Thursday, 29 May 2008
by mr. oak
I remember my first church summer camp experience. I remember getting in one of those rickety church vans and going out to the mountains. Actually, now that I think of it - that's pretty much my memory for EVERY church summer camp experience. For some reason, it always entails a 3 hour car ride (apparently, there's a rule where church camps all have to be 3 hours away from churches) and ham sandwiches when you arrived. Also, the ham sandwiches always just has one piece of ham. WHO DOES THAT? ONE PIECE OF HAM?!!!
But I remember being introduced for the first time in my life, the "skit" phenomenom. For some reason, every church retreat had to have a time where you break up into groups and make a skit to present on the last day. Nobody told me why this was important, but it just was. And as a junior high school kid, this was exciting. Like Sean Connery being your school teacher exciting. Not only did you get a chance to act it out, but create it from scratch. I loved the idea.
And so I remember coming up with my first skit ever. And I instantly knew it was going to be a hit. Gut wrenching, powerful, and REAL. And obviously, in order to hit those points: gut wrenching, powerful, and REAL, you needed a gangster to be the main character. That's right - a gangster. And the basic story would be, he's smoking and drinking (which is bad of course!) and he falls in the wrong crowd. And then his friend or he gets shot - cause we all know gangsters get shot. And then he cries. And then he gets so impacted that he realizes God is the answer. and then like "wow". Skit ends and everybody would be blown away by this story. I was sure at the time, it was the greatest most original story of all time....I was ready to accept my oscar and shame Spielberg.
Except one thing - by the time it was presenting time, EVERY group had a rendition of this. Everybody had a gangster, everybody was smoking and drinking in the skit, and somebody always got shot or stabbed.
It wasn't until I realized, this simple fact.
When you have youth group kids come up with their own skits, they always have a set formula.
G + WC/TE = E
Which translates to Gangster + Wrong Crowd divided by Tragic Event equals Ephiphany.
Since then, I've seen this skit almost every year. I mean, don't get me wrong - there are subtle differences - color of bandana on head, leg that they limp on, the drunk fainting scene, even the tragic event (drivebys on the west coast, stabbing on the east coast).
Nevertheless - let's not forget one simlpe fact - it's working. Of all the churches that I've attended, gangster violence was particularly low - so the kid's messages are working. =D
What kind of skits have you seen from your church retreats?