Come and Meet Jesus!

Many students are not interested in reading the Bible. They think it is irrelevant, unreliable, or simply old-fashioned. Yet, it is through Scripture that we know Jesus Christ. How can we help students meet Jesus in and through the Bible?

The Mark Drama is one initiative towards this end. Students invite other students to come and see this 90-minute-drama on the life of Jesus. It is played in a round theatre (see picture). As a result, the spectators are drawn into what is happening instead of watching at a distance.

After the performance, a non-Christian student in Chile said: “It is hard not to cry. And it’s amazing to think that this might be true.” Students leave having heard the gospel in a way which is very real and inviting.

The Mark Drama is performed by 15 students who do not need to have any prior experience in acting. Using existing material, they learn the structure and basic content of the gospel of Mark. Then, together with the help of a trained director, they prepare the performance itself.

Many actors are touched deeply by this experience:

  • “I learned the gospel like never before. It brought me closer to Jesus because it was as if I lived with him during his days on earth.” (Latvian actress).
  • “During the past weeks, scenes from the drama have stayed with me and have shaped my life and thinking. I have rarely experienced a text so intensely.”(German actor)

Liene Lice, who has been directing the Mark Drama in Latvia comments: “No-one can stay indifferent after watching it – some people laugh, some cry, some are lost in thoughts, all have experienced the gospel.”

IFES movements in more than ten countries have been working with the Mark Drama. The movement in Chile, for example, put on its first performance in 2011. Since then, they have had more than 25 performances with over 1500 people hearing the words of Jesus through Mark’s gospel. In Germany, many performances take place within the university – a great way of making Jesus a topic of conversation in the student world. Afterwards, the script to the play is handed out: a copy of Mark’s gospel.

For more information, visit the Mark Drama website. If you would like to investigate whether this might be interesting for your context, feel free to contact Andrew Page who developed the Mark Drama: andrew (at) themarkdrama.com.

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41). Let’s help others discover Jesus and by doing so discover him more deeply ourselves.

Sabine Kalthoff

Further Links:
GBU Chile’s Mark Drama on facebook (in Spanish)
GBU France’s Mark Drama blog (in French)
SMD Germany’s Mark Drama blog (in German)
Video Clip of Jesus healing a paralytic (in English)

Speaking Scripture

He, who has an ear, let him hear! Reading Bible passages out loud is one way of actually hearing what we are reading. ‘Speaking Scripture’ takes this into an account. It is an excellent way of entering into a passage, for example in small group Bible studies. Instead of the Bible passage being read aloud once, it is spoken repeatedly. Students learn to listen carefully. As they listen and imagine the context of the first hearers, they begin to speak the words in a way which is so much more alive and meaningful.

When using this approach in a small group Bible study, the facilitator gets different students to ‘speak Scripture.’ As one student speaks a portion of scripture, invite those listening to respond: ‘How was the speaking? Can you feel anything? Did it make you think further?’ Then ask other students to try speaking it. Some background information can help the students imagine the situation. The facilitator can ask the students to identify with what is happening by putting themselves in the shoes of the people involved: this includes all the characters of a narrative, but also, for example the psalmist, the prophet, or the writer of a letter. The facilitator can ask questions along the way, like: How do you think Jesus says this to the invalid? In what tone does the invalid respond? (John 5). How would Paul have said what he writes in the letter to Philemon? How does the psalmist utter his thanksgiving to God?

‘Speaking Scripture’ has proved to really help students enter into the passage. In the initial stage, students may find it a bit awkward, and they may laugh as they speak. But when they put themselves into the passage, the Word comes alive to them, touches their own lives, and changes their approach to understanding God’s Word. To be a little bit more creative, acting can also be added in as the students speak scripture. However, the facilitator needs to see whether this will distract or help, as it can sometimes be a hindrance.

You can begin by trying out passages from the gospel narratives. You can then try out epistles, psalms, prophecy. In fact, all genres found in the Bible can be approached in this way. ‘Speaking Scripture’ has changed me and the way I facilitate Bible studies with students. May you also discover the great value of this approach! Come and be participants by speaking Scripture, speaking and entering into the Word that transforms lives.

Lee Wan Ling, staff worker FES Malaysia
wanling (at) fes.org.my

Bible Study Nights in Burkina Faso

Five years ago, the first Bible study night took place within our fellowship. The idea is to have students gather and spend a long time studying the Bible. Since days tend to be very busy and weekly fellowship meetings usually last one to two hours, we thought about nights. Nights of prayer were common, and so we decided that in a similar way we could use nights for studying the Bible. It is encouraging to see how this activity has since been spreading from one city to another.

What does a Bible study night look like? Usually 60 to 90 minutes are dedicated for each Bible study. The activities are largely run in small groups using different and creative methods of Bible study. On April 30, 2012, around 200 students met from secondary and tertiary schools in Koudougou. The main theme of the night was “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth” (Joshua 1:8). It was amazing to see so many students spending the whole night around the Bible seeking to improve their relationship with God.

This was their programme:

19:30 Welcome, prayer and worship
20:20-21:50 Bible study on James 1:16-25
22:00-23:30 Bible exposition
00:15-1:45 Bible study on Acts 17:1-12
1:55-3:25 Bible study on 2. Timothy 3:10-17
3:50-4:20 Bible study on Joshua 3:1-17
5:00 Closing Prayer

The Bible studies were done using different approaches e.g. “head, heart, hands” or “journalist of a Jerusalem newspaper”. Times of worship and breaks were interspersed between the Bible studies.

Youl Juliette attended the event in Koudougou: “I learnt a lot from this night. I used to often read the Bible in a superficial way, but the different methods used during this night allowed me to ask questions of the text and understand it better.”

Nignan Emmanuel from secondary school came for the second time. Of his first experience, he says: “I learnt to read, meditate, and examine the Scriptures. Before that experience, I was not taking things so seriously. I also learnt that there are various methods of studying the Bible and some of them are even easy to use.”

Repeatedly, we hear students say that these Bible study nights have fostered their love and passion for Bible study. Thank God!

Dieudonné Tindano
Member of the national Bible Study Department, Burkina Faso
tindieud (at) yahoo.fr