In the world of film, a script is a written work by screenwriters for a movie or television program. In a script, the movement, actions, expression, and dialogues of the characters are narrated. It is the compilation of the components of the end product. A well written script reveals the authors intentions of the story and identifies the elements that will be required to accomplish the engagement of the observer/reader.
I have done some research and found that a script has many components that maintain the story and organize the thoughts so that it does not become boring, ineffective or disjointed. Here are the common elements of a script:
- TIME and PLACE: What time and/or place is the script set? What is significant about the time or place regarding the plot? How does it impact upon the characters and the plot?
- CHARACTERS: Establish the main characters. What gender are they? What do we need to know about them? How do they contribute to the story? Are we supposed to engage with them?
- ACTION: Who is doing what and why? Does that action move the story forward?
- DIALOGUE: What is to be literally said and figuratively communicated?
- PLOT: What is the primary reason for the story?
- SCENES: Scenes are the events of your story. The plot is divided into three components/scenes—a beginning, middle and end…so what do each look like?
Not being a skilled film screenwriter, I am sure that I have missed some key elements, have them out of order, or have overly simplified their roles. Regardless, the point is that an intentional film starts with a script. Can you imagine if George Lucas showed up on the set of Raiders Of The Lost Ark and told Harrison Ford that he wanted to tell a story that is engaging and draws people in but that they were going to let the cast develop their own plot, scenes, dialogues, costumes, etc. as long as it all ended up with the Ark being put in storage? Can you imagine how chaotic that would be? Do you think anyone would have paid to go see the final release (assuming it could ever have been completed)? Without the script to focus the entire team, there is chaos, inconsistencies, missed opportunities and frustrated patrons (guests).
The same applies to our church experience for guests. If you tell your parking lot team and greeting ambassadors to just be “friendly”, how many interpretations of that do you think you would get? If there is not a script that helps your team know what their role is (character), the reason for the story (plot), what they should be doing and saying (action and dialogue), when it should occur and where (time and place), and in what order (scenes) you will get an inconsistent and incongruent group of individuals…working as individuals…instead of living out a well intended story.
As part of our development process with churches, we ask the leaders to write a script (and multiple scripts per ministry area) of the preferred story for a first time guest. This exercise will do at least 3 things:
- Clarify what you want accomplished and confirm it is consistent with your vision, mission and culture
- Reveal your current blind spots in relationship to the preferred results
- Provide a training tool for your teams…both current and future
This can be revolutionary for your church. I have seen it transform hospitality teams, parking lot teams, greeters and overall interaction with guests.
Check out our book, Why Church Buildings Matter. Church facilities will not save a person from a life of sin and frustration. But the lack of attention to the church campus can indeed be the road block to reaching those people that need to hear the gospel message the most. Don’t minimize their impact. This book will reveal how to maximize your church facility to share the greatest story ever told, the gospel.