Something neat occurred last Tuesday evening. By invitation I presented a story in a pastor's living room in Philadelphia. Four families were represented: seven adults, one teenager, seven of grade school age, and one 4-year-old boy. They all learned Moses & The Rock (Ex 17:1-7), and everyone shared during discussion time.
One adult volunteered, "Seeing God promise to be with Moses as Moses stood before a hostile crowd reassured me of God's presence in my life, especially in moments of uncertainty."
All those of grade school age and the teenager joined in. The playing field stayed level. No one intimidated anyone else. Most interestingly, the 4-year-old participated, speaking up six times. Four of his comments were even on target with the subject!
At one point the small boy said, "The desert was hot." Then later he contributed, "Moses believed in God."
It is not just that the boy contributed six times. It is that this style of teaching I have adopted encouraged a 4-year old to stay connected to a teaching in which adults and teenagers participated! Indeed, the discussion factor, when done as outlined by STS, does appeal to all.
J.T. USA. Dallas Theological Seminary Graduate
Post Script: At lunch in a restaurant the next day, the pastor explained that he had heard that this way of presenting Scripture ministered to a wide range of learners. So, he thought that by inviting STS into his home with a mixed audience he could see its effectiveness first-hand.
He then expressed how pleased all the adults were that their children found as much relevancy in the technique and the Bible material as the adults did. The pastor ended by stating, "I want the church leadership to consider using STS in our church, especially the men's ministry.
Five Years Old and Spot On!
After being introduced to STS Bible storytelling this past year, I thought I would try it out at home. As part of family devotions each evening, I started doing something that I decided to call “Story Challenge.” I pitched this to my son Joshua (5 years old) as a contest to see if he could tell back to me the story that I was about to tell him. We told and retold the story many times over several days. He was hesitant to tell it back to me initially, claiming that it was too hard and that he didn’t remember anything. So, I skipped straight to the lead through, coaxing out of him the next line of the story, bit by bit.
Often times as we do that lead through, I throw in silly options and questions that provoke a “You’re wrong, Daddy!” type of response. After I “bungle” the story, he tells me how the story was supposed to go.
On evenings when he is unwilling to do Story Challenge, I say, “That’s fine. You don’t have to do it. I’ll just do it with Mommy. Do you think Mommy can do it?” Regardless of his answer, I proceed to tell the story to my wife and have her tell it back to me. Sometimes my son covers his ears, indicating that he does not want to play. However, when Mommy leaves out a detail or misremembers the story, my son often perks up and corrects her.
Joshua got rather good at telling the story of Jesus Calming the Storm (Mark 4:35-41) and was able to answer my observation questions about the story because he knew the content of the story so well.
Here is a video of the story in the new YouTube code:
My wife and I have a lot of fun with this time on questions too, especially when Joshua gives outlandish answers. I asked him, “What else could Jesus have done to help the disciples besides calming the storm like He did?” With a big smile on his face, my son replied, “Jesus makes a rocket appear, and Jesus and His disciples get in the rocket, and blast to the other side of the lake!” We had a lot of fun but we also were able to draw out observations such as “Jesus cares for us,” and “Jesus has power over nature.” These then turned into applications about trusting God.
I’ve had Joshua share the storm story in a couple of venues with adults to show that kids too can learn Bible stories, learn them accurately and share them with others. Hopefully this is an encouragement to adults to learn Bible stories themselves and teach them to their kids and grandkids. As for our family, we are now working on the story of the demoniac from Luke 8, hoping to share it with people around Halloween time. And my son is really eager for us to do the story of David and Goliath as a Story Challenge.
Karl, OMF serving in Thailand
Teenage Boys - “Not Bored!”
“When my sister and 3 teen-age nephews came to visit us from Washington, we used STS for our daily devotions, learning a Bible story everyday from the life of Peter. As they were leaving, my sister said, ‘I'm going to use this in my youth Sunday School class. They will like this.’
“One nephew said, ‘I really like studying the Bible this way! I never got bored.’”
M.B. Missionary in SE Asia
Stories Touch Teachers, Who Teach Children
“After being trained in STS, we no longer look at stories just as stories, but we are able to pick out the deeper meaning for our lives as we minister to children and put it together with them.”
Q and Janice Child Evangelism
Father of Teenagers. He and They Trained in STS
"I am very thankful for STS as I have seen my two teenage daughters quickly learn it and now are teaching it and using it with others."This is a powerful tool unfolding the infinite riches of God’s word and its applicability to our lives.
"I am also using this in our family devotions as well as at work. I am encouraging all my friends and associates to learn and use this incredible resource." N.F. GA, USA
“No One Cracked Jokes”
“Thursday night God opened the door for me to return to the prison I visited last year. These were different boys than the ones I told a story to last year, but their problems were the same. This time we did the story of Jacob going back to Bethel to live and to build an altar to God. (Gen 35:1-5).
“Amazingly, the boys opened their hearts and responded honestly to the Bible story and the applications. We discussed what the idols were in their lives. Most responded, money, some said drugs, and one boy said family. I asked why those idols were more important to them than God.
“One young man said he thought it was good for Jacob to bury the idols, in case it didn't work out with God, Jacob would be able to find the idols.
“Towards the end Mike, 15-years old, shared about his son and how much his son didn't know him. Gratefully the mom brings the son for visitation. We discussed what kind of role model Jacob was to his family and then what kind of role model Mike wanted to be for his son.
“Mike continued opening up about his fear of being released in 10 days. How would he be able to make it on the outside? All he knows is drug dealing, and he did that well.
“Together, the other boys, Youth for Christ volunteers, and I brainstormed about some specific steps Mike could do.
“Once again, the response by the volunteers as we were leaving prison was the same as last year. ‘I can't believe how much those boys opened up and shared!’
“One volunteer noted, ‘No one cracked jokes or disrupted the meeting and Mike is usually the one causing trouble!’
“Please pray for Mike and the others. None of them like being in prison, but they just don't know how to live outside of prison.
Andowan. CA, USA
Missionaries Have Kids Too!
An OMF missionary who attended an STS training in Chiang Mai brought her son along to the workshop. This is what happened with her new-found information ...
“The first thing nine year old Bobby did when we got home was to tell the national couple we work with one of the "stories" we had learned in Chiang Mai.
“We have also been starting each school day with having him tell me one of the stories he remembers and then we practice making observations together...a precious way to start our school day!!
“Thanks so much for the training!! I told him to pick one of the stories, that I would learn it in the national language and then teach it to him. The first one we are going to learn is Elisha and the widow.
“After dinner the other evening, we sat around the table with our national co-workers and did a story with them along with the observation/application. It was a great way to fellowship!!”
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