by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., 6/12/15.
Sometimes my students will note that they use the creative arts, such as drama, in their churches. And this is good. I certainly think drama can be a creative avenue for ministry. In fact, most of my readers probably do not know that I have written over three dozen plays, and helped raise money for a Christian retreat center in Indiana through sold-out plays for over a decade. I stopped directing my plays in the last few years due to the leading of our Lord and the popularity of my books which have given me a forum to talk about church management issues on a national level.
However, I am honored that one of my daughters, Kelly is a graduate of a Christian graduate school where she earned a Master of Fine Arts in theatre (she already has a BA in drama). However, Kelly said something that struck me. She said that her theatre friends did not respect church theatre because it was of poor quality. This got me thinking, and I think she may be right.
The reason I bring this up is because we often let people act in drama ministries because they are willing … and not necessarily talented. The same way that we screen and mentor singers and musicians to ensure we have gifted people; I would like to suggest we mentor and disciple people with theatrical talent to ensure that our ministry honors our talented Creator. As Franky Schaeffer said, back in 1981 we may be “addicted to mediocrity in the arts” (Franky Schaeffer, Addicted to mediocrity: 20th century Christians and the arts, 1981).
So try applying the same rigorous selection process to the drama areas as you do music, and I am confident our musical prowess can rival our musical competence.
And to stay attune to quality in various arts, why not try the following exercise? In many of the arts such as music, leaders often visit opera, classical recitals, jazz improvisations, rock concerts, etc. in order to be exposed to quality music. These actions kept them from being too accustomed to the mediocrity that often over time crops up in churches. Now, I am not suggesting you (or they) uncritically attend all musical concerts, but that you pick musical expressions such as Christian concerts of various styles, classical expressions by Christian composers such as Bach, Mendelssohn, etc., etc..
So to get you thinking about this, let me tender a question. When was the last you visited live theatre? And, what was the quality? Was it performed by amateurs or by professionals? And, what ideas did it give you regarding improving the quality of the dramatic arts in our churches?
Here to get you thinking 🙂
PS See these posts for samples my students have submitted of Christians exemplifying excellence in the arts: