Bible-Based one-man drama catching on

By Ken Hammock

Executive Editor, Insights, April 1989 – page 2A


            Dwain Penn, a resident of Thomaston, has developed a new and most unique form of ministry.  His presentation of a Bible-based, one man drama has captured the attention of several churches, and Penn hopes to develop this unique concept into a full-time ministry.

            Penn works for the City of Macon Traffic division in downtown Macon.  He started an effort of on-the-street-evangelism several years ago.  His preaching on the street resulted into an invitation to preach a revival with a local Baptist church.

            “I thought that would lead into more doors for me to preach,” said Penn.  “But, the doors never did open.”

            Penn began to “seek the Lord” about the ministry he felt the Lord had called him into.

            “The Lord revealed to me that I was to commit to memory parts of the New Testament.  I did, and as a result of that I started the drama ministry.”

            Although he has never had formal drama lessons, Penn says he has always been a ham from his childhood.  During high school, one of his teachers encouraged Penn to pursue acting as a career.

            Penn now ministers through a live presentation of a one-man drama with professional make-up, costume, stage props and multimedia support.

            A friend experienced in cinematography and theatrics introduced Penn to the use of make-up and props to project a professional stage presence.  Penn became enthralled in the idea of a one-man drama and his scripture memorization aided in the development of his outreach.

            Three basic characters of the Bible are portrayed by Penn – Paul, Abraham, and Jesus Christ.

            “Of all the apostles or disciples in the New Testament, Paul was the most prominent,” said Penn.  “There is a lot of material from the New Testament which you could glean a lot of insight into Paul’s life.”

            “Abraham was sort of a choice over Elijah as I found there were only two or three chapters in (the books of) Kings, so I decided to do Abraham.”

            Penn now has developed a multimedia presentation to portray the most prominent figure of Christianity, Jesus Christ.

            What were Jesus’ thoughts prior to the betrayal?  How did Jesus grieve in Gethsemane?  How triumphant was the resurrection of Jesus?  How joyful was His presence after He revealed Himself to the disciples?

            Penn examines and portrays Jesus Christ in life-like fashion.

            “I have a three-fold ministry,” said Penn.  “In the Bible Paul dealt with the written Word.  He often quoted from the Old Testament saying, ‘It is written…Does not the Law say…,’ and so on.  Abraham existed before the written Word.  So, he dealt with the spoken Word.  His faith was based mainly on what God spoke to him directly.  And then, Jesus is the Word transformed into the flesh.”

            “That’s the fullness of this ministry – the written Word through Paul, the spoke Word through Abraham, and then Jesus the Word made flesh.”

            Penn also wants to do a one-time portrayal of Peter.  The presentation would include Peter’s denial of Christ and the moment after the denial.  When Peter runs off into the darkness, what were his thoughts?  What was his state of mind and spirit?  Where does Peter go after denying the long awaited Messiah, and how does he deal with himself?

            Penn wants to capture this emotional scene in drama.

            “Peter and others will be one-time time dramas,” said Penn.  “I will commit the scriptures to memory, do the presentations, and then not do them anymore.  Paul, Abraham, and Jesus will be ongoing.”

            Drama presentations of Paul and Abraham have been videotaped and demonstration copies are available for local church leaders to view.  Churches interested in having Dwain Penn present his ministry can preview his presentations prior to making a commitment.

            Penn likes to choose which character to perform at the churches he visits.  Yet, he has honored specific request from churches to do a specific character.  He already has scheduled a weekend for a church in New Orleans to do all three characters, and he is excited about the potential for his ministry to reach across the United States.

            Dwain Penn’s next middle Georgia performance will portray Jesus Christ and will be presented at Prayer Mountain on Highway 19, 8 miles north of Thomaston.  The presentation is set for 8:30 p.m. on Friday, April 21, 1989.

            For details on bookings call 404-567-8025 or write to: The Gospel, P. O. Box 101, The Rock, Georgia 30285.  Dwain Penn ministers strictly by love offerings.  No salaries or honorariums are required.

“I will perform at any church, any denomination, anywhere.  I like to tell pastors to just pay for my gas.  Of course they always give above and beyond that.  But my object is to present the Gospel first,” concluded Penn.