Scripture Engagement/ Storying Scripture Practice Tips
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Storying Scripture Practice Tips

If you’re interested in trying the Storying Scripture engagement process with a small group, here are some simple practice tips to get started.

  • Know your audience and choose stories that will be relevant to them. Storying works best in groups that are comfortable with one another and with passages that are relatively short.
  • Have a consistent, clear structure for how you choose your stories. You can teach them chronologically (in the order in which they happened) or topically (telling stories with similar themes). Resources for both of those approaches are available on the “Resources for Storying the Word” page.
  • Learn your story well—memorizing the story is by far the best thing to do. Read it multiple times, read it aloud, visualize it, or tell it to someone outside your group to practice. Take the time to get comfortable with it. As you memorize the story, it will start to impact your life!
  • Have the Bible open in front of you while you tell the story so that people know the story is from God’s Word. Let your personality shine through when you tell the story, but avoid being overly dramatic or speaking in monotone. Tell the story as you would a story from your own life, with expression and meaning. Tell the story as it is in Scripture; save your comments and interpretations until the story is over. Take your time telling the story. There is no rush. End your story by saying, “That’s the story from God’s Word.”
  • Have group members, as a whole group, retell the story. This will help them learn the story as they have to think it through and then hear it for a second time. Encourage the group to include as many details as they can.
  • Tell the story again (this is a third telling). This is best done if the story is memorized by the leader, but it can also be read from the Bible this time around.
  • Have the group notice any details that they may have missed in their retelling of the story. The point here is to get the story deeper into the hearts of the listeners, correcting any minor mistakes (because this is God’s Word, we want the correct story).
  • After that third telling of the story, discuss as a group. As the leader, don’t dominate the discussion; instead, facilitate it. Take your time, allowing about 30 minutes for this process. Let everyone who wants to talk have the opportunity. Possible questions (following an Inductive Bible Study pattern) are as follows:
    • Thinking/Head—(“What?” observations)
      • What new thing did you discover in the story that you didn’t know before?
      • What did you like about the story?
      • What didn’t you like about the story?
    • Feeling/Heart—(“Why?” or “So what?” implications/interpretations)
      • What do you learn about God in the story? (Note: This is the most critical question of all to ask, so don’t leave this one out. After all, the Bible is God’s story!)
      • What do you learn about people in the story?
      • Which person is most like you in the story?
    • Action/Hand—(“How?” or “Now what?” applications)
      • How would you like your life to be different because of the story?
      • What will you take away from this story?
      • What will you do with what you have learned?
    • Some other possible questions:
      • Who is in the story? Name all the characters, whether they are people, animals, or something else altogether.
      • What is in the story? Name all objects, large and small.
      • Where does the story take place? Describe the setting of the story. Consider things such as the environment (lake, field, cave), location (country, city/town, structure), climate, and so on.
      • When does the story take place? Identify the time frame of the story.
      • What is the problem? Identify any problem, obstacle, barrier, or difficulty presented in the story.
      • What is the resolution? Is the problem solved? Is the obstacle, barrier, or difficulty overcome? If so, how?
    • Make up a few of your own questions that fit the specific story that you’re covering.
    • Don’t ask too many questions! A few good questions that fit your group is better than just asking question after question. For even more question options, look at the “5 Questions Sidebar.”
  • Challenge each group member to share the story they’ve learned and the personal significance of the story with someone outside of the group in the next few days.
  • End in prayer.

If you’d like to watch how the Storying Scripture process works, you can view a video example on denisbeta.info.

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© Phil Collins, Ph.D., 2014. This material was created in partnership with the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement.