One method of public ministry that I would like to employ in Italy is the use of skits to present the gospel. The prophet Ezekiel was directed by God to perform various symbolic actions before the rebellious Jews to portray the impending judgment on Judah. They had become so disobedient that even the warning of judgment had to be conveyed in the form of play-acting in order of at least arousing curiosity and causing inquiry (Eze. 12:9; 24:19). Just as Ezekiel did, I want to witness in any way God chooses, and believe this could be an effective means of reaching a people hardened to the warnings of scripture and indifferent to the grace of God.
Last Sunday night at church the deaf ministry did a tremendous job of communicating the gospel through the medium of a “sign-action” sermon. A man sat a chair before the crowd and then placed a sign upon it reading “Non toccare” (Do not touch). Soon a young woman walked by and admired the chair, without noticing his arrival or influence, a man portraying Satan enticed the woman to sit down. She yielded and with a pleased look on her face found the chair to be comfortable until she tried to get up. She found herself stuck. Satan then placed the “Do not touch” sign around her neck. She desperately tried to free herself but to no avail. A Buddhist walked by and encouraged her to meditate. She held her fingers just-so, closed her eyes, then tried to free herself. Still stuck. Soon a priest came by and encouraged her to pray the rosary. She followed his counsel but it was futile in dealing with her problem. A pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on invisible doors passed her way. They gave her a pamphlet from the WatchTower and told her to knock in the air. She shrugged her shoulders and gave it a try. Still stuck. After failures from science, ill-informed friends, and other works-based methods, Jesus passed by. He paused and with a look of compassion removed the “Do not touch sign” and placed it around his own neck. Soon Satan revealed himself again and acted out nailing Christ’s hands and feet to an invisible cross. As Satan laughed the lights went dark in the church. When the lights came back on, Christ no longer had the sign around his neck, he was now off the cross smiling victoriously having rose from the dead. He reached his hand towards the stuck woman. She, reaching out in faith, took Christ’s hand and immediately was released from her prison. The implications of the skit are obvious and certainly were impactful on the group attending the service.
We love the Italian church we attend and the insight into ministering to the Italian people we have gained from them. We are excited to see what God will accomplish in Italy, hopeful of reaching many Italian souls for Christ, and committed to serving the people of this country we so dearly love. We pray that Christ may be seen in us, not just in public ministry but over every part of our life.
“Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 24:24