Scripture Engagement/ Dramatizing Scripture Practice Tips

Dramatizing Scripture Practice Tips

Using drama to help the members of your small or large group engage with Scripture will take on a completely different form for every group. In some groups, the members might be excited to take an entire Bible passage, write a script, rehearse it, and perform the story for your whole congregation. Other leaders will find that it takes some encouragement to just get participants to read Scripture aloud with inflection. Keeping this fact in mind, here are some universal tips that might serve as inspiration while you prepare to introduce your group to the practice of Scripture engagement through drama.

  • If you have people in your group who have gifts and experience in the area of drama, consider using them to help you develop a Scripture engagement experience using drama. People with dramatic abilities are at times underutilized in church ministries. If you invite them into the process, you’ll be an encouragement to them and you’ll end up having a better experience.
  • Remember the traits of your group when choosing a drama activity. Just because a particular practice was a success in one group doesn’t mean it will go over well in a different group. Every group is made up of people with different needs and personalities. You have to figure out how to best suit your methods of Scripture engagement for each group. If you think drama might be an effective means of helping your group engage with Scripture, take some time to pray about how this might best be done.
  • Be up front with your group about the purpose and goal of dramatizing Scripture. Many find performances in general to be daunting. Your group will likely be much more willing to participate if they know that the point of the drama activity is to help them understand God and the Bible better, not just to try something new.
  • Take your time. Unless you’re working with people who are accustomed to acting, this is going to seem fairly uncomfortable at first. Don’t expect too much from your members the first time you attempt dramatizing a Scripture passage.
  • Make sure your space is appropriate for the activity you want to try. An action-packed reenactment of a passage will work great in the backyard on a warm night, but if you decide to do it inside, don’t be surprised when your favorite vase gets knocked off the fireplace mantle at a dramatic moment.
  • For a reluctant group, consider implementing props and costume pieces. While drama can often be employed in engaging Scripture without the use of these extras, it could be that the man who tends to read the Bible like it is a legal document will come to life as Moses when he can pretend to part the Red Sea with his staff (broom handle).
  • Be constantly encouraging. As an applauding audience fuels a theater troupe, so can positive comments from you and the rest of your group give a member the confidence to continue exploring Scripture through drama.
  • Make sure you debrief both the actors and the audience of your Scripture engagement drama. You may want to use some of the “5 questions” to do that. It is during the discussion time that participants will more fully engage with the passage as they share ideas and insights.

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© Phil Collins, Ph.D., 2014. This material was created in partnership with the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement.