Recently our Dinner Theatre guru, Debi Stodolka, received a note from a DramaShare member in Ontario. The contents of the note, and Debi’s response was very informative, we felt it should be shared with others:
Not sure if you are still writing these monthly letters. I have just found them and have enjoyed what I have read. I was wondering if you could give me a little advice 🙂 I will start with a little back ground.
I am a member of Gregory Drive Alliance Church in Chatham, Ontario. We started a Dinner Theatre ministry 4 years ago. We started with a script that was borrowed from another church.
It was a mix of Biblical times and present day. First year went great, since then I have written the present day part and changed up the Biblical a bit. This past year we did 4 nights and had every night sold out. We can only hold 130 in our gym with the stage for a meal though.
When we began this ministry it was our hearts desire for it to be used by our church family as an outreach opportunity, so people were encouraged to invite their unsaved friends, coworkers etc. and pay for their meal. We kept the price really reasonable (10) so it was affordable to give your friends the tickets. This has gone over really well, and literally the whole church gets involved on all different levels.
So my questions are….have you ever thought , or taken your drama outside? Like have you thought of doing the Easter story in a location where anyone can hear the message at no charge.? I guess we really want to concentrate on outreach, and not entertaining other Christians. How do you handle that in your Dinner theatre? From what I have read, you definitely have a heart for the lost, and want to see drama used to bring others to Christ.
This year we are seeing our “vision” kind of changing, and to be honest it is a little scary, but we want to follow the Lords leading. So I’m doing a lot of searching, praying and I guess just being open for direction.
I would also love to read your script, “The Fathers Heart” , is it available online?
And do you still write a monthly blog? I would love to read it.
Thanks so much for any advice you can send my way!!
The following was Debi’s good advice:
Hi Pat, and thankyou so much for your email, encouragement and questions! Its always a pleasure for me to have dramatic conversation with people around the world! We’re in this together when its about Jesus! Such a blessing!
So far for us here at Glenview Nazarene Church, I would say the majority of our productions stay here in our building as the sets, props etc are so extensive that to take it out of the building would create huge stress! I say this as we tried it one year! and I promised The Kings Players after that I would never do that to them again unless I had a play with little or no sets and props! Thus “The Fathers Heart”! We have taken this play on the road every single year since I wrote it…(7 years ago) the reports keep traveling and so every year someone calls us to perform in their city! (we go as long as its not too far away as that way I can keep the costs to a minimum) I have also sold the rites to this play to several around North America, as far as Los Angeles… But that would be about it for us taking the message out of the church! I see what we do here as an open door to our community! I would say that half of our audience is unsaved! this has taken several years to accomplish as we’ve learned that we need dramas with a VERY gentle message! Whenever I write a play where the message is strong! We lose some of our audience, so for our Christmas productions I ALWAYS do very gentle (pure outreach, get the community in – Love them, nurture, and make them laugh type outreach) and Easter I do a deep, profound message based drama that hits to the heart of God! So because we’ve got the trust of the community as a place where they can hang their hat and enjoy good moral company and humor, they tend to come to the other productions where the message is stronger! so thats my ultimate goal, to simply BE a shining light, never being ashamed of the gospel, but being sensitive to their hearts!
I am in the process of adding partial copies of my scripts to my website so that you can read the majority of the script in making a decision if you want to buy it!….This will hopefully be downloaded sometime today or tomorrow….so if you’d like to read The Fathers Heart, check out my website.
Thanks again for your questions, I hope I’ve helped you in some way! its sounds like you’re doing an amazing work there, and that Gods Spirit is moving! Just always put Him first and I promise you, He will do a great work thru you!!
I dont have a blog as of right now…but you may find one someday soon!! 🙂 as you’ve just put a thought in my head! 🙂 God bless you (as my good friend John from dramashare says) ….. DRAMATICALLY!
Debi S A Carefree Woman, loving others to freedom!