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Drama, worship resource has strong missions thrust

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–“Find a need and fill it” is more than a cliche for Karen Anderson Holcomb and Sarah Standerfer Groves, authors of “Certain Call: Missions Dramas and Choruses for Youth and College Students.”

When their paths crossed in the early ’90s at an Acteens conference in Nashville, Tenn., they had no idea that a few years later they would combine their talents to produce a valuable resource for youth and college students.

A few years after their initial meeting, Holcomb and Groves served together on the staff of national Woman’s Missionary Union in Birmingham, Ala., where they developed materials and provided programming for Acteens, the missions organization for teen girls. When the need was voiced for a drama/music resource for youth and college students, they recognized that God had brought them together for a purpose.

Certain Call, published by WMU, combines Holcomb’s drama writing skills with Groves’ musical gifts to provide a wealth of ideas. The book contains 31 dramas and 10 worship choruses with an accompanying CD. The choruses are appropriate for use with the dramas. The lively, upbeat tone of both the dramas and music appeal to youth by conveying a serious message without being “preachy.”

Missions and evangelism are the themes for Certain Call. By participating in the dramas and music, young people can “discover truth from biblically-based material” and then “communicate that truth in a creative way,” according to Holcomb.

Knowing that young people relate well to both drama and music, these authors believe the combination of the creative arts, along with the Bible message, provides a way for youth to grow spiritually themselves and also to reach out in a non-threatening way to other youth.

The book’s name reflects the missions message with a play on the words “curtain call,” a term commonly used in the performing arts.

Certain Call urges young people toward a lifestyle of missions. The authors explain: “Even though we might see no curtain, we mustn’t wait for the parting of drapes or any such dramatic sign as a call to action. For God’s mission call is certain, though often quiet and without much fanfare.”

Their book provides creative ways to communicate the gospel in ways that young people easily recognize and relate to so that both the participants and their audience benefit from the missions message. Because drama and music are such a real part of students’ lives through varying art forms, they have a high interest in participating in both.

Groves believes that “anytime you learn or memorize something to present to others, you glean the message from the art,” so students who perform are impacted by their involvement.

Soon after moving to Jonesboro, Ark., in 1999, Groves wanted to use the drama/music resources that she and Holcomb had developed. But she was unfamiliar with the talents and abilities of the youth in her new church. Parts were assigned to many youth who struggled with shyness or inexperience. However, according to Groves, God used that experience as an encouragement because “the church members saw how much the young people accomplished and what a self-esteem boost it was for them.”

Groves and Holcomb have their favorites among the dramas and choruses. Groves says her favorite drama is “Jennifer New,” a lively monologue about a girl who comes to Christ and deals with friends who hear she’s no longer “cool.”

Holcomb cites “Fred” as a drama that has impacted the lives of many boys. Fred is a 15-year-old who searches for significance in ways common to teenagers, but the evangelistic message of the drama urges youth to realize that only God can fill their need for significance.

Both authors say “Go!” is their favorite chorus, and Holcomb says she finds herself singing this chorus while doing housework and other chores at home. It urges youth by affirming: “You are the light in the darkness. You’re the Body of Christ. You are His disciples, and you need to shine bright!”

Certain Call was written to encourage young people to shine for Christ through drama and music. For youth leaders who need dramas and choruses to reinforce a theme or for special events, mission trips, or worship services, Certain Call definitely meets that need with a strong missions thrust.

Certain Call can be purchased directly from WMU at 1-800-968-7301, at www.wmustore.com or at any LifeWay Christian Bookstore.

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  • Sammie Jo Barstow