At Our Savior’s, Lancaster, church youth are taking part in a fun, interactive, and innovative learning opportunity.
Once a month, Sunday School leaders discuss a Bible story in depth. Then, Sunday School students and volunteers develop, script, cast, and produce a play that depicts the Bible story. The video of the play is posted on YouTube and shown to the congregation during fellowship such as Advent Soup Supper.
See Our Savior’s, Lancaster’s Youth’s Production of the Story of Ruth!
Sandi Kelly, one of the Elders in charge of Sunday School, chooses the story, reviewing with her kids, who are church youth. They then meet after church on the first Sunday of the month with the rest of the youth, eat pizza, read the story out loud from a Children’s Bible, and brainstorm about how they can recreate the story. Reading from a Children’s Bible helps to clarify and simplify the basic narrative of the story. The group then re-reads the story in an adult Bible in order to expand the theme and get more ideas of what should be featured in the play.
The group casts parts, decides how to frame the story – as a classic Bible story style, a science fiction story, or other approach – and breaks down the play into scenes. The church has two bins of costumes, and the youth enjoy selecting the garb for their parts.
Once scenes are selected, camera operators Natalie and Max Kelly alternate shooting, as they perform in the play as well. Scenes are mostly improvised, and artistic license is encouraged so that the youth can think about what is going on both in the Bible story and its historical, Biblical context. For instance, during the play about Ruth, a death scene was included because the youth wanted to explore how Ruth and Naomi’s husbands might have died. The youth are curious about Bible stories, says Sandi Kelly, and having the opportunity to produce their own narratives allows them to think about what lessons are being taught and to relate them to their lives.
High School Youth Julia Driggers says that the movies are simple, but fun. She enjoys getting into the characters and finding out their specific traits. In the story of Ruth, Julia emphasized Naomi’s scheming to help Ruth connect to Boaz. Church Youth Sarah enjoys being an actress, and says playing and especially dressing as a character makes the story come alive.