Nativity”—a service looking at the significance of the ordinary people and places of the nativity story.

September 1, 2008

Our Approach to God

[Sound of clock ticking; the words, “Teach us to number our days” appear one by one on screen. Piano plays “Now Is the Time to Worship” as PowerPoint slide dissolves into the words of the song. Throughout the service, words of all litanies and songs are projected on screen.]

September 1, 2008

During Advent we wanted to draw all the generations in our congregation into the wonderful messages of hope, love, peace, and joy. To do that, we wrote dramatic scripts to reflect God’s command to tell the children the stories of his faithfulness. Storytellers represented the gospel characters who had received God’s message directly from angels: Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds.

June 1, 2008

This conversational drama was the centerpiece of a service examining the significance of taking Christ’s body and blood during the Lord’s Supper. It includes four narrators in costume: Jewish scholar, Man-on-the-street, Scientist, and Nurse. A table in the center holds chemicals and glassware for a science demonstration. If possible, obtain a few slides (see list of props) to project at appropriate points as a visual aid.

December 1, 2007

God sees the plight of refugees. He hates the injustice that leads to their displacement from home and country. The church, called to emulate God’s character, must also care about the hardships of refugees. One way to do so is to incorporate into a worship service a celebration of God’s just character and a call to care for refugees by performing this drama.

December 1, 2007

This service presents a dramatic reading of Matthew 26 and 27 with an introduction from Matthew 21. A narrator reads all the sections that tie the dialogue together. Songs are used at the end of each logical sequence to bridge to the next section.

September 5, 2005

How well do you “hear” Scripture?

For some people the spoken or written word is powerful. But others “hear” more clearly through other senses. Worship leaders face the challenge of presenting the Scripture to people who have a variety of intelligences and learning styles. How can we help all these people hear the Word of God with greater clarity and understanding?

March 5, 2005

For more information about this touring company of professional Christian actors, visit The group in the photographs is the Youth Drama Team sponsored by Friends of the Groom (made possible through a grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship): Julia Albain, Robyn Hubbuch, Becca Long, Becca Maher, Aimee Morton, David Morton, Annie Sluka, and Jacqueline Voss.

March 5, 2005

When we hear Scripture read in worship, it is usually in carefully chosen chunks or discrete units. The Bible, however, is one large overriding picture/story of God’s action with his people, written down over many generations. It contains hugely complex overlapping images and concepts, like a tapestry of multiple interweaving strands. The overall effect has a rich and vibrant depth, as individual elements placed next to each other bring out a whole range of associations and meanings.

June 4, 2004

I’m trying to schedule meetings for September, and keep running into conflicts with “We Haul”—the whole “help the frosh unpack” enterprise. I’m imagining all those first-year students in their rooms at home the last weekend in August, their lives about to get turned upside down, sorting through all their clothes, books, CDs, high-school memorabilia. Wondering what to bring to college, what to leave, what’s important.

December 2, 2002

[Two people dressed in black stand silently beside a table with a folded white sheet in the center. To the right of the table stands a bench. To the left of the table, and slightly behind it, stands a wooden cross. Two readers, also dressed in black, stand on one side of the stage area; a third reader stands on the opposite side of the stage area. Performance time: 30 minutes.]

Reader 1: Praise the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. (Ps. 104:1)

December 1, 1999

“Come and See” has been presented at women’s groups, youth groups, and in worship services. It has always been well received.

The actor who plays the part should not underestimate the amount of preparation time needed to portray the character—it is an emotionally and physically draining role. The length of the monologue requires creative blocking, and lighting effects add to the presentation.

December 1, 1994
JOHN 21:1-14

Narrator: Jesus appeared once more to his disciples at Lake Tiberias. This is how it happened, Simon Peter, Thomas— called the Twin, Nathanael—the one from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples of Jesus were all together. Simon Peter said to the others:

Peter: I am going fishing.

Disciple: We will come with you.

December 1, 1993
Staging Notes

Cast: Narrator, John, Thomas

Running Time: Approximately 6 minutes

This reader's theater piece is conceived for a variety of settings. It works equally well as a static piece (read at miavphones with limited gestures) or as a staged reading. In a staged reading, saipts are still carried in a bindei; but movement and gesture patterns are specifically determined. The following rendering of the script indicates only broad movement patterns.


December 1, 1990

This dramatic reading of John's passion narrative uses the NIV text of John 18-19; small changes were made in the biblical text to encourage greater clarity in this script.

The following roles are necessary:

Evangelist (Narrator)
A Servant Girl
An Official
A Bystander
A Servant
A Chorus of Priests
Several Soldiers
The Crowd

September 1, 1990

Picture the following scenario, a drama most of us have witnessed many times:

The elders move to the front in smooth, orderly motion while worshipful music plays quietly in the background.

The pastor climbs down from the podium, signaling a change in scene and mood. He moves behind a table, ceremoniously covered with crafted utensils filled with bread and wine.

The pastor opens the Bible—a strong symbolic action. He reads to the congregation.

September 1, 1990
A Scripture Drama from John 4

[Jesus enters and sits on a stool draped with a dark cloth (to look like a rock) near the well.]

Narrator: He came to a town in Samaria named Sychar,
which was not far from the field
that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob's well was there,
and Jesus, tired out by the trip,
sat down by the well.

[Woman begins to enter and will sit on well seat.]