A couple weeks ago I served as a host in our children’s ministry. Stage hosts can wear several hats, and this morning in particular I was wearing the “storyteller’s assistant” hat. My job: sock puppeteer.
I’m not even kidding. As the storyteller told the Bible story, I was behind a table with sock puppets resembling Cain and Able. I thought the same thing you might be thinking right now. “Sock puppets, really?” Unless we’re talking about The Muppets, as a general rule I’m not a fan of puppets either.
But in this situation, it was soon quite apparent that these puppets were connecting. The kids were laughing, and I was having WAY more fun than I expected.
At that moment, I felt the pull. It was the voice in the back of my head that said, “I could steal the show right now.” Hosts feel this almost every time they get on stage and help with a Bible story. It feels good to be the funny person that gets the crowd excited and laughing, so much so that it can go to our heads and the ego monster can take over.
During that moment of large group, getting a laugh wasn’t my job. My job was to use humor to help the storyteller share a great story from the Bible. In a second, I could have derailed that story and made it about getting the laugh, and it would have worked. But it also would have been to the detriment of those kids hearing a great story about what God has to say about honesty.
It’s hard in the moments, but here are three quick questions to ask yourself in the brief moments before your next line or stage action.
1. Why am I about to say or do this?
This helps check your motivation and help you figure out if what your about to say or do is about the story or about you.
2. How will this help move the story forward?
This question helps you realize your place in the story. Most likely you as the host are assisting someone else tell the story. You’re job might simply be to serve as the prop. If it won’t help, resist the urge to say it.
3. Will what I’m about to do derail the good that is happening right now?
Even if what you’re about to do does move the story forward, could it cause such a distraction that the kids miss something important that the storyteller is saying.
During large group storytelling, the story is king. Everything said and done should be programmed in such a way that it helps connect that story to the audience in a relevant way. This will include humor and fun, physical comedy, and ridiculous sock puppets. But just remember; use those conventions as a way to tell the story rather than just get a laugh.
How about you? How do you keep yourself from stealing the show? I’d love to hear your thoughts!