Oasis Improv Brings in the Unchurched

September 01, 2008 | Liesl Vistaunet

It's another Saturday night with the True!mprov Troupe. A woman on stage says, "Give me the name of an unlikely charity." Her attentive audience throws back a flurry of responses, "IRS, Microsoft, Superman..." A few moments later, two people act out an improvised scene influenced by the suggestions. Responding with chuckles and laughter, the audience is clearly enjoying themselves.

True!mprov performs monthly and is an improvisational acting troupe ministry based out of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—The Oasis Christian Center in Vancouver, Wash. For the group of eight volunteer actors, it's a chance to inspire and share laughter with the greater purpose of ministering to the unchurched community members and giving back to the Vancouver community.

Larry Witzel, an Oasis elder and founding member of True!mprov, says he knows firsthand that God is changing lives through the ministry. "We see unchurched people in the audience at every performance," says Witzel. "I've been excited to see many of them showing up at church a week or two later.

"There is one family with elementary school-aged kids who came to one of our first shows," he continues. "The following week, they were at church and a couple of weeks later the father stopped me in the hallway and said, ‘thank you for showing us that being a Christian could be so much fun. We love it here!'"

"We all improvise in our daily lives," says Jenny Darrow, another Oasis elder and True!mprov director. "This is a safe and fun environment for people, both actors and audience, to explore and connect with personal experiences, emotions and concepts. As a result, True!mprov has proved to be a meaningful experience."

To learn more about the ministry, visit www.trueimprov.com.