During Sunday school last week, the youth and I were talking about the ways our individual stories and God’s story intersect, and how each of us can play a role in God’s work in our world. I mentioned the work of author Sam Wells, who suggests we might understand the broad scope of God’s movement in our world as if it were a five-act play. But this story is not complete—Wells suggests that we live today in the midst of the fourth act of this divine drama. And the interesting thing is that we actors in this play are not given a script that directs our every word and deed. Instead, we are called to improvise, rooted in and guided by a vital tradition, but living out our individual parts with creativity. In doing so, our stories become part of that larger story.
A focus on the broad scope of God’s story is also shaping our worship and educational programming this year. Last month, our church began using the outline suggested in Brian McLaren’s We Make the Road By Walking to guide our worship on a year-long journey through the themes of Scripture. Similarly, in October, the older youth and I will begin using a new curriculum called Echo the Story, which uses videos, creative reflection, art, and story telling to help youth discover their own identity in the context of the biblical narrative. The youth curriculum breaks the Story down into 12 sessions, which means that even with an occasional break, the youth will complete the story before the congregation reaches the end of the year-long McLaren lectionary. I’ll make sure to tell the youth not to give away the ending!
Elizabeth continues to lead the children’s class, working with our three elementary school kids each week. I’m so grateful for her faithful service every Sunday. I always appreciate the various activities and crafts she puts together to help the kids in exploring the biblical themes of the day.
This month, I hope to schedule a meeting with the parents of our children and youth to talk about their hopes and desires for how First Baptist might meet the needs of its kids and young families. We’re aiming to meet after worship some Sunday in October. I look forward to this gathering, and to hearing how we can support our kids to faithfully live out their own stories, surrounded by God’s love and a community of care at First Baptist.
Minister with Children, Youth, and Families