Website: Echo The Story
The new resource “Echo The Story” is a formation focussed series designed to help young people enter the stories of the bible in a way that encourages creativity, imagination, storytelling and discussion. It’s another creative, (almost contemplative) process from the people behind WeAreSparkhouse and Michael Novelli, author of the books “Shaped By The Story” and well worth exploring if you’re looking for a different kind of bible study or small group material.
The resource comes with a dvd, leaders guide and participant sketch book;
The sketchbook is an important part of the resource, moving the program from a traditional question/answer curriculum to a more creative and reflective process. If cost is a huge issue I guess one could take a group through the process without the sketch books, but that would require a lot of preparation where the sketchbook has everything on hand. I think it’s a helpful part of the kit, and worth purchasing for the participants, it provides a take home resource that could assist participants to reflect on the stories week after week..
The Leader’s guide breaks down the process for the resource, instructing the leader not only on how to run each session but also some of the theory behind the resource, setting the scene as to how the process works and why it’s been put together in the way that it has. The guide shows pages of the sketch book to instruct the leader of how to approach the sketch book and it’s use, it also includes the scripted stories that form the “Imagine the story” part of each session. Each session’s guide reminds the leader of the resource’s process, the week’s story and what the participants will be seeing in the sketchbook.
The final part of the kit is the dvd. The dvd has a quick promo piece for the program, a brief and useful breakdown of the program for the presenter and the individual videos for each of the sessions. The short video stories are well produced and simple, but, unlike the Holy Moly or Re:Form resources by WeAreSparkhouse they don’t work separate from the actual resource as they have been included in order to refresh/rewind the previous week’s stories and probably make sense only in that setting.
If you’d like to go into the theory of the process a little deeper then the book “Shaped By The Story” by Michael Novelli explores some theory, practice and imagination that has been used in developing the Echo The Story process. Michael explores storytelling, developing stories and how the bible stories connect with people. The book also breaks down what ends up being the skeleton of the Echo the Story resource, you can see how he’s moved from the book to the resource.
The Scope & Sequence
The first volume of Echo The Story is a 12 part series entering into the story of the bible:
Download: Scope & Sequence Volume 1 (pdf)
- The Promise
- Judges & Kings
- God’s Kingdom
- The Church
The second volume of Echo the Story stretches out the story into 36 sessions allowing a longer process, delving into the narrative of scripture in a deeper way.
Download: Scope & Sequence Volume 2 (pdf)
There are 7 steps in each Echo The Story session.
- Rewind the Story – Animated video that reviews the previous stories and places us at the present story.
- Prepare the Story – Reflection activity to focus people’s minds and prepare them for listening. This activity usually consists of drawing the week’s story symbol. The story symbol is an important part of Michael’s process allowing for participants to connect each symbol with a story, an important mnemonic device that connects people’s imaginations with the story and turns them towards the story.
- Imagine the Story – Listen to a scripted telling of a bible story that allows people space to slow down and listen to a carefully scripted narrative, paraphrased from the scripture.
- Capture What You Notice – Record the things that stood out for you in the story (reminds me of Lectio Divina), providing a quieter imaginative reflection on the story shared.
- Remix the Story – Retell the story in your own creative way, write, sketch, paint, rap, song. The sketch book provides specific activities that spark creativity, interact with scripture, allow dor people’s different learning styles and enables the group and individuals to re-enter and imagine the story. Leaders are invited to re-tell the story with a different voice during this time.
- Connect to Your Story – Share personal insights with the group. The sketch book provides prompts participants to share their own thoughts and observations with each other allowing for a creative reflection with the story as the tether connecting the curiosity and wonder.
Overall I think this is a creative resource allowing groups, to use creativity, imagination and wonder as they delve into the narrative of the bible, making connections with their own lives and story. I’ve recently given the resource to a friend who teaches Christian Education at a Christian school as a means to re-design their scripture class and provide a different way to explore story with their students. I think the process allows for a creative guided workshop that could reshape how some groups reflect on scripture together, at the very least it’s a great starting point that could move ministries towards a more reflective and story-focussed process for their community, well worth the purchase and giving it a go in your ministry with young people.
If you have the chance to use this resource in your own ministry I’d love to hear how you went with it, what you felt were positive and negative aspects of the process and how the young people in your community reacted to the change of process.
Echo The Story – Deepen Your Youth Ministry
Echo The Story – Session 3 Story Videohttp://youtu.be/rUnpQA-WDMI