Skip to main content

First CRC in Denver tried something new: Intergenerational Story Groups. Their experiment resulted in some delightful discoveries. Here’s a brief description of how and why they tried an intergenerational approach and what they learned from Shirley VanHeukelem, Outreach Coordinator.Shirley is also willing to post a lesson if you are interested! Thanks, Shirley!

"For the 2011-2012 educational year at our church we set aside traditional Sunday School and incorporated what we called Story Groups. 8 intergenerational groups, 1st Grade through people in their 80s, met during the Sunday School hour to further explore what they had heard in the sermon. 

Our pastor preached through the entire Old Testament that year, one book of the Bible each Sunday. We could not find intergenerational educational material that covered every book in the OT and we wanted these classes to be interactive learning sessions, so we wrote our own curriculum, using the Hook, Book, Look, Took format. 

The Hook was usually something fun and interactive that got us thinking about the main focus of the lesson. The Book section had us looking at a scripture passage from the OT book we were studying that week and talking about just what that scripture was saying. In the Look section we did some wondering, trying to find Christ in this OT passage, introspection, collage-making, game-playing, and a variety of other things that allowed the participants to “own” the story in their own lives. The Took section allowed us to wrap up the lesson with a little something for them to take home.

Participation exceeded our expectation. When we held an adult education class during the regular Sunday School hour, at best we had 10 participants. In Story Groups each of the 8 groups had at least 10 adults and 10 children each week; our church has 100 children (birth to 18) and about 150 adults who attend regularly.

We had many requests to offer Story Groups again, so this year we are repeating Story Groups during Advent and Lent."


Hi, I would like to hear more about this or if Mrs. Shirley is able to post or email a lesson that would be great. I found this through a google search when looking for information in how to start a story group for survivors of sexual abuse. I thought about this after reading "To be told" by Dan Allender. Also, I ran across the "Telling the stories of life through guided autobiography" by James Birren  and these are basically what I envisioned. I like the simple format of the Hook. Book. Look. Took. and obviously from the great turnout many others did as well. 

Let's Discuss

We love your comments! Thank you for helping us uphold the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.

Login or Register to Comment

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post