Bringing God’s word to life: Could Bible-based Entertainment Serve a Deeper Purpose Than Just Entertaining Christians?

goup of teens talking in the park

A recent statistic has alarmed many Christians. According to an online study from Barna,* only 17 percent of practicing Christians claim to have a biblical worldview. With the increasing influence of pop culture on the beliefs and attitudes of even professing believers, it could be time for Christians who desire to reach others for Christ to literally get creative.

There’s no denying that Christian entertainment is booming. Books, movies, and even a few series created by and—mostly—for believers have gained momentum in recent years. With movies like War Room and God’s Not Dead finding an audience beyond those who already believe, there’s hope that this kind of material is gaining a foothold with a secular audience. There’s growing potential for this medium to promote the truth of a biblical worldview with believers and unbelievers alike.

In step with this current trend, a new book by writer, director, and actor Michael Merker breathes life into the idea that theater can do more for us than just entertain—it can actually serve as a tool for discipleship and evangelism. Depth by Drama is a practical guide for anyone who wants to create and present Bible-based performances for the evangelism of the lost and the discipleship of performers.

“We live in a time,” says the author, “when Bible knowledge, where it exists at all, is too often a surface knowledge, sometimes wide but usually not very deep. My hope is that the ideas and techniques presented here will help you and many others to increase many potential dimensions of Bible knowledge while serving others in love.”

This recognition that theatrical production and performance could be used as a way to gain a deeper understanding of Scripture came to Michael after a year of playing in the band for a production of the popular musical Godspell. Thanks to his repeated exposure to this dramatization of the book of Matthew, he came to know that part of the Bible intimately. His personal experience with this staging of God’s Word led him to a profound realization: theater techniques could be an ideal method for evangelism and discipleship. He went on to adapt books of the Bible into scripts. Through directing and performing these works, he not only grew in his own understanding of the Word but shared the gospel with his audiences and fellow performers.

Now, he hopes his book with inspire others to do the same.

“My greatest hope is that the use of drama could help engender a new awakening, assisting home churches and underground churches throughout the world to spread the teachings of the Bible authors. It will be hard to take away the Bibles that are written on the hearts of those who memorized entire books of Scriptures.”

With the help of Depth by Drama, anyone can discover the great blessings gained from rehearsing and performing the Word of God and biblical literature, both for the performer and the audience. Whether it’s for personal Bible study, an exercise for a group, or a full-scale performance for an audience, this book—along with the Bible—will be all anyone will need to learn how to put together a production based on Scripture.

And if Michael Merker’s dream becomes a reality, many such productions will soon be seeing the light of day.

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Acting Out His Word LLC has been formed to provide a rationale and method for memorizing and performing the Word of God for the benefit of both the actors and the audience. The book Depth by Drama: Dramatic Discipling is the main tool to this end, as will be social media publishing to illuminate, expand and encourage a movement of Christian activision to the end of ending Bible illiteracy.

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