Skits on the Spot | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
May 2018

Skits on the Spot

By Neal Bowes

One of the best ways to help students engage with the Scripture is to have them embody the story in a skit form, to do that you don’t need a script. When you have a narrative passage like the story of God calling to Samuel, all you need is the Bible and a little creativity. Use this guide will walk you through adding student actors to the telling of that story, but this method is a great tool for any story!

Once you’re done, your youth may even enjoy offering it as a teaching opportunity to the children of the church. The story is found in 1 Samuel 3:1-20.

The skit can be done with three characters, Samuel, Eli, and the voice of God, but depending on the style chosen, a narrator part could be added creatively. You can also add Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, if you want to explore some of the back story. (1 Samuel 2:12-26)

When you use the Bible as the script, pause in the story to let each person speak the part for their role, and ask students to act out any actions or physical descriptions you read (or make up). Don’t stop there, make sure to spice it up with some side prompts filling in what happens in between the verses in the Bible.

Repeat the good parts

For example, in the story, it seems as though Samuel is awakened by God calling his name once. Sometimes, people need more encouragement to wake up, though, so when you are reading the scripture, maybe you repeat the beginning of verse 6 a couple times. After that you may add “And then Samuel mumbled…”What does Samuel mumble when he is awakened?

Bring Some Funny Costume Elements

You can also spice it up by adding fun costume pieces that you mention as you are reading the story. Does he have some fun little animal pal slippers he puts on to walk to Eli’s room?

Add a Little Slapstick

You might also add som funny physical elements. For example in verse 5, Does Eli get startled and fall out of bed with Samuel comes in?

Bring the Story into the 2000s

Another fun way to play with this in skit form is to bring it into the modern day. Does Samuel not even go in; does he call him on his cell phone instead? Does Eli start to get exasperated on the third visit?

Be Careful to not Go to Far

You can have a lot of fun with how you depict the story, but the scripture reports Eli as having difficulty seeing. Be careful to not become insensitive with your attempts at humor. Be sensitive, too, on how you present the news that Samuel receives, depending upon your audience. The bottom line is that Eli and his sons need to be removed from their jobs. Some important things to capture are that Samuel now has bad news for Eli, and he is afraid to tell him, but does. Also, the faithful way in which Eli receives the news: “It is the LORD; let him do what seems good to him.” (1 Samuel 3:18 NRSV)

Neal has had the privilege of being in ministry with the youth at Jesse Lee for the last 15 years. He also works through the New York Annual Conference to train and support volunteer youth workers in local churches. He loves speaking at youth gatherings--group retreats or conference-wide events.