shaped by story

by now you probably know how strongly i believe that we must begin exploring new ways of teaching the bible to the children in our churches.

and that i love the new methods michael novelli is trying with students and adults – most of which he describes in his book shaped by the story.

well then, you can guess how excited i was when children’s ministry magazine asked me to write an article for the jan/feb issued based on michael’s book and true stories of implementation from rolling hills community church’s children’s pastor gary strudler (who i first met way back in the promiseland days).

here’s an excerpt from the article describing my own experience with storying:

several years ago as a children’s director, i helped lead a summer experience that michael novelli created for high school students. for one week, i led several youth groups as they spent each day listening to a biblical event, discussing the event in their groups, and then participating in various stations that helped them express how god had spoken to them during the story. as i led those students, i was amazed to see 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds experience and react to an event from the bible in ways similar to how i’d seen my preschoolers react. their eyes were wide, as if they’d never heard the stories before. they smiled as they discovered themselves or someone like them in the bible stories. and they grew more fascinated with the mysteries of god and his people with each narrative. it was a spiritual experience for me as i too encountered the stories from the students’ perspective. that week changed my mind about the way we approach the bible with the children in our church. it clarified my vision for how our preschool and elementary kids could experience stories. i went back to my church and began rethinking how we were having kids experience the bible. after watching how the storying method transformed older kids, i could only imagine how much we could impact the kids in our children’s ministry—simply by adjusting how we relayed the events of the bible to them.

the end result? i got to see our children come alive in new ways as their questions, observations, and thoughts were equally valued. i got to see our small group leaders encourage children to share with their friends how god was leading them. i got to see kids completely absorbed by bible stories they’d sat through before with disinterest and glazed eyes. i even got to see a new level of engagement from our adult leaders. i remember one first-grade boys’ leader telling me that he’d learned new things and thought in new ways about the bible as he listened to the children in his group. it was absolutely wonderful to watch god’s great story take center stage in kids’ lives.

may you be inspired to uncover the stories of the bible for children in fresh ways this year!

read the entire article here, and be sure to check out children’s ministry magazine – a fantastic resource for every children’s leader!


9 responses to this post.

  1. Great article! I would love to repost some of this on my blog. Is that OK? I’ll ask Christine about putting the link to your article so that it’s kosher 🙂


  2. Posted by amyedolan on January 7, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    henry – thanks for the encouragement! yes! post it on your blog – would love to hear more thoughts on the topic.


  3. […] 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 […]


  4. Posted by Davy on January 21, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Thank you for posting and sharing these videos. I am very encouraged by these tonight. I will plan to repost phil v’s youtube video on my wordpress. Hope you are doing well.


  5. Posted by amyedolan on January 25, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    glad this was encouraging to your spirit, davy. hope all is great by you –


  6. […] Children’s Ministry Blog Patrol (January 2010) I featured a couple of blog posts from   Amy Dolan (Shaped by Story) and  Henry Zonio (Stepping Into the Story) about an article written by Amy Dolan called “Shaped […]


  7. […] this year, in children’s ministry magazine, i wrote some new ideas for helping children fully engage in the biblical story. we received amazing […]


  8. […] WA.   Also, take time to read reflections on this movement from children’s ministry leaders Amy Dolan and Henry Zonio.  Make sure you download Amy’s article from Children’s Ministry […]


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