Even before I was the children’s pastor @ Hayward Wesleyan, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed approaching the Bible as a story, a narrative. After all, the primary form God chose to communicate His Word was through stories (remarkably not a “systematic theology” textbook!). Now, after over 7 years worth of Bible story-telling, I’m more convinced of this historically-proven and time-tested methodology of “storying.”
It’s funny to me… telling Bible stories as stories shouldn’t be rocket science. It’s fairly simple to accomplish. The trick is to believe in it. What I mean by that is: most churches children’s ministries and its curriculum are primarily focused on principles to be taught (and remembered), life lessons to be learned, and topics to be addressed (as developmentally appropriate). Curriculum companies (thus churches by default, it seems) approach educating children from topics and principles first, then picking Bible stories to support that particular lesson. While not an all-together bad approach, it seems, in my opinion, to be the wrong order of things. Perhaps approaching the Bible stories first and letting the stories speak for themselves (across time and particular ages) is more of the appropriate order.
It’s tricky because you have to do more work to apply things, and you have to trust that what God wants to teach the students as they participate in your children’s ministry (or youth ministry) will be His particularly special scope and sequence, and not necessarily ours.
Below are some links I’ve come across of people who participate in “storying”:
- Echo the Story
- Soma Communities
- Network of Biblical Storytellers
- Walter Wangerin
- Main Street Curriculum