I am fascinated by stories. I love picking up a book and entering a whole new world. I love sitting down and listening to exciting adventures (whether real or fictional). There is nothing I like more than entering into a story: walking down new paths, smelling the air, meeting characters… The better the story, the more vivid my imagination paints a picture for me.
Recently, I’ve run into a number of blog posts and tweets from a variety of people who, rightly so, have been concerned about the Bible being overly fictionalized. Much of the conversation has been centered around the use of the word “story” when referring to people and events in the Bible. While I understand the concerns, I think we need to be careful not to so quickly toss out the word “story” from our vocabulary when communicating the Bible with children. Story has the unique ability to capture our attentions and our imaginations. When we identify with a story, that story sticks with us and becomes real to us. Isn’t that what we want to do with the Bible? Don’t we want kids to grab onto the Bible and have it “stick” in them?
Amy Dolan recently wrote an article for Children’s Ministry Magazine about helping children enter into the stories of the Bible. Her article is based on Michael Novelli’s book Shaped by the Story, which explores the art of storying–drawing people into a story by engaging their imaginations and hearts by helping them become part of the story. Amy also takes a look at a church that has taken Novelli’s concepts and applied it to its children’s ministry. You can download Amy’s article here. (Children’s Ministry Magazine was generous enough to let me post the PDF of the article. You can subscribe to this amazing resource by clicking here.) You can also check out her blog post about the article.
- What are your thoughts on “storying?”
- How have you helped children engage and become part of the stories in the Bible?
- Is there a way to help children see the Bible as story and fact?
BTW, Novelli has another book with seven experiences for student ministries to take their students through storying called Enter the Story.