More than 50 churches, schools and Christian theatre groups performed "The Gospel According to Scrooge" over the 2010 season. It is interesting to see that the vast majority plan to continue the production year after year. A recurring theme in the comments and testimonials is how well the Gospel is presented and the growth in the local church that results. Another repeated comment has to do with the way the people involved get to know one another as they work to present the play. Churches looking at "Scrooge" as a possible ministry for themselves will be encouraged by the fact that many beautiful productions have been presented by congregations of only one to two hundred, with casts of twenty five to thirty.
We here at JP Music believe that this story can reach many thousands more than it now does. We have a vision and a mandate to help the local church touch their community. We will help you. Here are a number of reports from churches of all sizes who presented "The Gospel According to Scrooge" in their own sanctuaries during the 2007 Christmas season.
After 22 years of performing The Gospel According To Scrooge it has been dubbed by the local newspaper as "a perennial classic." The show's familiar characters and strong message appeal to such a wide range of ages and people groups that it's easy to understand why it has become such a valuable ministry tool for First Assembly. Each year we see thousands come to our multiple performances with dozens making public decisions for Christ. I would highly recommend this musical for anyone looking for direct access to the heart of a community.
- Jarrod Brunson, Minister of Music at First Assembly of God, Ocala, FL
"We have had wonderful response to the "Scrooge" musical. Our people brought many visitors and fifty to sixty people found the Lord at the performances. The music is wonderful and the story so well told that the whole community ends up talking about it. It makes Christmas what it should be."
- First Assembly of God; Phoenix City, AL
"We had a great season with "The Gospel According to Scrooge" this year. Our auditorium holds about 600 and we had a total of around 2550 attending. We used our Choir and children's dept. so had 100 or so in the cast. More than 50 were saved. What a great outreach! We will do it again this coming year. It was a blessing."
- Diane Caldwell; Minister of music and fine arts Clear Creek Christian Assembly of God, Springboro, OH
"The Gospel According to Scrooge" was a great event this season. Nearly 3,000 attended our performances. We can only seat 500 or so, but did a number of shows. We had 100+ in the cast and the audience loved it. We are recommending this Christmas musical to all our friends in the ministry. We've never done anything at Christmas with this powerful a message. It's wonderful."
- Pastor Damien Wright Harvest Temple, Griffin, GA
"What a wonderful show! We have now done it several times over the last few years and the response is terrific. We have a pretty large auditorium, (1100) but needed to do five performances to get the people in. The community at large is drawn in and the Good News is so beautifully presented. We will do it again next Christmas."
- Pastor Kay Gross, Director Radiant Life Church, Dublin, OH
"We have presented the "Scrooge" musical for 6 of the last 7 years. That speaks for itself, I think. Our people and the folks all around look forward to it every year. Our auditorium seats 600 and we had a cast of 80. This great musical has built and strengthened our church. We recommend it for any ministry that wants to see the gospel presented, even at Christmastime. We plan to do it again in 08." - Warner Robbins First Baptist Church - Pastor Mike Cruse Warner Robbins, GA
"Our church has been blessed to put on "The Gospel According to Scrooge" for the past two years. It is amazing to watch how people respond to that classic story. The unchurched are willing to come and then they see the Gospel so clearly portrayed. The music adds so much. People walk around humming and singing for the whole month. We seat about 650. We did 4 performances and had a cast of 35. We recommend it highly. JP Music helps every church in every way possible."
- Pastor Cory Black First Assembly of God, Crestview, FL
"We are a small country church in Iowa. It was hard to imagine doing this production at first, but we felt strongly that it was what the Lord wanted. We have now done it multiple times over the years and it has a powerful impact on our whole area every time. We only seat 300 in our church, but have a cast of 100 because we open it up to the whole community. What a great thing that is in itself. If a church our size can do it, almost anyone can!"
- Pastor Ray Hoke Bethel Church, Boone, IA
"We have been involved in the production of "The Gospel According to Scrooge" for many years. This fine musical tells the gospel story in such a clear and powerful way and bridges out to the non- churchgoing in a way nothing else seems to manage. As a church, it is our gift to the community so we take no offering. We are not large,(400 seats) but had 5 performances. 138 people gave their lives to Christ! It's like that every time. God uses this play to reach the lost. We are privileged to be a part of what He is doing. We heartily recommend it."
- Dean and Patty Demos Trinity Fellowship, Sharpsburg,GA
"The Gospel According to Scrooge" is an amazing production. We first heard about it back in 1991. Somehow, it fell through the cracks and we found again in 2006. What a blessing! I'm new here and have been having the time of my life as the director. We seat 600 and did 5 performances. The weather did not cooperate so the total attendance was only 1500. 200 came forward,(we do an altar call) and gave their hearts to the Lord. Amazing! We will be doing it again in 08. Any church that has a desire to use drama will be thrilled with the story and the music."
- Pastor Jeff Saxton, Director Rochester Assembly of God, Rochester, MN
"I play the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in "The Gospel According to Scrooge - the Musical" It does good things for my spirit just to be involved. This production is unique and powerful. As a church body, everyone gets involved in one way or another. The congregation gets to know one another better and the body is strengthened as a result. We did 3 performances this season and we seat 450. We had a cast of 60 this year and it worked quite well. If you want a fresh way to reach out to your whole community, "Scrooge" is the best way I know."
- Jerry Helms Cornerstone Church, Moline, IL
"We are a fairly good-sized church in Florida. We seat 1200 and usually do 4 performances a season. Our church has grown over the years and "Scrooge" has played a significant part in that growth. This play never seems to lose it's appeal. We just finished our 22nd year of presenting it to our little city. The only risk you run in putting on in your own church is that you may be compelled to do it annually from then on, as has been the case with us."
- Pastor Jarrod Brunsen, Director Ocala First Assembly of God, Ocalla, FL
Church presents Gospel According to Scrooge
Pastor John Arnold and Crossroads Ministries have been hosting their annual Christmas din¬ner theater the past several years. This year’s edition, “The Gospel According To Scrooge” drew 1,100 people over the course of four presentations in December.
Pastor Arnold says the dinner theater is their best evangelistic outreach of the year. When performance practice began in September, so did the prayer for those who would be invited. Church members buy tickets for their guests, and only a few are left for the general public. One woman bought 70 tickets and brought her whole neighborhood. Arnold explains, “The aim is not to bring in the public but to bring those with whom we are building relationships and to give our people an opportunity to continue the conversation.”
Arnold also connects the dinner theater with other outreach ministries. The classic car peo¬ple in the church were responsible for bringing 50 of their car friends. Arnold says, “There were some surprises. When I saw one man sitting there, I was taken aback. He is notorious as one in need of God. The man who portrayed Scrooge was an agnostic just two years ago. On Saturday evening, his family came all the way from Cincinnati and Columbus, OH, to see him and his wife as cast members. He told me that he really related to the part because his background was similar to Scrooge before he experienced a massive change in Christ.”
FAMILY CHURCH, W. Monroe, LA
10 years ago God birthed in us a vision to give the message of salvation to the community through a musical called “The Gospel According To Scrooge”. We perform this play in December and have several thousand people see the Gospel of Jesus Christ portrayed in a unigue way through music, dance and drama. Set in the Dickens time period, you will cry, laugh and even be challenged in your relationship with Jesus. It is a memorable way to start the holiday season.
Please feel free to contact us anytime if you have any questions or would like to become an active member of the music ministry.
Music Pastor: Arvil Ogle
Phone: 318.396.7959 ext. 3401
Yes, this is the “original” 1982 version of the musical stage production that started it all. After 28 years it is still a holiday classic and hundreds of churches around the country are performing this production every Christmas season. The made-for-TV video of the stage play has now been digitized and is available on DVD.
Watch these select scenes:
Scrooge has finally had enough with the Christmas carolers outside his office, so he goes outside to tell them how he feels.
A young Scrooge, his grade school Teacher and his classmates sing about the real meaning of Christmas.
Bob Chrachit and his family celebrate Christmas Eve together and play a guessing game at Scrooge’s expense.
Scrooge comes to the church to inform Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and rest of the congregation that their prayers worked.
Here is what others are saying:
“We had a great season with “The Gospel According to Scrooge” this year. Our auditorium holds about 600 and we had a total of around 2550 attending. We used our Choir and children’s dept. so had 100 or so in the cast. More than 50 were saved. What a great outreach! We will do it again this coming year. It was a blessing.”
- Diane Caldwell; Minister of music and fine arts
Clear Creek Christian Assembly of God
“The Gospel According to Scrooge” was a great event this season. Nearly 3,000 attended our performances. We can only seat 500 or so, but did a number of shows. We had 100+ in the cast and the audience loved it. We are recommending this Christmas musical to all our friends in the ministry. We’ve never done anything at Christmas with this powerful a message. It’s wonderful.”
- Pastor Damien Wright
Harvest Temple, Griffin, GA
“What a wonderful show! We have now done it several times over the last few years and the response is terrific. We have a pretty large auditorium, (1100) but needed to do five performances to get the people in. The community at large is drawn in and the Good News is so beautifully presented. We will do it again next Christmas.”
- Pastor Kay Gross, Director
Radiant Life Church, Dublin, OH
The story of Ebenezer Scrooge has an important message according to Rev. Brian G. Tracy, senior pastor at Evangel Assembly: “God gives us second chances in life.”
That’s a positive message people need to hear, especially at Christmastime, said Tracy whose church is located at 348 Stony Hill Road in Wilbraham.
And that’s one of the reasons Evangel Assembly will present “The Gospel According to Scrooge” on Dec. 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 19 at 6 p.m.
“The message of ‘Scrooge’ matches the Gospel: There is good news, there is the opportunity to change,” Tracy said. “Just as it happened in Scrooge’s life, change can happen in our lives.”
The church has made a commitment to present the production in the years ahead, though some modifications of script, set and music might be made.
“At Christmastime, people like traditional stories” like Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol,’ the work upon which the musical is based, Tracy said. “The tale is such a cultural icon people won’t mind revisiting it” in subsequent years.
Members had such productions in mind when the church where the musical will be performed was built in 2005.
“We see the use of the arts and drama as a way to serve and communicate a message people will hear,” Tracy said.
He hopes the Scrooge message of transformation will touch audience members on an emotional level and “stir them to positive action.”
The church has had smaller productions in the past, but this is the first major production.
The two-hour, family friendly show has singing, dancing and drama; there is one 15-minute intermission.
There are about 220 adult church members; average weekly attendance at two Sunday services totals about 340.
Tracy said the congregation includes artists, interior designers and actors.
“We want to give people an outlet for those skills,” he added.
There are about 50 cast members and another 50 individuals involved with the crew; some are not church members.
“It’s been really neat to see people come out of the woodwork with the talent they have,” said Christan R. Causey, a church member who is directing the production.
“A lot of resources have been provided to us (in terms of set design and costuming) that if we were working in typical local theater you’d pay for, and you would need to have a large budget.”
The musical is a way for the church to connect with the artistic community and, Tracy hopes, to attract people who don’t go to church regularly to “hear the message buried in this Charles Dickens tale” of second chances.
“This is going to be a blessing upon the church for the church and community,” said Causey, a graduate of Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education.
He is certified to teach theater and public speaking.
A free-will offering will be taken at each performance to benefit Wings of Love Inc., a group that helps children in need in the Springfield area.
For more information call (413) 599-1729 or visit www.evangelassembly.org
“The Gospel According to Scrooge,” Dec. 10, 11, and 12
Grandin Court Baptist Church is presenting a musical, The Gospel According to Scrooge on December 10, 11, and 12, 2010.
The musical is a Christian Adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The principal characters in “Scrooge” and the Dickens’ classic remain the same. Join us as we journey with a man confronted by his own human condition in the most beloved Christmas story.
The church will present the musical on Friday night, December 10, at 6:30 as a dinner theater. Ticket prices are $9/adults; $5 children ages 5-12. The Saturday, December 11, matinee at 2:00 pm is featuring high tea. Saturday’s ticket prices are $7/adults; $5 children ages 5-12. Sunday’s performance, December 12, features desserts. Sundays ticket prices are $5 for adults and children ages 5/12. Children under 5 are free, but they do need a ticket to reserve a seat. Seating is limited and assigned on first come, first served basis.
All tickets must be purchased ahead of time. There will be no tickets sold at the door. Tickets go on sell November 14, 2010. For more information, contact Grandin Court Baptist Church, 2660 Brambleton Ave., SW. Roanoke, VA 24015 at 774-1684.
The Gospel According to Scrooge returns to Faith Assembly for the 20th Big Year, beginning Friday, December 11th. This production is a musical drama, depicting the familiar story made famous in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with a Broadway style.
Faith Assembly presents this big-stage event with our own unique twists. It’s fun for the whole family and has become a Christmas tradition for many.
The Gospel According to Scrooge
by Church on the Rock Sarasota on December 5, 2009
The Gospel According to Scrooge
Don’t miss this powerful dramatic presentation — a new twist on the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge! A must-see for the entire family, Church on the Rock is proud to present “The Gospel According to Scrooge” at our Palmetto Campus on Saturday, December 12th and Sunday, December 13th at 7pm nightly.
Tickets are available before and after services or by calling our office. Admission is $5 for adults. Children under 12 admitted free of charge.
Church on the Rock Palmetto is located at 1401 14th Avenue West. We look forward to seeing you!
Saturday, December 08, 2007
The Gospel According to Scrooge
was totally awesome. Last night (friday) ma, pa, connie and i went to bowlin green and saw this play. They did a superb job in each act and the director was scrooge. The sets were just like the story of christmas carol but they used it in a christian form. They have done this play for 21 yrs and it was amazing how many was there for the first time including us We couldnt take pics because of the copyright policies but I would encourage people to go. It is totally free
• The Gospel According to Scrooge (1982), A stage musical that began at Jesus People Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1980 as a simple little production at a dinner theater. It grew into a broadway-style hit in 1981 as it debuted at the Historic State Theater. It was video recorded and made into a television special featuring actor Dean Jones as the host. The production emphasizes the religious elements of the story, and is still being performed by American churches.
Abundant Life Assembly of God, North Salt Lake, Utah: performed a play “Gospel According to Scrooge” for a second year. All proceeds from the ticket sales were given to the Teen Challenge New Hope House for girls in Tooele, Utah.
This past weekend we had 2,218 people come out to see The Gospel According to Scrooge at Calvary. That shatters last years attendance high of 1,514. We actually had so many people attend on Saturday and Sunday nights that we had to turn people away, as we simply didn’t have enough seats. To top it all off we had 25 people accept Christ at this year’s performances. And the holiday season is just warming up.
Don’t miss this LIVE MUSICAL!
What dreams do you have? What dreams would you dare to live out?
Ebenezer Scrooge was a man tormented by his dreams. Tiny Tim was a boy with dreams of a better life. What would come of their dreams? Would they dare to live, dare to change?
The Gospel According to Scrooge, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale, invites the audience to Dare to Dream!
With fantastic music, wonderful lighting, authentic period costumes, and a cast of over 100 people, Faith Assembly presents the 21st Annual Production of The Gospel According to Scrooge. A two-story, 80-foot wide London city scene serves as a backdrop for the production.
Article published December 04, 2010
Bowling Green’s Dayspring church plans ‘Scrooge’ musical
The Gospel According to Scrooge, a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic A Christmas Carol, is being presented Saturday night, Sunday, and again Thursday through Dec. 12 at Dayspring Assembly of God, 17360 North Dixie Hwy., Bowling Green.
This year’s performances, featuring an all-volunteer cast of church members, includes several new songs and scenes.
Performances start at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6:15 p.m. General admission tickets are free, but seating is limited. Tickets are available by calling the church, 419-352-0672 or online at DayspringAssembly.org. Visitors are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items for the Bowling Green Christian Food Pantry and the Salvation Army.
I would recommend looking at the play/musical “The Gospel According to Scrooge.” A local church performed this musical a couple of years in a row and did a great job. You can find more about by Googling for it, but to get the performance rights, go to www.jpmusic.org
Hope that helps!
(Christmas in July!)
Articles | Victory Life
The production begins the weekend of Dec. 12 and 13 and runs again Dec. 18, 19 and 20.
As he prepares for Victory Christian Center’s annual Christmas production later this month at the Coitsville Campus, Pastor Joe Thomas says he hopes the story of Scrooge plants a seed in those who watch.
Most of us hear “Scrooge” and think of a miserly, miserable old man. But Pastor Joe says “The Gospel According to Scrooge” has a powerful message, especially for those who have not yet given their hearts to God, that God is the God of chances and change.
“God is the God of another chance,” Pastor Joe said earlier this week as he sipped coffee in the cafe at Victory at Coitsville. “If God could forgive someone like Ebenezer Scrooge, or if his life can change, then maybe there’s hope for me. We know the true meaning of Christmas is Christ, and that’s the message of the play.”
Pastor Joe said he hopes people are entertained by the production, but he also added that a larger hope is that the seed of seeking God is planted in them when they watch the play.
The play begins the weekend of Dec. 12 and 13 and runs again Dec. 18, 19 and 20. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. for all performances.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
It’s not often that plays and musicals can become such a part of one’s life, but The Gospel According to Scrooge–or Scrooge as I refer to it–has definitely been that way for me. My dad started directing the performances at Kingwood Assembly of God in 1987, the year I was born. That year was one of the few years that my mom was not involved because she was pregnant with me. The performances were most likely modest at best and no where near as elaborate as they are today. Scrooge performances have been going on for almost every year since then and are a mainstay in my December planning.
Scrooge was responsible for my first childhood villain the ghost of Marley, Scrooge’s dead business partner that came to haunt him one cold Christmas eve in 19th century London. Early on, our church used a combination of sheets, victorian clothing, chains and heavy dosage of baby powder to pull of the ghost of Marley. I remember feeling terrified when I would see the character back stage. At night I would lay in my bed and feel that right when I closed my eyes, Marley would come and take me away through my bedroom window. In a cruel fate of irony for the past three years I have played the part of a young adult Marley who leads Scrooge into a life filled with greed and indifference.
My next fear as a child came from when my parents–married at the time. Played the role of young adult Scrooge and Belle (Scrooge’s love interest). There is a song in this musical where they break up because it becomes apparent to Belle that Scrooge’s love for money and success supersedes his love for family and more importantly, his love for God. Needless to say, to see my parents break up on stage 5 nights in a row was not very fun.
Each and every year the play was produced, I remember seeing less and less of my dad as he was heavily involved in the stage and set design from mid-November to the performances in early to mid December. I would often find him in the church sanctuary after school, painting or decorating a new part of the set. Every year the theatricals became bigger and greater. His final year of directing, the production included many pyrotechnics, a remarkable set (the kind that would catch the eye of even those on Broadway), a script that found the right balance of comedy and drama, a costume department that could dress a cast of 100+, and a dedicated crew that helped him annually retell the play to an audience of thousands.
This year is the plays twenty-first year of running (with my family being involved in some way) and the twentieth year of production by Kingwood. I know every song by heart and if given the chance, could probably perform the lines of all the core characters including Scrooge himself. I’ve been apart of an experience that has lead thousands to start a relationship with Christ and because of that, I am truly indebted PLUS I can do a heck of a British Cockney accent.
A quick plug. The final performance of 2010 will play out tomorrow (Sunday, Dec. 12) at 7pm at Kingwood Church. The performance will be packed out. Many that will be turned away (if you plan to go, get there an hour or two earlier to get a seat). Performances are free and 100% of the proceeds collected at the end go to help poverty sticken families in the local area.
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Classic tales gets Christian twists
BY CAMILLE GAVIN, Contributing columnist | Wednesday, Dec 12 2007 08:08 PM
Last Updated Friday, Mar 27 2009 09:10 PM
Special touches enhance First Assembly of God’s annual Christmas production, “The Gospel According to Scrooge,” says Roger Norwood, the church’s director of creative arts.
For one thing, it’s a musical based on the classic “A Christmas Carol” with a cast of about 40 and a live orchestra made up of members of the Bakersfield Symphony. Also, the tale’s three “spirits” are presented as angels, not eerie-looking ghosts.
“Like the original story by Dickens this is a story of love, hope and redemption,” Norwood said, then added, “but we’ve added a bit of a gospel twist to it.”
Those in lead roles are seasoned performers well-known to local audiences. Bob Anderson, who played Tevya in Stars’ recent production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” has the part of Bob Cratchit; Dan Schaffer, who does the morning show on KAXL 88.3 FM, has the part of Scrooge. Schaffer and Brenda Baldwin, the director of the First Assembly production, have appeared in several Bakersfield Music Theatre shows.
“Gospel” was written by James Schumacher, John Worre and Dennis Worre, with music by John Worre and Tom Elie.
Norwood estimates that total attendance at last year’s four performances amounted to about 3,000.
“Because of the quality of our show and the free admission, arriving early is always a good idea,” Norwood said. “We don’t reserve seats, but if there’s a group coming that wants to sit together, they can call us beforehand and we’ll block off a section for them.”
‘The Gospel According to Scrooge’
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Pictured above, actors in the scene for a festive holiday party for Scrooge, Belle and friends in the production of “The Gospel According to Scrooge,” to be held this weekend at Bethel Church, pose for a photo. Pictured, front row from left, are Allison Melchert of Ogden, Madelaine Elliott of Perry, Joelle Kruger of Woodward and Erin Gilbert of Woodward. Back row, from left, are Paige Burkhart of Woodward, Daniel Wilkinson of Woodward, Brandon Glasa of Madrid, Becky Verrips of Madrid, Garry Gardner of Boone, Dino Rosene of Boone, Amber McNeill of Woodward and Sam Elliott of Perry.
by Greg Eckstrom
Published: Friday, December 17, 2010 12:03 PM CST
Many people are familiar with the iconic character of Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel, “A Christmas Carol,” and this time of year even more people are familiar with the stage production of the same story.
For a different twist on this holiday tale, however, members of Bethel Church in rural Boone County are inviting those of all ages to see a different rendition, entitled “The Gospel According to Scrooge.”
Seventy cast and crew members, all from Bethel Church, are preparing for their 13th production of the play. This year’s presentations will be held Friday, Dec. 4, and Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. each night, and again Sunday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m. Seating will begin for the free performance one hour early, and a free will offering will be accepted for the show.
The church has been presenting “Scrooge” since 1983. In 1981, Bethel’s pastor, Rev. Dale Heckman, and his wife, Judy, attended the production in Minneapolis, Minn. A group of Bethel members made the decision to purchase the rights to the play, along with a soundtrack and script, and work began on costuming, sets and technology. The musical rendition of “A Christmas Carol” was rewritten by James P. Schumacher with a Christian theme, and the large cast has been practicing every Sunday since October in preparation for this weekend, director Tracy Nation said.
“We have lunch, and then we begin at 12:30 p.m., and then we finish up between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.,” Nation said. “And then, if different groups need it, there are individual practices.”
As suggested by the rigorous rehearsal schedule and large cast and crew – especially for a church with approximately 190 people in attendance for Sunday service – this is not your normal, low-budget church production.
“The first time I was invited…someone said, ‘You have to come,’” Nation said. “I was thinking it would be a little church play, and the production was just overwhelming. It’s been equally fun to be a part of it.”
The church sanctuary and foyer are transformed into an old English village with a beautifully detailed stage backdrop, windows decorated as storefronts, and hanging shingles to depict various businesses of the era. Players are fully costumed in dress of the late 1800s, and the musical numbers are choreographed and sung to taped background accompaniment.
And with such production value, and the large cast that accompanies it, Nation has been busy, to say the least.
“It’s a big job…I started in July,” she said. “We have 70 in the cast and crew, but we also have parking ushers, we have people that provide meals and snacks for the cast before practice, a publicity team, child care, costumes, and then with the technical end of it, there’s just a lot of different things you have to keep your thumb on.”
In this production, Scrooge “bah, humbugs,” his way through the first part of the drama, picking on various people, being especially difficult with his nephew, Bob Cratchit, whose love of the Lord shows very clearly in the way he deals with his Uncle.
Scrooge is visited by three angels – each with their own vision for him, and each showing Scrooge the errors of his ways and presenting a Christian message.
“The production has many serious moments, with a serious message to convey, though it is generally light-hearted and entertaining,” Nation said. “‘The Gospel According to Scrooge’ is Bethel’s way of sharing the Christian message that Jesus is ‘the way, the truth and the life,’ (Romans 14:6). It’s a fun, but meaningful, way to begin the Christmas season.”
Bethel Church is handicap accessible, and arrangements can be made for a sign language interpreter by contacting the church at (515)275-4091. The church is located near the intersection of county blacktops R18 and E57 in rural Boone County.
Connections: John Worre
Producing The Gospel According to Scrooge
For 28 years, John and Patti Worre have been producing The Gospel According to Scrooge. The Broadway-style musical stage production includes a dozen original songs and is an evangelistically oriented version of the classic Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol. Nearly 600 churches — the largest share of them Assemblies of God congregations — have performed the two-hour musical drama, typically five times in December. This year, a record number of more than 80 congregations are participating. Counting televised airings, an estimated 15 million people have seen the play. John Worre, 68, recently spoke to Evangel News Editor John W. Kennedy from his Golden Valley, Minn., home.
evangel: How did this ministry start?
WORRE: I was associate pastor at Jesus People Church in downtown Minneapolis. Tom Elie [now an ordained Assemblies of God evangelist who heads Oasis World Ministries] was the wonderful music pastor. There had been a movie called Scrooge with Albert Finney, and we thought it could be great to adapt the story for evangelism at Christmas.
Initially we just altered the lyrics a bit, and we had almost no sets or props. But people just went bananas over it. The next year we moved to a theater and had to turn people away every performance. We couldn’t get the rights to the songs, so Tom and I sat down, and the Lord inspired 12 original musical numbers.
By 1982, we had 40,000 people come to 13 performances. TBN has aired that year’s version every Christmas since. In 1983, Assemblies of God churches started putting it on.
evangel: How does your musical drama differ from the Dickens work?
WORRE: In the church environment it’s been adapted a thousand different ways. We’re flexible. When a church comes up with good ideas, we share them. We melded the two characters — the nephew and the employee — into one. So now Bob Cratchit is the good Christian nephew trying to get through to his uncle and boss, Ebenezer. Tiny Tim gets touched by the Lord on Christmas Eve, and his leg is healed on Christmas morning.
evangel: How else is the play explicitly Christian?
WORRE: Bob Cratchit is clearly a believer. We show how he tells his uncle about the goodness of God. In a scene with young Scrooge and his fiancée, she leaves him because of his focus on money. When Scrooge looks at himself in the grave he is confronted with the reality of how everybody cared for him, and he has a heavy-duty conversion. He declares, “Lord, this time I’ll serve You.”
evangel: How do you help churches with the show?
WORRE: We provide a production manual describing how to put the play on, including information about props, costumes and characters. We have CDs and DVDs for rehearsals. We have professional performance tracks or sheet music orchestrations for large churches.
evangel: Why are so many AG churches involved?
WORRE: It reflects Assemblies of God doctrine well. There are altar calls at these performances. The play attracts people who never would go to church otherwise. Overall, churches have documented more than 600,000 professions of Christ to us.
evangel: In some communities is an annual performance expected?
WORRE: It’s become a tradition, and many churches perform it year after year. Lots of others will do it every other year. Faith Assembly of God in North Fort Myers, Fla., is on its 21st consecutive year, and First Assembly of God in Ocala, Fla., is doing it for the 24th time this Christmas.
SCROOGE report from New Life Assembly, Kearney, NE
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 3:26 PM
Add sender to Contacts
Hi John! Here are a few stats from our GOSPEL ACCORDING to SCROOGE production in 2010:
476 – Fri. PM
369 – Sat. matinee
501 – Sat. PM
608 – Sun PM
There were 24 responses who either prayed for salvation, or for commitment to strengthen their journey with Christ.