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UNITY BRINGS SUCCESS – written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:        unity to lead the church correctly
SCRIPTURE:    1 Timothy 3:1-13
Style:        allegory/conversation: as deacons paddle
.             a boat together, their individual decisions
.             determine the direction they each paddle
Cast:         DEACON/(DEACONESS) 1 – 6
.             (DEACON 4 can be a woman)
.             NOTE:  you can split or combine the lines
.             depending on how many actors are available
.             or depending on how you stage this
.             (ie.  the size of your boat,
.                   or if you use chairs as a boat)
Set & Props:  boat or 6 chairs (or appropriate amount),
.             6 oars (or appropriate amount)

SCRIPT:

(“Boat” faces forward to the congregation,
so DEACON 1 sits in front as low as possible,
and the further back they are, have them sit
a little higher so they can all be seen.
DEACON/(DEACONESS) 1 – 5 get into the boat first.
DEACON 6 enters and DEACONS 4 and 5 help him in
and sit down at the back.  DEACON 3 hands him an oar.)

D 6    Thanks.  I’m really excited to join all of you
.      and serve to the best of my abilities.

D 1    Sounds good.  Okay, everybody ready to go?

ALL    Lead on!

(ALL just sit there for a while, polishing their oars,
preening or checking text messages, until...)

D 6    Um, so, what are we going to do first?

D 1    We like to get a general idea, so we typically
.      just paddle around and see what’s out there.
.      Usually something will catch our attention.

D 2    Yeah, like - a raging fire.  Those are usually
.      pretty easy to spot once it gets out of control.
.                                                       2
D 5    It’s always me-me-me, my-my-my – getting all
.      critical - and then getting into fights.

D 4    And holding grudges – don’t forget.

D 3    Yeah, sometimes I just feel like a fireman.
.      All we ever do is go around and stomp out fires.

(DEACON 1 licks finger and puts it up to feel the air.)

D 6    So, why not just teach everyone that
.      starting fires is wrong, and then teach them
.      how to – nicely – “stomp them out” before
.      they get big and out of control?

(DEACON 1 looks back at DEACON 6, then forward again.)

D 1    (sighs and announces)  Easier said than done,
.      my man, easier said than done.

D 6    Shouldn’t we at least try that?
.      Doesn’t the Bible-

D 3    (interrupting with a laugh)
.      He’s only just started, and already
.      trying to rock the boat!

D 6    No, ah, sorry.  Just wondering, that’s all.

D 1    Okay.  Well, let’s get going and at least
.      start moving in SOME direction!  

(DEACON 1 starts to paddle and everyone tries to copy.
DEACONS 1, 3 and 5 paddle on the right-hand side
while DEACONS 2 and 4 paddle on the left-hand side.
DEACON 6 has problems knowing how to hold the oar.)

D 6    Ah, how am I supposed to hold this thing?

D 4    No idea.  Just figure it out on your own –
.      whatever works best for you,
.      and you should be fine.

(DEACON 5 quickly gives a little illustration
to DEACON 6.)

D 5    Ah, here, watch me.  See where my hands are?     3
.      Hold the upper hand - with palm out.  That way
.      you can push and have more strength as you-

D 4    How come you never taught ME that?

D 5    (shrugging)  You never asked.

D 2    As you always say, YOU like to figure things out
.      for yourself!

D 5    (back to D6)  Anyway, your lower hand
.      grabs the oar below the boat’s rim.
.      This way you can dig deep and get more done.
.      See?  Reach forward, then use the lower arm
.      to pull back, while the upper arm pushes forward.
.      Both arms work together to share in the effort.
.      You don’t get as tired that way.

D 4    I can’t believe no one taught me that.
.      I could have saved myself so much time and effort!

D 5    (flippantly)  Sorry.  Now I suppose you’ll
.      want to set up more guidelines and procedures
.      for us to follow.

D 2    (groaning)  Ah, I’m so tired of all the rules.
.      Why not just let the Holy Spirit tug at us?

D 4    We have to have SOME direction!

D 2    But is it God’s direction – or yours?

D 4    Fine then.  I’ll just sit here and keep quiet!

(DEACON 4 puts oar down and sits with arms crossed
in anger.  DEACON 6 still struggles to get the hang
of paddling, and stops to comment.)

D 6    (calls out to D1)  Aren’t we going
.      to deal with that?

D 1    With what?  They’re grownups, they’ll figure
.      it out.

D 6    Isn’t there some scripture for that, though?
.      You know?  Mattheeewww – something-something.
.                                                       4
D 3    Yeah, first step is – they need to work it out –
.      in private.

D 6    So we should at least encourage them to do that.

D 3    Just leave it alone.

D 6    But if they effect the meeting, out in the open
.      like that, isn’t that an issue for the group?-

D 1    Juuuust ignore it.  It usually blows over.

D 4    (shaking head an mutters loudly)
.      Right.  You mean, I just have to take it,
.      and keep taking it.  Stuff it WAY down
.      so I’m boiling and fuming inside –
.      ready to explode.  Meanwhile, Tom, here,
.      can just keep on doing what he does best –
.      being rude.  Tom is the rudest person
.      I have ever known.  You know, one time
.      he actually went up to Harold and-

D 6    Isn’t that gossiping?  We shouldn’t be gossiping.

D 4    (defensively)  Don’t judge me!  This is an item
.      of concern – that we should be praying about.
.      I’m just warning you now, never depend on him
.      for anything.  He’ll find some way to drop
.      the ball somehow.  He always does.

D 2    (drearily)  I’m so tired of all this.
.      (decisively)  I’m taking a break!

(DEACON 2 puts his oar down and sulks.
DEACON 6 tries to paddle the best he can, especially
since he is now the only one on his side paddling.)

D 6    We’re-we’re kind of going around in circles here.

D 2    Whatever, we weren’t really going anywhere,
.      anyway.

(DEACON 1 points up a bit to the left.)

D 1    Ah, I see old Mrs. Krammer there - in distress
.      AGAIN.  Let’s see what she wants now.
.                                                       5
(DEACON 1 swings his oar to the left-hand side
and paddles while stretching out to the left.
DEACON 5 swings his oar over and just misses D 4’s head.)

D 5    Watch the head.

D 4    Watch it!  You’re not very good at that, are you!

D 5    Whatever!  At least I’m paddling.

(DEACON 3 keeps paddling on the right-hand side.)

D 3    How much MORE can we expect to do for her, anyway?

D 2    She’s crippled and a widow – so - probably a lot.

(DEACON 3 stops paddling and puts a hand up to his chin
to think.)

D 3    Can’t she apply for some kind of government grant
.      or something?  I mean, what are we – a money tree?

D 2    Oh, that reminds me, I need to get back to work.
.      My wife wants to take the kids to Disney World.
.      They’ve all been trying my nerves lately.

(DEACON 2 keeps his paddle on the right-hand side and
starts to paddle backwards very dramatically.)

D 4    (dryly)  Bribing them again?

D 2    What kind of father would I be if I didn’t give
.      my family good things?

D 4    You think they should be rewarded for acting out?

D 2    I’d like to think that doing this for them
.      would be incentive to behave.

D 4    How’s that working for you?

D 2    I’m sure it could be a lot worse.

D 4    And most probably, it will get there!

D 6    Ah, what-what about Mrs. Krammer?
.                                                       6
(DEACON 3 is still in his thinking pose and
seems to wake up at the question.)

D 3    Who?  Ah, what about her?

D 6    Maybe we could HELP HER apply for some kind
.      of grant.

D 1    Great idea!  You can be in charge of that.

D 6    Sure.  Okay.

D 1    So then, let’s see what the youth group
.      is up to now?  You can always count on them
.      to push the envelope.  I’m always suspicious
.      when they have too much fun.  You just know
.      the parents will complain about that.
.      Might as well “nip it in the bud!”

(DEACON 1 swings his paddle back to right-hand side
and paddles while reaching to the extreme right now.)

D 6    But, shouldn’t we still go see
.      what Mrs. Krammer needs right now?

(DEACON 6 continues to paddle, reaching to the left.)

D 4    Wait!  I think we should first discuss
.      the needs of the ladies ministries.
.      They need more money so they can plan
.      all of the church events more effectively.

(DEACON 4 paddles backwards on the left-hand side.)

D 3    I thought they were raising their OWN money –
.      so that they would have complete say
.      over their OWN money?

D 4    Well, think about all the work they do
.      for the church.  I think it’s selfish for you
.      to expect them to do so much work –
.      and not give them something.

D 3    So what now?  Take ALL the money away from
.      missions just so you ladies can make everything –
.      fancier?  We don’t need fancy – we need practical.
.                                                       7
(ALL are paddling in different directions now.
DEACON 6 stops paddling to observe this.)

D 6    We don’t seem to be moving in ANY direction now.
.      This is a lot of effort – not to go anywhere.

(DEACON 1 stops paddling and thinks.)

D 1    You’re right.  We need to be working together.
.      All our efforts should have a focus and a purpose.
.      If we are fighting and going off in
.      every direction,  how can we expect the church
.      to have focus and accomplish anything?

D 2    Agreed.  We should be leading by example.

D 5    So what’s first then?

(ALL look straight ahead and begin to paddle forward,
D 1, 3 and 5 on the right-hand side, and D 2, 4 and 6
on the left-hand side.)

D 1    We need to put God first, as our focus
.      and our leader.  And follow God’s words,
.      as they direct us in the Bible:
.      in our personal lives, and then
.      as we serve in the church.

ALL    Amen!