Pastor’s Creative Presentations Bring Bible Characters to Life

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Great Lakes

By Carl Stagner

Chris Gammello has served as pastor of South Memorial Drive Church of God in New Castle, Indiana, for nearly fifteen years. For about eight years, Pastor Chris has periodically performed biblical characterizations as part of his sermonic strategy. While the traditional topical or expository sermon certainly has its place—and can be heard on most Sundays at South Memorial Drive—the insertion of such special features into the calendar year augment appeal, deepen understanding, and further the message of the gospel.

“What got me started,” Pastor Chris recounts, “was being reminded of a man I got to meet years ago as a teenager in West Virginia—he would go around to different churches performing biblical characterizations.”

Chris does have a background in school and church dramatic presentations, marked by particularly fond memories. Today he views the creative element incorporated into his preaching habits as valuable to the communication of the biblical narrative.

Chris and Tonya before a biblical characterization.

“I feel like this gives a unique perspective of people from the Bible age to people of today’s age,” he reflects. “I also believe this give a unique way to invite potential Christ-followers to church for a service when they might otherwise not be open to attending a traditional sermon-based service.”

From Elijah to John, from Peter to Paul, an estimated forty Bible characters have come to life—so to speak—through the artful, first-person accounts portrayed by the pastor of South Memorial Drive Church of God. Among Chris’s favorites to portray have been the characters he’s presented in conjunction with Christmas and Easter, including a shepherd, one of the Magi, the innkeeper, Peter, Pilate, and the Roman Centurion at the cross.

“I also see this,” Chris explains, “as a creative way to help our younger generation get to know basic Bible characters in an interactive way—this is something that has seemed to be lacking in most churches over the past decade or two.”

Biblical characterizations aren’t the only thing South Memorial Drive Church of God has going for them, of course. A variety of outreach programs and events put love and faith into action over the course of the year, including, but not limited to, special community service weekends, a monthly clothing closet, and food distribution.

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Feature (top) collage: Biblical characterization set (left), Chris with his wife Tonya (right), whose indispensable assistance make his dramatic presentations possible.

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