What can I gain? - by James Archer

 

 

This sketch has been written to encourage people to think about church from the perspective of “What can I give?”, not “What can I gain?”.  It was designed to be done as a series of sketches done without a break by the same two actors with minimal costume/prop changes just to set the context, and then repeated after a message but changed to the right hand version – the thinking being that the left hand version is a parable where the hearers are not told what the point of it is and have the opportunity to try to work it out for themselves.  It could work equally well as a series with each sketch being done on a separate day of eg a holiday club, and extra scenes could be added, for instance someone joining a football team.

Editable and printable version

                    Parable version

Scene 1

A bookshop with the bookseller and a customer.  Suggested props are a portable shelf of books.

Bookseller       (As customer enters)  Good morning, sir.  Can                     I help you?

Customer        No thanks, I’ll just browse.  I do so love books,                     don’t you? (Seller moves away.  Customer                           browses for ages, blocking out any contact                         with bookseller.  Eventually the bookseller                             brings matters to a head.)

Bookseller       Is there anything you are looking for, sir?

Customer        No thanks, I don’t think I’ll take anything today                     (Exit).

 

Scene 2

A supermarket with two customers, a parent and child walking through the aisles.  Suggested props are a shopping basket.

Parent           Now, what do I feel like today?  Chinese?                          No.  Italian?  Could do.

Child            Boring!  Can’t we have burger and chips?

Parent           We had that yesterday.  Look at this – New                        Improved Fusilli Carbonara – it’s on special                          offer, two for the price of one.

Child            I want some chocolate biscuits for afters.

 

Scene 3

A doctor’s surgery, with a doctor and a patient.  Suggested props are two chairs and a table and a stethoscope.

Patient         (Entering)  Good morning, doctor.

Doctor         Good morning, Mr Smith.  How are you today?

Patient         Well, it’s my insides, doctor.  I’m all aches and                     pains, and those pills you gave me aren’t                             making any difference.  I’ve hardly got the                           energy to go out on the town.

Doctor         Are you taking the pills regularly and staying off                     alcohol like I told you?

Patient         Well, doctor, I do when I remember, but I’m so                     forgetful these days.  Can’t you give me                               something that will sort me out?

Scene 4

A job interview, with an interviewer and interviewee.  Suggested props are two chairs and a table, ties and a jacket for the interviewee.

Interviewer   So, Smith, why do you want this job?

Interviewee  I want to work for an organisation I believe in,                      sir.

Interviewer   What particular things do you think you can                        bring to it, Smith?

Interviewee  I’m whole-hearted and I love to work hard, sir.                      I’d turn my hand to anything you wanted, sir.

Interviewer   Excellent, Smith, we need chaps like you.  When                  can you start?

 

Scene 5

A coffee shop with two customers talking over their coffee.  Suggested props are two chairs, a small table and some cups.

Customer 1 It’s hard work looking after my Mum now that                       she’s getting so unsteady on her feet, but after all                   that she’s done for me, it’s the least I owe her.

Customer 2 I know what you mean.  My Mum could be a bit                 difficult at times, but it wasn’t easy for her to                         accept that she needed help when she’s always                   been so independent.

Customer 1 And then, just when I’m feeling unappreciated,                     she shoots me one of her smiles and it all seems                   worthwhile.

Customer 2 I hope my children will do the same for me when                 I’m older.

                         Interpreted version

Scene 1

A church with a vicar and a member of the congregation.  Suggested props are a pew chair.

Vicar           (As churchgoer enters)  Good morning, Mr                           Smith.  Can I help you?

Churchgoer   No thanks, vicar.  I’ll just take a seat at the                          back.  I do so love being in church, don’t you?                    (Vicar moves away.  Customer sits down and                        nods off during an imagined service, blocking                      out any contact with anyone else. Eventually                        the vicar brings matters to a head.)

Vicar               Is there anything you are looking for, Mr                               Smith?

Churchgoer       No thanks, vicar.  I’m just off (Exit).

 

Scene 2

A church with two churchgoers, a parent and child walking through the aisles.  Suggested props are some Palm crosses.

Parent           Now, what do I feel like today?  Prayer?                            No.  Hymns?  Could do.

Child            Boring!  Can’t we go straight to the Lighthouse?                    (Sunday school)

Parent           We did that last week.  Look at this – a new                        chorus from Graham Kendrick.  We can repeat                    it until we know it.

Child            I want some chocolate biscuits for afters.

Scene 3

A church with Jesus and a prayer.  Suggested props are a kneeler.

Prayer          (Getting down on knees)  Good morning, Jesus

Jesus            Good morning, Simon.  How are you today?

Prayer          Well, it’s the worry, Jesus.  I’m all knotted up                       inside, and that advice you gave me isn’t                             making any difference.  I’ve hardly got the                           energy to take care of myself.

Jesus           Are you following my advice and thinking about                   others like I told you?

Prayer         Well, Jesus, I do when I remember, but I’m so                       forgetful these days.  Can’t you do something                       that will sort me out?

Scene 4

A conversation between Jesus and a church volunteer.  Suggested props are two chairs.

Jesus           So, Simon, why do you want to work for me?

Volunteer     I want to work to reflect what I believe in,                             Lord.

Jesus           What particular things do you think you can                         bring to the church, Simon?

Volunteer      I’m whole-hearted and I love to work hard for                       your kingdom, Lord.  I’d turn my hand to                             anything you wanted, Lord.

Jesus            Excellent, Simon, we need people like you.                         There’s someone I want you to help.

Scene 5

A coffee shop with two customers talking over their coffee.  Suggested props are two chairs, a small table and some cups.

Customer 1 It’s hard work looking after Ethel now that she’s                      getting so unsteady on her feet, but after all that                    she’s done for the church, it’s the least we owe                    her.

Customer 2 I know what you mean.  Dorothy could be a bit                   difficult at times, but it wasn’t easy for her to                         accept that she needed help when she’s always                   been so independent.

Customer 1 And then, just when I’m feeling unappreciated,                     she shoots me one of her smiles and it all seems                   worthwhile.

Customer 2 I hope someone will do the same for me when I’m                 older.