Our church was going through a rough time. Attendance was down, which of course meant offerings were down. I was serving as board member, treasurer, secretary, and janitor, all unpaid positions. The Pastor and his wife were becoming a bit discouraged by the years of struggle trying to build back up a church that they had rescued from the brink of collapse.
Quite frankly, things just seemed to be so stagnant that my devout faith in God’s ability to spark revival anywhere and anytime was being tested. But something happened – something wonderful. The phone rang. No, that wasn’t the wonderful thing. I’m getting to that part, but it did start with the phone ringing. On the other end of the line was a woman pitching a type ministry neither I nor the pastor had ever before heard of. America’s leading skit drama ministry New Life Drama Company was interested in performing at our church. The pastor and I asked questions, listened, asked more questions, listened a bit more, and finally decided to invite this group to come to our church and perform skits that portray the gospel message through dramatic acting in front of any congregation that can simply provide food and lodging for the group.
New Life Drama Company is staffed by young people, ages 18 to 25, who are committed to traveling the country year round and representing a ministry so unique and different an explanation is only truly understood witnessing their work in person. But I will try and explain as best as I can.
NLDC members travel the country in groups of four to six members. There are several groups traveling the country at the same time, just in different regions. They schedule their performances well in advance and require no set fee for their services. Of course they accept offerings to keep the ministry up and running. They do require lodging and meals, which is not really a big deal. For years now, we have offered our home as a place for NLDC members to lodge while in the region, and we loved having them as guests.
These young people are quick to offer help to anyone lucky enough to meet up with them. They walk in the door and offer to do your dishes (we tried to stop them, honestly we did), mow your grass (I had to hide the key to the riding lawn mower), vacuum your carpet (they waited till we were at work), and just about anything else you can think of. They are polite, caring, understanding, mature, and best of all, completely, unequivocally, and fantastically on fire for Jesus! They pray, they read scripture, they pray some more, they practice their skits in your home or on your back deck, and they are a blessing in every way. NLDC recruits and trains serious candidates who are committed to using this ministry to make a difference in our world!
Our church was hurting. But these young people didn’t know that. They did know that no matter where they perform, they serve the same God. The dramatic skits presented inside the sanctuary that Sunday morning lifted up our congregation. I saw our older crowd moved to tears by their excitement in a ministry they never knew existed. I saw young people rising out of their chairs in triumph, excited to see their peers active in their faith. And I saw in my pastor’s face a joyful celebration of revival, a regeneration of the enthusiasm that first led him to choose the profession he did. Our church was no longer hurting. But no, my duties at the church never became salaried jobs, and I was fine with that.
That was quite a few years ago. Recently, my family hosted five more NLDC members. I asked one member, Allison McIntyre of Lincoln, California, how she became involved with New Life Drama Company?
“Unlike most people who join the drama company, I had never seen a team before I signed up. One night I was praying that God would give me a direction for my future. I got irritated because I didn’t feel like He was answering me, and so I resigned myself to looking for drama scripts that applied to my college group’s upcoming teaching schedule. I typed in my usual search, but something I had never seen before popped up as an option. I clicked on the NLDC web page and thought to myself how amazing it would be to do something like that.”
“Is that when you joined the ministry?” I asked.
“No, I didn’t realize that this was an answer to my prayer until later when I thought back on that night. From that point on, I emailed questions and got more information about NLDC. The more I prayed about it, and the more I felt the Lord leading me there.”
“Can you describe how NLDC uses drama to minister to people who have never seen this type of work in their church?” I inquired of Allison. Her answer best sums up this awe-inspiring ministry.
“Well, I think drama really impacts people in a way that nothing else can. It’s like taking a message and making it real life, something you can see, relate to, and remember. Sometimes it will make you laugh, sometimes cry, and either way, it gets you emotionally involved, and suddenly the message is no longer ‘out there’, but it’s inside you – it’s personal.”
Allison is correct; NLDC brings the gospel to the personal level like no other ministry I’ve seen.
If you would like more information about NLDC please visit them at www.nldc.com