I know I haven’t been writing lately, but two weeks at my me job and I am still trying to figure out where all of the rooms are and how to get to the sanctuary without going through the basement. As I am trying to get my head around all of the traditions, meetings, expectations, and just general stuff that goes on at this new place I have been teaching some lessons that I have taught before. This actually makes me very excited because on Sunday nights I am storytelling my way through the Old Testament again.
I really think I am wired to teach this way. I like creative things and preaching and helping students who learn in different ways (and all of that is included in this study to some degree) but at my heart I like to be involved in discussion and lead others to look at and talk about the word of God in fresh ways.
I have talked about this before, but I am using the material provide by www.echothestory.com. It is an amazing resource full of ideas and lots of free material. If you haven’t checked it out (or purchased the great book “Shaped By Story“) then do yourself a favor and go spend some time there.
Stories are sort of at the heart of what is happening in our group right now. We are telling stories on Sunday night and on Wednesday night I am trying to tell some stories of my life. I am also having one student a week share a “testimony” or just a little talk about what God has been doing in her life. It has only been two weeks, but I have loved hearing their stories. It lets them tell their stories to their peers and also lets me in on some of what God was doing at this church before I got there.
We once again had our annual Candle Christmas meeting this week. This is now an 11 year tradition. The first few years was before I had ever even heard of worship stations or anything like that, in later years I have combined sermons with worship and prayer activities.
This year I incorporated our storytelling through the Bible series into a prayer service about Christmas. This past week we were discussing the plagues and the Passover. I thought it was a great way to tie in about Christmas as we discussed Jesus being the Passover lamb given for us.
We have a new and unique group of students right now, most of which weren’t around for my big dip into alternative worship so this was a new experience for them. For some it was a moving event, a time to take a break from their lives and focus in on God. For others it was just a weird time to sit in the dark, but either way I think it was where we needed to be as a group.
I got to preach both services today, which is always fun. This morning I did a more traditional service, but tonight I decided to do one of the storytelling lessons that I have been doing with my youth. I went into a little detail about storytelling and why it is important and then did my usual youth opening and told the story. Afterwards we retold the story as a group and then I asked discussion questions to get them talking about it.
The story I chose was of the creation and I have to say that the format was a big hit. We had a very lively discussion and even though this is the second time that I have lead this story people were still saying things that I didn’t notice before (like Adam and Eve are the only creations that God uses props to make, everything else he makes just by speaking.) All in all it was a pretty fun night. I don’t get the opportunity to lead discussions with adults very often and it was a nice change of pace.
Last night we arrived at Abram and God’s covenant with him. I love the whole story of Abraham and couldn’t seem to make myself stop talking. That has been the hardest part of the whole storytelling experience for me: shutting up and letting the students dig for truth for themselves.
My guys have had some big time questions about God during this storying process. So I thought I would take a break from the redemption arc and tell the story of Job. We just finished Noah and next week we are going to dive into the Israelite narrative starting with Abraham but since many people believe that Job fits somewhere around Abraham chronologically I thought it would be the perfect time.
This was my first story to write on my own. Now I say that, but this story is pretty much written in the first couple of chapters of Job. It has characters and intrigue and dialog and even a little repetition just sitting there waiting for you.
I think the story went well, but I was sort of just trusting to my great teaching skills to know what questions to ask after it. I sort of assumed that I could follow the train of thought of the students and keep asking questions to get them talking. So I didn’t write anything down.
I think that was a mistake, because I didn’t have the next question ready I ended up talking more than I like to talk during these discussion times. We sort of fell back into our typical teacher/student roles, and when I do this again I will be sure to have some discussion questions ready.
We did open up the lesson with a new song from Kutless called “I’m Still Yours” which asks if it was all taken away would I still worship you. I thought it fit very nicely with the story of Job.