Tag Archives: arts in the church

Drama is Not Cute

I am an unabashed fan of mimes, skits, plays, and human videos being done within the Church. Drama is one of my passions, and all these things being done within the walls of the Church is something I genuinely get excited about. Excited to watch it, excited to participate, excited to direct it, and excited to critique it.

I went to a talent competition this weekend, and the whole day was about drama. I took notes during the performances and tried to pick my own winners. I compare my picks with the actual winners. It helps me be a better drama coach, and it will help me prepare the kids that I will eventually work with.

I heard something yesterday that was meant to be a positive remark, but as a drama person, I took it the wrong way. I was watching the younger kids perform, and the person announcing the different people coming to the stage also tried to engage the audience. During a lull while waiting for the judges to complete their comments and calculate their scores, the announcer told us, “any pastors in the audience, this is a great way to start off the service.” I honestly can’t remember exactly what he said after that, but the gist of it was “this is cute, and you should definitely incorporate in this in your service every now and then.”

picard

Yes, a seven-year-old in a tutu jumping across the stage is cute. There’s no denying it. But the reason there is dance or drama on any given Sunday is NOT because it’s cute. Drama people don’t perform because it’s cute. We perform because there is a message. Because of an anointing or a call on our lives. We are there to worship. Our focus is not on the crowd, it should be on Jesus.

As one who has spent most of my life working on something relating to a church drama, the fact that people still think of it as just “cute” instead of an actual ministry or something that has significance upsets me.

A singer or minister doesn’t want you to walk away from what they have done remembering what kind of outfit they wore. They want to know if what they did resonated within you. If it ministered. If it did, they succeeded.

Yes, the seven-year-old will be cute. But why is the child on stage? Do they want to show off? Or do they want to do something for Jesus? If it’s the latter, encourage that servanthood mentality and foster it in any way you see fit. Give them an opportunity to perform and to grow within their church family. But don’t let it remain “cute” to the congregation. Remind them it is another avenue of ministry. Trust me, your own drama person will thank you for the distinction.

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The Secret Grotto

Apologies for my extra long blogging break! I have returned!

Today I’m going to borrow a bit from The Little Mermaid and talk about the Church’s stance when it comes to the arts. Trust me, there is a connection.

As you watch The Little Mermaid, you discover that Ariel loves everything from humans – a world her father has forbidden for very good reasons – they eat fish! Her life is in danger if she is around humans, and he has made a blanket ban on anything relating to humans.

Ariel, though, ignores her father’s orders. She collects human artifacts that she has found within the sea. Knowing her father’s stance on the matter, she stores them all in a secret grotto. Here she can revel in her collection without fear of being scolded, judged, or punished.

grotto

King Triton finds his daughter’s secret grotto, and he does what he thinks is best to protect his daughter from the dangers of the human world – he destroys it. Unbeknownst to him, the enemy is watching the entire showdown, and uses the explosive episode to lure Ariel away from the safety of her father. It lands her into a horrible trap, and the rest of the movie follows Ariel and her family trying to reverse it.

ariel

So, why did I just give you a rundown of a Disney classic? Because it hit me one day that the Church has done the same thing with the arts.

Art, music, dance, drama – there is a place for it within the church. They are powerful tools, and the secular world has embraced them enthusiastically. The arts tend to draw a different crowd, and the majority of them do not embrace the Church. There is unfortunately an ugly side to the arts that can be used by the enemy to draw people away from the Lord. The arts are fascinating and powerful, and can be dangerous and offensive if the artist chooses. As a result of this odd little bundle that the arts represent, the Church chose the same path that King Triton did in the movie – they kicked them out. To protect everyone, it was just best not to do that. Period.

In the years since the Church rejected the arts, it has realized that was a mistake. They have reopened the doors to the arts, set guardians to protect against the ugly side of things, and hoped for the best. But the history is still there, and it is clear that in the majority of churches across America today, that the arts are still not fully trusted. They’re welcomed at certain times of the year, and then they’re bottled back up and not mentioned again.

nativity
I happen to be an individual who has lived in the grotto. It wasn’t a secret, because I was blessed to be in a church home that welcomed my gifts and abilities. But it was still different. And it’s different for anyone who wants to do something in the arts – play a different kind of music, paint for a living, perform in community theater, or be a dancer. Those are all perfectly acceptable things, but they’re not the run-of-the-mill Sunday morning fare. And because of that, it’s either pushed to the side, ignored, or rejected. It’s sad, but true.

kids shepherds

The arts are powerful means of media that can be used to draw people to Jesus. But, first, we have to get the Church to accept that we don’t have to live in the grotto in order to please them. Not everyone will patiently wait for their turn in the Church. Some will decide to leave the safety of the Church forever because the people don’t want them. They will use their gifts wherever they can be accepted – bars, clubs, Hollywood, and Broadway. Sadly, there isn’t a lot of Jesus there.

Don’t exile your secret grotto people, Church. Embrace them, love them, and use them. If you don’t, they’ll find another audience that will. Sadly, the enemy is waiting to steal someone else away. Don’t let anyone else be drawn into an elaborate trap that could be avoided.

 

 

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