This is the time of year when we start (or ought to!) thinking about planning for preaching, worship and teaching for the school/church year starting in September. I invite you to take a good look at the website for The Story to learn about what I think is a very worthwhile potential preaching, worship and teaching curriculum for churches. Some CRCs were involved in a pilot project for this program a couple of years ago.
The Story is a recent publication project by Zondervan that excerpts and compiles the story of salvation using the words of Today’s New International Version (TNIV) of the Scriptures. (I know—we’re supposed to push and use Faith Alive stuff. We do that, but FA doesn’t have this!)
The Story starts at creation and finishes with the Revelation promise of the new heavens and new earth. It does not interrupt the flow of reading with chapter and verse indications and presents the narratives in one (instead of two) columns. Thus readers are able to follow the chronological flow of the Bible narratives from beginning to end, including the history of Israel, life of Jesus and the early church.
The Story basically follows the historic Reformed way of reading Scripture—namely, through the “Creation, Fall, Redemption” lens. Many preachers often developed this scheme in individual sermons, but to be able to follow this pattern consistently through the whole Bible narrative over an extended time would provide a solid, memorable, applicable way of learning or re-learning the message of salvation.
This package also comes with a full preaching and education curriculum for Sunday School, youth and adults. I have ordered a sample for distribution and examination for our Council and education committees. I have also brought this idea up to Worship Committee, Adult Education & Discipleship Team and Leadership Council as a trial balloon. After elders examine this material, I intend to propose the following for decision at a future meeting before I start my three-month sabbatical:
- That for the next church/school year, starting, October, 2011, Covenant CRC follow The Story in preaching, worship and education programs for Sunday School, youth and adults.
If approved, each family will be offered a copy of The Story (for a donation--$18 suggested retail price). I believe it would be a good idea for mutual accountability that we also request families/individuals to covenant to read and follow The Story throughout the teaching and preaching year.
We’ll see what happens at Covenant! Let us at The Network know if you have heard of this, if you’ve used it, what your opinions and results were.