Using drama to help engage the members of your small or large group in Scripture will take on a completely different form for every group. In some of your 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 with inflection from a resource like the Sourceview Bible. Keeping this fact in mind, here are some universal practice tips that might serve as inspiration while you prepare to introduce your small group to the practice of Scripture Engagement through drama.
If you have people in your group that 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 ministries. If you invite them into the process you’ll be both 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 yours—and that’s not a bad thing. Every group is made of people with different needs and personalities. You have to figure out how to best suit your methods of Scripture engagement for that group. If you think drama might be an effective means of helping your group engage Scripture, take some time to pray about how this might best be done.
Be up front with the purpose and goal. Many people find performances in general to be daunting. Your group will likely be much more willing to participate if they know that the point of your 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 a group accustomed to acting, this is going to seem fairly uncomfortable to people at first. Don’t expect too much from your members the first time you attempt drama.
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 Scripture Engagement 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” found under the “Storying” section of this website. It is during the debrief time that participants will more fully engage with the passage as ideas and insights are shared.