Everyone seems to have a slightly different picture in their mind when they think about what theater should be. But here at The Academy of Arts, we have a very specific picture in our minds. Theater for us is a tool. It is a medium through which we can share the truth to the audience, but also, each and every one of our cast members! We view them not only as important members of the team, but also as individuals who need discipling and encouraging in every area of their lives. With every new cast for every new show, we get the opportunity to share the truth with them and encourage them in the Lord, and developing a mindset of ministering to your cast is one well worth investing your time in, as the fruit of it is not only a greater sense of cast unity, but also the spiritual reward of seeing brothers and sisters in Christ grow in their faith! Here are some practical ways we have found to pour into our cast members and help them prepare to pour into the audience in every performance!
1. Unify your cast around the truth!
Every story has something to say, and as Christian artists, we hope you are magnifying the truth in every play you produce! One of the beautiful things about being intentional with the stories you tell is that it can develop in your casts a greater sense of unity. There are a lot of different reasons someone might want to be involved in theater, and sometimes, the reasons can be self-focused. But if you are able to focus their attention on the real reason for the hard work, cooperation, and challenges (the message they are giving out) you can really start to see how people with vastly different backgrounds, personalities, and motivations can start to come together in a unified way. One of the simplest ways to do this is to talk to your cast! Talk through the truths that are being communicated through the play! Make certain they know the real mission and always encourage them to fight for that mission instead of their own advancement. Remind them of what Christ told His disciples in Mark 10: 43-44: “But whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.” They have an amazing opportunity to serve the audience and one another by coming together to bring a great message to life on stage, and you can help them remember that and live it!
2. Devotionals and Prayer
Between rehearsals and prepping for a performance, it can sometimes seem like all the time is flying away from you! But making it a priority to give short devotionals, and take the time to share prayer requests amongst your cast members is a huge part of ministering to your cast. Taking time in rehearsals to orient everyone’s mind towards the truth of God’s Word (and I don’t mean preaching a full length sermon) will not only focus their minds, it will bear lasting fruit in their lives, for God has promised us that His word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11). And when it comes to prayer, recognizing that each and every one of your cast members have lives and problems of their own, and making certain they know that their fellow castmates care and are willing to pray with them is such a huge encouragement.
3. Keep connected beyond rehearsals and performances
This extends naturally from praying for and with your cast, but showing a genuine interest in their lives even when they aren’t specifically in shows is a great way to continue ministering to your cast. We are all members of the body in Christ, whether we are in productions together or not, and keeping that truth in mind will help you as you pray for them and reach out to them, and if they are not members of the body of Christ, then you have an even more urgent reason to reach out and show them the love of Christ and share the gospel with them!
4. Cast Party!
This last one may seem like a small thing, but taking the time to close the chapter on a run of performances is very important. But rather than it being just a time to maybe eat some pizza and play some games, let it also be a time where you can truly talk about what the Lord has done through the show. Let the cast members share testimonies and memories, and take the time to recognize the ways you have seen them all grow over the course of the rehearsals and performances.
These are just a few ways you can minister to your cast, but we know that with some of these tips (and the heart you have for the people around you) you can use every opportunity to pour into the hearts and minds of your cast, and make an impact on their lives for the Lord!
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