Theme: This sketch can be performed by 3 men although there's no reason why one of the kings couldn't be played by a woman. It's a sketch that acknowledges how the gifts of the three kings signal the significance of the life and death that Jesus will lead.
Staging: The kings should be dressed in regal gear, but clearly be about to set off for their journey. Consider the comic potential of one of them having a suitcase, being dressed for the beach, sun-hats and so on.
The three Kings enter from different sides of the stage.
KING 1: Right, is everybody ready?
KING 2: Yea.
KING 1: Got your camels?.
KING 2: Yea.
KING 1: Packed your swimming trunks?
KING 2: What?
KING 1: Well you never know.
KING 2: Dash it!
KING 3: You can borrow mine.
KING 2: Thanks.or
Theme: The story of Ananias and Sapphira is uncomfortable. Is it about failing to give everything we have, or is it about what happens when we lie to God? And what were the consequences for Ananias and Sapphira themselves? Their death might seem like a punishment, but is that the message we're supposed to take from the story? A useful sketch to offer a perspective on this familiar passage.
Staging: Do not worry about Biblical dress. It's probably best to treat the couple as well-to-do and modern so that the contemporary audience identifies with them more.
Ananias sits on a chair with his head in his hands. He doesnt notice as from behind him, Sapphira enters. She looks about herself in bewilderment and notices Ananias
SAPPHIRA: Ananias, is that you?
ANANIAS: Sapphira! Where the heck have you been?
ANANIAS: I might have known. What for this time?
SAPPHIRA: I told you. I wanted to use a little bit of money from that field we sold to buy a new pair of sandals.
ANANIAS: More flipping sandals. How many pairs of sandals can one woman need?
SAPPHIRA: About fifty.or
Theme: This sketch is all about the (pointless) theoretical arguments we have when trying to convince others that God exists, as Greg tries to convince Jim of the existence of Australia. Of course, there is no argument that will please everyone, and this sketch could be used both as an encouragement to those who have lost the argument, and a reprimand to those who think the argument has always to be won. Faith, evangelism and Christianity are not about winning an argument with an unbeliever.
Staging: The staging here is very simple. The two men should carry drinks and be dressed as if at a party or barbecue.
Two men come together with drinks in their hands. After a couple of nervous glances at each other, Greg plucks up courage to speak. He has an Australian accent. Jim has an English accent.
GREG: Nice barbie.
JIM: Very pleasant.
GREG: Greg, by the way.
JIM: J im.
GREG: Good to meet you Jim. Know many people here?
JIM: No, not really. You?or
Theme: We are told that we should not hide our light under a bushel. When you think about it, it's obvious that we should not, but sometimes we still do.. as estate agent Sally finds out when she looks round the home of Fred.
Staging: It would be good to play this sketch in very dim light, relying on the actor's voices to paint pictures with the audience. If it is staged in bright light, make sure your actors feel their way around stage and peer into the darkness so that the idea of no lights is conveyed.
Fred and Sally enter together. Sally is looking about her and taking notes in a big folder.
Fred: So, as you can see, this is the sitting room.
Sally: Big room.Fred: Its a very big room. Too big now that the kids have left home.
Sally: Is that why youre selling?Fred: One reason. Anyway, were leaving the carpets. Were leaving the curtains. In fact everything you can see except the furniture.
Sally: (Peering ahead) And that?Fred: Thats the mother in law.
Sally: Oh Im sorry, its just a bit dark. I couldnt make her out.or
Theme: A good sketch for Christian Aid Week or some other service focused on third world problems and the disparity between rich and poor. It speaks for itself.
Staging: The three women in the sketch can stand in a line, going from tallest to smallest (and richest to poorest). Older members of the congregation will remember a famous TV sketch about class, and this sketch deliberately echoes that theme.
Three women come onto the stage. Woman 1 looks very posh and well dressed. Woman 2 looks very average. Woman 3, should dress very plainly to represent poverty.
Woman 1: I'm an old lady, and I'm disgusted at the cost of electricity.
Woman 2: I'm an old lady, and I'm disgusted at the price of food.
Woman 3: I'm an old lady, and I work to grow food for those two. I don't care about the price of electricity because I've never had it.
Woman 1: This year, I took my annual trip to America, and had to pay a £60 surcharge on my airfare.
Woman 2: This year, I had my usual week up in Edinburgh, and the hotel cost me £60 more than last year.
Woman 3: This year, I'll earn less than £60 and I've never had a holiday.
Theme: We have all been saved only by the Grace of God. It is not dependent on how much work we've done, or even how much good work we are going to do. Grace is freely given, at the moment we become a Christian. It can't be earned or returned. But whether we really understand this is open to debate. After all, in what other circumstance do we receive the whole reward before we do anything else..?
Staging: Try to make your scene as industrial as possible, and Stewart should dress in overalls. The boss should simply dress smartly.
A man stands in overalls waiting. He has a tool box. Enter his boss hurriedly, wearing smart suit and tie. He carries a clip board.
BOSS: Oh, sorry I'm a bit late for our meeting (checking clipboard). Stewart. On your first day as well. What must you think? I'm afraid I got held up by the ball bearings.
STEWART: Sounds painful.
BOSS: No normal wear and tear. Nothing too serious. But that's why we need an extra man on the maintenance team. So I'm delighted to welcome you on as the latest recruit to Grace and Grace.
STEWART: Glad to be here Mr Grace. There's not much work round here these days.
BOSS: Right, so we'll just get the induction over with, and then we'll get you started.
STEWART: Right you are.
BOSS: So, first things first. (He pulls a big packet from under the clipboard) There's your wages.
Theme: The story of the fiery furnace is well known from Daniel, but when you read it, it's written in a very comical way. This sketch simply retells the story, but do so in a way that plays up the comedy of the literature, without demeaning the story.
Staging: The two characters could be dressed in Biblical clothes to help suggest they are from that time.
Benjamin and Ephraim walk on stage together chatting.
BENJAMIN: So I said, "How do you like your camels?" And he said, "I don't care so long as they're sweet." So I said, "Does that mean one hump or two?" (He falls about laughing).
EPHRAIM: Sorry, did I miss something?
BENJAMIN: One hump or two.. Like sugar, one hump or
A blast of music from a member of the music group prompts Benjamin to throw himself to the floor in an act of worship..
EPHRAIM: Whoa, whoa whoa. What are you doing?
BENJAMIN: Get down. Get down.
BENJAMIN: King Nebuchadnezzar will kill you.
EPHRAIM: No Benjamin. Benjamin, no. Haven't you heard?
BENJAMIN: You'll be thrown into the blazing furnace.EPHRAIM: No Benjamin. That's all changed. or
Theme: This sketch is challenging but could raise some debate (as well as some hackles). I would suggest however, since it appears to deal with issues of homosexuality that it is handled with care. But then, all our dealings with our fellow Christians should be handled with care, and ultimately this sketch is not about homosexuality at all. It's about how we address the topic of sin with each other, how we judge the sins of others compared to ourselves, and how really, as we are told, we should take the plank out of our own eyes before we try to take the splinter from the eye of someone else.
Staging: Requires an informal, after church setting, allowing a chance encounter between Jim and Ben. .
Ben is on stage drinking a cup of coffee. Jim approaches cautiously.
JIM: Ben, can I talk to you about sin?
BEN: Oh dear, what have you done now?
JIM: No, its not me!. Its you.. and Steve.. erm I noticed .. er.. I want you to know that I mean its not my .its in the Bible.. er that . when two men
BEN: ..what have a fight?
JIM: No, when they.
BEN: . rob a bank?
JIM: No, when two men
BEN: .went to mow?or
Theme: I'm grateful to one of my customers allowing me to adapt his sketch for use on this site. It attempts to uncover how the disciples must have felt when Jesus commanded Peter to walk on water, and how Peter might have felt about his failure, and more to the point, how the disciples (and God) might have felt about his failure. Ultimately, it is a sketch about everyone's failure, and everyone's choice to take a risk by walking on water when Jesus commands us. Success is not about not sinking - it's about taking the risk and getting out of the boat.
Staging: The disciple should dress in Biblical gear.
A disciple walks on to stage, looking over his shoulder.
Disciple: Finally, some time to myself! Don't get me wrong. I mean, I love being with the guys. And Jesus of course. That guy is amazing. It's not just the neat tricks he does. He's smart too. He's sharper than a Roman soldier's toe nails that one. If you'd been kicked by a soldier as many times as I have, you'd know what I mean. But you know, when it comes down to it, I just need space. Sometimes I just have to get away and think about things. Cos some of the stuff that's happening it's weird, you know. The latest thing is Simon. He hasn't been himself since well, in a way, he hasn't been himself since Jesus gave him the name Peter. But that's not the point. He hasn't been himself since the 'thing' at the lake. We'd just done that meal for 5 thousand people, and boy, was I glad I wasn't on washing up thator
Theme: Can you buy your way into heaven or is there some other way to get in? A useful sketch for introducing the idea that Jesus is the only sure way of 'getting a ticket' into heaven, and everything else we have to offer is worthless.
Staging:Set your ticket salesman up with a table and chair for his office and some kind of uniform. The other characters can dress in normal day wear.
Ticket officer stands at the desk of his ticket office. A man comes towards him and stops.
OFFICER: Good afternoon sir.
MAN: Yes, Id like to buy a ticket to heaven please.
OFFICER: Very good sir. Single or return?
MAN: (about to choose, then realising) What?
OFFICER: Single or return?
MAN: Oh? Can I get a return?
OFFICER: Course you cant sir. Just my little joke.
MAN: Well dont be ridiculous.
OFFICER: But then you cant get a single ticket either.or
Theme: Ten virgins went out looking for a bridegroom, but the ones who forgot to buy oil for their lamps were not prepared for his arrival and missed out. So goes the story of Jesus warning all of us to be prepared for his coming. This sketch retells the story from the viewpoint of the oil-seller, who is making his deliivery.
Staging: The oil seller can dress in greasy overalls, and needs to carry a sheet of paper. The policeman only needs a helmet and white shirt.
A man wanders on stage looking a bit lost. He's map reading. Enter a policeman.
COPPER: Sorry mate, you can't park that donkey there. It's a double yellow.
MAN: I'm not parked, I'm lost.
COPPER: Still a double yellow. It's a no parking zone is that. And it's a no grazing zone as well.
MAN: I'll move him in a minute.
COPPER: Oh, and it's definitely a no.. urgh!
MAN: I'm sorry. It's been a long journey.
COPPER: That's a thirty dinarius fine that is.
MAN: Thirty dinarius!or
What is God?
Theme: Whatever picture we have of God (and the Bible presents us with many to choose from) they are all inadequate and liable to be moulded by our prejudices/opinions and feelings. This sketch is about the danger of making God in our own image and challenges us to realise that God is bigger than whatever view we currently hold.
Staging: Requires a character on stage and a clever voice over actor (or more than one) to play the part of God unseen.
There's room in this sketch for you to insert your own words as you'll see. A man comes centre stage and starts to pray.
MAN: Lord, I want to know you better. I want to hear your voice.
He waits. From off stage
FEMALE: Hi John, sorry to keep you. I was just trying to sort out well it doesn't matter. How are you?
MAN: Who's that?
FEMALE: It's me.
MAN: Is that Ethel?
FEMALE: No it's me. I am
MAN: I am what?or
Theme: This sketch can be performed by 2 people, though non-speaking actors can be employed as other angels 'getting ready'. The sketch tells the story of the announcement to the shepherds from the angels' point of view.
Staging: I envisage the angels as pilots about to go on a mission. Perhaps they practice flapping their wings, there might be a map on the wall showing the plan for the night, or a picture identifying the difference between a shepherd and a sheep.
Two angels, already dressed in white robes and wings, are adding goggles, flying caps, and gloves to their apparel. As he dons his gloves, angel 1 turns to angel 2..
ANGEL 1: Ready?
ANGEL 2: (a bit nervous) Yea, I think so.
ANGEL 1: Sure?
ANGEL 2: (brightening) Yea.
ANGEL 1: Got your announcement ready?
ANGEL 2: (suddenly nervous again) Errr! I don't know what I'm going to say.
ANGEL 1: You've not written it?
ANGEL 2: Honestly, I was up all night, thinking what to say, and
ANGEL 1: Well just tell them. "Come on lads, come with me, I've got something I need to show you."
ANGEL 2: Well, that's not going to work is it?or
Theme: It's easy to kid ourselves that we are responsible with our money. This sketch challenges that idea with a sharp reminder at the end.
Staging: You can stage this with the auctioneer in the pulpit, or behind a desk. But make sure you create a big enough painting for your audience to see, and make sure it is terrible!.
An auctioneer stands behind a podium.
A'neer: Thankyou ladies and gentlemen. The next item on auction is a series of four paintings by the rising star of the Latvian Infantist movement.
Two assistants walk on carrying a large canvas with a truly rubbish series of splodges and squirts, and they hold it in the portrait style for the audience to view.
A'neer: The first painting in the series is this exquisite "Mother and child", which many believe to feature a self portrait of the artist. Then we have "Man fighting polar bear."
The assistants turn the painting through 90 degrees.
A'neer: "Donkey licking a stick".
The assistants turn the painting through a further 90 degrees, so that the original is upside down.
A'neer: And finally,
The assistants turn the painting again.
A'neer: "Two camels on a motorbike." So, I can tell you that I've already got a telephone bid with me, so I'll start the bidding at fifty thousand. So.or
Theme: This sketch is about Peter's denial of Christ, not so much about why he did it, but relating the fact that he did it. It is just another way of telling a familiar story, from the perspective of Mark who claims to be someone who challenged him.
Staging: The staging here is very simple. Biblical dress might help set the scene, but if you don't have it, just have someone explain that the sketch is set in the marketplace, just after Jesus has been arrested.....
Two guys in biblical dress meet up.
MARK: Hi, Joshua! How's things?
JOSHUA: They're ok..
MARK: Great! Hey, you'll never guess who I saw today. .
JOSHUA: I don't suppose I will.
MARK: Go on then.
JOSHUA: Go on then what?
MARK: Have a guess.
JOSHUA: What's the point of that?or
Fishers of men
Theme: In Matthew's version of events, Jesus goes up to James and John while they're mending their nets, and recruits them. Just like that! Even if it really was that simple, the event must have had an impact on the other fishermen - and we cannot presume it was positive. In this sketch the fisherman express their shock, and surprise, at what has gone on.
Staging: Somehow, you need to find some fish for this sketch, but obviously, you won't want to use real fish!! Perhaps some stockings filled with balls of newspaper will do the trick, or maybe your local joke shop can help?
Isaac, Zebedee and Abram enter the stage dressed in trawlerman's clothes if possible, or otherwise in fishermen's wellies and so'wester hats. At the back of the stage will be a crate of 'fish' hidden from the audience.
Zebedee: Right guys, let's get them fish off the boat.
They line up so that Isaac is backstage with the fish, Zebedee in the middle, and Abram front stage close to the audience.
Isaac: Zebedee, coming one!
As he calls, Isaac throws a fish to Zebedee, which he catches.
Zebedee: Got it! Abram, coming one!
As Zebedee calls he throws the fish to Abram.
Abram: Got it. James, coming one.
Abram throws the fish out into the audience and waits for the shout from James. Meanwhile, Isaac, has started again.
Isaac: Zebedee, coming one!
As he calls, Isaac throws a fish to Zebedee, which he catches.
Zebedee: Got it! Abram, coming one!or
Theme: What did the other guests at the inn make of the events on the night that Jesus was born? Did they realise something significant was happening or did they just let it pass them by? After all, even they must have noticed the star and all the shepherds turning up?
Staging: With a desk and a uniform it should be easy to create the idea of a hotel reception. If you can have a bell on the counter, and some keys on a rack behind the desk, so much the better. You'll only perform this sketch at Christmas, so no real need to dress for the part, though you might like someone to introduce the fact that it is set 2000 years ago.
Hotel receptionist stands behind the desk. A man enters carrying his suitcase.
RECEP'IST: Good morning sir?
Man: I'd like to check out please.
RECEP'IST: Certainly sir. Did you have anything from the mini-bar?
Man: Mini-bar! What mini-bar?
RECEP'IST: There was a flask of stale water in the corner by the pile of seeds.
Man: There was broken bottle, a damp patch, and I didn't even see any seeds.
RECEP'IST: Ah! Perhaps the chickens got there before you. They do that sometimes.
RECEP'IST: (brightly) So, apart from that, everything alright with your stay sir?
Man: Not really no.
RECEP'IST: I'm sorry to hear that sir. What was the problem?
Man: Pretty well everything.
Theme: Sometimes it can feel like God is nowhere to be found. And sometimes other Christians (deliberately or otherwise) can make us feel guilty or stupid for admitting that we feel the absence of God more keenly than His presence. But the old testament prophets felt it too, and perhaps we need to accept that sometimes, God hides.
Staging: No staging is required.
Gill comes to centre stage and stands with eyes closed. She counts aloud.
GILL: Forty three, forty four, forty five, forty six, forty seven, forty eight, forty nine,
Derek enters and watches for a moment.
GILL: fifty, fifty one, fifty two, fifty three, fifty four.
DEREK: Hi Gill.
GILL: (startled) Oh!
DEREK: What you doing?
GILL: Don't interrupt. I'm counting.
DEREK: Ok. Are you counting anything in particular?
GILL: I'm playing hide and seek.. With God.or
Theme: Many of us find it hard to understand, or even read, the laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. This sketch attempts to open up the book of Leviticus just a little by wondering how a little restaurant might have coped with the new rules on unclean foods just after they were introduced. It is intended as way to lighten the load of reading all the does and don'ts of the law, so that people might be encouraged to take a closer look at these books and not to simply ignore them.
Staging: A table with a white cloth will suggest the restaurant, especially if the waiter is dressed with bow tie and waistcoat, or even just a pinafore.
A man sits at a table with a menu. The waiter approaches.
Waiter: Afternoon sir. Are you ready to order?
Man: Yes. I think I'll have the pork chops please.
Waiter: Pork chops are off sir.
Man: Ok, well, the pork tenderloin with apple sauce.
Waiter: . right, ok. .. erm..
Man: Is that off too?
Waiter: Not exactly.
Man: So .?
Waiter: There's just a slight variation to the menu.
Man: Which is?Waiter: It's just apple sauce. or
Theme: Everyone has asked the question, why does God allow suffering? This sketch does not claim to have the right answer, or the only answer, but it might help others to find answers for themselves, and at least to realise that suffering is not a reason to hate God or to deny that God exists.
Staging:The actors will reveal a cros at the end of this sketch, though it need not be life sized. However, they will have to work with some tools and a portable workbench, as well as some light pieces of wood.
Simon is hammering a nail into a piece of wood. James looks over his shoulder as Simon hammers, bang, bang, bang! The third time Simon hits his thumb.
Simon: Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!
Simon must exaggerate his pain in a comical way for maximum laughs from the audience.
James: What happened there?
Simon: You're kidding!?
Simon: I hit my flipping thumb didn't I?
James: (Barely disguising a snigger) Right.
Simon: Ow it hurts. Ow. Ow. Why? Why does God allow suffering?
James: (indicating congregation) Well they seemed to enjoy it.or
Theme: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all record slightly different accounts of how the tomb was found empty on that first Easter morning. These different accounts suggest different narratives from different sources none of whom were exactly sure what happened that morning (because they were not there!). So it is with modern news stories, that the reporter has to get information from different, sometimes conflicting sources, so this sketch puts the Easter story into a modern setting of a news report going out live from the scene.
Staging: The news reader should sit to one side of the stage, and his live reporter should stand to the other, perhaps with finger in ear as if listening to an ear phone?
A newsreader sits at a desk. Someway distant, Levi, a reporter is waiting patiently.
Reader: Good evening, and welcome to the news. Today's headlines in Jerusalem. The body of the rabbi Jesus has disappeared from the tomb. Three days after his crucifixion, followers of the teacher are saying this is proof of his claim to be the Son of God. Levi Abram is at the scene for us now. Levi, what can you tell us?
Levi: Well Joseph. Two remarkable things have happened this morning. Firstly, it does appear from reports that Jesus has indeed risen from the dead and left his tomb. The details are a little sketchy at the moment, but eye witnesses tell me that this morning, two women came to pay their respects and they were the first people to realise the tomb was empty. Despite there being guards around the tomb, I've had a look myself, and it is definitely the case that the body of Jesus is no longer there.or
Theme: We do not know exactly what the inn would have been like, but we can be sure it was basic. But in this sketch, we find a different way to relate the events of that first Christmas, by imagining that the inn was part of a massive hotel chain, whose staff need a little re-training after senior management find out all of the strange things that took place when mary and Joseph arrived.
Staging:The trainer needs a pre-prepared flip-chart, and will address the congregation as if they are the hotel managers who are receiving th training.
Trainer stands in front of a flip chart.
Trainer: Ok, everybody, thank you for attending this refresher training course. As you know, the Nazareth Hilton chain of hotels takes its customer care very seriously, and after last week's.. "incident".. we thought it would be worth going over a few of the basics with our managers. Now, we're not pointing the finger at anybody in particular from the Bethlehem Inn, we're simply going over company policy to avoid any future confusion. So, let's start if we can with a simple observation round.
She turns over the flipchart. A stick man and stick woman are drawn on.
Trainer: Can anyone tell me what this is? That's right. It's a husband and wife. You can tell they're husband and wife because they are almost in touching distance, which is quite enough public affection as far as I'm concerned. Right, now, what if she looks like this?or
Wise Men at Easter
Theme: We have no idea if the wise men who visited Jesus shortly after his birth took any further notice of his life and his actions. But the characters of the wise men are so familiar to those people in the congregation who only come at Christmas and Easter that they might be useful story tellers when it comes to noting the significance of the Easter story. Without being 'preachy' two of the wise men meet up again by chance and discuss what has happened to Jesus since the last time they met.
Staging: Dressing the kings as if for the nativity play will make them instantly recognisable. Find a way to have them meet by chance. I envisaged a clash of shopping trolleys, but you might prefer golf trolleys, or sports bags, or flat-pack furniture boxes......?
Two wisemen enter from opposite sides of the stage, pushing supermarket trolleys.
Wiseman1: Ah! Belthesazar. What a surprise! How good to see you again. It has been so long.
Wiseman2: So long.. that I'm not entirely sure who you are.
Wiseman1: We were two of the three wise men. remember?
Wiseman2: That was ages ago. Thirty years or more.
Wiseman1: I know, I know. So how has life been treating you since we embarked on our great adventure? Are you still a wiseman?
Wiseman2: Well, I'm not as quick as I used to be. I can never seem to find the right er the right.erm, the right..
Wiseman2: Exactly. But to be honest, there's not much call for wise men these days is there? So I now run a little bed and breakfast with the missus.or
Woman the the well
Theme: The story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well is significant for many reasons. At a human level, it is remarkable for the fact that he even speaks to a Samaritan woman. But Jesus also promises to give her living water, declares himself as the Messiah, and says some startling things about worship. Whether she understood everything he said, we don't know, but we do know her account of the meeting persuaded many to believe, and many others to go seek Jesus out for themselves. (I've called the woman Martha in this sketch, but of course, we do not know her name. If it bothers do, don't use the name!)
Staging: Although set in New Testament times, the women in this sketch don't need to dress up. They might carry shopping bags as modern equivalents of the vessels used to collect water from the well.
A group of at least 3 women are chatting together. Martha rushes on from off stage.
Martha: Girls, girls, guess what?
Martha: I have just had an encounter with the most incredible man you've ever seen.
Woman1: Oh no Martha, not again!
Martha: No. No!
Woman2: Every Saturday the same old story.
Woman1: Who was it this time? Joshua, the farmer's son? John the net-maker?
Martha: No. I don't mean that kind of encounter. This was at the well.or