All of us who strive to teach youth the stories of our faith know how difficult it can be to keep Bible study from turning into nap time. How do we make these ancient texts relevant to youth so that they come alive?
Michael Novelli's latest text Enter the Story: 7 Experiences to Unlock the Bible for Your Students may just be the answer to that question. Using a method he calls "storying," Novelli's book offers all you need to take your youth on a journey -- and experience -- of such biblical stories and themes as creation, the exodus, Jesus' teachings on the Kingdom of God, and the journey to the cross. Using current understandings of educational theory and active learning, the author has crafted a series of experiences that invite youth into these stories in ways that use all the senses, pose a wide variety of thought-provoking questions, and invite reflection on the meaning of the narratives. There is enough material here to develop several great retreats, a week of church camp, or months of youth group or Sunday school lessons.
For regular readers of Rethinking Youth Ministry who particularly enjoy new ideas for creative prayer stations, this resource will be just what you are looking for as many of the "experiences" are designed as learning "stations." Some of the experiences are quite simple, requiring just a few props, and others are more elaborate or invite you to gather the group at a particular location such as a cemetery or park. The accompanying cd includes much of the content of the book as well as complete directions for set up, sample photos, and copies of hand outs and instructions for participants.
I found this book very readable, full of creative ideas, and look forward to using it as the focus for my youth Sunday school class this coming fall. You can read more about the author, his other resources, and his storying approach here.