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On Book, Off Book
The DePaul Theatre School Ministry
July '03

I am waiting eagerly to see what God will do at The Theatre School (TTS) next year. We have some strong visionary student leaders who long to see both students and faculty in TTS embrace Jesus.

The working title for this TTS small group is On Book — a reference to the phrase "off book," meaning that actors must have memorized their lines, with a double entendre about "book" (in this case, the book is the Bible). The group ultimately would like to lead informal Bible discussions open to those who follow Jesus or not.

The leaders are also considering how to serve TTS in practical ways: What needs do TTS people have that we can address? We came up with this preliminary list very quickly:

  • Incoming students especially need help knowing how to thrive (or at least how to survive!) the pressures of TTS, one of the top conservatory programs in the United States. We could have social gatherings and seminars, which will give students connections and skills to do well in their program.

  • TTS is not a particularly friendly place for spiritual discussion. We hope to create a safe place to talk about spiritual things, and to see what Scripture says about spirituality. We also hope to study what God says about creative abilities and what this has to do with their training in TTS.

  • TTS students must perform juries regularly in a high-pressured environment. To help students succeed, this group might offer to have a jury practice with a friendly audience. This is a possibility for the music school, too.

  • There aren't many fun, clean places to relax in the DePaul area. We might have some social events on Fridays and Saturdays. Some universities have done "arts parties" at an apartment or in a dorm — students bring samples of what they are working on and share it with the community.

  • TTS students find it hard to believe that Jesus would care about their everyday concerns: their creative abilities, competition, a longing for success in this field. We hope to emphasize our concern for their practical, daily lives by addressing real needs.

On a slightly discouraging note: One of our student leaders, Sarah, has decided to transfer to another school — definitely a good decision for her, but a great loss for us. She has been one of the key factors in moving this ministry at TTS from ideas to plans. She will be sorely missed as we move forward. I am praying that God will bless and nurture Sarah in this transition, and also that he will strengthen existing leaders and raise up new ones to bring these plans to fruition.

Here are some tentative plans for On Book this year:

Tuesday daytime, 9/9/03 — TTS Convocation

Hand out flyers and posters for a gathering with new students

Tuesday 7:30 pm, 9/9/03 — first InterVarsity large group of the year

Thursday evening, 9/11/03 — Food & Drink Social with new students at TTS

Distribute flyers with
1) dates for attending church as a group
2) IV large group meeting time
3) TTS weekly meeting time survey

Sunday morning, 9/14/03 — Kirra (and others?) meet for church with interested new students

Tuesdays 7:30 pm — InterVarsity large group

On Book meetings, tentative schedule for each month:

Week 1 — Guest Speaker

Week 2 — TTS Study Session (read plays, talk about, work on performance pieces?)

Week 3 — Prayer or Bible Study group

Week 4 — Open Session! Time to discuss, problem-solve, perform, work on projects, coach a Christian Drama Team, etc.

The On Book leaders compiled a list of thirteen people in TTS to pray for; they include students and faculty at various levels of Christian faith. For privacy's sake, I won't list their names online, but would you join the TTS leaders in praying for these thirteen people?

I'll be attending a regional InterVarsity Arts Consultation on August 1. I hope to gain more ideas and make more connections through this meeting. I hope especially to hear from God as we wander into this uncharted territory at DePaul.

Thanks for your interest and partnership! — Ann

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