We kicked off The Story last night, a three week high speed thrill ride through the entire Bible. It's one of my favorite things that I do at NCC. I love the Bible, and I love helping others fall in love with the Word of God.
The Story is part of our "May Term" group offerings. In May, all of our small groups take a break between the spring and summer semesters, and we offer staff-led groups for people. We had over 60 people attend, so it wasn't exactly a "small group." It was more like a lecture. I like the lecture format of The Story for a couple of reasons. One, it appeals to folks who might have a more intellectual bent in their approach to discipleship. Two, it is a good first step for people who might be interested in small groups but a little intimidated about going to the home of a person they've never met. The Story is a smaller setting than Sunday morning, but not as intimate as a home-based small group. So people can dip their big toe into the water and give it a trial run for 3 weeks.
Here's some more info on how we do it:
The Bible is a story of passion, adventure, ultimate loyalty and ultimate betrayal, war and peace, extreme love and extreme hate. It is a story of mystery, intrigue and excitement. But we often turn the Bible into a boring religious document. It is not a theological textbook. It is not a history book. Likewise, it is not a scientific, anthropological, or political textbook. It is the story of the Creator on a passionate pursuit of a people. It begins with God and ends with God. And we are found somewhere in the middle. We find our purpose when we see our lives against the backdrop of the story that God has been writing throughout history. The Bible is first and foremost God's story. And as we develop our relationship with him, we realize that it is also our story. It is our history, and we must know the story of the Bible in order to understand our own.
We spend the first night Exploring the Backlot-- talking about where the Bible came from, who wrote it, how it's structured, where the events took place, and other background information. Everyone learns cool words like "plenary inspiration" and they find out where places like Goshen and Corinth are located. They get a great packet of maps (that's one of my favorite parts!)
Next week is Act One: Exploring the Story of the Old Testament. We will start with God creating and the Holy Spirit hovering, move through the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, the patriarchs, the exodus, the judges, the kingdom, the divided kingdom, the exile and return. We will talk about who Obadiah is, what his book is about, and where he fits into the story.
The last week is Act Two: Exploring the Story of the New Testament. We will talk about the Life of Christ as recorded in the four Gospels and then learn about the spread of the Church in the book of Acts. Then, we will put all of the epistles into context of the story.
It's a lot of fun, and my ultimate prayer is that people would want to go deeper in their study of God's word.