Starting a Drama Club with children at church is a great way to involve kids in worship with a creative and fun activity. We started a six-week Drama Club that runs after our regular children’s choir ends for the year. In my congregation, there are a lot of kids who participate in spring sports, and our choirs have always wrapped up about a month and a half before school was finished for the year. It made for a lull for kids who weren’t involved in sports. Drama Club was started as an outreach to those who were looking for a short-term activity at the end of the year. We have anywhere from 6-12 kids who come once a week for a class where we play improv games and Bible charades. We read the lectionary for the Sunday when we will present one of the readings for the day as a dramatic interpretation. And collectively we put together our presentation of the reading.
Over our six-week program, children in grades K-6th learn to express themselves more clearly through body language, facial expressions, and public speaking. Sometimes our presentation is a tableau where the Bible passage is read while the kids create frozen pictures acting out each scene. Sometimes it is a better fit to create an interpretive movement response to the passage. This has been especially effective with Psalms and passages about Creation. Sometimes the kids are inspired to write their own play based on the passage. One year I had a sixth grader who was so taken with the Book of Job that he wrote a whole play based on it. The kids that year performed the Job play after worship in our Fellowship Hall, and it was a huge hit.
We find some high school youth and young adults who have experience in acting and drama to come and help us lead the class. Both the children and their young adult mentors love the experience. As the program has grown each year, the returning children are more engaged in the creative process of working out the Bible passage and how to present it. Sometimes there’s even a self-identified student director who emerges from the group.
Before we present the Bible passage for worship, we practice for parents and friends at our last Drama Club class. The small audience gives the kids a chance to get nervous and see how their presentation works in the sanctuary. The congregation is always very receptive of their efforts, finding their energy and creativity a wonderful way to bring the Bible to life.