News Articles

Reluctant churches can benefit from dramatic contributions

ATLANTA (BP)–Introducing drama to the not-so-enthusiastic church can be a challenge worth meeting, a career actor and drama director told participants in the National Drama Festival, Nov. 14-16 at First Baptist Church, Atlanta.
Jeanette Clift George, director of the A.D. Players in Houston, said despite the proliferation of drama ministries among churches, some congregations are resistant to using creative arts in worship.
“We need to convey we are there to contribute to the church and let them know what they will gain so we have mutual support,” George said. “This tension (or reluctance) is God’s gift to us. It directs us into creativity and an acknowledgment that drama people in the church are under the church’s authority.”
To illustrate, George paraphrases Philippians 2:14: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.”
Her interpretation is: “… don’t waste your energy arguing with the church. Celebrate the tension, but remember the church is in authority. If you are not in a church that is wholly supportive, you need to lose the conflict and find how to support the church.
“If you aren’t there in prayer meeting, don’t expect them to be there in the audience for you.”
Drama and its application takes on a different significance when the creative artist has accepted Christ, she observed.
“When I give myself over to the Lord, I am a new creature … . (M)y past life has no authority over me. The Christian actor has authority over his past. The only reason a believer goes back to his past is to use it productively in ministry,” she continued.
“You are to speak the truth in love. If you do not love your church, you do not have the right to speak the truth,” she said.
Any door that will open for drama ministry is your door into the church, George said.
“If the youth group door opens … if the music door opens, go through it.”
George tells aspiring dramatists that theater is hard work.
“If you are committed to excellence, you have signed up for training,” she said. “It takes personal accountability and the ability to take criticism.
“When Paul (the apostle) wrote, ‘I run to win,’ I think that’s incredible,” she continued. “Run to win. Know what drama is. If you don’t have discipline in your drama, you don’t have drama. In many ways, God teaches discipline to those of us in drama who don’t have discipline.”
George urged festival participants to learn what drama will do for the church and to communicate that to those who are reluctant to accept creative arts in worship.
“Drama is educational and has aesthetic value,” she said. “Drama is a ministry in experience, adventure and joy.
“Christian drama’s purpose is:
— to celebrate him,
— to assure the world that God is God,
— to teach the lesson: when called, obey,
— to celebrate opportunities, accountability and what God has given us,
— to tell the world God likes to dwell in unexpected places and
— to tell the world God loves you.”
The National Drama Festival, attended by more than 2,200 people involved in creative arts ministries, was sponsored by the pastor-staff leadership department of the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    About the Author

  • Charles Willis