Doctor of Ministry
Friesen Smith, Dr. Katie
The main purpose of this research was to study the validity of using liturgical drama as a vital tool of expression in helping to make Scripture come alive for the application and transformation of lives, first of those of the researcher’s local congregation and eventually of other churches. The researcher wrote and directed a play using members of the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church as actors and crew. The entire church was a participant of this research as the play was done during a Sunday morning worship service as part of the liturgy. The mixed-method approach presented the most viable pathway for this study and the researcher surveyed a cross-section of the congregation both as actors and audience members. The essential elements considered in using this method to achieve this goal involved selecting a passage of Scripture that would allow the playwright to bring Scripture alive in a thought provoking yet simple way without compromising the essence of the message of Scripture; additionally, observation of the participants during rehearsal to determine their level of understanding of their roles as well as motivation for their actions was carried out; and as no analysis or measurement of any kind had ever been done on liturgical drama written and directed by the researcher, for this study, a survey was done to measure and analyze the effectiveness of the play in increasing biblical knowledge and inspiring transformation that would produce daily scriptural application. For a more successful and objective case study, the researcher chose those members who presented with a limited understanding of Scripture and were interested in learning through their participation in the play. Rehearsals run once a week for six weeks, with individual cast members having to add extra rehearsals each, during that final week. Moreover, twice that final week for two extra hours each the entire cast also rehearsed. While the researcher has written and directed plays in the past, writing for this project proved a daunting and challenging task. First, the researcher wrote the play as an academic exercise this time and had to try to be creative yet remain true to the text. Another challenge was how to make this more educational than entertainment. The researcher had to be intentional about keeping the sacredness of Scripture, as part of the liturgy during a Sunday morning worship experience. The focus of the observation was on the conduct of the cast from week to week. The researcher assessed each cast member for transformation and changes in behavioral patterns as they assumed roles and tried to bring Scripture alive. The researcher looked for clues as to whether the cast members were individually expressing any changes in their daily lives or at least showing any transformation, however little. The findings suggest that using liturgical drama as a model for teaching the Word of God can be an effective teaching tool. The researcher claims that there is still hope of liturgical drama being a key part of the liturgy and worship. After going through the process of researching and understanding more about liturgical drama, the researcher believes that life is quite similar to a liturgy. The difference is that the liturgy (the order of service) is determined by man and the order of life is determined by God. The stage is set and the curtains go up and life begins. Liturgical drama is a way of celebrating God through movements, the hands, the voice, kneeling in awe in worship.
Doctor of Ministry
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Langley-Ward, A. L. (2020). Liturgical Drama in the Church: an Application of Daily Scriptural Living [Doctoral thesis, Bethel University]. Spark Repository. https://spark.bethel.edu/etd/383