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Ministry begins when players take bow, drama leader says


GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–When drama is used as an evangelistic tool, the ministry begins when the play is over, a national dramatist and editor said.

Matt Tullos, a discipleship design editor at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, said, “The play isn’t what reaches people for Christ. It’s going to them after the play and being able to minister to them.”

Tullos, speaking to participants in a July 15-20 Church Music Leadership Conference at Glorieta, a LifeWay Conference Center, in New Mexico, said he asks drama team members not to talk with each other after a play in a missions setting.

Instead he asks them to go into the audience and ask, “How did this minister to you?” and “Can I pray for you?”

“I know I’ve done a good job discipling my drama team when I see them praying with members of the audience,” he observed.

Drama involves more people in churches than the actors, Tullos said, because it encompasses those who set up refreshments, create costumes and build the stages, among other tasks.

“When I think of drama and evangelism, I think of the whole church diving in with their various talents.”

Drama revivals, promoted most often as festivals of faith or arts fests, provide church members ways to expose their neighbors to the gospel through the non-threatening environment of a play.

Churches increasingly incorporate a variety of arts into such events, Tullos said, offering a display of faith-based art in the church foyer and a concert before the play.

“Having a concert already going when unchurched persons arrive for the play makes entering more comfortable for those who prefer anonymity,” he said.

An art festival or drama event could include a pizza night for teenagers, a club activity for children, a dinner theater, a lunch theater for senior adults, a brown-bag-lunch theater for business people and a melodrama for youth, among others, he said.

Additionally, churches that want to make the drama experience an outreach tool can provide the audience with a printed piece which thanks them for attending. At the same time, the flyer can introduce them to Jesus and present the plan of salvation.

“Preachers who want to reach today’s youth must realize it is done by telling stories just as Jesus did,” Tullos said. “One of the most powerful things to do is to tell the life story of someone sitting in the audience. We need to tell them Jesus is the real thing.

“People are really coming around to the feeling if we are going to keep the postmodern generation hooked into the story, it has to be multi-sensory and has to be real.”

The music ministries department of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention sponsored Church Music Leadership Conference 2000.
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  • Charles Willis