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GOOD CHURCH SERVICES - written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:       praise, worship, church
SCRIPTURE:   1 Thess.5:16-25
Style:       satire/spoof of a sports announcement
.            as announcers give a play by play report
.            of a church service's "performance" and
.            the congregation's reactions to it
Cast:        2 reporters, 3 pastors, congregation
Set & Props: podium, chairs, 2 headphones

SCRIPT:

(As REPORTERS report, CHURCH scene always freezes,
then REPORTERS will either look over at “CHURCH” setting
when it is happening or they keep looking straight ahead
as if maybe watching it on a monitor.
REPORTERS 1 & 2 get comfortable in chairs
at stage left and adjust their headphones.
CONGREGATION members sit down and PASTOR 1 steps up
to the podium at stage right with great energy.)

PAS.1   GOOOOOD MORNING - CHURCH OF THE DAY!

CON.    (dully)  Good morning, Pastor Ted.

(CHURCH freezes.  REPORTERS report.)

R.1     And it’s on.  This service is off to
.       a great start, wouldn’t you say, Arnie?

R.2     It is an extraordinary start, Bob.
.       After a flawless performance of
.       non-evasive music by the worship team,
.       and all demonstrating just the right amount of
.       apologetic worship with minimal hand movements -
.       Pastor Ted has come out strong
.       and engaged the congregation immediately.

(CHURCH scene unfreezes.)

PAS.1   And so the little boy looks straight up at Mommy
.       and says, “Daddy didn’t say it THAT way.”

(CONGREGATION laughs, then freezes.  REPORTERS report.)

R.1     Pastor Ted gets right into it with a joke
.       that everyone can relate to.  Can you beat that?
.                                                       2
R.2     Excellent strategy, indeed, Bob.
.       I’m just curious what his next move will be.
.       Can he keep up this momentum?

(CHURCH scene unfreezes.)

PAS.1   So when someone like this little one suffers,
.       it’s always nice to know when someone
.       is sending warm and fuzzy THOUGHTS their way.

(CONGREGATION “aws” and shakes heads subtly then freezes.
REPORTERS report.)

R.1     Brilliant move by Pastor Ted.

R.2     Yes, he brought out those big guns just after
.       the appropriate length of build-up, and used
.       just the right emotional catch phrase.

R.1     And he did all of that without evoking
.       one tiny guilt trip.

R.2     Amazing!  This congregation couldn’t ask
.       for anything better.  Let’s just see if he has
.       anything else up his sleeve for a killer ending.

(CHURCH scene unfreezes.)

PAS.1   Let us trust God that He will guide us in our
.       responsibility in reaching out to those in need –

(CONGREGATION gasps big then freezes.  REPORTERS report.)

R.1     Ooohhhh!  Bad move.

R.2     For sure.  As you can see by the congregation’s
.       reaction, they are neither impressed
.       nor entertained.

R.1     You could SEE the “wow-factor” just drop
.       right into the basement.

(CONGREGATION boos and gives PASTOR a thumbs-down.)

PAS.1   Ah, I’m sorry?  For – bringing God into
.       the picture, or implying that you need to
.       address – any issue – I really didn’t mean
.       to take the focus off of you.  You have
.       to believe me.  I- I don’t know what happened.
.                                                       3
(CONGREGATION boos again.  PASTOR 1 slinks off.)

R.2     Let’s see if Pastor Gary can do any better.

(PASTOR 2 steps up to the podium.)

PAS.2   Let’s open in a word of prayer, shall we?
.       Lord God, please open our hearts to Your word –

(CONGREGATION boos louder and give thumbs down.
PASTOR 2 quickly exits.)

R.1     Started off on the wrong track - right out
.       of the gate.  And he’s out of here.

R.2     Indeed.  Straying away from the safe mindless
.       bless-me-please prayers and then sincerely
.       asking for an undetermined outcome?!
.       What was he thinking?

R.1     That just leaves one’s defenses - wide open.

(PASTOR 3 steps up and immediately the CONGREGATION boos
and gives thumbs down right away.  PASTOR 3 slinks off.)

R.1     What do you think?  Dressed too formal
.       or too casual?

R.2     Either way, he didn’t give off a good
.       first impression with his appearance,
.       that’s for sure.

R.1     (shaking head sadly)  This is an atrocity.

R.2     Sure is.  Perhaps we should see what went wrong.

R.1     You mean, an instant replay?

R.2     Yes, maybe we could pinpoint the play
.       that brought this all down.

R.1     Perhaps.  But just maybe we could learn
.       something else.

R.2     Yes, we could learn where it all went wrong.

R.1     No-no, I mean - I feel – BAD.  Guilty.
.       I’m feeling SOMETHING!  I mean -
.       maybe those WERE good plays?
.                                                      4
R.2     Okay, we have a disagreement on the call.
.       We definitely need to rewind and
.       see an instant replay?

R.1     No-no-no, why repeat our mistakes?
.       Let’s-let’s try something else.  Let’s rewind
.       and start over.  Let’s do it differently.
.       What if we – listen – to the words.

R.2     Huh!  Interesting strategy.

(PASTOR 3 walks in backward, stops briefly at podium,
then continues backwards to exit original entrance.  
Same with PASTOR 2.  Same with PASTOR 1,
except he stays at the podium.  CONGREGATION boos subtly,
then fades out so we can hear PASTOR 1’s words.)

PAS.1   So, God has been pricking my heart lately, and
.       I really need to say – no matter what YOU think –
.       we need to become GOD-focused and not ME-focused.
.       We need to put God and His Word first
.       in our lives.

(Only a few CONGREGATION MEMBERS boo and that fades out.)

R.2     Gutsy move, I’ll give him that.

R.1     He’s sticking to his strategy.  And –
.       he’s being real.

R.2     Very real.  It seems there’s some kind of power
.       behind this real-stuff, doesn’t it?

PAS.1   And when we come to church,
.       it is not for us to be entertained
.       or to be served.  God died for us.
.       We should be grateful every day of our lives.
.       We should WANT to come to church
.       to see how WE can worship, praise and serve GOD.

(CONGREGATION lets out a few “wows” and “amens.”
REPORTERS are now humble.)

R.1     And there you have it.  A new – strategy.
.       A new focus.

R.2     I guess our reporting-style will have to
.       change as well?

R.1     We will have to start discussing things like –  5
.       how is God leading and working in our lives
.       of service right now.

R.2     It will certainly be interesting.  Well,
.       this wraps up a new kind of excellent
.       church service.

R.1     Most excellent church service indeed.