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Using Bible storying in a small group

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–A typical Bible storying session follows eight steps set to the acronym S.T.O.R.Y.I.N.G.

S – Set the story context. Bridge from the previous session’s story by:

* Asking about how the group members used the story or had someone retell the story.

* Connecting a need the participants have with the main truth of the story by telling a personal experience, asking a question or showing a short video that raises the issue.

* Asking members of the group to listen for the answers to questions about the story you are about to tell.

T – Tell the Bible story; don’t embellish.

O – Observe participants to see if they’re getting it.

R – Rebuild/review the facts of the story as a group, asking “What” questions (of the head).

Y – Getting out of the way and watching the Holy Spirit work among the group members as they dialogue.

I – Internalize God’s truth by dialoging what the story means. Ask “Why” questions (of the heart).

N – Now applying the story individually and as a group (hands).

G – Go tell the story to someone else not in the group and report on it next week!

Video examples of Bible storying are available at www.learningtosoar.org under the “Training” tab.

TIPS: To strengthen a Bible storying small group, seek to involve everyone present. Maybe someone other than the leader tells the story or a few in the group act it out in an impromptu skit. You may make up a song or sing one that fits the primary message of the story to plant it in their subconscious minds. The most productive small groups that use Bible storying are those that are relational, supportive, transparent and accountable. Small group leaders quickly learn that the responsibility for learning shifts from the teacher to the student in Bible storying.

Finally, Bible stories are chosen in the first place based on the issues that a believer is addressing in real life. These are not random selections, but intentional uses of God’s Word that make disciples.

See “Truth That Sticks: How to Communicate Velcro Truth in a Teflon World” when the book is released in August 2010 by NavPress for a detailed explanation of the Bible storying strategy.
Mark Snowden is coordinator for the North American Mission Board’s strategic planning and people groups team and NAMB’s lead Bible storying trainer.

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  • Mark Snowden