3 Reasons to Introduce Your Church to “The Heart of God’s Story” Video Curriculum This Fall
When we did the Read the Bible for Life video curriculum with LifeWay, I was driven to help churches begin training their people in how to read the Bible more effectively, and the curriculum was focused especially on engaging the various parts of Scripture well. We have had about 50,000 people go through that video curriculum thus far and have gotten lots of positive feedback from folks who are reading the Bible in fresh ways. I am very thankful for the project and its impact.
A Missing Element
However, early in the RBL initiative I felt that something was missing that I wanted to address—a concise picture of the power and beauty of the biblical storyline. I wanted people to see the amazing, miraculous unity of the Scripture’s message, how the whole thing fits together around core themes that are life-changing once we grasp them. Among those themes are 3 we focus on in The Heart of God’s Story:
“Knowing God’s Face” (His Presence in Our Lives)
“Thriving in God’s Space” (The Tabernacle/Temple Imagery that runs from the beginning to the end of Scripture) and
“Extending God’s Grace in the World”
Of course, those churches that went through the year-long read-through/preach-through following the Read the Bible for Life video curriculum, using the Reader’s Guide to the Bible and/or the Reading God’s Word Chronological Bible, got the big picture of Scripture in a deeper way, and again, we have heard of churches and individuals greatly impacted by the process (including our own church!!). But there is something about getting the “Big Picture” in a short study that can pull the whole together and provide a “framework” from which we can read the Bible meaningfully for the rest of our lives.
3 Reasons to Consider The Heart of God’s Story for Your Church
So, whether you are a leader or a layperson in your church, here are 3 reasons to introduce your church to The Heart of God’s Story curriculum this Fall.
1. The Heart of God’s Story pulls together the Story of Scripture in a way that will give people a “lens” through which to read the Bible. If your church has participated in Read the Bible for Life, or if you have read through the whole of the Bible recently, The Heart of God’s Story can provide a wonderful “next step,” pulling all those complex details together in a way that provides key points of reference. For many people, the Bible is a jumble of stories, psalms, letters, and strange bits that seem to make little sense because they are not read in light of a compelling context. Understanding the beautiful breadth of what God is up to as the Story develops becomes very grounding for a meaningful interaction with the various parts of the Bible. In short, Bible reading and study seems more relevant and compelling when you know what is going on!
2. The Heart of God’s Story curriculum addresses some of the most foundational teachings for living the Christian life well. Other than the nature of God himself, there is no more basic truth of Scripture than that God wants to be present in the lives of people (think of where the Story begins and ends!). God wants us to know him face-to-face (Exod. 33:11). With that “Godward” relationship thriving, we then have a solid basis for thriving in community with one another, and the development of the tabernacle/Temple imagery in the Bible, from the Garden of Genesis, through the tabernacle, Solomon’s temple, the temple Jesus knew, the Day of Pentecost, to the Heavenly Jerusalem, offers a rich, eye-opening perspective on what it means to be the people of God being built together as “living stones” of a dwelling place for God (1 Pet. 2:4-10). Finally, if we ever get our heads around the height, the depth, and the breadth of God’s grace, as not only forgiving but forming our lives and the world, it will change us.
3. Finally, the curriculum also can be used to introduce those who have yet to make a commitment to Christ to the richness and depth of the gospel. If you have people who are open to hearing more about the faith, but you need a venue in which they can be introduced to what it means to have a relationship with God, a relationship with God’s people, and a compelling mission for life, The Heart of God’s Story might be a tool for you to use. With non-believers and new believers, assignments in the curriculum each week (there are 5 days of brief exercises/devotional times) might need to be paired down, depending on those in the class, but getting folks into the Scripture themselves and engaged with others in talking about the beauty of what God is up to in the whole of the Bible, can help them on their journeys to embracing God’s invitation to the gospel.
What You Can Do Now
If you are a church leader, the curriculum and leader’s kit can be ordered here (check with LifeWay about buying the member books in bulk to save on cost). If you are a layperson who is interested in helping bring the curriculum to your church, forward an email with this post to your pastor or another staff member and talk to them personally about the potential impact of the study in your church. You might also pray about leading a group yourself. Thanks for your openness to partner with me in this ministry.
A Brief Taste
A few weeks ago I posted a digital image of the cross references in the Bible, and it resonated with a lot of folks. The video below this paragraph offers a peek from "The Heart of God's Story" curriculum, in which I introduce that image and set up Session 2 on "The Bookends of the Bible." Enjoy.