Torch, Spring 1997

• ardly a day goes by that I don't hear someone ask a question about drama in the church. Just last night I was stopped after the service by an older gentleman who asked eagerly, "When is the next one?" People want to know how to go about setting up a program, how to find material, how frequently dramatic sketches should be scheduled, and even how to receive further training. These are all good questions that deserve thoughtful answers. Many are ultimately matters of style that the pastoral staff will want to address with its own needs, resources, and dynamics of the constituency in mind. But underneath all of these relatively negotiable issues is a question far more fundamental-a question we need to deal with before rushing to the nearest Christian bookstore to look for the perfect piece for next Sunday. What is it about drama as a form of presentation that makes it an effective expression of worship? The question can be approached historically or pragmatically, but we don't need to stop there. The Bible urges us to love God unreservedly– with yearning hearts, hungry souls, active minds, and with bodies presented sacrificially (Mark 12:30; Romans 12:1). Drama, when designed to convey biblical truth, is a dynamic, creative vehicle for engendering "heart, mind, body, and soul" worship. Essentially, drama is a story acted out with some degree of personification. That may bring to mind a full-scale production, enhanced with costumes, scenery, and lighting, but it also applies to simpler presentation. Consider the impact of a sermon illustration delivered with "dramatic flair." With snatches of dialogue and purposed gesture, our pastor, Eric Mounts, captures a concept by drawing on such experiences as a fight on the school bus, conversations in the pickup truck with Dad, or even navigating a barnyard in new shoes. Whether presented as a personified story, monologue, sketch for two performers, or a fully staged play, drama reveals people caught in life's experience. It is a vehicle with which we can reach friends and neighbors "where they are." The heartbeat that drives all drama is people. And as Steve Green has reminded us in song, "People need the Lord." As drama captures the attention and appeals to our sense of humanity, it tends to engage our emotions. Think for a moment of how powerfully the visual media explore this concept. A few years ago, McDonald's aired a commercial in which a boy and his younger sister celebrate their special moments by sharing some french fries. The scene ends as the boy and girl once again keep their tradition, but the "little sister'' is now grown