Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet: ‘I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world.’” (Matthew 13:34-35, NLT)
If you’ve read many pastor articles in the last six years here at Brown Deer, you may have noticed something: Pastor Larry likes to tell stories. People connect with stories. People remember stories. You can give someone a list of facts to memorize, and the task may seem ominous. But tell them a story or a joke, and they can remember intricate details verbatim.
That is why it gives us great pleasure to announce Brown Deer will be hosting a Bible Storying workshop this fall. Please mark your calendars for Saturday, September 12, 2015 and guard that date! This valuable training will better equip VBS workers, Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, parents, and anyone who’d like to understand how they can use Bible stories when their own children, friends, or co-workers ask spiritual questions.
Not just for international missionaries. While it’s true Bible Storying methods were originally embraced by our mission staff overseas to better engage non-literate cultures with the gospel, church leaders in the United States have realized that our American culture is swiftly changing into a more oral learning culture as well, and are scrambling to adapt. You may have experienced this yourself if you’ve ever typed up a detailed, carefully-worded e-mail and received a question 5 minutes later from someone who barely skimmed your masterpiece containing the answer to that question.
I still vividly remember the typing class (ermmm.. keyboarding, sure it was keyboarding class, haha!) I took my senior year in high school. Most students took it as a freshman, but my learning goals were more complicated and this was my only opportunity. So, I had the privilege of taking that class in an electric room with 15 freshman boys.
I’ll spare you the details of the pranks I endured and the images in my mind I still to this day cannot un-see. But there was one boy in particular whom I still remember both for his laughter at those pranks, and for the predictable question he asked everyday of our teacher. Let’s call him, “Dave”.
At the beginning of almost every class, our teacher would review or introduce new skills, then she’d hand out an assignment with directions printed at the top. Every other student would read the instructions and begin typing. A few moments later, “Dave” would look around in confusion at everyone else typing, and exclaim, “What do we do?”
I’d always smirk and shake my head; but looking back, it’s obvious that “Dave” was an oral learner. If you watch how-to videos instead of reading printed instructions, or if you prefer to have someone show you how to cook a dish rather than to follow a written recipe; you may be an oral learner as well.
In Real Life Discipleship, Jim Putman notes that the Holy Spirit has used Bible Storying in the church he serves to change hearts in ways he’s not seen with other teaching methods nor curriculum. “Even if people like learning through reading,” he writes, “reading by itself is not the best way to move information from the head to the heart.”
So on behalf of Pastor Larry, I invite you to come and learn how you can better apply the stories of the bible practically in your own lives, in the lives of your children, and in the lives of the community whom we are serving together.