.           all rights belong to Tanis Harms –
.             refer to

PLAY IT BACKWARDS – written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:        serving, witnessing, hospitality
SCRIPTURE:    Rom.12:9-13; 1Thess.5:11-28; Heb.13:1-2;
.             1Pet.4:8-10
Style:        satire/conversation:  people go down
.             a line in a chain reaction
.             as each person encourages the next
.             in a different way
Set & Props:  guitar, SOUND EFFECT of tape rewinding
NOTE:         feel free to add more props


(EVERYONE stands in a line, in order:  WENDY, SARAH,
MARY steps forward and addresses the congregation.)

WENDY    Hi, I’m Wendy.  I never thought I would be
.        the one to witness to anyone, let alone
.        encourage them to come to church,
.        especially considering how much I struggle
.        with anxiety and worrying.  But as I’ve
.        been going to the Women’s Bible studies,
.        I have not only found a supportive group
.        of friends, I’ve learned how to find peace
.        through prayer and God’s strength.
.        I suppose the change in me is more evident
.        than I thought, since a girl at work this week
.        wondered how it was that I was so hopeful,
.        despite everything I was going through.

(SOUND EFFECT of tape rewinding as WENDY steps backwards
then turns to SARAH, throwing her hands up in despair.)

WENDY    One of these days, I’ll get my life together.

SARAH    What’s wrong now?

WENDY    More of the usual, plus some new stuff thrown in
.        just to make it all really interesting.
.        And what makes it worse is that - I then
.        worry about every single little detail.
.                                                      2
SARAH    Have you ever thought about getting
.        into a Bible study?

WENDY    So I can then worry about how I’m going
.        to fit in with a bunch of strangers?

SARAH    I know there is a group of women who meet
.        every Wednesday morning.  I’m part of
.        the Kitchen Ministry Team that prepares coffee
.        for the ladies-

WENDY    You want me to help serve coffee?

SARAH    No-no-no.  Although, I am loving the
.        kitchen ministry because I get to serve God
.        while doing something that I love.
.        Anyway, as we help out, one can’t help
.        but notice how supportive all these women are.
.        And – they are just now going to start
.        a series on giving your worries over to God.

(SOUND EFFECT as SARAH turns and walks backwards
toward the congregation, then loops back again,
then turns to face MARY, next in line, with
an apologetic smile.)

SARAH    I hope my daughter has been behaving herself
.        in your Sunday School class.

MARY     She is such a darling.  And so curious
.        to learn about God, and other things.
.        She tells me that you’re teaching her
.        how to cook.

SARAH    Oh, yes.  Cooking is definitely one
.        of my passions.

MARY     Really?  Did you know that you can serve
.        in the church with your cooking skills?
.        The church has a kitchen ministry team
.        that keeps very busy.  I cannot tell you
.        what a blessing it is when you serve in an area
.        that you love.  It’s like you get really
.        plugged into something that is so much
.        bigger than yourself.
.                                                      3
(SOUND EFFECT as MARY does the backward-loop-walk
and turns to DARLENE, who is next in line.)

MARY     Looks like you’re really plugged into
.        something.

DARLENE  You have no idea.  Getting involved
.        with the Creative Arts Ministry with my children
.        not only gave us an opportunity to serve God
.        in a unique way, but it’s like we’ve become
.        part of a really close-knit family.

MARY     There’s no way I could ever commit to anything
.        like that.  I work a lot of evenings.

DARLENE  The kids have mentioned that in Sunday School
.        there are teachers who will do some skits
.        in the beginning of each session.  And
.        the kids love their Sunday School classes.

MARY     I always did want to try teaching.

DARLENE  I hear they are always in need of
.        Sunday School teachers.  It’s really
.        encouraging to hear about the lessons
.        that the kids learn.

(SOUND EFFECT as DARLENE does the backward-loop-walk
and turns to BILL with complete exasperation.)

DARLENE  Ahhhh!  I just want to scream.
.        Any ideas how I can entertain my children?
.        And don’t tell me I can put them into dance
.        lessons – I cannot afford that.

BILL     What sorts of things do your children
.        like to do?

DARLENE  Besides dancing?  They like to misbehave –
.        act mischievous - act out – I’m just trying
.        to be really creative here and think of
.        a few more ways to describe the insanity.

BILL     Well, you could always put those
.        creative efforts into some REAL drama.

(DARLENE waves him off with a laugh.)
.                                                      4
DARLENE  I don’t think I’m looking for any more drama
.        in my life.

BILL     No, I’m talking about getting involved
.        with the Creative Arts Ministry.
.        I’ve been helping them build sets
.        for all their skits and dramas.

(SOUND EFFECT as BILL does the backward-loop-walk
and turns to MARK who plays a bit of a song on
his guitar.)

BILL     Nice song.  I wish I was good at music.
.        Then I could get involved with something
.        like the worship team ministry.

MARK     You don’t play anything?

BILL     You mean, besides the radio and CD player?

MARK     Well, what ARE you good at?

BILL     Nothing.

MARK     Everyone’s good at something.

BILL     All I know is construction.

MARK     That’s huge, man!  Like, you can - help
.        in an outreach program, where you fix things
.        in the homes of people in need.
.        Or - help fix things in the church.  Or –
.        help build props and sets for when
.        the Creative Arts people put on a drama.

(SOUND EFFECT as MARK does the backward-loop-walk
and turns to CARRIE while solemnly strumming a few chords
on his guitar.)

MARK     Check it out- I heard this new song
.        the other day.

CARRIE   Very cool!  And I’ve heard you play before.
.        So why aren’t you in some sort of band?

(MARK stops playing to look sadly at CARRIE.)
.                                                      5
MARK     Well, that would be sweet, but bands
.        are so hard to get started.

CARRIE   Our church has a lot of musicians, you know.
.        Have you ever thought about trying out
.        for the worship team?

(SOUND EFFECT as CARRIE does the backward-loop-walk
and turns to SUSAN with a sad slouch.)

CARRIE   Hey, Mom...  I’m so bored.

SUSAN    What happened with those friends from school?

CARRIE   They’re getting into stuff I don’t want
.        to get into.

SUSAN    Well, would you consider going to a youth group?
.        I started going to this church-

CARRIE   What?  And sit around, twiddling my thumbs,
.        with a bunch of snobby, stuffy kids?

SUSAN    They’re not snobby or stuffy.  I hear they have
.        a very active young people’s and young adult’s
.        ministry – and they have a lot of fun.
.        Seriously, they’re very nice over there!

(SOUND EFFECT as SUSAN does the backward-loop-walk,
then turns and timidly looks around, only to be greeted

GREETER  Hi, welcome to (name of your church).

SUSAN    (shaking hands with GREETER)  Thanks.

GREETER  This is your first time here?

SUSAN    It is.

GREETER  Well, let me know if you have any questions.
.        I will be happy to answer them for you,
.        or find someone else who can.

SUSAN    Thanks.