“The Great Church Robbery”
Written by Frederick Passmore
Copyright 1999 Sheep Laughs Records
Synopsis: This short poem, a Christian version of “The Grinch” story, can done as a dramatic reading using the background music and sound effects, or acted out to the narrated version on the same CD. In it, we see a bitter old man living next door to a church, which irritates him with the loud worship and obvious fellowship of the believers in it. He formulates a plan to steal the instruments of music and their hymnbooks and Bibles, to stop them from their worship. While he is taking out their belongings, an encounter with the pastor’s small daughter makes an impact on him.
The Origins of the Story
It was an annual holiday tradition as I grew up: every Christmas season I would draw close to the black and white television and watch with delight as “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” played again. When it got to the climactic part where the Grinch’s heart grew, I always misted up and got a lump in my throat.
Over the years I still appreciated the story but I always felt that it lacked something: the truth about Christmas, and the Christ of Christmas who was the only one that could change a man’s heart.
Some years ago, I wrote a poem inspired by the Dr. Seuss story, but with important differences: it took place in a realistic setting, with realistic people instead of cartoon creatures, and it told the story of one man’s discovery of what worship was all about. It doesn’t focus on Christmas, but on the One that came to earth at Christmas.
Named “The Great Church Robbery,” it was recorded and released to radio in December of 1998, and each year I get more and more requests for copies as it is brought out and played on stations across the country for Christmas. It has become a holiday tradition in its own right already, and is on the Prime Example album entitled “Comedy Skits and Songs” which you can get by going to the Comedy CD ordering page. The soundtrack for your own performance or dramatic reading is part of the script purchase package.
However, the actual story doesn’t take place at Christmas, so it can be performed at any time, as the message is timeless. A version of the script that takes place at Easter is also part of the purchase; it is the same except for a mention at the start that it is Easter morning. the same soundtrack is used, but only when you are doing the narration yourself.
I have had many people who heard the recording tell me they were very moved by the conclusion (I heard one announcer refer on-air to the “chill-bumps” she got every time she played it).
This script can be done one of two ways; you can read it with your own narrator, and use the individual audio tracks which supply the sound effects and dramatic background music. OR, you can simply play the produced track with has the narration on it and act it out. All of the narration, music and sound effects come on a CD, ready to play! Both versions are on the script PDFs and audio tracks. YOU MAY ALSO ORDER THE SCRIPT AND SOUNDTRACK AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.
Length of play: 6-8 minutes.
Number of cast: 2
(Soundtrack key: BOTH OPTIONS ARE ON THE CD: NO LINES TO LEARN –OR–– You do your own lines and the CD supplies the background music and sound effects.)
“The Great Church Robbery” breakdown
(A general description of the script; not all details are here, but it gives you a very good overall picture of what it is like.)
Done in poetry form, with cadence similar to the original story, the script opens with a man named Mr. DeWitt who is offended by the noise and activity of the church next to his house. After fuming over it for awhile, he gets an idea to break in and steal their objects of worship while disguised as a blind man. He breaks in, and gathers up all the things that he thinks makes up their church services. He feels he can stop their noisy worship if they don’t have all the songbooks and musical instruments.
Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here: the_great_church_robbery_sample_01
Preview the section of the soundtrack that is heard during the scene above by clicking on the player below.
As DeWitt is busy throwing things onto his pickup, he is interrupted by the appearance of a little girl. She is the pastor’s young daughter, who has come in from her house on the other side of the church. He convinces her that he wants to replace their worn items with new ones, but before she leaves, she puts her hands on his head to pray for him. She asks the Lord to restore his sight, as she believed his blind-man’s bluff. Her innocence, concern for his “condition” and her child-like faith touches his heart, but once she is gone his resolve returns and he finishes throwing out the items.
Preview a PDF page of the script that contains the scene above by clicking here: the_great_church_robbery_sample_02
Driving the old truck up to a cliff on the side of a hill, he puts it in park and gets out. (All this is pantomimed, unless you do like some others have done and build a one-sided cardboard truck that the character carries from the other side, appearing to be in the cab.) Standing at the edge of the stage, he listens closely to enjoy the church member’s wails when they discover they have nothing to worship with. As the strains of “Amazing Grace” makes its way up to his place on the hill, he is shocked to hear them singing as usual! As he tries to make sense of it, he suddenly realizes there is more to worship than simple actions… it is something inspired by the One they worship!
Just then he noticed that the old truck had slipped out of gear and was rolling toward the edge of the cliff. As he grabs the bumper, desperate to save the items in light of his new-found understanding, he prays for strength to save it, and for Jesus to save him as well. As faith receives salvation, he is empowered and stops the truck, then hops in and takes back all the worship items. When he goes inside, he kneels at the altar, as the girl joins him, and he thanks the Lord for answering her prayer and giving him his sight, which is to say, opening the eyes of his heart to the Truth.
Read some of the testimonials about the script from just a few of the many users:
I just want to thank you for sharing your God given gift to build God’s kingdom on this earth!
We just did the “Great Church Robbery” live at New Hope in Kailua on Dec. 18th with props, live speaking, live narration and your CD track with sound effects. It was powerful and very well received.
The main reason I picked this drama for our church was because of the prayer of Mary Sue. It moved me when I read it and when it was done live, I had lots of feedback about how moving it was when Mary Sue prayed for Mr. Dewitt.
Thank you again Fred for making your work available online. It has blessed us all the way here in Hawaii!
God bless you as you write for Him!
The Hope Christian Church in Columbus OH will be performing your script for “The Great Church Robbery” on 12-31.
I just want to say God Bless you, and thank you for putting that script together. I was hoping for something for something simple but pointed to do with my youth. This title caught my attention because just a few months ago, our church was robbed, and they did take our instruments and other worship equipment. and like in the script we worshiped without for a while, but now by the Grace of God through our insurance and generous churches around the city, we have pieced together a nice setup. We pray all the time for the perpetrator, and hope that he receives his “sight.” This script speaks right to our situation, and I really appreciate it. I’m generally not the teary type, but this one got me good.
God Bless you, in Jesus’ name.
-Pastor Steven Steward
The Geebung Baptist Church in Geebung Brisbane Queensland Australia did “The Great Church Robbery” on the 4th of December.
We just wanted to thank you for the use of the skit. The whole night went incredibly well, and there were lots of comments on how clever the skit was. People have been saying that the event was the best in memory. We ended up reading the play ourselves, and we used the sound effects. We also made some really amazing props. I really wish someone had recorded it so that we could show you. Anyway… thank you very much!
The Ramey United Methodist Church in Ramey PA is using your script “The Great Church Robbery” on Dec. 20.
We are a small church that is blessed with many teenagers. As we were planning our annual Christmas pageant, the teens were making comments “this again, can’t we do anything different?” I am the mother of 4 of the teens and really didn’t have a clue what I was going to do. That was 2 weeks ago, now we have an awesome script (“The Great Church Robbery”), a parent making props and a bunch of excited teens. Did you get that! Excited teens!!!! I am feeling pretty confident we will be contacting you again to purchase more of the soundtracks! WOW, what a ministry you are doing! And, I might add, an answer to my prayers. I can’t wait to get more skits that we can interject into a basic church service that will not only enhance our services but keep the teens involved. God Bless you and may your ministry continue to grow!
The Wilsall Community Church in Wilsall, MT put on your skit “The Great Church Robbery” on Dec. 21.
I narrated to the sound track and my husband acted. It turned out great!!! The music that accompanied the script was wonderful and added so much to the performance. Many positive comments and appreciation.
I’ve been asked to start a drama ministry at our church and am looking forward to using more of your material. Thank you for providing it. Your service was great. I also appreciated being able to download the script and get started practicing.
The Christ Wesleyan Church, Milton, PA will be presenting “The Great Church Robbery” on Sunday, December 7.
What a wonderfully marvelous script! I was asked to provide entertainment for my church’s Best Year’s (our older members) Christmas dinner party and after searching and searching, your script for “The Great Church Robbery” was hands-down the absolute best and I can’t wait to perform it for them. I had my Mom read it and she got goose bumps!
Thanks for sharing your writing ability with us and for making your scripts available to us. By the way…the soundtracks are incredible and a necessary complement to the performance. Thanks bunches!
The First Baptist Church in Clinton, Iowa will be doing “The Great Church Robbery” this Dec.
I absolutely love your scripts! I am the sole adult leader for a preteen group (grades 3 – 6) and they got tired of the traditional “boring” Christmas gifts (ornaments, magnets, etc.) for their parents, so we are starting a Christmas Dinner Theatre – with the help of your awesome site!!! I am so impressed with your material, scripts and soundtracks, that I am requesting the church purchase your Ultimate Skit Kit. Thanks so much for all your hard work and your dedication to the Christian Faith!!!
The Crossroads Gospel Temple in Nova Scotia, Canada put on “The Great Church Robbery” on: December 9th at 6:30 pm.
I was asked by my pastor to look for a skit our teen youth could do for our annual Christmas children’s concert. Well!!!!!……. The reaction we received from the congregation, the teens doing it and the entire church staff and board was fantastic. They all thought it was the best “teen play” yet and the message even prompted our pastor to include it in his final closing of the evening. Praise God that something like this has been written and made available to be used to continue on as a witnessing tool for Christian groups. Thank you!
In the Spirit of the season and in His name,
We did “The Great Church Robbery” last year, the audience loved it, a lot!!! This was very different from the boring skits that are usually done. I really loved it, because I was looking for something to do at the last minute and it didn’t take a million rehearsals to get it right. I have to come up with something for the teenagers to do every Christmas and Easter. Mind you, their eagerness and talent is somewhat limited. Thank You, thank you, thank you for doing what you do. You have saved my life. And will continue to, as long as I do this each year.
St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church, Detroit, MI
Every time we play “The Great Church Robbery” the phones light up! It has been the most requested Christmas Song each year! Thanks and God Bless….
I heard “The Great Church Robbery” on the radio and found it to be the best thing I have had the opportunity to listen to in a very long time. Thank you so much for your inspired writings. “The Great Church Robbery” really touched my heart. May God continue to bless you as you present Him to the world in such a unique way. Again Thank You for all you are doing for God.
Okay, if you liked the story breakdown, and enjoyed the Skit Trax previews, and were encouraged by the testimonials of those that have done it, buy the complete script and soundtrack here!
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What We Offer:
Our plays range from 20 minutes all the way up to 80 minutes. They are written to engage the viewer, make them think, to impact the emotions, and present the Gospel in such a way that they perceive it as meeting the needs of their life. The aim is to bless the believer, and give the person that has never made a decision for Christ a desire to invite Him into their life.
Our skits range in length from 5 minutes up to 20 minutes. While most are comedic in nature, using humor to impart a perspective that may not have been considered, the laughs are all tied into the message, and there is always a resolution that leads the viewer into consideration of the Truth contained in it. The humor can be enjoyed by all ages.
The soundtracks that we make to accompany the scripts add drama and emotional impact to the script’s performance. There are two different kinds of script and soundtrack; the kind where you do the lines live and the soundtrack is played at certain times during the performance; and second, the kind that supplies all the narration, music and effects mixed together to play as the actors perform, with no lines to learn. Each script description page tells you which kind it is under the “Soundtrack Key.”