Last week, 23-year Army Chaplain and award winner Dick Stenbakken enacted six key elements of the Gospel story every night for Campion Academy’s Week of Prayer. Throughout the week, he told the stories of Jesus through the Gospel John, Peter, Judas, a leper, a blind man, and finally, a Roman Centurion. The main purpose of these meetings was to help students better understand Jesus’ character through the experiences of first-person presentations.
“I’ve never seen Mr. Stenbakken’s performances before,” commented Haley Beckermeyer, sophomore. “They personally made me look at my life in a whole new light. They showed me how to see the Bible characters from their point of view rather than just reading the story. I felt like I could really experience the characters, like we lived in the same time period.”
Although never being trained in it officially, Stenbakken pointed out that all preachers and teachers have to “dabble in drama” at some point in their lives. “I’m a visual learner, and many other people are too. So when you see the character, the hammer, the nails, and the leprosy spots, it makes an impression that just describing it can’t do,” he explained.
Kylie Wehling, a junior, said, “I think it was cool to see what the characters in the Bible might have actually looked like. It was very interactive, relatable, and Mr. Stenbakken really captured my attention with his presentations.”
Not only are these drama performances influential to the audience, but he continued to describe how the presentations have changed his own life very deeply. “In order to develop a character, I need to get the story behind the story. I have to dig way deeper into the biblical text, as well as the historical and cultural background. As I immerse myself in the character, the message that character has comes alive. When it comes alive to me, then it does the same for the listener.”
In order to continue growing from this Week of Prayer, Stenbakken advised students to, “Study the Bible, and enter into it as an actor of the story, then read it again from a different point of view. Suddenly the story will become very real and personal, instead of something on paper. That’s the ultimate way of encountering God.”
Sami Hodges, Student News Team