A Tale of Two Armies
A description of the elements of a skit.
This skit requires a group of men and women, something fewer than half of whom are (preferably) dressed in military uniforms. It should be as large a group as the geometry of the area for the presentation will allow without each one crowding the other so much that their actions can’t be observed.
Also, if possible, they should be equipped with items that indicate their duties: for those in uniform items appropriate to medics, radio operators, pilots, bosuns, riflemen, etc., for those in civilian dress items appropriate to factory and office workers, homemakers, farmers, etc. Only two should be equipped for actual front-line combat, with rifles, bayonets, etc.
The group comes in and mounts the platform, staying to one end of the platform perhaps spilling down over the end of the platform and extending to the surrounding area on that end of the platform. Those in uniform march, but out of step with each other, ahead of those in civilian dress. The atmosphere should be one of each one doing their own thing and lack of overall sense of purpose. (The things that each is doing should not, however, be purposeless. A few could be engaged in frivolous activities. But most should be engaged in “very important” tasks — but tasks not in any way focused on the war effort at hand.) The two prepared for combat should be clearly more fit than all the others, with the most sense of purpose in their demeanor. They should be at the head of the group. (Perhaps the background music could be “Onward Christian Soldiers” played by a group of instruments out of tune and out of time with one another.)
After a bit of indecisive behavior on the part of all but the two prepared for combat, these two seek out those who seem to be in charge and explain their vision to reconquer territory that the enemy is holding: the other end of the platform. Some of the others commend their vision. Some express their encouragement. Some express their doubts as the necessity of the task, the feasibility of the task, the amount it will cost. Some express a desire to be part of something like this, but can’t conceive of any way they could. Many can’t see how this effort could be in any way connected to them. Many don’t seem much interested one way or the other. Some are annoyed that these two are bothering them about this at all. But in the end the two are commissioned by a majority of the leadership and a large number, but less than the majority, of the others, told to do a good job, patted on the back, saluted, and sent off.
The two combat troops march, then begin to crawl toward the enemy territory. Sound effects should begin with rifle and cannon fire, airplanes strafing, bombs bursting. Of those left behind, a few take alarm, most don’t notice, all go about doing their own thing.
One of the combat troops gets out his radio and calls for air support (which he alternately calls air support and prayer support). The radio operator of the crew back home (i.e. the large group) at first tries to tune it out as interference, so that he can listen to his favorite program. He then realizes what it is and asks if anyone has seen the pilot. There is general indecision about what to do. They find the pilot. He is not sure it is worth the risk to himself or the aircraft not to mention what the aviation fuel and ammunition will cost. Where are the funds to pay for all of this? Then they check with the mechanic, who tells them that the plane is not ready to fly and certainly not equipped for combat. Another discussion ensues about risk, cost, and the value of the objective. Things then proceed to evolve in similar discussions with meteorology, air traffic control, and general staff. The factory workers report that they would have to work overtime to make the necessary munitions and will anyone pay them adequately for that?
In the meantime one of the combatants takes a near mortal hit. The other gets on the radio and calls for a corpsman (medic). Although the radio operator is a bit quicker to realize his duty this time, a similar scene occurs with the medics and those that support them as occurred with the pilot and the mechanic et al.
[The foregoing can be amplified and evolved for as long as there is time.]
In the end the combatant who hasn’t yet been wounded begins to drag the other one, near death, home, when he, too is hit. His wound is not as bad, but it is all he can do to finally drag his buddy home and both are nearly dead by the time they reach the “home” group.
They are greeted with sympathy of the you’re-specially-called-to-this (and I’m-glad-I’m-not) kind. Quite a few say: “I told you so.” Some lament: “I wish there were some way I could have been of help, but there couldn’t have possibly been a way.” And there is murmuring that “we should be investing our funds in something better” in the background. The medical personnel respond enough to keep them from dying. But the former combatants are so crippled that it is very doubtful that they will ever be able to do anything again, let alone fight.
The group comes in and mounts the platform, again staying to one end of the platform. All march in step with each other, those in civilian dress in ranks with those in uniform, The march is purposeful and joyful. The atmosphere should be one of all having a common goal. The two prepared for combat should be fit, but not especially more so than all the others. They should be in the center of the group. (Perhaps the background music could be “Onward Christian Soldiers” played by a group of instruments in tune and sharply in time with one another.)
Immediately the leaders (not the combatants) call the whole group to attention. Those in military attire to military attention, those in civilian attire to attentiveness. They explain the situation. There are people whom the King loves dearly being held in slavery by the enemy in a place where none of the King’s army has yet gone. It is imperative to send a combat team to break the enemy’s hold over that territory. The two dressed in combat gear are seen as the ones appropriate to actually invade the captive land. All must be involved in the effort to the maximum with whatever is their expertise. The combatants step gladly forward. They are sent off with crisp salutes by those in uniform, cheers and tears by those in civilian dress.
As in Scene 1, the two combat troops march, then begin to crawl toward the enemy territory. Sound effects should begin with rifle and cannon fire, airplanes strafing, bombs bursting. Those on the home front are busily doing all they can to provide the support the troops need and are actively aware of the battle going on.
And again, as in Scene 1, one of the combat troops gets out his radio and calls for air support (which he alternately calls air support and prayer support). The radio operator of the crew back home takes the call and immediately relays the message through command to the pilot. The mechanic reports that the plane is ready to fly and for combat. Meteorology and air traffic control give their reports and general staff order the air strike immediately. All of this takes only a minute or so. The factory workers cheer because the overtime work they have spent to make the necessary munitions is paying off! Those who have invested their earnings so that the aviation fuel and weapons were available rejoice that their investment was worthwhile.
Sound effects give aircraft taking off and bombs being dropped in enemy territory.
Again one of the combatants takes a near mortal hit. And again the other gets on the radio and calls for a corpsman. This time the radio operator relays the message and within a minute, not only medics, but replacements are arriving on the scene.
[The foregoing can be amplified and evolved for as long as there is time.]
In the end the troops on the field, some with wounds, raise the flag (probably a cross or a banner proclaiming “Jesus is Lord!” would be better) in a manner similar to the famous WWII picture of the marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima. (See IwoJima.com.)
The wounded one has good treatment, recovers, and is ready to be part of the next effort.
There is much rejoicing among all, both those in the land that has now been freed and those who have freed them — not only the combatants, but everyone: factory worker to General.
The moderator makes the point. God’s global purposes are accomplished by His body functioning as a unit. As Steve Hawthorne says “…God intends better for us. God wants each believer and every church to live in the joy of fulfilling His global purposes. God never intended a few heroes to carry all of the joy and the labor. He gives us all a part.” (Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, p. 708)
God’s effort in a specific people group isn’t for just two or so heroes, it is for a large team of heroes — some here, some there — all actively committed to and engaged in His purposes for the people group and all actively connected to one another and to Him.
Possibly bring various members of the cast up and point out the parallel between their occupation in the skit and that of the many functions needed to bring the Gospel to where there is no living, on-the-ground witness for Jesus Christ.
Performance of this skit should definitely be followed up by a systematic effort to fit people into the places for which they are best qualified and called to in order to effect the conquest of Satan’s kingdom in specific ways: E.g., a large, powerful team for a specific people group. Not a large team to go to that people group. A large, powerful team to participate with God in planting His church in that people group.
Therefore, preparation for this skit needs to proceed in parallel with a thoughtful evaluation of what functions/roles are need for an effective team for a specific people group. This should include at least careful consideration of this issue by those already involved there and consultation with experienced missions organizations and other churches that are effective in planting churches in similar situations.
As a further note (going further afield from the skit to it’s results) it would seem wise, in general, for a church to concentrate on developing such effective teams for one or two areas at first, based on efforts in which they are already engaged, while maintaining the current relationship to their other missionaries. Once some experience has been gained with those one or two areas they should seek to expand the approach so that every church member can become actively involved with God and live in the joy of fulfilling His global purposes. In addition it might be advantageous to begin with a couple of rather different types of endeavours. In WWII the war in Europe was fought differently than was the war in the Pacific.