The Similarity between "Dramatic" Children's Sermons and Classroom Dramas and Discussion Techniques
Over in the Easter ~ Holy Week Forum there is a thread of several "Holy Week Children's Sermon Ideas" --each of which is a drama or dramatic presentation that could easily be adapted as a Drama Workshop Skit. Each includes "objects" -which is what an "object lesson" is.
An object lesson is a lesson that is illustrates (dramatized) a point with a story using objects (props) to focus student attention and provide a memory hook for meaning.
Good children's sermons often tell a story, have characters and props, and include a surprise --because stories with characters, props, and ah-ha! surprises are "memory food." Not so coincidentally, these are the same elements we emphasize in Drama Workshop activities, (and are why most teachers prefer teaching the dramatic stories of Jesus and not just one-liner verses.)
From a resource point of view, this means that good children's sermon ideas and good ideas for classroom skits and presentations are rather interchangeable with some adaptations for time and space.
- In your children's sermons, use classroom skit or dramatic presentation techniques (story, action, props, characters, ah-ha!).
- In your lesson plan discussions, use object lesson techniques! (story, action, props, characters, ah-ha!).
A BTW About Children's Sermons...
What's often lacking in children's sermons is the VISUAL ACTION of drama -i.e. the movement and characters that attract the learners' eye, imagination, and memory.
These are the same things that are often lacking in poor drama workshop lesson plans and teachers.
Many children's sermon leaders are reluctant to dramatize their point in a worship setting or don't even think to dramatize their point. Why?
- because they think too much playful action is out of place in a sanctuary.
- or because they are self-conscious in front of adults.
- or they are simply not good with teaching groups of children.
- or they over-rely on their verbal abilities.
In other words,
- they think the sanctuary is more sacred than the classroom --which is awful theology.
- Or they are afraid to look foolish in front of the adults.
- Or they forget they are supposed to be teaching the children and not the adults.
- Or they are not very creative.
- Or they think they are good at just "talking with the kids."
- Or they think the "fun stuff" is secondary and merely for entertainment purposes.
- And all too often it is "all of the above."
The result is pastors standing still or sitting motionless while they hold up an object (prop) and talk talk talk. The funny thing is, it's often the playful dramatic children's sermons that connect best with the kids, get the best response from the adults, and feel the most personally satisfying as a pastor or teacher of children.
Drama Workshop teachers and lesson plans can suffer from these same problems.